graphic design faqs – working with a graphic designer
“Designers are creative partners who utilize aesthetic tools to communicate your message more effectively”
Never worked with a graphc designer or a creative professional before? Wonder how things unfold and or your responsibility to a project? Then this information is for you. It’s been created to provide an overview and answer some frequently asked graphic design questions.
Having these studio policies in place provides clarity and helps to avoid any “grey areas”. As all businesses have policies in some form – graphic design is no different.
the design process and how projects unfold
The design process, it’s one which unfolds between a creative and the client. Through an initial gathering of info, designers essentially interpret and transform your ideas through our creative concepts so that they may be translated into a unique finished product which communicates your message to your audience.
Working with a designer you are in a business relationship. As a trusted advisor/consultant, a mutually beneficial outcome is extremely important. Projects should be win-win for both sides as we are creating value for each other.
Supplemental info may be found via the following blog posts:
• I’d Love to Help You, But I Need Some info First…
• How to Request Services from a Graphic Designer
• Understanding a Graphic Designer’s Availability
Future Primitive Graphics does not work “on a speculative basis” which means “free work to see if you like it”. It fully supports NO!SPEC in its efforts to communicate why the practice of spec work devalues the entire design community which in turn has negative impacts on the client as well.
faqs — frequently asked questions and design studio policies
- who is the right graphic designer or visual professional for your needs?
- how do you begin on a project?
- what is the actual design process?
- what is the time frame on a project?
- what is the pricing, fees and payment process?
- do you provide website design?
- do you provide website maintenance/updates services?
- do you offer SEO (search engine optimization) services?
- what are the client’s responsibilities and necessary communication?
- what are your policies on project usage?
- why are your design prices not listed?
- do you offer retainers? how do they work?
- do you provide pro-bono work or discounted rates?
- what kinds of clients do you typically work with?
- do you have client testimonials?
Whether or not a designer is a good fit for your project can have several different factors including styles, your budget vs. a designer’s fees as well as a designer’s availability for your time-frame. Taking time to review a creative’s portfolio can aid in determining if their style is right for your project.
There is an initial inquiry, followed by the Project Qualifying Questionnaire which s a few short questions to gather pertinent information, get a sense of your objectives, gauge your level of commitment to a project and to see if we may be a good fit moving forward. Upon assessment of the information provided, it will determine whether we will move forward with a consultation.
Initial consultations are complimentary, 30 minutes long and completed by phone. Should your requirements exceed that, then a “Discovery Session” which is billable may need to be scheduled to better diagnose the circumstances.
Please note: All client work is executed on a per project basis via a contract – NOT hourly.
If we determine that we are a good fit, then an estimate of the services to be provided for the project is put forth. Upon agreement of the estimate, a contract is drawn up outlining the scope of work and project details. With your signature along with a 50% deposit* which needs to be presented at that time and needs to clear depending on payment form, the project will then commence. This time frame can vary – but generally 7-10 days. (*note: the 50% deposit is non-refundable)
Requesting a deposit to begin work on a project makes sense for both parties. It helps set appropriate boundaries and expectations. It also protects the creative, while establishing accountability to the client.
The design process can vary depending on the type of project. Generally speaking, once all the pertinent info has been gathered, contract signed and deposit received, approximately 2 to 3 initial rough comps are created based on the style and parameters of the project estimate. One design concept is chosen by the client and further developed by the designer. As the chosen design is refined, project proofs are presented to review and or submit changes. All project proofs are provided via email in a .pdf or .jpeg format. (these are Low Resolution files for proofing purposes ONLY).
3 rounds of design changes* are included/built into the initial project estimate. If more changes are requested beyond the inclusive 3 rounds, then surcharges will apply. The additional fees will vary depending on the extent of changes requested. The fees will be on top of the original project estimate, need to be approved by the client and billed accordingly.
*Unlimited changes are not offered as they are not time or cost effective and ultimately cause more confusion than clarity.
The design is then finalized and delivered in the necessary file formats depending if this is a print project (high resolution files) or formats for the web. Final payment and or balance due is required at this time in order for the project to be delivered.
Time frames can vary depending on which projects are currently in the queue as well as the scope and or complexity of a new project. Once a deposit has cleared, the design drafts begin. Since the initial concepting process is the most labor intensive, the turn around time can vary and can take up to two weeks to show the first design concepts.
There is an open line of communication with the client at all times (mainly via email). It is imperative that the client provide all of the necessary content including text, photos & images, logos in a timely manner to ensure the project flow.
Failure to provide this vital info can stall the project and delay the completion date at no fault of the designer. After the initial comp phase, a project moves more quickly — provided that all essential and necessary elements have been sumitted by the client.
Project pricing can vary greatly and is determined at the time of estimate. All projects are executed on a contract basis. A contract helps to align the work relationship right from the start and helps define the scope and payment terms.
There is a 50% non-refundable deposit to begin a project. It MUST be obtained at the time of the signing of the contract and before any work will commence. This secures a space in the queue as well as reflecting a client’s commitment to the project. Depending on the size of the project, there may be a mid-project payment necessary of 25% with the final 25% due IN FULL at the completion/deliverable of a project.
For smaller projects with an established client, payment is due IN FULL within 7 days of invoicing or late fees may also apply.
Print design projects such as brochures, business cards etc DO NOT include actual printing costs.
If you require bids for your print design projects, they may be obtained upon request.
Payment options are either via check or PayPal invoicing.
While Future Primitive does not directly accept Credit Cards, you can however use a CC via PayPal.
ASAP = rush charges and can vary depending on the urgency of the project but average from 50% up to 200%. Under a 3 day tunraround starts at a 50% rush charge and goes up from there. Much like FedX, 2 Day Air or Urgent Care, it’s like expedited design at a premium. Needing to bump someone else’s project or burning the midnight oil for your project deadline means you gotta pay a bit extra. One needs to understand the difference between a "Nice to Have" or an "Urgent" – Mission Critical project.
Cancellation or Kill fees may apply if a job gets cancelled midway through production and it is appropriate to compensate the designer for the work they have completed thus far. This is generally referred to as a "kill fee", and commonly is paid in a percentage of either 50% if pre production work has been done, or 100% if the project is in production or completed.
Future Primitive Graphics is no longer building or developing any NEW websites.
The creation of graphical content or imagery for websites or online platforms and communications is still available.
As stated above it is imperative that clients provide ALL of the necessary content in a timely manner and it is their responsibility to review & understand the terms of a project contract. During project development, the lines of communication are kept open and accessible with consistent updates during normal business hours M-F 9:00 to 5:00 MST – which is done predominately via email.
Please Note: It’s the client’s responsibility to respond to questions/provide feedback on proofs promptly. Clients’ communication delays WILL affect a project’s completion date at no fault of the designer. Client delays can also potentially “shelve” a project thus forfeiting the deposit and necessitating the project be re-estimeted along with a resume fee before work may again commence.
Project designs are single-use (one time usage rights apply) unless otherwise specified withn the terms of the project contract. Any other usage of said materials/designs must be negotiated and authorized by Future Primitive Graphics at an additional fee to be determined.
Future Primitive Graphics retains personal rights to use the completed project and any preliminary designs for the purpose of marketing this studio’s business and addition to FPG’s portfolio, for educational purposes and/or future publications on design.
Please Note: All reproduction rights on the Copyrighted original artwork/designs created are retained by Future Primitive Graphics. The artwork/designs may not be reproduced in any form without written consent and authorization. Future Primitive Graphics retains all original native source files and are the property of this studio. Requested release of said source files is subject to additional fees and costs to be determined.
The investment necessary to bring a project to its fruition varies based on a client’s requirements, the project scope, appropriate design styles/trends and the technologies utilized for its execution. The design landscape is vast, varied and changes rapidly. The way we market and promote our businesses has changed thus projects are assessed individually and estimated accordingly upon completion of an initial new project consultation.
Yes. A retainer fee works like a monthly fee but since its purpose is to retain me as your designer, it is paid up front before any work is ordered. You are, in a sense, pre-ordering the designer’s time. The designer anticipates work from the client and blocks out the appropriate amount of time in their schedule to accommodate the client work. Learn more about creative services retainers here.
To maintain universal professionalism, Future Primitive Graphics does not offer “discounted rates”. However, depending on the current project load, one (maybe two) pro-bono projects may be accepted per year. There are certain criteria that needs to be met in order to determine whether or not a project or organization qualifies for pro-bono work.
Being part of these special projects can be very rewarding. However, honoring all requests is not possible.
Please contact Future Primitive for more info on pro-bono projects.
Clients span diverse industries with particular attention on serving socially and environmentally engaged companies who want to make the world a better place with their products or services.
Mutually beneficial creative partnerships are forged by working with those who recognize the value and expertise of a design and search professional as an investment in marketing and growing their business.
Yes. You may review feedback from successfully completed projects via the client testimonials page.