Asking the right questions

The right questions make all the difference when it comes to getting the information we (designers) need from clients. There are basic questions that get the basics and vision of an event or ministry, and there are much more specific questions (about implementation of the concept) that are needed to create a complete package.

Back to Basics

Who: Who is the event for? Who is your target audience? Who should attend your event? They may not know who the target audience is, but they usually have a rough idea who they want to reach or who they want to come. It's important that we (the designer) ask this question.

What: What is the event? This questions sounds pretty straight forward, and it is! This is the description of the event. There need to be two different versions; a long one (three to four sentences) and a short one (once sentence or less). It doesn't sound like much, but that's how short attention spans are.

When: When is the event? Dates and times are important, as is the day of the week. It's less brain damage for people to see a day of the week. Many times they won't recognize a date, but that day of the week might ring a bell for the person reading.

Where: Where is the event? Some physicists say that time and space are linked (you never mention a place without a time, or a time without a place). This information may need an event to be approved for room usage, which is an important step that is often overlooked. No design should be performed until all rooms and dates are approved.

Why: Why should someone attend your event? Why are you doing the event (purpose/vision/win)? This information is essential to us (designers). We need to know why the target audience is supposed to be attending this event. It's useful for copy writing, headlines and even visuals. Knowing what the end result should be will allow us to create effective visuals that actually complement the event; more than just a pretty picture.

How: How should the reader respond? How do they act on what they've read? This is the money question. This is the action step on the purpose of the event. Does the reader need to register for the event? How do they do it (paper/web/email)? This also encompasses more subtle responses. How should the reader respond emotionally? How should they feel after viewing this ad?

What other questions would you use when you meet with a client?