When it comes to designing a website, there are a lot of moving parts. It’s also not the designer who does what they want or the client telling the designer exactly what it should look like and which elements to put in it.
In my experience, it should be a partnership; where the designer and client come together to get the perfect website for the client’s business.
There are several things that a designer needs before starting the website design process from the client. Along with other designers, we call this the “client homework”
In my process, I need these items at least a week before the start of the projects. After that, we can hop on a video call and discuss and make sure we are both on the same page.
1 – Branding style guide from a former designer
If the client worked with another designer in the past to create their logo, then I will ask them if they received a brand style guide where it outlines things like colour schemes and font selection so I can incorporate these elements into the website.
If they don’t have it then I will suggest a colour scheme and font selection that will look best with their logo.
2 – Design Questionnaire
I send this form after the client has signed the contract and paid their deposit. In the form it will ask things like; what style are you looking for, what emotions do you want their site to convey and what elements do they want on their blog and website to have.
3 – Pinterest Board
I always recommend, both my brand design and showit website design clients to create a secret board. On that board, they should have at least 10-15 pins of fonts, colour and photos that correspond to their brand and to the emotion that they want to convey on their website.
If they don’t know how to create a secret board, I have a video that explains how to create a secret board along with how to share that secret board with me and how to search on Pinterest for inspiration. However, I send this mini Pinterest tutorial to all of my clients for reference.
4 – Website Copy
Contrary to what new business owners may think, website designers, do not write website copy. For that, you will have to find a Copy Writer to write your website copy for you.
5 – Website Photos
I get asked a lot if someone needs to hire a photographer to have a professional photo of yourself for the website.
The simple answer is no, you sell all you need to know is to make sure that the image resolution is good (simple term, that its not pixelated/blurry) and that it’s taken it good lighting (dark photos can be hard to see who is in the image in the first place.
If hiring a photographer is not in the budget, you can ask a family member who either has a camera or you can really start taking the photos with your iPhone (now and days the camera on phones do take good photos).
A quick tip: if you take the photo with your phone, make sure that it’s not a selfie as those tend to be way too close or simply the top of your head is chopped off (trust me I’ve seen way too often those)
As for the rest of your website, you still need images other than an image of yourself. So here is my recommendation, you can find good stock photos that go with the look and feel of your brand and here are a few options for you;
- You can carefully select images that have a similar aesthetic and feel
- You can always purchase selected stock images from creative market
- You can always pay an additional fee for your designer to find stock images
- You can simply take your phone or camera and take your own stock images (you can fallow a youtube video on how to take stock photos… also this is the budget-friendly one)
Finding a photographer that as a similar aesthetic and feel, is challenging because not all photographers have the same aesthetic when taking stock photos.
So to wrap it up; before starting to work with me I will need:
- Brand style guide
- Design Questionnaire
- Secret Pinterest Board
- Website Copy
- Website Photos