Posted 15th August 2016 | By Shannon Wright, Creative Manager

The studio team here at ExtraMile have been recently undergoing some changes (for the better!) in the way that we structure our processes, all in aim to improve the way that we work for our clients.

For design, we have been particularly focused on developing the way that we present our work and making the design experience more interactive and engaging for our clients.

As ExtraMile are also in the process of a big rebrand (stay tuned!), I decided to test a new design meeting structure that I have been cooking up with our Technical Director Nick for the company's branding design meeting. What came out of that meeting was extremely positive, although I think we were both in need of a nap after it!

Design meetings are so important to the design process, as they enable us to get to know our clients. From this meeting we build a brief, the bible for any project. We establish the needs and desires of each client to ensure that the product we create is going to be right for them and is going to solve their problems.

Here are a few steps that the ExtraMile design team undergo for client meetings...

Step One – Ask the right questions

Now this comes in many forms... Firstly, as part of the design process here, we always send out meeting preparation forms to our clients with some introductory questions to get them thinking about what they want and about what their current problems are. What we don't want is for clients to turn up unprepared and having not thought about anything, as this could potentially mean late decision making and lots of amends!

Secondly, we move to the meeting where we discuss the intricate details of the business, the product, the audience and the goals. This is how we will establish a solid brief for the project.

One tip for questions, think outside the box. Don't just ask your generic 'need to knows'! Get the client thinking, delve deeper... essentially be a detective. Ensure that the questions that will help you design are answered.

Step Two – Make it interactive

This is where the new structure that we've been working on comes in to play... the design team are now exploring ways to get our clients more involved in meetings, getting them off their seats and pitching in on the ideas. After all, this is all for them, if they're not engaged about their project then you've failed from the start.

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Step Three – Share your ideas

It is important for clients to get a glimpse into what you're thinking. If you're not sure about an idea, discuss it with the client. If it's not what they want, then who best to tell you this? Sharing and communication is key to any design project.

Step Four – Assign goals

Actions and goals often come up in meetings, so be sure to note these down so they can be added to the brief. These are essential to the progress of any project and it is our job to ensure that these goals are met for our clients.

Step Five – Discuss the brief

As a part of our design process, following any meeting we always either create a brief or relay the meeting notes back to our clients. When you step out of that meeting things often change, ideas change and it is essential that the client approve of what has been discussed before any work commences. This in turn will hopefully ensure that everyone is on the same page and should limit the amount of going back and forth!

Thanks for reading!

The ExtraMile design team recently attended Invision's film premiere of Design Disruptors in London - stay tuned for our review...

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