You’ve set up your first meeting with a design team. You’ve had so many ideas that have been floating around in your head that you are excited to finally bring to realization. But, if this is your first rodeo with designers, you might have no clue what to expect or what you should do prior to beginning the design process. Even if you have worked with designers, there are always ways to make your meetings more productive as well as enjoyable.
Preparation is important for a successful and productive meeting. Often your main goal for the first meeting should be to develop a relationship. Not all teams work the same way. You may meet with several teams before you find yourself feeling the right connection with.
So, what should you bring to your first meeting?
Your thoughts (thought out)
A designer can ask all the right questions, but if you don’t have any answers it can obviously hinder the process. That’s not to say you need to know everything, ideas and concepts will develop as the design process unravels, but make sure you have some things to talk about. There’s going to be a lot of questions. It’s not production time yet, but the creative team is going to need a thorough understanding of what exactly you are trying to achieve and how you plan on achieving it.
This may not apply to everyone, but say you are looking to develop branding for a cleaning product, go ahead and bring a sample for the designer to test out. Let them experience first hand why people will love your product as opposed to telling them why. The better they know the product the better they can represent it. When they truly love a product they will be that much more passionate about helping it succeed.
Designers are visual people, it goes hand and hand with the job. You can try to explain your ideas with so many words and hand motions, but something we can see or touch is going to leave much more of an impression on us. Bring examples of things you like / dislike that might relate to your product somehow. Start collective photos from the internet and saving them in a folder. These can be things from your competition, or completely unrelated. It’s more about the ideas and starting a dialogue.
Bring a designer on board early
You may not be ready to tackle the entire process initially, but give yourself ample time to possibly meet with a few teams if the first isn’t a match. The better the designers understand you, your product, your values, and what you’re trying to achieve, the better they can design a solution for you. Finding a design team that you ‘click with’ is especially important.
Have a budget
Just have something rough in mind. You don’t have to come right out and say I have X amount of dollars, what will I get for it? Do, however, take a little time and try to get an understanding of what design is worth and how much it will cost for a good designer. It would be a shame to spend two hours telling a designer about your dreams and then be disappointed when it turns out to be way over budget.
Don’t expect the world
In a smart article about finding designers on TNW, Sacha Greif tells a cautionary tale. “Instead of looking for a unicorn ["a magical designer that can solve all [of a company’s] problems,” according to Braden Kowitz], think about hiring a web designer who will focus on design, and a front-end engineer who will focus on code. Like WePay’s Aberman states, “When looking for a designer, you can’t have it all. You need to prioritize visual design, product design, front-end development, etc.”
More important than any of this, make sure you enjoy the ride. Chances are you are reading this because you working on a new product / service / small business that is a passion of yours, so make sure it stays that way. If you have anything to add to this article, please leave them in the comments below or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.