Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a freelance designer?
A: A freelance designer is a CEO, Bookkeeper, Art Director and Receptionist 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 I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
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
Q: How much does a website cost?
A: This is probably the question I get asked most and unfortunately there isn’t an 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. I then convert the project to a flat-rate. That actually saves you money in the long run due to unforeseen changes that can raise the amount of hours spent on any particular job.
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.
Q: How much does a logo cost?
A: See above.
Q: What is your hourly rate?
A: My hourly rate for design is $75/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.
Q: My friend offered to design my logo and website for free…why should I pay for one?
A: Because you usually get what you pay for. Properly interpreting the clients needs, marketplace and audience is a skill you learn after years in the industry and hundreds of client meetings. It’s definitely something you get better at. And while I’m sure they have good intentions, how confident are you that the design you’re accepting is 100% original and not “borrowed” from another logo or clipart gallery?
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.
Q: What kind of graphic design services do you provide?
A: As I noted on my Services page, 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, packaging, trade-show signage, and business card design to custom ads and logos for Facebook Design is what I do and this variety is what keeps it interesting.
Q: What is the client’s involvement in the design process?
A: 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.
Q: How will I receive my project once it is finished?
A: All industry standard formats are followed when delivering final files. For websites, the final files are uploaded to your server. For brochures, fliers, 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.
Q: Who owns the rights to the final design?
A: 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.
Q: How does your design process work?
A: Every project begins with a client meeting where we discuss objectives, messaging, brand management and timeline. I may ask to see examples of work you like and examples of work you 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.
Once the sketches have been refined they are usually turned into a digital mock-up, most often using Photoshop or Fireworks. 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.
]Q: I need something designed yesterday…can you help me?
A: 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.
Q: Do you have examples that I can see?
A: Yes. My Portfolio pages have some examples of many different projects. If you have a project in mind but don’t see it listed there, contact me me for a free estimate.
Q: I have a really small project…can you help me?
A: 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.
Q: Do you provide printing?
A: After fifteen years in the industry 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.
Q: What is a CMS and how can it benefit me?
A: 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.
]]Q: How do I get started on my next project?
A: Send me a message from my contact page 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.