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The 5 Must-Haves Of A Design Consultation

So, you just bought a new website, logo or brochure for your company. You want it to look amazing and you might already have some ideas of how it should look in your head.

Our suggestion? Remember that graphic designers are designers – not mind readers. (Although our graphics department does have many super powers we pull out from time to time.)

Here’s what you can do to help us get the vision in your head onto the layout we present:

1. Know what you don’t want in your website design

In every design consultation, I ask the client what sites they like or what colors they prefer. A common response:

“I don’t care.”

But, experience has shown me that this not true – you DO care about the look and colors on your website (or logo, or brochure, etc.) So not stating any preference isn’t a good response.

When you don’t give any direction, you’re allowing the graphics team to come at you with anything. For example, a hot pink and neon green website.

Unless you’re a roller skating rink or company bringing back the 1980s, this probably isn’t your thing. But, if your input is “I don’t care,” it gives us free reign to be creative.

So the point – analyze yourself and your business. Pick out colors and a “feel” you want to replicate. This will save you lots of time, and possibly even money.

2. Decide on Color Schemes for your Website

I know, I’m back on color, but it’s a big issue. Choosing design colors isn’t like picking paint for your walls – you don’t need exact color schemes. But having an idea of a few colors and “feel” that want will help the process go smoothly.

Don’t just give us one color, for example – my business logo is red.

Instead, give us the type of color schemes you prefer. We’ll need at least two or three. Input like

“I prefer warm colors over bright colors.”

or

“Cold colors or a combination of warm and cold colors work best for us.”

This type of direction helps our team nail it.

How to Pick Website Colors

If you’ve never sat down to think about colors, here are a few tips to help you get started:

3. Look At Website Layouts

Once we have colors sorted out, our next question will be layout. Again, even if you don’t think you have an idea or preference on your site layout – you most likely do. Giving us your thoughts will help us present a website design that you’ll like.

Use these tips to get started on analyzing website layouts:

Analyze other websites – any website

Look at other websites and analyze what you do and don’t like about them. A few things to think through:

  • What is your style?
  • Do you like a lot of black and white?
  • Are you more attracted to clean and minimal designs?
  • Do you need something “busier” to incorporate all the elements you want featured?

Note:  When it comes to a website, there’s a difference between clean colors and a clean layout. To a designer, clean colors usually means a lot of white. A clean layout is more about keeping elements separate, like the picky eater who doesn’t like their food touching on the plate.

Analyze other websites – competitors

In the midst of looking at other websites, make sure to take a peek at what your competitors do.

Many new clients come to us with their competitor websites and tell us what they like and don’t like about them. THIS IS GREAT!

Just remember that when it comes to layouts, you don’t have to simply stick with what your competitor is doing. We want to see examples from any company – in or out of your industry – and features you want.

Whether it’s a website, brochure, poster or mailing, any examples of things you like will help your designer.

4. Bring In All of your Graphic Stuff

Typically, Turn The Page customers are not brand new to business. Companies typically have been up and running anywhere from three months to 50 years.

This means you probably have some kind of marketing materials. Whether it’s a logo that your neighbor’s son came up with or a full catalog of items you sell… we want to see it all.

Even if you don’t like it. (Especially if you do.)

All of your existing stuff helps us know what direction to take for your website design. It’s the same reason we always look at a new website client’s old website. We ask,

What do you like about your old site?

Typically, the immediate response is:   “NOTHING!

However, after we talk about it for a little bit the client will say something like:

“Oh, that button that says ‘Follow Us on Twitter,’ we still want that on our homepage.”

All are good things we need to know – up front.

5. Trust Your Graphic Designer

When I call you for a design consultation, that means you have already made a decision. And we are so thankful you chose Turn The Page with your website or graphic design project.

You should always have a say in what you want – after all, it is your company and your brand. We want your opinions and ideas to be part of the process!

However, our best designs typically come from a scenario where the client gave great input and then allowed the graphic designer freedom. When we can be innovative and do something new,  or create something you may not have seen before, we typically push the bar for our clients.

Of course, if you don’t like it – then you don’t like it. And it’s your investment, we will work until it’s right.

But, know that designers think creatively and a lot of them like to push the envelope. By hiring us at Turn The Page, you can use this to your advantage and really make your website stand out.

Utilize these five steps when it comes time for your design consultation. We bet in the end, if you give us this input, we will have you convinced we are super heroes who can read your mind.

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