In our initial consultation, we will ask you to provide us with some examples of what you like– either other websites, magazine ads, logos… whatever your project entails. One client once brought a purse as an example of the feeling she wanted for her website. We will want you to let us know what your objectives are and what kinds of things you like– either design-wise or feature-wise.
From there, we will write you a detailed estimate and feature outline. This outline will describe what each feature of your website or print project will consist of and how much the estimated cost will be. We estimate all costs based on our hourly rate, but we can do flat-rate bids if you prefer. This outline also details the ins-and-outs of our responsibilities to you, your responsibilities to us, and the deliverables. This is all done free-of-charge… all we ask is that you follow up with us, even if the estimate doesn’t work for you: tell us so, it’s just common courtesy.
Next, assuming you approve and sign the outline, you will be required to pay 1/3 of the estimated cost as a deposit before we start design. This deposit is refundable, less time spent designing, should you decide early on that you don’t like our design work (that has never happened though– we’re pretty good at getting a design that our clients like).
During the design phase, you will receive design drafts via email as jpg images. It is your job to review those and provide us with accurate feedback so that we can refine our designs to your liking. This is the period during which we will be working with you to compile content for your project. Once design is approved, we move into production. Design can take between 2 and 4 weeks, depending on the amount of drafts your contract allows and the time it takes the client to provide feedback.
The production phase (for websites) is when we code the site an install/write whatever back-end applications you need. The length of the production phase varies, depending on the complexity of your project. For print projects, this is the phase during which we prepare your files for press, test colors, and work with the printer to ensure the end product meets your requirements. For web projects, the production phase is done, usually, on a staging server so you can monitor progress and provide feedback as we go.
For web projects, the last phases are the review phase and the launch phase. During review, we work with you to run through the near-finished site and check for any details that may need fixing. This is also when we test all the software and make sure everything is working as it should— the Q/A phase. If all’s well, then we launch the site.