The latest installment of AIGA CO’s Upskill series was one of its best. We had a nearly packed house as local talents Andrew Hoffman and Matt Neren presented projects and processes which provided great examples of the importance of solid briefing and kickoff stages. Through focusing on these stages, both presenters highlighted skills and techniques that can be applied to ensure success from the start. The two critical points that were highlighted, both through the presentations and in the ending Q&A session, were:
1. At the kickoff stage, it’s vital to understand not only the problem being outlined to be solved, but also to understand and immerse yourself into the context within which the problem is materialized (i.e. if you’re asked to design a carrier for a restaurant, visit the restaurant and spend a day there to understand what the staff and clientele experience).
2. During the briefing meet with a client, the deeper you can get into the triggers behind the client’s input, the better the brief is. Don’t only accept the brief as is, but find ways to read between the lines by asking why something is needed, why it needs to look a certain way, why it’s that and not something else, etc… Ask as many questions as needed to be able to see the project/problem through your client’s eyes (i.e. if it’s a logo that needs to be designed, show the client a series of false logos and ask them to describe why they like some logos and not others, which details they like vs. which they don’t, so that you get a clear picture of what direction to take before you start designing).
The presentations also showed that every project, from small to medium to large, is unique and calls for different techniques for briefing and kickoffs. The common thing that runs through them all is that the more aligned you are with your client and the more you understand what’s truly needed, plus the more transparent the expectations are made, the greater the success in the end.
Upskill will return in the Fall. We have some great topics and presenters in the works, and hope to see many of you there again. As always, we love your feedback so please send any thoughts or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great summer!