Demystifying Form and Function in Graphic Design Projects

Demystifying Form and Function in Graphic Deisgn Projects

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.

Asking Questions

Ask your graphic design clients questions

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

What to Ask your clients about your graphic design project before starting to design

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?

Who is the target audience of your graphic design project?

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?

Is your graphic design project for promoting a tangible product or a new concept?

*Are they selling widgets or the newest idea to create them?

What is the message?

What is your design projects message?

*Are you promoting public awareness? “Did you know this could do that?”

Are there specific elements the client will require?

Are there any specific elements that your client will requiure for the graphic design project such as fonts and images?

*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?

What is your clients budget for this graphic design 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?

What are the distribution needs of this graphic deisgn project such as mailing it out or sitting on a desk?

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?

What is anticipated reaction and emotion of finished graphic design project for your client?

*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?

How soon is this graphic design project needed - find out the deadline for project

*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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  1. imsraaia
    Posted April 11, 2008 at 2:21 am | Permalink

    very nice & informative…

  2. Posted May 13, 2008 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Good Article on graphics design.

  3. jk
    Posted September 24, 2008 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    thanks for this useful info!
    great help for freelancers
    like myself.

  4. ExpavyCleaply
    Posted December 18, 2008 at 11:33 pm | Permalink


    As newly registered user i just wanted to say hello to everyone else who uses this site :D

    Posted January 6, 2009 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    What is bumburbia?

    Posted January 15, 2009 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Hi all!

    I’m new here.

    So i’d like to know if your income reduced because of the world financial crisis?

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  1. [...] AG Design has got a neat article on taking a look at Form and Function in Graphic Design projects. Lois Knight really does a good job on breaking down the process of working with a project. Make sure you take a look at that article here on this link. [...]

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