Tag: how to guide

13
Oct

Clients: A How-To Guide (Part 4: Communications)

Clients How To Guide

Lack of communication is a big no-no. Having clear communication channels with your client’s ensures that both parties are heading in the right direction.

Here are some top tips to keeping in contact…

Emails

  • Make it very clear what your intentions are in the email; clarity is key to communication.
  • Always summarise and reiterate what a client is looking for.
  • Triple check spelling; especially when it comes to names/subject.
  • Communicate in a professional manner, but do not shy away from expressing your excitement on projects and work.

Phonecalls

  • A lot of clients are comfortable speaking over the phone, it adds a more human element and the clients are more likely to express their true opinions in this form of communication.
  • Phone calls are for less formal/time constrained situations — emails give you important information that is written in text that we can refer back to.
  • If the client has made a lot of points, it can be very helpful to send them a summarised email of the conversation via email after the conversation
    for clarification.

So let’s be sensible when sending emails or answering the phone; make it so that your granny could understand you. You never know, she might be your next client…

Next week we will be looking going the extra mile, adding that cherry on top design sundae.

Reiss, Designer & Director of Client Happiness.

staff_170502_0542

Reiss is a multi-purpose designer with a broad range of skill-sets.
He loves being a part of any creative activity — whether it’s mapping out a user experience, getting his hands dirty with some copy or even re-building bits of his motorbike.
A born people-person, Reiss is never happier when showcasing ideas from his vividly wild imagination and working with clients to see them through to completion. Once an architect, he has a keen eye for conceptual ideas and never tires of learning new things.
06
Oct

Clients: A How-To Guide (Part 3: Meetings)

Clients How To Guide

What’s more important than the precious moments you get to spend with your client, one-on-one, excitedly discussing the direction of the project? You guessed it — nothing (apart from the boss’s birthday).

Fast-paced and full of ideas; your meetings should aim to clarify with clients and gather crucial information.

Here are some top tips for hosting a top meeting…

  • Timing is Key  No one likes to be late to a meeting, let alone turn up on a wrong day! Be very clear with your clients when deciding on a meeting time/place, no more awkward moments of confusion. If you can scope out what your client is looking to achieve in the meeting as well — even better!
  • Ideas, Not Problems — Extra brownie points for those who can sketch on the spot. Transferring the client’s words to paper in a visual form is a fantastic way to get the client excited about the project and gain their trust.
  • Small Ideas Sheet = Big Success — By creating a small ideas sheet and taking it to potential clients it shows that you are prepared and know what you are talking about. Having already thought out the client’s ideas and solving problems beforehand lets the client know that we’re serious about their business and are already invested in what they do. These sheets should be loose, giving the presenter a point of reference, maybe some initial sketches; essentially a conversation starter.

In conclusion; meetings should be your best friend! A brilliant time to get some juicy information from your clients, maybe even a bit of gossip if you’re lucky. Next week we’ll have a look at communications; the connection with your clients that keep you on the right path.

Reiss, Designer & Director of Client Happiness.

staff_170502_0542

Reiss is a multi-purpose designer with a broad range of skill-sets.
He loves being a part of any creative activity — whether it’s mapping out a user experience, getting his hands dirty with some copy or even re-building bits of his motorbike.
A born people-person, Reiss is never happier when showcasing ideas from his vividly wild imagination and working with clients to see them through to completion. Once an architect, he has a keen eye for conceptual ideas and never tires of learning new things.
29
Sep

Clients: A How-To Guide (Part 2: Presentations)

Clients How To Guide

 

We shall start our clients journey with presentations — something that can turn even the most confident designer into a shrivelling, sweaty mess.

But do not fret, there are ways to bypass the instinctive flight option.

Here are some top tips to holding a killer presentation…

  • Practise Consistency — No two presentations are the same, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep them consistent.
  • Preparation Is Key — We use different layouts for different stages of presentations. Winning a pitch is, of course, important to us, so being prepared is a key part of that. Concept presentations should be slightly more refined, clearly outlining our thought process behind each concept in a concise manner. If the wording is too long, the concept isn’t strong enough to be explained in a couple of sentences. These presentations include initial sketches, maybe some illustrator mock ups and strong reference material.
  • Know Your Audience — If you are designing for someone with particular taste, you should tailor the entire process to their mindset, including presentations. Some clients are decision makers and like to have the important stuff bullet pointed. Others like to get into the detail; design accordingly.
  • Final Presentations — These should be much more honed in on a specific idea, showing slight variations on the chosen concept. Again, make these changes as clear as possible so that the client’s job of choosing one is made simpler. We want the entire process to be as easy as possible for the client, in turn making it easier for the team.

Next week we will be having a look at meetings (actually talking to someone face-to-face, imagine that?!).

Reiss, Designer & Director of Client Happiness.

staff_170502_0542

Reiss is a multi-purpose designer with a broad range of skill-sets.
He loves being a part of any creative activity — whether it’s mapping out a user experience, getting his hands dirty with some copy or even re-building bits of his motorbike.
A born people-person, Reiss is never happier when showcasing ideas from his vividly wild imagination and working with clients to see them through to completion. Once an architect, he has a keen eye for conceptual ideas and never tires of learning new things.
19
Sep

Everything You Need – for Website Projects

For many, just knowing where to start can be the biggest challenge with web-design projects – whether it is the content you’re going to require, where everything goes or how to link it all together. With that in mind, we’ve put together an easy-to-read comprehensive and fast-paced guide to help you fill in the gaps and make a strong start. All questions we’d ask prospective clients – this is everything you need for website projects.

1. What’s the purpose of your new site?
What’s your new website for? Could it be to communicate a change of direction for the company? Show a new brand position? Generate more sales? Introduce E-Commerce functionality? The clearer a picture we have of the end goal, the more we can help you find ways to achieve that goal.

2. Can you provide some info on your company?
Let’s talk about you a little. Some info on your organisation helps us get a feel for who you are and what you stand for.

Any of the following is helpful.

– What does your company do?
– What makes your company special compared to others?
– Does your company have any specific vision, mission or values?
– Any other info?

Company documents, links to your current website or social media pages all work.

3. Who’s the target audience?
Another big one. We want to ensure that your new site reaches the right people and engages them in the right way. What can you tell us about the people you are targeting?

Are they…

Young/Old?
Male/Female?
Fun/Serious?
Take their time/Don’t have time to waste?
Are there any specific legibility issues to consider?
Anything else ?

If you’re targeting all of these people, this is fine – we can factor that in too.

4. Who’ll manage the website after we’re done?
Once the project ends, it is likely that somebody from your team will take over the reins.

We’d like to know the following about the person we hand over too.

– What would be their preferred platform to use (WordPress/Umbraco/Squarespace/Other?)
– Are they (Beginner/intermediate/advanced?)
– Is any training required after the site is built?

5. Tell us about the individual pages of your new site?
One of the first things we do with your site is put together a site structure – this will include pages, menu and any additional functionality.

What we need to know?

– How many pages?
– What goes on those pages – images/text/graphics/video?
– How will the pages link together?
– Any additional features you would like on those pages?

Features may include

– Social Media Share Buttons
– Contact Forms
– News/Social Feeds
– Video Snippets
– CTA (Call-To-Action) buttons.

Is there anything else you have in mind? Again don’t worry if you don’t have everything, include what you can and we can help with the rest.

6.  Content?
Our favourite subject – content. Nothing prevents web-projects from going live more than waiting on content (particularly written copy.)

What do we have and what do we need to create? (This can include any of the following.)

– Photographs of the people in the company/ main products/ services.
– Written copy to go on the site, this is likely to include about-us text, service text, etc…
– Graphics or infographics to highlight key statistics, customer data or product features/benefits.
– Any videos you have sitting on YouTube/Vimeo?

Like we said, the more you can provide the better. Once again, don’t worry too much about what you don’t have, we can provide ideas to help with those areas that you are missing.

7. Any SEO goals for your new site?
If you have SEO goals, let us know what they are and we can look at ways to implement these into the site.

That can include any of the following…

– Data from your previous website (such as a Google Analytics, Yoast or Crazy Egg Reports?)
– SEO actions already taken?
– Information on Keywords/Meta tags/Landing Pages?

And finally any tools or measures you would like to take with the new or revised site?

8. Do you have brand guidelines?
We are designers, what can we say. Another favourite of ours, if you have them, we want them.

9. Crucial Functionality & Anything We’ve Missed?
There is a whole host of other functional things to consider with a new website.

These can include any of the following…

– Do you have web-hosting?
– If you require web-hosting, are there any particular things we should provide? Additional Security? Database Protection? E-Mail Systems?
– Do you have access to your domain name? If not, where can we source this?
– Do you have a partner that can assist with the technical part of the project – an IT company, Web-Development Staff or Separate Web Hosting Company?
– Any cookie requirements/legal statements to go on the site?
– Anything else we may have failed to mention not included on this list?

10. Time and Budget?
How long do we have and how much do you have to spend?

Starting with time…

Looking past the ‘Go-Live’ date, are there other dates in-between? Website projects can take months or more, so if we’re creating content, we want to make this available to you even sooner for individual campaigns, social media or other purposes.

Regarding budget…

It helps to know this as early as possible. It allows us to properly spec the project with regards to content, selection of platform, training, etc… Usually a ballpark of where you feel comfortable with minimum-to-maximum spends is fine. We can take it from there.

If you have a budget to manage and are looking for ways to maximise that don’t worry we have a post on that too, check it out >>>

And that’s us. Whether you have everything on the list or not, don’t worry, we can help fill in the gaps and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions?

Benedetto

BB

Benedetto is an ideas-driven Creative Entrepreneur. He is on a mission to unleash the power of creativity to create a better world – for people, business and society. He is the founder of the loft, a design and branding house which operates worldwide helping companies bring their brands to life in the most imaginative and effective ways possible. A real man on a mission. Benedetto likes to make things happen and happen fast and in a big way. He wants things done yesterday and is relentlessly driven in his quest to make tomorrow better than today for his company, the people he serves and the wider community.

19
Sep

Everything You Need – for Brochure Design Projects

Whether it is creating a cool cover, selecting the paper samples or agonising over the print techniques, brochure design projects tend to be one of those things that a creative enjoys doing the most. When clients approach us with their briefs for brochure projects – there tend to be a lot of unanswered questions regarding things like structure, content and printing. We’ve put this handy wee guide together to help answer some of these questions.

1. What would you like to achieve with your new brochure?
Before we get to creative questions, this is a big one. What’s your new brochure actually for?

Could it be any of the following.

– Introduce the company to new customers?
– Introduce a new product or service to market?
– Highlight the value of that particular product, service or maybe even a process?
– Something more objective – generate more leads/sales?
– Anything else?

Any info on the above really helps us, or another creative company, understand your goals for the project.

2. Tell us about the company/product/service?
Depending on what you’re hoping to achieve, it’s important to also know about the company/product/service being represented. It can be anything from what does the company do? What is the product going to be known for in the marketplace? Or any other info which helps us to better understand what we’re bringing to life?

3 Who’s the target audience?
At the loft, we want to ensure that the right messages are presented to the right people in the right way. Some people prefer to read things that are short and sweet, some prefer friendly pictures and others enjoy poring over technical information. The more you can tell us about the intended audience, the more we can design a brochure that fits.

Can you tell us, is your audience.

– Young/Old?
– Male/Female?
– Fun/Serious?
– Take their time/Don’t have time to waste?
– Anything else we need to know that we haven’t mentioned?

Of course, if you want to engage with all of these types of people that is fine – we can design that in too.

4. What about the Basics?
Now, we need to know a little about the brochure itself.

Can you tell us any of the following.

– Landscape or portrait?
– Number of pages?
– What goes on each page – images/words/graphics/ information tables/ other?
– Any legibility issues to design-in?

Any of the above which helps to fill in the gaps to what kind of brochure you’re looking for is helpful.

5. Do you have content?
Graphics, text, photographs – you’re brochure is likely to contain all three.

What do you have, what do you need and what can we help with.

– Available photography/stock photography you like?
– Any infographics or other graphics?
– Information tables?
– Anything we may have missed?

6. How about written copy?
One of the most important things about any brochure is finding great words that bring it to life. Do you have copy or would you like us or another to help?

Let us know. 

– What you have?
– What you need?

We can help with the rest.

7. What would you like to do with printing?
Once all the hard work is done – you are going to have to print your lovely new brochure. There are a tonne of different options with paper and print techniques.

What we’d like to know…

– Do you prefer to work with a specific printer?
– How many examples will you need?
– Any favoured print samples/techniques?
– Any special  requirements for the covers?
– Anything we may have missed?

As always, if you have questions, let us know? We’re all print nuts in the studio and love to help clients with their print requirements, so don’t be shy.

8. Do you have brand guidelines?
It wouldn’t be a loft post if we didn’t mention brand guidelines. In the nicest way possible – if you have them, we want them.

9. What are the key deadlines?
Getting to the nitty-gritty, how long do we have? As with all creative projects, we are guessing you’ll have a big deadline and clear completion date. Thinking beyond the big one for a minute – are there any smaller milestones?

These may include.

– Press releases
– Board meetings
– Product launches
– Internal presentations
– Digital campaigns

If you have other stuff going on, let us know? Most brochure projects involve creating content, if we have this ready, we can make it available for you before the project is finished. Great for mini-campaigns, website updates, etc.

10. Budget?
Knowing a budget to work towards allows us to best decide on resources and plan effectively.

The following is helpful to kick-off with.

– Minimum-to-maximum budgets for the project?
– Any specific content budgets for printing/photography/copy/other?

If you are looking to maximise your creative budget, check out the following guide >>>

And that’s a wrap.

Whether you have everything on the list or not, don’t worry, we can help fill in the gaps. Thanks for reading and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

BB

Benedetto is an ideas-driven Creative Entrepreneur. He is on a mission to unleash the power of creativity to create a better world – for people, business and society. He is the founder of the loft, a design and branding house which operates worldwide helping companies bring their brands to life in the most imaginative and effective ways possible. A real man on a mission. Benedetto likes to make things happen and happen fast and in a big way. He wants things done yesterday and is relentlessly driven in his quest to make tomorrow better than today for his company, the people he serves and the wider community.

18
Sep

Everything You Need – for Writing a Creative Brief

When writing creative briefs, every hour spent in planning can save days throughout the project – time that can be used to give a more competitive quote or a more valuable service. At the loft, we want to help remove some of the guesswork for those of you writing creative briefs so we’ve compiled a wee 10-point checklist to help you out. This is everything you need – for writing a creative brief.

1. What would you like to achieve with the project?
A big one to kick things off. What are you trying to achieve with your new creative project? Do you know exactly what you would like to do or have some goals in mind?

Goals may include.

– We would like to increase the company sales or the sales of a various product or service.
– We want the people in our company to buy more into our brand values.
– We are looking to change the perceptions of our brand online.
– Any of the above or something else?

Understanding what you want to achieve lets us consider all the different ways to help you get there.

2. Company info?
Some info on your company helps to give us an idea of who you are and what you stand for.

Any of the following is helpful.

– What does the company do?
– What would be its competitive advantage in the marketplace?
– Does the company have a vision, set of values or a mission statement?
– Anything else you can possibly tell us about?

3. Audience?
We know who you are, now who would you like to speak too? The better we can understand the target audience the more we can create a targeted message to suit.

Tell us about the audience of the project, are they.

– Customers/Suppliers/Staff/ Other Stakeholders?
– Young/Old?
– Male/Female?
– Fun/Serious?
– Take their time/Don’t have time to waste?
– Anything else we may have not mentioned?

4. Message?
What would be the message you would like to communicate for the project?

The following are just a few suggestions.

– A general marketing message for the company or the company USP?
– The promotion of a specific product or service offering?
– A series of consumer benefits or features for that product?
– The communication of your core values ?

Understanding of the message, the messenger and the audience for a creative project are the fundamentals to the success of a creative project.

4. Who’s in the creative team?
Knowing each of the different people that we shall be working with and who to go too for different reasons is incredibly helpful.

For example, who is…

– Responsible for the content?
– Going to work through the fine details of the latter parts of the project?
– The person responsible for final decisions?

Are there any other third parties we need to know about? Print partners? IT people? Copywriters? Photographers?

5. Tangibles
Every project has unknown unknowns, known unknowns and stuff we definitely know (good luck getting your head around that.) Tell us about the stuff you Definitely Know – the tangibles.

For example…

– The size or orientation of a brochure.
– The number of pages on that brochure or website.
– Things that go on each page (images, text, graphics, social media bookmarks, etc.)
– Appropriate call-to-actions.
– Other features such as contact forms, social media links, etc.

Beginning with what you already know is a good place to start, we can help fill in the blanks.

6. Good examples?
We love to see what you have in mind for your project whether it is scrap-book cut-outs of work you like, links to relevant websites or some competitor benchmarking – it is really useful to see where your head is at with a creative project and we can build on that.

7. Brand Guidelines?
With brand guidelines, if you have them, we want them.

8. Content, Content, Content!
What is the one thing that stalls 90% of creative projects? Yep, you’ve guessed it, it’s the availability of written and image content. Written copy tends to be a particular stumbling block for brochures and websites. If you are struggling with copy — speak to us and we will be able to help you by either recommending a copywriter, helping you to write it ourselves or working with you in another way to source copy.

9. Key Deadlines?
An obvious but important one. Every project has a fixed deadline but knowing the times for other milestones, such as board presentations, internal reviews or other events can be helpful too. It means we can provide bits of copy or other relevant materials for a project before the actual final deadline.

10. Budget?
Let us know where you feel comfortable? Even having a ballpark allows us to properly spec your project. We can determine how ambitious we can be creatively and the more time we can spend on your project instead of speccing your project, is time that we can re-invest into the relationship.

We also have a separate guide in helping clients maximise their creative budgets, check it out here >>>

And that’s us. As we said above, we don’t need everything on the list above but the more you can let us know – the more able we are to deliver a spec, proposal and eventually a project that surpasses expectations. If you are looking for a hand, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Benedetto

BB

Benedetto is an ideas-driven Creative Entrepreneur. He is on a mission to unleash the power of creativity to create a better world – for people, business and society. He is the founder of the loft, a design and branding house which operates worldwide helping companies bring their brands to life in the most imaginative and effective ways possible. A real man on a mission. Benedetto likes to make things happen and happen fast and in a big way. He wants things done yesterday and is relentlessly driven in his quest to make tomorrow better than today for his company, the people he serves and the wider community.