By Lois Knight
This is at the very heart of every good design, but what is it, and why do we need to remember it? As the rule suggests, this rule comes in 2 parts. What makes up the concept and who is going to see it? I can see that was clear as mud to some of you, so I will clarify.
Form is the use of elements to create your design. It is the individual pieces of the puzzle, so to speak. This may consist of a logo or trademark, information or message, and usually contact information. It may also include illustrations or photos to create more interest. This information is usually gathered when interviewing the client.
By asking in-depth questions, the designer can get a feel for the FUNCTION of the project. Defining what purpose is to be served will shape and define the look and feel of your finished product. However, asking questions can be intimidating to someone new in the field. Sometimes, not knowing what to ask can lead us to not asking at all. This will invariably come back to haunt you, so go ahead and ask. The clients expect it and you really need to know.
What to Ask
The next logical step is to decide what to ask. How do you find out exactly what the form and function of a piece is? I have listed a few suggestions below to help get you started. Always, write your questions down before you meet with the client. Always take the questions with you, and always get answers to all your questions. Write the answers down for future reference. No one can remember everything and then if there is any misconception, you can refer to your notes for clarification.
Who is the target audience?
Are you sending a message to teenagers or senior citizens? This could also include age and location demographics, income as well as gender specific information.
Are they promoting a tangible product or a new concept?
*Are they selling widgets or the newest idea to create them?
What is the message?
*Are you promoting public awareness? “Did you know this could do that?”
Are there specific elements the client will require?
*Does the logo use specific colors or fonts? Do they require specific illustrations or photos to be included? Do they supply high resolution images for you to use, or do you need to find something?
What is the client’s budget for this project?
* This does not mean to find out how much the client is willing to spend and take it. This means finding out what monetary guidelines this client needs to stay within for repeat business. This will also give you insight into whether the project is simple or complex, Black & White or Color, as well as the quantity needed. Do they need 10 or 10,000? Do they need 4-Color Process or laser prints?
What are their distribution needs?
Are they going to mail it out, hand it out or let it sit on a desk? Is postage an issue? Free templates are available at the Post Office for size requirements and restrictions. Based on those measurements, postage can be calculated.
What is the anticipated reaction of the piece?
*Does the client want something mailed back in or do they expect it to be thrown away? Are they looking for an emotional response like Anger or Happiness? (Pay attention if it is an emotional response and use colors that correspond)
How soon is it needed?
*Do you have a month or a week to complete this project? What are the client expectations as far as timeframes?
Now that you have done the leg work to make sure that the function of your graphic design project is correct, you can get right into the fun part - the form (in other words the visual graphic design aspect of the project). This is when you get to use your knowledge of the principles of graphic design to create a breath-taking layout for your customer. What are you waiting for??!! Go use your knowledge of form and function to create some amazing graphic design projects!!!!
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[tags]form vs function, form versus function, form and function, graphic design, graphic design form, design form, design function, graphic design function, ask client questions, freelance questions, freelance projects, design projects, design clients[/tags]
By Lois Knight - You can also see Lois Knight’s Articles on Freelance Folder
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