17 Questions To Help You Land Your First Graphic Design Client

If you’re looking to get your first graphic design client, this is the place to start. Whether you’re a freelancer or a studio owner, knowing how to find and win new clients will help you grow your business in 2022 and beyond. In this guide, I’ll walk through 17 questions that will help you land your first client.

What Questions Should a Graphic Designer Ask a Client
Key Takeaways
1. Understand the client’s goals and objectives thoroughly.
2. Inquire about their target audience and market.
3. Discuss the scope of the project and timeline expectations.
4. Gather information about their brand identity and style preferences.
5. Explore the budget range for the project.
6. Clarify communication channels and frequency.
7. Ask about potential competitors and differentiators.
8. Inquire about specific design deliverables required.
9. Discuss potential challenges and roadblocks.
10. Explore their previous design experiences and preferences.
11. Inquire about their long-term design needs.
12. Understand their feedback and revision process.
13. Discuss ownership rights and usage of the design.
14. Inquire about their preferred collaboration style.
15. Ask about their expectations for project updates.
16. Discuss the contract and payment terms.
17. Clarify how the project success will be measured.

1. Who Are Your Customers?

This is the first question to ask because it will help you understand who you’re designing for and what they want. You can’t design something that works for everyone, so knowing what kind of person your client is targeting will help you create a more focused design.

What is their typical demographic? How will this project reach them? What do you want to communicate with this design? What is the deadline for this project? What is the budget for this project?

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2. Who Are Your Target Customers?

Your target customer is the person who will be buying from you. It’s important to identify this audience as closely as possible so that you can focus on providing them with a product or service that meets their needs and exceeds expectations. 

The best way to do this is by analyzing your competitors’ websites, customer service emails, and other interactions with current customers. This will allow you to understand how they market themselves, where they’re getting their leads from, what they’re saying about their product/service, etc., which will help inform where we go next in this process.

3. What Is Their Typical Demographic?

The demographic of your client has a direct impact on the kind of design work you’ll be expected to deliver. Understanding who they are and what they like will help you better understand how to design for them. Your client’s life stage, occupation, and location are some of the most important factors to consider when thinking about their target audience. 

For example, an elder care company would have very different needs than a local gym or spa. The age range of your target market is especially important because it will determine what types of visual content resonate with this group and which don’t connect at all (for example millennials might not respond well to advertisements that use outdated fonts).

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4. How Will This Project Reach Them?

It’s important to know how your design will be used, so you can make sure it’s appropriate for the audience and purpose. If a client wants an advert that will be printed and then put in a magazine, they’ll want something different than if it’s going to be put on Facebook or Instagram. 

The target audience is also important as well as what message you want to convey by creating the design. Finally, you need to consider what outcome of the design you’re looking for – what do they want people reading their adverts/magazine articles/etc?

5. Why Do You Need Me Now?

If you’re a small business or even a large company, it may not be realistic for you to do everything in-house. You can outsource some of the work and spend more time focusing on your core competencies. There are many reasons why someone could benefit from hiring an outside agency:

Your company might not have the time or resources to fully execute its design needs. You may want to focus on different aspects of your business (e.g., sales) instead of spending valuable time designing materials that could be outsourced instead.

6. What Do You Want To Communicate With This Design?

When you’re designing a piece for a client, it’s important to make sure that your design communicates the right message. To do this, you’ll need to ask yourself some questions about the purpose of your design. 

Here are some relevant questions:

  • What do I want to communicate with this design?
  • How should my design make people feel?
  • What tone will my client’s brand be taking on with this project?

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7. What’s Your Timeline For This Project?

The fourth question is always the most important and it can be very tricky. Setting a timeline for a project is crucial, but you also have to walk a fine line with this question because if you set the timeline too short, you might not get hired. 

If you set the timeline too long, then your client may hesitate at taking on your services once they see how much time it will take. The key here is finding that balance between setting a reasonable timeline and giving your client enough time to decide whether or not they want to work with you.

8. How Will The Final Design Be Used? (Print, Web, Mobile, Etc.)

The next question you should ask is how the final design will be used. This can help you determine which tools and techniques are best suited for the project at hand. For example, if you’re creating a website, then HTML/CSS are your best bets; whereas if you’re designing a flyer, then maybe Photoshop would be better since it’s good with vector graphics and text placement.

Here are some common mediums that designs can be used in Print (brochures, posters); Web (websites & social media); and Mobile (applications & mobile sites).

9. What Are Other Companies/Brands Doing That You Like/Dislike?

We’ve all seen it. Client sees a competitor that they like and want to emulate. They ask you to create something similar, but with their twist on it. This isn’t always necessarily a bad thing, but it is important to make sure that your brand still has its own identity.

To avoid this problem, I would recommend asking your client what they like about other companies/brands and what they dislike. Ask them which aspects of the business they want to emulate or which ones they don’t want to imitate at all (these can be useful clues into where you might find creative space for yourself).

10. Who Are Your Competitors?

You may have been focusing on the customers you want to attract, but what about the other companies that are trying to do the same thing?

Competitors are your competition. They’re the companies in your industry that are also trying to attract the very same customers as you. Your competitors might be big corporations or small mom-and-pop shops it doesn’t matter. 

What matters is finding them and getting their contact information so that you can reach out with your business card and brochure during networking events and at other opportunities for face-to-face interaction.

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11. What Similarities And Contradictions Can You Point Out 

We’re talking about a client’s brand here, and it’s important to keep in mind that your job isn’t just to design a logo. You should be able to offer an overall helping hand when it comes to their image and identity. 

For example, if they have an inconsistent aesthetic across their website, social media platforms, and collateral items like business cards, this is something you can point out as you ask them questions about their visual identity system. 

Asking these types of questions will help you understand what the client wants from his/her brand; for example:

  • How would you describe your brand?
  • What does success look like for your business?
  • How do other brands in the same industry compare with yours?
  • What do you wish were different about those other brands’ visuals (or yours)?

12. What Is The Budget For This Project?

If you’re a freelancer looking for work, you must find out how much your client is willing to spend. This will help you determine how much time and effort to put into your pitch, as well as give them an idea of what they can expect from their chosen designer. 

On the other hand, if you’re hiring a graphic designer yourself and asking them to bid on your project (which we highly recommend), they must know exactly how much money they’ll be earning so that they can offer their best quote based on the parameters of the scope and timeframe.

For those who have never written down their budget before: what is considered a reasonable amount? It depends on several factors such as length of time needed; the number of revisions; complexity level; where the artwork will be used (social media posts vs print ads etc.) 

The list goes on but generally speaking most people start at the $500-$1k range when first starting out depending on what services are needed from designers although some may go higher depending on need.

13. How Would You Define ‘success’?

Now that you know what the client’s business goals are, it’s time to define success for yourself. You can do this by considering your client’s personal goals, audience goals, and brand goals.

Ask yourself: What does this project mean to my client? If they’re able to achieve their business goal as a result of working with me as their graphic designer, then I’ve been successful in my role. 

How will my work positively affect the clients’ audience? How will it positively affect their brand identity? What technical challenges have there been during this project and how have I overcome them or resolved them in such a way that leaves everyone happy with the final product?

14. When Would You Be Able To Sign Off On A Concept? 

After you’ve worked through a few rounds of revisions and you think you have the perfect design, it’s important to let your client know that they can expect to see their new design in no more than two weeks. If it’s going to take longer than that, tell them so they can plan accordingly.

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15. Would You Be Interested In Any Other Services Related To The Graphic Design Aspect Of This Project? 

If your client is interested in additional services, you can ask them if they have any ideas or requests. For example, if they are looking for an artist to create custom artwork for their project, they may be interested in hiring you as well. You could also ask them if there is anything else that would be helpful to know about the project before you start working on it.

If a client needs additional services and is not sure who to hire, they might choose your company because they trust that you will recommend someone who can meet their needs and expectations.

16. Do You Have Any Particular Technical Requirements Or Constraints That May Affect This Project 

This is another good question to ask, and one that can help you avoid problems down the road. A client might tell you they need something printed, but not be aware of any specific limitations (e.g., they don’t know their printer doesn’t print in color). Or perhaps they’re working with a product that has certain size requirements or other technical constraints, which will affect how much work goes into designing their project. It’s always better to get this information upfront so everyone is on the same page moving forward!

17. Is There Anything Else You Think I Should Know While I Work On This Project For You?

You can also ask for a second opinion. If you’re not sure about something, consult someone who has more experience in graphic design. Sometimes we need to hear it from someone else before we can see the error in our work.

If there’s anything else you think I should know while I work on this project for you, please let me know!

Final Thoughts 

By now you should have a pretty good idea of how to pick your first graphic design client and be on your way to gaining experience. Remember that every client is different, so treat each one as an opportunity to hone your skills and build a portfolio. If you keep these tips in mind and continue to work hard, then I can promise that before long you will land yourself some amazing clients!

Further Reading

Explore these resources to deepen your knowledge:

Running Your First Design Meeting with a Client Short Description: Learn essential tips for conducting a successful design meeting with clients, ensuring effective communication and understanding of project expectations.

Key Questions to Ask Clients Short Description: Discover a comprehensive list of questions that will help you gather critical information from clients, enabling you to deliver tailored design solutions.

Client Questionnaire: What to Ask Before You Start Short Description: Get insights into the questions you should ask your clients to gather insights about their preferences, goals, and expectations before embarking on a design project.

People Also Ask

What Is Graphic Design?

Graphic design is the process of creating visual elements (such as fonts, icons, logos, and images) that are used to communicate a message. Graphic design is often used in advertising and marketing to attract customers’ attention and persuade them to purchase a product or service.

What Do I Need To Learn?

If you want to land your first graphic design client, it’s important to know how to use the tools of the trade. You should know how to use Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign (or other similar programs).

How Do I Find Clients?

There are lots of ways to find clients the best way is through word-of-mouth referrals from friends or family members. You can also check out local businesses in your area that might need help with their social media presence or other marketing materials. 

If you’re looking for something more specific than that, try searching online for freelance jobs on websites like Elance or Upwork!

How Do I Market Myself As A Graphic Designer?

You should have a website, and social media accounts, and make sure they are professional-looking because this is how potential clients will see your work first before meeting with you or hiring your services. 

You can also showcase some of your best designs on Behance or Dribbble which is sort of like LinkedIn for creatives where everyone shares their latest projects with other designers so it creates an online community where people can connect easily (this might be more relevant for freelancers who want specific advice from experienced professionals).

What Is The Most Important Thing To Know When Starting A Freelance Business?

Do your research and find out what your competitors are charging. It’s not always about price, but it can help you to set yours if you know what others are charging.

What Is The Most Common Mistake That Freelancers Make?

Not being able to communicate their value proposition effectively. There are plenty of designers out there who can do good work, but they don’t stand out from the crowd because they cannot articulate how they’re different than other designers or show why people should hire them instead of someone else. 

The best way I see this done right now is by using infographics on sites like VisualCV – these are easy to share online and say more than just words ever could!

What Is The Best Way To Land A Graphic Design Client?

The best way to land a graphic design client is to find a job posting or request for proposal (RFP) and apply for it. You can find these on websites like Craigslist and LinkedIn, as well as through your local Chamber of Commerce.

How Do I Get A Job As A Graphic Designer?

The best way to get a job as a graphic designer is by applying for positions with companies that offer them, like those listed above. You might want to consider earning an associate’s degree in web design or computer science from your local community college, too.

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