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FAQ               About   
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1. Working with me begins with looking at my work (left menu are Portfolios).

Every designer has their own style and specialties. My style is more photographic than illustrative, more 3D than 2D, more color and hues than black and white. If you like my work, then you will like what I can do for you.

The difference between art and graphic design is that art only need appeal to an audience of 1, the artist, while graphic design must appeal to an audience of many. Art should evoke a feeling in the viewer, while 'graphics' generally does not. I feel that the uniqueness and perhaps quirkyness of art should be present in graphic design and everything I do reflects that approach. I create interesting, unique and personalized websites that are different from the typical template sites seen on the net. If you can keep even a percentage of your viewers at your website longer, that often translates into more sales for your business.

All my quotes are for custom unique sites unlike any other. If you want a quote for a template site, it would be cheaper... and not unique. I am willing to talk about that if cost is an issue.

2. If you think I may be suited to your project, contact me for a consultation.

I can send you a questionaire about your project for discussion, we can email details, we can talk about your needs on the phone, or we can meet face to face, at your option. I am very flexible, and will accomodate your schedule. At this meeting, we will try to get a better idea of your needs and wants, as well as any specific ideas you may have.

3. I will send you a detailed quote if you are interested.

The quote will involve the estimated hours I feel the project will take, and outline the steps we will take to complete it, as well as the estimated dates of completion, assuming that you provide me with required materials in a timely manner, or before the agreed upon stage of completion.

I will also give you a 'cap quote', which is a slightly higher amount, but is a 'cap' for the cost of the project. The scope of work laid out in the estimate will not cost more than this price, and you can choose which you prefer ahead of time. If you go with the hourly estimate, it may take less than the estimated time to complete the project, saving you more money. If you anticipate many revisions and changes it may cost more.

4. Once we are agreed to the contract, you sign and return it with a deposit.

I generally expect 50% of the total amount as a deposit before we begin. The exception to this is if the project is broken into more than 2 phases, ie., a website with an ecommerce store and hosting, or a package of multiple projects at once, such as logo, label template design and banner/sign. Then, payments are then broken into the various phases, per our agreement.

5. When we commence working, we begin with preliminary research.

This involves refining and filling in gaps in the information you provided during the consultation, your customers, your needs, the specific sizes of your packaging, etc. Before we actually begin the design process, we have a very clear understanding about what you want, what your customers would like, what your tastes are, all the details of the job. I do further research as necessary on my own. Your industry, the business niche you are in, your potential customer base beyond what you have provided. Then we begin work on one or more proofs for your project.

I are very flexible. If you want to play 'art director', then I will willingly be the brush and canvas to your vision. We can technically execute your vision at your directions. If you prefer me to be art director, we can do that too. I am easy to work with, as long as we are always clear on what you want and need.

6. I show you proof designs.

These are unfinished 'rough' versions of your design, with unfinished details. This is to determine if the general layout, direction, look and feel to ensure we are moving in the right direction. Depending on the project, you will see one or more versions. With more than one, you choose one and I refine it. If you don't like the one or all the designs presented, we go back to the drawing board and create more.

7. Refining the proofs.

Based on your input from the preliminary proofs, I will refine the one you like best. You can get as involved or uninvolved as you wish, I will work on it til you are 100% satisfied. Please note, this does not generally take a long time. 10 years experience doing this with clients of all types means that I am pretty quick at assessing what we need to do. Generally, it takes only a few days to refine a small project.

All proofs and revisions will be provided in the form of small jpgs. I do not provide full sized versions for proofing until payment is complete.

8. Completion of final design.

I have a policy of 100% client satisfaction. Of the dozens of clients I have worked with, I have only had one instance where we could not complete the project.

If for whatever reason we cannot complete the project, regardless of who's circumstances, business, death, accident, war, or natural disasters, I will not sue you for the balance. I accept payment complete as the 50% deposit if the project must be cancelled prior to completion.

The reason I can do this is because I do not provide you with useable files prior to full payment, they are too small for most uses. So under those circumstances, you do not have useable files, and I lose the billable time it took to get to that stage for you. Incomplete work is undesirable for both of us, and I will do everything possible to complete every job I accept.

9. Final payment due.

Upon final payment, I will deliver all agreed final files on whatever media or file format you prefer in flattened or final form if it is a project piece. For websites, this means uploading to the web for you, to the host of your choice, or I can provide hosting at a very reasonable fee.

I do not supply the original working files for the project. You will receive files which are completely useable by your company or your printer for the project, and I will keep all original files. All work done for your specific company will never be duplicated for another client.

I quote my products reasonably because I hope for an ongoing relationship with your business. If you wish to sever this relationship, then I can provide you with a buyout fee. This is standard graphic artist practice industrywide.

10. Word of Mouth is my #1 source of new business.

I value you as a client. I want to do a good enough job that you will not only trust me with more of your work, but also tell others about me. As I mentioned, 100% customer satisfaction is my goal, and I guarantee all my work. No project is complete til you say it is, and are 100% satisfied.

Helen Starkweather

Click here to email for a quote.

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©Copyright Helen Starkweather. All Rights Reserved. 2002-2008


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