I can create my brand myself. Why should I work with a designer?
Working with a professional is the wisest move you can make when it comes to your branding. You want someone who has the experience, knowledge and expertise to develop effective design solutions and visual assets, and to oversee the entire project to bring it to a successful conclusion.
How do I choose a designer?
You want someone who you can work with, who’s trustworthy, qualified, experienced and, of course who’s good at what he or she does. Basically, you’re looking for a reliable creative partner. Looking at designers’ portfolios is, of course, a place to begin. Recommendations from other business owners are options. You can also contact the Graphic Artists Guild and the American Institute of Graphic Arts and the Society of Illustrators in your area for referrals. It may be helpful for you to know that over 90% of my clients projects come through referrals.
How should I prepare to work with a designer?
You know your business or organization better than anyone else. You should be able to describe the history, current situation and long-term goals of your enterprise. You should know who your competition is and how your enterprise is positioned in the marketplace. You should have a budget allocated for the creative work and a business plan.
What should I expect from a designer?
After an initial discussion about your project, you should receive a proposal from the designer. This proposal should include a description of your current position, the reason why you’re requesting this work, your mission, a description of your ideal customers. The proposal should include a summary of how the designer intends to approach the creative work, a schedule, budget and terms of service.
You should expect that your down payment is being utilized as intended, that your designer communicates with you regularly and keeps you updated and aware of the progress being made, and discusses options with you. You should expect that the graphic assets being developed will fulfill your marketing and branding needs, and that the designer is able to advise you in the utilization of your new graphic assets. You’ll get all that when you work with me.
What kind of businesses do you work with?
I work with small and medium-sized businesses, entrepreneurs, corporations, educational institutions and non-profits. Take a look at my list of clients to understand the breadth of fields represented. I also work with self-published authors. If I decide that your project is not a good fit for me, I will attempt to refer you elsewhere.
What do you charge?
Although this is often the first question asked, it’s one of the last ones that can be answered. Every design project is different, and creative fees vary from project to project and designer to designer. Design and illustration are not commodities. The quality of design services varies greatly, as does the quality of designers. I charge on the basis of what my decades of experience and expertise are worth, as well as the project deliverables, rights being transferred and geographic reach. Expenses, such as printing and other services, are in addition to creative fees. There are designers who charge less than I do, and you’re free to choose who you want to work with. If low cost is your primary requirement, I’m not your designer. But if quality work, solid experience and integrity are among your criteria, I likely am. And you’ll find that the investment you make with me is very much worth it.
Do you work on retainer?
Yes, My retainer agreements include a well-defined scope of work and set number of hours each month, and require a minimum 6-month commitment. If you need regular, ongoing creative work a retainer arrangement is preferred over a project-by-project model because it will save you money in the long run.
What is your turn-around?
Since every design project is unique and every designer-client relationship is different, turn-around times vary. I provide a proposed schedule with flexibility in every project proposal.
What forms of payment do you accept?
I accept payment by check, credit card, bill.com and PayPal. Payment arrangements are included in our initial discussion, and terms are outlined in in the contract. I do not accept cashier’s checks, money orders or cyber currencies.
Do you handle printing?
Yes, but only as part of a contracted project. I do not act as a broker for printing separately from a design project. I work only with printers that I have pre-qualified.
Do you offer technical support or training?
For web site design, I offer technical support as outlined in the contract, which includes a post-launch warranty period. After that period expires, I offer support at an agreed-upon rate which is outlined in our contract.
If you are assuming management of the website and need training in how to use WordPress, or an email service such as MailChimp, or how to use social media, I will include the training expectations and budget in our contract.
Do you provide web site hosting?
No. But I advise on which hosting services to consider for shared and dedicated hosting. I provide domain registration, hosting procurement, software installation and content uploads to the selected server as part of an overall website design project.
Can I contact your vendors and subs directly if I have a question for them?
No. I am able to answer most technical questions, and what I don’t know I will find out and relay to you. As long as you and I are working together, you will not need to work directly with my suppliers.
Do you do pro bono work?
I currently have no openings for new pro bono projects. If you would like me to consider working with your organization in the future, please let me know. I have specific requirements regarding the type of pro bono work I accept. You will need to complete an application.
Will you create a design for me so that I can decide whether I want to contract your services?
No. I don’t work on spec. The work I’ve created for my clients speaks for itself. My range and capability are apparent in my portfolio. I am happy to develop initial concepts for an agreed-upon fee before deciding to commit to a complete project.
I have an idea. Will you design it for me?
Although I appreciate your desire to have me design your idea, I actually deal in idea creation. If you are looking for someone to simply execute your idea, I’m not the right designer for you.
Do you incorporate feng shui in your designs?
I design according to universal design principles (aesthetics) and gestalt design theory. I do not accept projects where feng shui is a required criteria.
I am writing a book. Will you illustrate it?
If you’re self-publishing, I can design and illustrate the book and help you to publish it through Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
If you are working with a publisher or literary agent, your book project is something I can consider. However, it’s common practice for the publisher to select the illustrator.
Do you sub-contract to other designers?
Not in general. My work is all my own creation. Depending upon a project, I will sub-contract designers and developers whose work complements, but is not analogous to, mine.
Do you accept guest blog posts?
My blog, Eye Level, is all about illustration, design, drawing, color theory and freelancing as a visual creative. If your topic fits, I am happy to consider it. Please submit a written proposal including title, premise, talking points, and how my readers will benefit. If your topic fits the topics I write about, I will provide editorial guidelines.
If you are inquiring about paid posts on my blog, I am happy to consider proposals as long as they follow the points listed in the above paragraph. I’ll provide a rate sheet. Payment is required in advance of publication.
Do you review student portfolios?
I do review portfolios for students who are about to graduate or are recent grads. I also review admission portfolios.
My availability for reviews is limited, and I give first priority to my current students.
I charge a consultation fee for each review. Please contact me by email to request information and schedule a review.
Do you offer private instruction?
Yes, on a limited basis. Contact me to discuss details.
Can I interview you for a school assignment?
Yes, depending upon my workload. Contact me by email and we’ll arrange a phone appointment.