Because I know you’ve probably got questions. There’s a lot of information on this site and because I want to make the design process as easy to understand as possible, this FAQ will answer a lot of the questions that I get asked every day. Besides, haven’t you ever wondered what was the best thing before sliced bread?
A freelance designer is a CEO, Account Executive, Art Director, Receptionist and Janitor all rolled into one skilled package. We have to work more hours and make greater sacrifices than if we were employed at a design firm but wouldn’t have it any other way.
A freelance designer is usually available on nights and weekends when most agencies and design firms close their doors. We’re usually the last one to get called for any particular project and often spend a lot of time creating a relationship with a client who has been burned by a design firm or under-qualified family member who worked on their last project.
A freelance designer relies on word-of-mouth advertising which is a direct byproduct of good service. A freelance designer is committed, creative, caring and confident.
Every freelance designer has made the decision to detach from the corporate environment to better serve their clients. We don’t do it for the stability, the money or the accolades because there isn’t a lot of each. Most of us do it because it brings us great pleasure to see our clients succeed, freedom to work with whom we choose and on which projects.
This is probably the question I get asked most and unfortunately there isn’t a good answer. It’s sort of like someone asking you ‘how much does a car cost?’ There are so many variables that it makes it impossible to state a cost. Most projects start with an hourly rate and are multiplied by the estimated number of hours expected to spend on that project.
Whether you send your project overseas at $6.00/hour or pay a high-priced consultant $500.00/hour, you’ll probably get what you paid for. My rates are very competitive for the level of service I provide and my clients benefit by receiving a quality product at an affordable price.
Currently $6.49. Extra chicken is an additional $1.35.
My hourly rate for design is $80/hour. My service is a highly skilled art that I have spent over fifteen years developing. I do not practice ‘loss-leaders’ to attract new clients as I feel this devalues the profession as a whole. All projects are priced at a fair market value for the level of service they receive.
Because you usually get what you pay for. Properly interpreting your needs, marketplace and audience is a skill that is learned after years in the industry and hundreds of client meetings. Incorporating that information into a mark that is a visual representation of your brand or identity is an artistic process that requires not only a creative process but a technical skill so that you have access to every industry standard version of you logo necessary for print and online marketing.
The same goes for logo design contests. While extremely inexpensive and sometimes free, you run the very real risk of accepting a logo that has been designed by someone else and slightly modified to suit your needs. Not only is this bad design practice but it opens the client up to a host of lawsuits and liabilities.
Every designer, freelance or not, has seen it happen and it’s an unfortunate aspect of our industry. Remember, just because you can buy dental tools doesn’t mean you should give yourself a root canal. You probably shouldn’t let your nephew give you one either.
I’m not a dentist but if they do it themselves I’d like to watch.
Being a freelance designer means you have the opportunity to work on a variety of projects and with many different mediums. I’ve done everything from traditional graphic design such as logos, brochures, websites, hats, t-shirts, packaging, trade-show signage, and business card design to more customized projects like recreating vintage boat logos for restoration projects, photographic archiving of construction projects, custom ads and logos for Facebook and DVD slideshows for weddings, product showcases and trade-shows. Design is what I do and this variety is what keeps it interesting.
Whatever the client wants. I like to involve the client as much as possible, especially new clients. The conception of every project is arguably the most important aspect of delivering what the client wants so I ask a lot of questions to determine what they expect. Client input and participation can be a critical aspect of keeping a project on track and on budget.
However, once a good relationship has been established, I often know what the client wants before they do and am able to work more independently allowing the client to focus on other things.
All industry standard formats are followed when delivering final files. For websites, the final files are uploaded to your server. For brochures, flyers, posters, etc., final files are delivered as hi-resolution PDF files to the printer. Native files can be delivered if necessary. For logos, you will receive a host of file formats for every possible application from low-resolution website versions to vector files that can be scaled infinitely with absolutely no quality loss.
Standard industry practice is that the designer retains ownership rights of all works completed. Clients are not authorized to resell, lease or sublease any of the original art or designs produced. A design created by a freelance graphic designer is a work-for-hire created by an independent contractor. In such a case, the designer retains copyright ownership and has following rights: (a) Make derivative works or modifications including using different media to execute an idea, combining images or applying various effects. (b) Publicly distribute copies and/or display the work including promotional use such as in a portfolio, advertising or on a web site. (c) Control reproduction of the work which includes granting usage rights to clients.
There are certain situations where ownership is granted to the client such as in a logo design. It would not be practical for the designer to retain ownership of this design. Therefore the contract that is agreed upon when the project begins states that upon full payment, ownership of this design will transfer to the client.
The American Institute of Graphic Arts has a well written guideline for artwork ownership and is the commonly accepted standard by which most designers adhere.
Every project begins with a client meeting where we discuss objectives, messaging, brand management and timeline. I may ask to see examples of work they like and examples of work they don’t like. I do not believe it is possible to create an effective design with limited client interaction and input which is why design sent overseas or procured from design contests usually does not communicate the message the client needs…whether the client realizes this or not.
When I was in design school, we were taught that the computer is just a tool used to get the job done. We were still taught how to keyline and manually set type. Every design began on paper using a pen to develop sketches. One instructor I had encouraged us to use ink instead of a pencil for sketches because you can erase pencil which erases ideas, good or bad. I think about this every time I sit down to begin the ideation phase of any project.
Once the sketches have been refined they are usually turned into a digital mock-up, most often using Photoshop. These digital mock-ups are presented to the client. A direction is chosen for the project and production of the design begins. Content is inserted, photography and illustration is finalized and carefully placed and finally, the first draft is presented to the client for review. Changes and alterations are discussed before moving on to the creation of final files.
I learned a long time ago to never say “No” to a client…the answer is always, “Yes, but…” Therefore, I can usually accommodate your rush job depending on the scope of the rush project but there will be an additional charge to put other projects on hold. This charge is usually billed at time and a half.
Absolutely. Just because your project may be small doesn’t mean it’s not important. Sometimes it’s the small projects that have the greatest impact. Custom Facebook logos are a great example. Some clients receive more feedback about their custom Facebook logos than they do about an entire website overhaul.
After fifteen years in the industry and ten as a freelance designer, I’ve developed some great relationships with a variety of printers and vendors. There isn’t much I haven’t printed on or designed for so sourcing the right printer for your job can be incorporated into the scope of the project. I can also work with any printer that you’ve developed a relationship with.
Not anymore. Using Flash as a platform for website development today is generally not the first thing that comes to mind when discussing a new project with a client. The lack of support on hand-held devices, it’s virtual cloak of invisibility to search engines and it’s development cost generally take it off the table as a potential platform for an entire website.
Flash still has it’s place for online advertising, banner ads and adding cool animations or interactive functions to websites but I don’t think I’d recommend any client build an entire website using Flash unless they had a good reason or very specific need…and budget. HTML5 is working hard to replace Flash as the default animation platform for the web so it will be interesting to see how the technology develops.
Yes…I mean no…I mean yes, but you have to know what the rule is first.
A CMS, or Content Management System is a method of building a website based on a database and collection of procedures used to manage work flow in a collaborative environment. Basically, it’s a website that empowers the customer with a little training to manage their own content instead of having to rely on a designer to make frequent updates.
A CMS based website can be a benefit to you if you have a website that you want to update often. A CMS based website may not be the right fit if your updates are of a graphical nature or very infrequent. In this case, it’s usually more economical to let the designer make the changes for you.
Send me a message
and give me some brief info of your project. We’ll talk on the phone or meet in person so I can get a better idea of the scope of your project and provide an estimate.