Danny Brooks and Natasha Zlobec are the names behind Phage, a two-person design agency based just down the road from Design Council in Clerkenwell. They specialise in print, corporate identity and digital design for clients in the creative and luxury sectors. They spoke to us about some of the lessons they’ve learned since setting up their studio 13 years ago.

Remember you’re your own boss. Don’t forget to take advantage of that occasionally!

Danny Brooks and Natasha Zlobec, directors and co-founders, Phage

Lesson 4: Communicate with your clients

If they understand where you're coming from, and you understand where they're coming from, the project will be smoother and more successful. 

Start a conversation

Talk to a potential client in detail to find out exactly what they’re looking for before writing any contracts or quoting for a project. It’s essential to understand what they want, otherwise you can’t deliver it. Never be afraid of asking too many questions.

Rewrite the design brief

Very few of our clients come to us with a formal design brief, and even when they do it’s a good exercise to rewrite it. By putting the design brief into our own words, we can make sure that we’ve understood our clients' aims and objectives for the project. It also provides them with an opportunity to flag up any misunderstandings or missed points before we start work on the creative.

It’s far better to get all the information correct at the beginning than to waste time designing something inappropriate or off-brief!

Involve your clients in decisions

Very simply, if your client is part of the design process, then they will be more open to new ideas. By becoming more of a partner to your client rather than just a supplier, you can achieve better outcomes for everybody.

Take an interest

Remember that your clients know their own clients and businesses better than you do. Learn about their business, find out what they need and then offer solutions that will make a real difference.

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Feature — 01/05/2015