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Resourceful Designer - Resources to help streamline your graphic design and web design business.

Offering resources to help streamline your home based graphic design and web design business so you can get back to what you do best… Designing!
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Now displaying: December, 2015
Dec 24, 2015
20 Questions Your Design Clients Should Be Asking You - RD016

20 Questions Your Design Clients Should Be Asking You

Choosing a graphic designer can seem like a scary task for some design clients. Some are approaching you with a clear vision of what they want, hoping you can deliver on their vision. While others are contacting you because they don't have any idea of what they want. Regardless of why they're reaching out to you, the graphic designer, they need to make sure that you're not only someone with design skills, but someone they can trust with the reputation of their company.

They only way they can gain that trust is by getting to know you. And to do that, they ask questions. And if you're not prepared for those questions it can mean the difference between getting the job or getting a "don't call us, we'll call you" answer at the end of your conversation.

Here are some questions you can expect.

1. Will you tell me a bit about yourself?

This is probably the first question they will ask. Be precise and short in your answer. Sell yourself without bragging. If you've done any work for big name companies or people now's a good time to mention them. If at any time the client looks lost, wrap up your answer. You don't want to scare them away.

2. How long have you been in business?

Easy answer, mention how long you've been a graphic designer.

3. Do you have an office or are you home based?

I get asked this one a lot because of my mailbox at the UPS Store. Be honest, Mention that working at home let's you keep your costs down and pass that on to your clients. Offer to go meet them at their location if you can.

4. How many people work with you?

Best answer is that you have a number of people you can call upon for various tasks involving a design project but you don't have any employees, another way you keep the cost down.

5. What is your specialty?

If you have one mention it. Hint, if you do websites, mention that you're a graphic designer not a computer coder. Your job is to make the site look good not the code. This has helped me land many website jobs over the years.

6. Have you worked on this kind of design project before?

Again, be honest. If you haven't but have done something similar mention it. If not, tell them that you've always wanted to and you would love the opportunity.

7. How much do you charge?

If you work by the hour feel free to tell them your rate. If you work by the project you can tell them you'll work out a price after discussing the job with them.

8. Can you give me a ball park figure.

If you do, be broad and make sure you tell them that you can be more precise once you know the scope of the work.

9. How long will the job take.

In my experience, estimate longer and see what they say. If you can get it done sooner it will make you look good. If it takes longer than you thought they won't know.

10. What do you need from me?

This is where you ask for things like their files, Pantone colours, previously used photos. As well as their commitment to following your schedule for proof returns etc.

11. Who will work on my project?

Assure your design clients that you will work on their project but you may need to use the help of other, more experienced people for the parts you don't excel at. Such as copywriting, photography, illustration etc.

12. What is included in my completed project?

This is where you negotiate with your design client about rights to use your final design, layered PS files, etc.

13. What if I'm not happy with the design.

This is a tough one. Sometimes a client just can't be pleased. Make sure you have something in your contract stating the terms should one party of the other walk away.

14. What services do you offer after the project is done?

Here you discuss website maintenance, SEO services etc. for websites, and other design related projects for print designs and logos you create

15. Do you have any references?

You should have a list of previous design clients you've already asked permission of, should your new design client ask for references.

16. What happens if you go out of business?

It's a scary thought to design clients. Assure them that should something happen to you, all files, images, etc. pertaining to their design project will be turned over to them. Give them piece of mind.

17. Can you send me samples?

Send them previous samples that you don't already have displayed on your website. Curate them to match the kind of design project you are bidding on.

18. Can I see a sample of your idea for my job before I sign the contract?

NO! They can decide by viewing your portfolio and samples if you are right for their job. Don't do any work for free.

19. Why should I hire you?

This one is up to you. I wish I could give you the perfect answer to tell your design client, but at this point they've probably already decided if they're going to hire you or not. Use this question to put a bow and make yourself irresistible to them.

As you can see I only have 19 questions. I made a mistake when numbering and somehow skipped the number 13. This is what happens when you don't have your work proofread carefully.

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Design Resource

This week's resources are whatthefont.com (part of myfonts.com)& Identifont.com. I use both these resources any time I need to figure out what a particular font is. Whatthefont.com allows you to upload and image of the font in question and uses it to guess what font it is. Identifont.com lets you Search by name, similarity, picture or designer/publisher or my favourite, by appearance where it asks you a bunch of questions about the font to narrow down the possibilities. Check them out.

I want to help you.

Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at feedback@resourcefuldesigner.com

 

Dec 17, 2015

50 Questions To Ask Before Every New Design Project

What makes you stand out as a graphic designer amongst the many "contest" sites that are springing up, is your ability to converse in detail and ask questions of your clients before every new design project. By asking questions you not only show that you are a professional, you also inspire confidence in your client. Questions put them at ease and let them know that you are viewing their design project seriously. By putting your clients at ease and bestowing the confidence in them that they've chosen the right person for the job, you also show them that you are worth every cent you are charging them.

In this week's Resourceful Designer I'm covering 50 questions you can ask whenever you're faced with a new design project.

I don't expect you to ask all of these questions. But pick and choose the ones right for your design project, and in the process come up with questions of your own.

Remember, no design project ever failed because the designer knew too much about the company that's hiring them.

I've decided the questions into five sections.

  1. Questions about the company hiring you for a design project
  2. Questions about the company's target audience
  3. Questions about the company's brand
  4. Questions about the company's design preferences
  5. Questions about the design project's scale, timeframe and budget

To facilitate the conversation I'm using "company" as a global replacement for the client. The same questions can be asked of individuals, service clubs, organizations, charities, events, etc.

Questions about the company hiring you for a design project.

  1. What is the name of your company?
  2. Can you describe what your company does?
  3. What services or products do your company produce?
  4. How long have you been in business?
  5. Why was this company started?
  6. How big is the company?
  7. Are you a local, national or international company?
  8. Who is your competition?
  9. How are you different from your competition?
  10. How are your competitors marketing themselves?
  11. What are the long term goals of your company?
  12. Can you describe your company's strengths?
  13. Can you describe your company's weaknesses?

Questions about the company's target audience

  1. Can you identify and describe your target audience? (Age, gender, social class, location)
  2. Are you focusing just on this market or are you trying to hit other markets as well?
  3. How do you think your target audience describes your company?
  4. How does your target audience currently discover your company?
  5. How do you connect with your target audience?

Questions about the company's brand

  1. Does your company use a specific colour palette?
  2. Are there any design elements associated with your company? (fonts, icons, images, etc.)
  3. Does your company have a mission statement?
  4. What current and pass marketing material have you used?
  5. What did you like or dislike about your past marketing material?
  6. Why are you looking for something new?
  7. Do you have a company slogan?
  8. What feedback have you received on your past marketing material?
  9. Do you consider your brand material to be more traditional or modern?
  10. Is your brand associated with high end or cost-effective products and services?
  11. What would you like your target audience to think of when they see your marketing material?

Questions about the company's design preferences

  1. What colour palettes do you prefer?
  2. Will this project be used in print, on the web, etc.
  3. Is there anything from your past marketing material that you want incorporated into the new project?
  4. Are there any restrictions or limitations to consider when designing this project?
  5. Are there any new design elements you would like to try in this project?
  6. Are there any design styles you do not like?

Questions about the design project's scale, timeframe and budget

  1. Do you have a budget for this project?
  2. How many different concepts would you like to see?
  3. What material will you be providing me for this project?
  4. Are there any deadlines associated with this design project? (Are these preferable or firm deadlines?)
  5. Who will be my primary contact on this project?
  6. Who is involved in the approval process?
  7. Are there any third parties involved in this design project?
  8. Who will be dealing with involved third parties?
  9. What services are you expecting from me?
  10. What do you expect from me regarding this design project?
  11. What material do you require from me at the completion of this design project?
  12. Is there anything else you would like to discuss that we haven't already covered?

Bonus Questions

  1. Are there any other design projects I can help you with?
  2. Is there anything I asked you about that you need help with?
  3. Do you know anyone else that may require my services?

And finally...

The last questions you should always ask, When do you want me to get started on this design project?

Four Week Marketing Boost - FREE GUIDE

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Design Resource

This week's resource is PDFpen. A Mac only software used to sign, fill out, correct, complete, edit and alter PDF files. I've been using PDFPen for several months now and it has quickly become my go to software whenever I need to work with PDFs. Keep and eye out as PDFpen is often included in software bundles or at a reduced price on it's own.

I want to help you.

Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at feedback@resourcefuldesigner.com

Dec 9, 2015
Moving Your Graphic Design Business - RD014

Moving Your Graphic Design Business

Life is unpredictable. At some point in your career you may find yourself moving your graphic design business for one reason or another. Moving across town isn't that bad. You're still local and can continue meeting face to face with your clients if you need to. But what if you end up moving your graphic design business across the country?

I've never had to move my own graphic design business, so on this episode of Resourceful Designer I invited special guest Wes McDowell of The Deep End Design and one of the hosts of the popular The Deeply Graphic DesignCast to join me. Wes recently moved his graphic design business from Las Angeles, California to Chicago Illinois. He shares how he's continuing to serve his L.A. client while he works on his SEO to try to crack the Chicago market.

I'm hoping you will learn valuable information that can help if you ever end up moving your graphic design business.

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Design Resource

This week's resource was brought up by Wes McDowell during his interview. If you want to look more professional by having a business phone number but you don't want to use your home or cellular phone. Check out eVoice.com. You save time and money when you let their system answer, route, and manage your business calls.

Subscribe to the podcast

Subscribe on iTunes

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Contact me

Send me feedback

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I want to help you.

Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at feedback@resourcefuldesigner.com

Moving Your Graphic Design Business

Dec 3, 2015

Graphic Design Gift Ideas For Your Office

It’s that time of year again, when everyone is touched by the festive spirit. I can’t help think back to when I was a young lad and I would write out long lists of gifts I would like to find under the tree. Now that I’m much older I no longer write out lists, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a secret wish list of graphic design gift ideas I wouldn’t mind unwrapping.

In honour of the season I posted a question to various graphic design groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. In it I asked “Other than a new computer or software, If you could ask for one thing this season to improve or enhance your graphic design office what would you want?”

I received some great answers to my question, and in today’s episode of Resourceful Designer I’m going to share them with you.

In no particular order, here are the Graphic Design Gift Ideas I received.

Wacom Cintiq.

This was the most submitted graphic design gift idea I received. Not just the Wacom Cintiq but Wacom tables in general. It seams that many graphic designers are itching get their hands on one of these this holiday season.

White Boards / Cork Boards

Another popular graphic design gift idea was white boards and cork boards. These are staples in many design studios. White boards are great for quickly working out problems, writing down reminders, or just recording important notes. Similarly, cork boards are a great way to organize notes, bills, photos and inspirational items.

Graphic Design Books

You can’t go wrong giving a graphic designer a book about design. It’s like a badge of honour to show off your collection whenever another designer pays your studio a visit. A few books that are on my list are…

Organizers

It seams most graphic designers are more organized than I am. Or at least they aspire to be. That’s probably why office organizers were a very popular answer to my graphic designer gift idea question. Most notably shelves and drawers. I myself really like the Ladder Style Book Shelves and the Winsome Halifax 7 drawer cabinet.

Ergonomic Chair

Every graphic designer needs a good chair. And from the answers I received a few are looking to upgrade theres. I’m kind of partial to the Viva Office, High Back Bonded Leather Office Chair although I wouldn’t turn down a Herman Miller chair if it was offered to me.

Standing Desk

Standing desks are a great way to relieve the pressure on your back while still working. Varidesk have some great options to choose from. If you’re on a tighter budget you can always opt for an sit/stand adjustable keyboard tray that allows you to use it standing up.

Heater / Fan

I never would have thought of these but they are graphic designer gift idea. If your office is in the basement or a cool place a heater would be a big help. And in those hot summer months a fan in the corner could help ease your day.

Studio Photography Lighting

For the photographers amongst us, good lighting is a huge help. There are many affordable lighting optionsthat will allow you to take great photos.

Learning Courses

Some say there’s nothing better than the gift of knowledge. If you are one of them you may be interested in what Lynda.com has to offer. Thousands of great courses with many of them geared to the graphic design industry. If you use this link you can Try Lynda.com For Free For 10 Days.

Drafting Table / Light Pad

These are two items that bring back fond memories of when I first started off as a graphic designer. I started by doing pasteup and used light pads and drafting tables on a daily basis. Not as popular as they once were but some designers still have uses for them.

Pantone Color Guide

This one’s a must. If you don’t already have a Pantone Color Guide it should be at the top of your graphic designer gift idea list.  They are pricy but they make our jobs so much easier.

Other items mentioned

  • Better office lighting
  • Second monitor
  • Apple Pencil
  • Advance Keyboard
  • Electronic Cutting Plotter
  • New Camera
  • 3D Printer
  • Digital Laser Cutter
  • Plants
  • Action Figures
  • Inspirational Posters

Honourable Mentions

  • An Assistant to help with the work burden
  • A door to keep the kids out of the studio.

What would I want for myself?

  • More action figures and knick knacks to show off the geek that I am
  • More Swords to add to my collection
  • More practically, a second monitor and a new chair.

Four Week Marketing Boost – FREE GUIDE

Download my FREE guide, the Four Week Marketing Boost to help improve your business’ image and create the best first impression possible to attract more clients.

Subscribe to the podcast

Subscribe on iTunes
Subscribe on Stitcher
Subscribe on 
Android

Contact me

Send me feedback

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

I want to help you.

Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn’t easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business please reach out to me. I’ll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at feedback@resourcefuldesigner.com

 

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