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Why you should invest in a quality discovery session with a designer


It vets both you and the designer

More often then not, a discovery session will help both you and the designer determine if working together is the right choice. There are great designers out there, and even better clients, but that does not mean that everyone will always work well together. Having a designer that truly understands your goals and priorities, as well as the scope of the project, is incredibly important to the overall success. 

What constitutes a bad fit? A designer who does not ask a lot of questions or is not digging deep about the “why” and “how” of your business and projects probably is not the right designer for you. They could just be looking at you as a number or another paycheck. This is not a good sign.

This process saves both you and a designer time. No one wants you to spend money unnecessarily. A good designer should recommend you to others or give you advice if they refer you to another person.

A discovery session clarifies and prioritizes your goals and expectations

As a business owner, you have a million things going on inside your head. Unfortunately, designers are not mind readers. A discovery session with a designer will allow you to unpack all of the “stuff” that’s on your plate. A discovery session allows you to clarify and prioritize your goals while relieving you of the stress of all the other things that just aren’t important or necessary to achieving the results you want.

Part of the whole discovery process is breaking down every idea and determining how necessary that particular idea is. Your goals will be broken down so that a roadmap can be created. Your goals for the next 6 months, year, 10 years, will impact the solutions provided to you by the designer. 

Your target market should always be part of this discussion. Your products, services, and even your website, are for your customer-base. If you ignore their wants and needs, then success will be impossible to achieve. 

A good discovery session will cover expectations for both the client and the designer.  Most relationship conflicts occur when a breakdown in communication happens. A discovery session will set the tone for how the rest of the relationship will go. Any concerns or worries you may have regarding the project or process should be discussed during this time. Everyone is unique and knowing how each of you work best is essential to creating a smooth working relationship. 

A designer that is a right fit for you should make you feel that you are taken care of and that your project is in good hands.

It gives you, the client, clarity about your own business and your goals.

Running a business is time-consuming and owners tend to wear multiple hats at all time. It’s easy to get in the mode of just doing the work and to ignore some of the behind-the-scenes necessities. We often overlook important details, like understanding our true goals and mission.

There have been many times that during the discovery process with a client – they have flat out told me that they’ve never thought of these questions before. I’ve printed off extra copies of my questionnaires to give them so that they could further think about my questions and get back to me if they are stuck on anything.

In my experience, what ends up making a project successful is when both the client and the designer have a clear idea about the brand, the project’s goals and mission, and ultimately the desired end result of completing the project. A designer is not a mind-reader and if you are unclear about what you are wanting, the project will not be a success.

A deep discovery session ensures quality work that is aligned to your mission and goals

Having a discovery session allows the designer to clearly see what the project is needing and the solutions it needs to provide. The more information the designer has, the more specific the designer can be. No one likes guesswork, and designing with ambiguity is daunting, oftentimes ending in a sub-par result.

Gives you clarity about expectations and timelines

The discovery phase also allows the designer to convey their expectations and explain their processes to you so that there is no confusion moving forward. A designer should be able to explain the phases of a project to you and clearly indicate when various tasks need to be completed, either by the designer or the client.

A designer should make you aware of any additional fees that could incur (forms being submitted late, working outside the scope of the project, working weekend or extended hours, etc.). Many designers include office hours and preferred methods of communication in their discovery sessions / proposals. I like to include these tidbits from the get-go so everyone is on the same page.

All in all, the more clarity you have your business and the project goals and expectations – the more likely your project will be a huge success. Remember, designers are not mind-readers but instead problem-solvers. A good designer should ask you a lot of questions. If they do not, they are probably not the designer for you even if they have outstanding work.

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