Please file this under "The Perils and Pitfalls of Graphic Design" and/or any custom service. One very important talent in Graphic Design customer service that I am constantly working on is extracting the information you will need from your client. It's not the client's fault, they are excited and have a million ideas swimming around in their heads. Tons of images and web links are sent and it's up to us as the designers to piece it all together. So I've come up with a quick list of important questions for you to ask...
What formats and sizes will you need for each piece of this package. If you don’t know at this point we can discuss it when I start.
Where will you be using the logo?
Where/how will you print out your business cards, letterhead, and envelopes?
Will you be editing these elements yourself once you receive them? What programs do you intend to use for this?
Exact wording for every piece of this package including logo.
Color and font style preference (Such as Script, Print, Handwriting, or Actual Font).
All site addresses, files, and information that are relevant.
Will you be copyrighting this logo?
Short Summary of Business
Phone Number if you wish to correspond this way.
How soon do you need this completed?
Anything else you feel I should know regarding your design needs.
No matter what you do nothing will cover everything that is in the client's head. So out of all of the questions here you need to really remember to get answers to these three;
What formats do you need?
Will you be revising this yourself?
Do you plan on copyrighting this image?
Otherwise, there is going to be a HUGE problem that will take hours to fix after completing your project.
Sometimes you will have a client who just flat out refuses to put in writing what they want/expect. Or only partially answers these questions. I usually like to speak with them on the phone in this case. When asking questions it helps to take notes (like in the pre-computer times). I also find it difficult when my customers call, email, and message me online. Then all of the important pieces I need to create their logo are everywhere and hard to picture at once. I have "Sticky Notes" on my computer so I usually deal with it like that. I cut/paste all the info. I will need there and pull up as needed. If you don't have that you can always make yourself a word doc. or do the other dreaded notebook writing thing. Which incidentally I still do and prefer for large projects.
All in all the most important thing to do is slow down! Read carefully and concisely and don't plow through information. I've learned this the hard way and had to spend days going back over things. Nothing is more embarrassing than admitting to a client you missed some vital piece of the project due to your own inability to read details. Plus, everyone wants to feel that they are your only client and that everything they say is being heard.
More to come on steering your client in the right direction. Who's interviewing who? It's kind of an offshoot of this, but so much harder!
Thanks for reading!