What does your client want?
It’s one of the hardest questions to answer in wild posting or any kind of design related field.
Some are black and white thinkers. They’ll know the design when they see it.
Some tell you what they want and then realize it’s the furthest thing from what they want after you’ve labored for hours.
Then there are some angelic clients that spell their needs out so specifically and methodically that you can’t help but deliver a gem they’d be proud to show their mothers.
In essence, client needs come in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds.
That’s what makes Mockups so important.
What’s a Mockup?
A mockup is a visual aid to make sure your design for your wild posting, billboard etc. is moving in the direction your client is happy with.
What makes this strategy ideal is that once the final draft is displayed to him or her you’ll have a much better chance of nailing the design.
Mockups don’t have to a be one and done kind of thing either. Some designers will create a mock up several times along every step of the design process to validate each of their ideas in the eyes of the client.
It comes back to the old engineer adage: You can fix it now on the drafting board with an eraser or you can fix it later on the construction site with a sledge hammer.
Process of Creating A Great Mockup
1. Aim For The Finish Line
Don’t set out to make a rough draft of the final product. That kind of mindset usually leads to a subpar mockup and extra time spent redoing the design.
Instead create as if this design is the finished product your client will rave about.
It’s in the process of shooting for the moon that you’ll uncover the gold nuggets your client could very likely love.
If the client doesn’t like the mockup you have to show him, then you know without a shadow of doubt that the thing you were planning won’t be to his or her liking.
2. Asking the Right Questions
Every wild posting designer has their own set of questions they either made up as they went along or were told to ask from a mentor or teacher.
But often these questions are too rational and logical, lacking the emotion required for designing any piece of art in advertising.
So here are a list of questions that will help get at the heart of what your client wants from his design:
- What does your company do?
- What specific products or services do you offer?
- Can you please send me everything you have written about the product/service we’ll be promoting? (Note: This is very important. You need to fully understand the product/service you’re designing for — as well as the person who created it. If you still have questions after reading their material, just ask.)
- How does your company make money? (Note: Only ask this question if it’s unclear or not immediately obvious.)
- Can you describe your ideal customer? (Note: Try to describe it in terms of a STORY. For example, check out the example below.)
Jane never needed our services, until one day when — happened. She tried to solve the problem using –, but that didn’t work. Then she tried — but that didn’t work either. Finally, she decided to Google –. That’s when she found us! She was a little skeptical at first because –. But then she tried one of our tips, she was amazed at how well it helped her!
- Who are your top 3-5 competitors?
- Is there anything special about your business or the products/services you offer? This can be ANYTHING — from superior quality, to the most experienced team, a central location (for brick and mortar businesses), or anything else! (Please be as SPECIFIC as possible.)
- Is there anything unique about your business as compared to your competitors? In other words, are there any claims you can make that they cannot also make? (For example, Amazon has the biggest selection, Walmart has the lowest prices, etc.)
- What would make this project feel like a success for you?
- What’s the “why” behind your company/product? Do you have a mission? Who are you trying to help?
- What are you and your company passionate about?
- Imagine this project has ended, and I’m overhearing you describe it as a success to someone else (maybe a colleague or even a friend or relative). What would I hear you say?
- How do your customers THINK about this?
- What sort of problems do you solve for your customers?
Asking these questions while aiming for the finish line of your design and you should be well on your way to creating a mockup your client will love.
And ultimately create design that is exactly what the client was looking for.