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From Client to Vendor: Communicating Your Creative Vision

Posted by Andrea Keating on December 20, 2012


In one way or another, everyone has to communicate a vision. Maybe it’s in the form of a speech and you are delivering it to a live audience, or maybe it’s as simple as requesting services from a vendor. Either way, you will have to get your vision across using some form of communication.



The idea is to use the tools and resources within your reach to precisely translate your vision. In this article I am going to highlight some techniques and resources at your disposal to help communicate your vision.



To narrow down this concept I should make it clear that we are not going to discuss the vision of an entire organization, but instead explore the vision of an individual. Say for example, you would like to revamp your website and you have hired a design firm for the project. Or another example that is applicable to our industry, you have hired a camera company to create a video for your organization. Going into the project it is not a bad idea to have a creative vision that outlines exactly what you are looking for in the final product.


Here are some helpful ideas for communicating your creative vision:


    • Know your audience. It’s a good idea to understand who you are talking to and what type of lingo or jargon they are accustomed to. This will help in the translation process for the person sitting across from you.


    • Sell the idea to yourself. It doesn’t hurt to make sure you can sell yourself on the idea. Be critical and methodical about what your expectations are, but above all, make sure you are convinced your vision or idea is clear and concise.


    • Make use of the senses. It is typical to describe a vision using words, but try to spread the vision across all applicable senses. You can use video and images to enhance your vision, and if it fits, bring something for them to physically touch, smell or taste. One way I always suggest to present this is by making use of a pinterest board and making a collection of articles, videos, images, and whatever else you can pin to make a collection of ideas. This way your entire pinterest board encapsulates the many facets of your creative vision.



From the other side of the table



You can expect that the vendor is going through the process of translation. They are trying to take everything in and compose their own idea of your vision.


Here are a few things you should be looking for from the vendor:


    • Repeat the order back. This is the best way to communicate to the client “I get it” and it also allows the client the satisfaction of knowing “You get it.” With this technique there will be no confusion over what is expected from the vendor.


    • Get their professional opinion. A good designer or director will have ideas of their own. It’s a good idea to entertain their suggestions because you never know if they might have something to add that resonates with you or will resonate with your target audience.


    • Mock it up. Before the project begins look for some sample mock ups to show you that they have a firm grasp of the vision or concept. Even if it is presented to you in the form of a chicken scratch sketch drawing, at least you know that they get the idea and you can move forward.




Obviously there is more than one way to skin a cat. These are just a collection of ideas from personal experience. You may find other techniques that work for you better than what we have listed above.



If it gets your vision across in a clear and concise manor then I can’t really say, “You’re doing it wrong.” There isn’t a clear science to communicating your vision; you just have to go with what works for you.


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