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Lesson Learned: The New Client Questionnaire

Hi guys! Wanted to start another freelance discussion on the blog today. Needing help from the peanut gallery! What would you say if someone asked you…”If your brand was an animal, what would it be?” Confused? haha

I’ve never formally handed out questionnaires to my new clients, but I’ve got a growing interest in creating a more formal process of gathering the who’s and what’s about my client, but in a really unique and unexpected way. Usually how I handle these things is I ask little questions throughout the entire design process, like “so what colors are you most drawn to” or “what brands are major inspiration to you?”. These questions are obviously helpful, but I have this gut feeling that I could know my clients on an even deeper basis by asking the RIGHT questions.

With that said, I’m creating a questionnaire to hand out to my new clients. It’s going to be a simple form (5-10 questions) that gives them the opportunity to think about themselves and their brand in a new way. Keep reading after the jump!

Here’s what I’ve got so far:

1. You reach into your bag and pull out a brand new (shiny) business card. Who are you handing it to, what are your hopes in handing it out, and where are you?

2. Finish this statement – I’m happiest when my business is…

3. Finish this statement – When I’m feeling uninspired I find myself…

4. If you had to choose only ONE outfit to represent you, what would it look like?

These are just some thought starters, but I wanted to pick your brain to see if there is anything you think I should add?. I chatted with my design mentoree, Laci and she responded with the animal question in the intro to this post. Here’s more of her insights.


12 comments on “Lesson Learned: The New Client Questionnaire

  1. One of the questions on my questionnaire is, “Where do you see your business in 2 years?” I want to make sure that the design I’m creating will withstand their vision for the future, or even get them closer to that next level. And if my brand was an animal, haha, I don’t know what it would be, but I’d like to say it’d be a peacock since that’s my favorite, and my business has been founded and branded based on my favorite things! 🙂

    1. Once upon a time, I had a wonderful boss who used to ask his clients this amazing question: “When you look back on this working relationship 3 years from now, what would need to have happened to make you say that it had been successful?” This encompassed a lot of things–looking forward, finding out what’s important to the client, seeing whether or not they’ve really thought things through, and finding out how they define success. Your question made me think of it, Natalie!

  2. My own client questionnaire is still a work in progress. It covers all your basic cliche questions and therefore gets boring cliche answers. I swear, every client wants something “modern, simple and contemporary”. This may mean one thing to me, but mean something completely different to my client. I have no idea what my ideal questions would be but they need to be the kind that go below the surface and dig deeper.
    I like the outfit one too. I find that often I ask clients what brands they like or are inspired by, and although they may know exactly what to reply it doesn’t always align with what they want their own brand to look and feel like. One thing I’ve found super helpful is to ask “why”. When they show me websites or logos out there that they like I ask them why they like them, which is often very eye opening to both the client and me.
    Laci, I love the animal question. It’s fun and unexpected and like you said, could reveal a lot about the personality of the business. You should pick out a few animals and write out what you feel like it says about someones business, that would be fun 🙂

    1. Thanks for chiming in Alicia! I think it’s super hard to define those key words like “modern” because you’re right, it means something different to everyone. I once had a client that said they wanted “rich” feeling colors. To me that means black, taupes, pops of gold… To the client rich = red. I would have never went there and it took me several rounds to get that kind of information out of them.

      I’ll have to think of a “word association” type question. Maybe something like What does the color RED say to you? or something like that.

  3. I always try to ask my clients questions that get me in their heads and feel out the visuals they have floating around in there. Another good question might be: If your brand was modeled after a movie, what would that movie be? There’s a lot of visual information that could be gathered from understanding someone’s taste in genres and filming style. For example, I’d know exactly what someone meant if they said their brand is like a Wes Anderson film (quirky and creative yet organized), or that Audrey Hepburn would be the star (classic, elegant, possible black & white color scheme).

  4. ooh, i love these ideas, especially the first two. my questionnaire could definitely be improved — i ask the cliché questions — including demographics (who are your readers/customers? who do you want to be your readers or customers?) – but i think goal-oriented questions are absolutely the most important. i ask them what words/phrases they would currently use to describe their project in its current state – and what words/phrases they WANT to use to describe it. i get a lot of good info when comparing their own perceptions!

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