Why should I contract a designer?

Contracting a professional is the wisest move you can make when it comes to your branding and marketing. 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. In preparation to work with a designer, you should be able to describe the history, current situation and long-term goals. You should know who your competition is and how your enterprise is positioned in the marketplace. You should have a budget in mind and a business plan.

What should I expect from a designer?

After an initial discussion about your project, you should receive a creative brief and agreement for services describing deliverables, fees, expected expenses, schedules, rights transferred and terms of service. You should expect that the 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. 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 contract me for your project.

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 try 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. I work with a number of clients on retainer. 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. My retainer agreements include a well-defined scope of work and set number of hours each month, and require a minimum 12-month commitment.

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 as part of the creative brief.

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 Bitcoin.

Do you handle printing?

Yes, and only as part of a contracted project. I prefer to work with printers that I have pre-qualified. I manage a project all the way through to delivery of printed materials. I do not broker printing separately from a design project.

Do you offer technical support or training?

For web site design, I offer technical support as outlined in the agreement at no additional charge during the post-launch warranty period. After that period expires, I offer support at an agreed-upon rate which is outlined in the agreement. If you need training in how to use a CMS structure such as WordPress, or an email service such as MailChimp, or how to use social media, I will include the training budget in our contract.

Do you provide web site hosting?

No. But I can 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 questions you have. 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?

Yes, but 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.

Will you create a design for me so that I can decide whether I want to contract your services?

I do not work on spec. The work that I have created for my clients speaks for itself. My range and capability is 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, designers 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 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. If you are self-publishing, I can design and illustrate the book and advise on marketing.

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 posts for your blog?

I do accept proposals for guest posts on my blog, Eye Level. Please submit a written proposal including title, premise, talking points, and how my readers will benefit. If it is a fit, I will provide editorial guidelines.

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 1-hour consultation fee for each review. Please contact me by email to request information and schedule a review.

Do you offer internships? 

Not at this time.

Can I interview you for a school project?

Yes, depending upon my workload. Contact me by email and we’ll arrange a phone appointment.

Can I commission you to create a painting?

Yes. I accept a number of private painting commissions each year. Contact me by email to discuss your project.