If you’re unfamiliar with the design process, here are a few questions and answers which may help you.

1. Saves you time and money
You have enough on your plate already. Do-it-yourself design is not always the best plan once you take into account the extra time it would take to learn layout, software, or setting up a website. The resulting frustration and time wastage is not worth it in the long run. Give yourself some much needed peace of mind and hire a design professional. You won’t regret it!
2. They understand that budgets are a reality
A graphic designer will know the most cost effective ways to design your materials to keep your production costs to a minimum. Small budgets and constraints are part of the territory. A good graphic designer should remain flexible. If you cannot afford full colour then work with two. If you cannot afford a huge website then start small and build it as you go along. The longer you work with a designer, the better (and more affordable) your marketing efforts will be.
3. A designer can help you understand what you really need
Sometimes we know what we want but we can’t explain it fully. A graphic designer’s job is to clarify your ideas. Sitting down with a designer can help you get a strong handle on your vision for your business and point you in the most effective direction in terms of marketing and advertising.
4. A designer will make your business look professional
If you’re in business, then you know that all of your marketing pieces must work together. This could include your website, newsletters, annual reports, sales sheets, product spec pages, brochures and business cards. A good designer can make these look consistent, professional and suited to your market. It’s amazing how little things like font size, alignment of text, text wrapping and spacing, colour and image placement can make all the difference.
5. A designer will help you get noticed
The creativity bar is continually being raised so it’s important that all your marketing efforts stand out from the crowd. They say we have three seconds or less to catch our target audience’s attention. Make sure to use every advantage and resource you can in order to get noticed.
6. Hire a designer - because your business is worth it
A good designer is the best person to showcase your experience, your credibility and your expertise. With a good partnership, a graphic designer can be your go-to person for all of your promotional materials. The longer the working relationship, the simpler the process becomes and the better your business will be in the long run. Since you’ve put in all this hard work building your business, you owe it to yourself to find the best graphic designer to support and build what you do best!
No matter what your business, there has never been a more important time to have a website. Few people use phone books anymore. Getting your business online will:
  • help people find your location (and maybe even find out that you exist!)
  • showcase your products and services
  • display your reviews and testimonials
  • provide an easy way for customers to contact you for more information and ordering
  • A website can convert people into customers with much less effort on your part, saving you time and money in the long run
I know that you may be so busy with your everyday work that it's a little overwhelming to think about going online. But there's good news! It's never been easier than it is right now to create a website. And I can help you create a site from a single page, to multiple pages with complicated functionality. Starting at $500 plus website hosting costs, your website can be working for you 24/7 within a very short time.   Here are some examples of websites I've created recently.
The more information I have about your project, the better the design will be. Here are some questions to start with:
  • What is the purpose of this document, graphic or website? What is the problem you need to solve?
  • How will the final result be distributed or used?
  • Describe your target market, ie. who is your ideal customer? can you provide 5 words that best describe them?
  • Describe your main competitors.
  • How do you differ from your competitors - what makes you unique?
  • If you have existing marketing materials, why aren’t they working for you?
  • What colours do you prefer?
  • Are there specific images or concepts you would like to use? Provide 3 examples
Design isn't an off-the-shelf product so it's difficult to have a set price list. For example, prices will differ greatly between editing an existing website (charged based on time spent), to creating a website from scratch (charged as a flat fee based on the scope of the project - see "How does the design process work?" below). Cost also depends greatly on how much of the content you can provide yourself, including images and finalized text.

Contact me and let's talk about what you need to accomplish with your print or web project. The scope of work will determine how the job is priced out. Any change to the scope of work will be discussed if or when it arises. Basically, we'll come up with a plan together and then I'll provide a quote in writing. No surprises.
It's very important to agree on a timeline for the project right from the beginning. We'll need to be clear on when you need things like the first draft, the final proof, and the final print-ready piece or website. Understand, however, that some things in graphic design can be more time-consuming than you think. For example, a logo may look very simple but the process we go through to get there can be fairly lengthy, especially if we must spend a lot of time clarifying vision and "look" for your business. In the end, it all comes down to communication and managing our expectations.
Every project is different, but most include the same general steps. With a very small project the steps below can be shortened considerably. The process can include some or all of these:

1. Meeting to discuss the project - we'll do this in person or over the phone. This is an information gathering stage. I'll need to find out what you want to accomplish with your project and you'll need to know what I can do to help you with that. What are your expectations, your company's mission, vision, goals, your products and/or services?
2. Research - this is where I go back to the office and search out information on your industry and how your business/product stands out from the competition. We'll need to make sure that this project helps you differentiate your business from others in the same industry. We want to make your company attractive to your target market.
3. Brainstorming and sketching out ideas - using the research as a starting point, I'll focus in on such things as colours and fonts, words and symbols, to come up with some rough ideas. I'll need some feedback* from you at this point before going to the computer to create a graphic, document or website. This is a much more effective use of time than creating a more refined file and then having to start again from scratch if it doesn't work for you.

* A word on feedback: If you can be specific about your feedback this would be most helpful. It's hard to figure out what to do with a comment like "it doesn't pop" or "I don't like it". Is it the wrong colour? Did you have a specific image in mind?

4. Building the design - once we've agreed on a direction the fun begins! I'll create either a document or web page draft or several options for a graphic or logo. We'll go back and forth a few times to refine the piece, and then on to step 5...
5. Presenting and refining the project - hooray! At this point the print file will be finalized and ready for the printer, the graphic will be formatted for use electronically or in print or the website will be ready to go live. There may still be a few minor changes but we're essentially done.
6. Putting the design into production - a job well done! You're happy with the final product and it's either sent for printing or all of the files have been handed over to you.
Logos are simple little bits of art that are easy to whip off in a single session, right? Not so. Your logo represents who you are to your customers—your personality, if you will—and it may be used for many, many years. You don’t want to be careless about that. This short article lists 14 good reasons for creating a custom logo for your business.
This article on the Five Essentials for Planning an Effective Brochure will help you focus on the purpose of your brochure so that it will make an impact. The information applies to any promotional piece, really. Very useful.

Have more questions? Email me!