Learn to ace your design client briefs + 6 Incredibly useful templates

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As a designer, do you struggle with understanding your client’s requirements? More often than not, making sense of the client’s demands and requests can be quite a daunting task.

Here’s a scenario that’s quite common with designers and their clients.

A client, who may also be a friend, admires your design work and asks you to complete a logo design for her start-up company. Since she is your friend, you agree on a cost, but bypass a written agreement.

You spend hours creating several logo designs to show her, but upon presentation, she has issues with all of them. Several days later, she informs you she is putting the project on hold.

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Now what?

This is a common mistake for new freelancers. Yes, it’s important to be continually learning as a designer, it is equally as important to learn to navigate the intricacies of contracts and client management.

Sessions College for Professional Design compiled a handy list of briefs for designers, covering everything from pricing to job management and creative strategies. These templates can be easily customized for your own business.

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Print Questionnaire

For every print project that you receive from a client, you will need to use this form to ask them questions about their job. This is part one of a two-part contract agreement between you and the client.

This sheet will represent your company and what you will be doing for the client (For part two of the contract, download “Terms and Conditions” below.)

This article is sponsored by Sessions College for Professional Design, which offers accredited design programs and courses, and is a leader in online design education. This month, Sessions College launched an education pathway for creative solopreneurs with Millo. Take as many vocational design courses as you would like for 12 months for a flat fee of $999 (payment plans available). Sessions College offers over 80 courses, available in a range of subjects including Graphic Design, Web Design, Digital Media, Illustration, Advertising Design, Digital Photography, and Fine Arts.

Terms and Conditions

This is the most important part to any project you work on. This is the overall agreement on how you do business, including billing, proofing, revisions, alterations, copyright, and much more. The terms and conditions should always be attached to either the print questionnaire or the Web site questionnaire.

This is a binding agreement between you and the client about the project you’re working on. As with all of the above templates, it is essential that you customize these terms to your own needs.

Art Approval Sheet

This sheet is designed to be attached to artwork that needs client approval. When signed, the approval obligates the client to accept the artwork as-is or notes that the client can make changes needed.

Use this form with all artwork so you have a binding agreement that the artwork is correct and final or that the client desires changes.


Without proper accounting records and information about jobs and taxes, a company or freelancer can get into real trouble. Always keep strong records and keep up with your daily income.

The invoices available for download are provided by Microsoft and were created in Excel. The “Enable Macros” option will allow you to enter information and figure totals and taxes.

Bid Spec Sheet

If you are doing business with an outside vendor, such as a print shop, you will need to provide the vendor with a bid spec sheet that shows in detail what your project consists of and how you request the job to be printed or produced.

The vendor will then provide you with an estimate of cost and time frame to complete your project.

Job Jacket

It’s very important to keep all of your projects, client approvals, changes and information inside a job jacket. This job jacket template includes an area for job numbering, client information, and pricing, and a drawing area.

Use this job jacket for archiving artwork and keeping your project information organized.

In summary, you can have all the talent in the world, but you also need to know how to position yourself for successful career.

The Sessions College Design Business Course is also an excellent resource to define your goals and brand, build your resume and portfolio, and promote yourself in all the right ways to find clients.

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About Kimberly O'Hanlon

Kimberly O’Hanlon is the Senior Director of Admissions and Marketing at Sessions College for Professional Design. In this role, she does everything from mentoring incoming students in review of their creative arts aspirations, to ensuring the college’s mission, vision, and value proposition are clearly and consistently communicated, all while fostering a friendly team culture and community spirit. Kimberly is a board member of her city’s Arts and Cultural Commission, where she is an integral part of encouraging cultural diversity and improving livability with art. Kimberly enjoys hiking, kayaking, traveling, and coffee.

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