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faq

Because the design industry is made up of agencies, corporations, freelancers and on-demand services, pricing and policies for any creative service is very widespread. There are a number of factors that determine the structure of a design service, from experience, availability and project scope, to the amount of overhead costs involved. When searching for professional creative services, you're going to run into different processes, prices and fine print. See below for a collection of questions I get asked ... there are quite a few.

General

What services to you offer?


My general list of services can be found here. Within those are listed capabilities. If you can't find what you're looking for, it doesn't mean she can't help you out!

Contact me directly or fill out my online inquiry form to get started.




What is your turn-around time?


While I always do my best to meet your deadline, please keep in mind that each project will be different. I maintain a full client schedule at a first come, first serve basis that will also affect the start date and amount of time needed to complete your project. It's important to be transparent from the very start so you can work together to plan out a timeline that's both efficient and realistic.




What does a typical graphic design project cost?


Every project is different, so unfortunately, I cannot provide you with an accurate quote until I have more information about your project. For new clients, I typically don't accept any project below the $3,000 - $5,000 range. If you have a tighter budget, let me know up front and I'll see if there’s a way to accommodate you with an adjusted scope and timeline. You can submit your request via the online inquiry form with an added note about your budget in the ‘Description’ section.




What if my budget is less than the budget options listed in the inquiry form?


The budget options listed in the inquiry form are based off of the projects I typically take on, taking into account their complexity, demand, and the value they bring to the client.
However, I realize that not everyone's budget will fit within those ranges. If you let me know from the beginning — and depending on my current availability — I will see if there’s a way to tailor a quote with options that work within your budget.




When is payment required?


Every project is different and therefore poses different costs and requirements. However, I require 50% down upon booking any new client packaged service. This secures your spot in my client queue and ensures that I’m compensated for any opportunity I may have had to turn down to fit your project into my schedule. Other payment options can be arranged for higher priced jobs, such as equal installments scheduled throughout the project.

Specific payment schedules and requirements will be included in your initial quote and must be finalized and agreed upon by all parties before any work on the project begins.

Final invoice balances must be paid in full before any final deliverables are sent to the client.




Do you offer general art direction?


Yes! Experience managing a creative department for a print + marketing agency, and leading the art direction for multiple trade publications, has fueled my excitement about any opportunity to simply lend a creative eye to anything from photo shoots to events to marketing campaigns.

Please fill out the project inquiry form to request art direction for your project.




Do you handle the printing of the pieces you design?


Currently, I do not handle any printing of the pieces I design, unless otherwise negotiated and agreed upon. As a one-woman-show, I simply do not have the capacity for vendor correspondence.

However, as a former lead graphic designer at a print and marketing agency, I am equipped with the skillset to properly prepare your design files for printing, debossing, letterpressing, embroidering, screenprinting and more. My experience working closely with production teams and equipment provides me with a versatile knowledge of printing methods and requirements. Before delivering any final artwork files, I always gather the necessary specifications for your project from your preferred vendor. I’m also happy to recommend a printer or other vendor if you have not already chosen one to work with.




What prompts you to turn down a project inquiry?


While I try to take on as many projects as I reasonably can, there are several factors that will prompt me to turn down a client inquiry:

1. Current Availability. If you need your project completed within a timeframe that does not work with my current schedule, I have no option but to turn it down as I cannot compromise the deadlines of my other already booked (and paying) clients.

2. Budget. I try to make my services affordable to a variety of clientele, however as a business owner and a normal human needing to make a living, I am limited to the exceptions I can make when it comes to my rates. It breaks my heart when I’m out of a client's budget. If that's the case for you, I hope that you will reach back out to me in the future when my rates are a better fit.

3. Scope + Style. I love maintaining a diverse portfolio — both style-wise and clientele. However, sometimes, a project or the client is just not a good fit. Depending on the project scope, the overall desired style and the goals you intend to reach with this project, I simply may not be the right designer or creative director for you. I’m happy to refer you to other creatives within my network if I think they might be a better resource.

4. Lack of Professionalism or Respect. I am grateful that I’ve only had a couple situations where I’ve had to turn down or end work early with a client due to unprofessionalism or disrespect. As an independent creative, I am not your employee and you do not have the right to treat me as so. This includes micro-managing, governing my work schedule, threatening to not pay and any other discernible act or attempt that violates my terms and our Designer / Client agreement.




What can a graphic designer do that I can’t do? / Why should I invest?


As an experienced designer, I do more than just put my creative skills to work. I bring to the table years worth of studying and practicing numerous design principles. It’s vital to understand how to use design elements to transmit the required messages and values, as well as evoke a certain feeling in the viewer. As a visual communicator, I leverage these design elements and use tools such as color, typography, space, balance, form and lines to create a client’s visual message. Aside from (and just as critical as) aesthetics, my experience and training provides me with a strong understanding of the more technical aspects of design required to create both print and digital assets for a client. This expertise ensures things like proper file setup for print vs. digital materials, quality artwork for logos and illustrations, clear and knowledgeable communication between web developers, production teams and other vendors, understanding how to develop easy web navigation for the user experience, and so on.




What else is involved as part of the work you produce?


Besides turning a client’s vision, brand image and messaging into a graphic display, I undertake many other specialty tasks throughout each project. These tasks include: attending meetings with the client and potential collaborators; researching the client’s audience, industry and competitors; creating and presenting presentations that explain potential designs; multiple rounds of revisions; preparing and organizing asset files for client use; and more.




How do you come up with a design? / What’s your process?


All projects are unique, however I follow on basic design process for most. This process involves a consultation and sometimes an audit, researching, brainstorming, gathering inspiration and creating mood boards to set the direction of the project. Example: For Brand Design projects, I generally develop 2-4 concepts (usually narrowed down from around 10 initial concepts) which I present to the client. From there, I refine the chosen concept and produce drafts of each deliverable, sometimes requiring 2-3 rounds of revisions to finalize. Additional revision rounds are subject to additional fees. Learn more about my process here.




I have a PDF document that I need to change, can you edit it?


This is a question I get asked often from both new and repeat clients. A PDF (Portable Document Format) is a file format that has captured all the elements of a designed document as an electronic image that you can view, print, or forward to someone else. The best way to make changes is to go back to the native design file (Adobe Indesign or Illustrator), make changes, and then remake the PDF. Although it is sometimes possible to edit PDFs, this is not a recommended way of making a change, as the original design file will not have your updated changes and you may not have the correct fonts (which is important for brand consistency). For repeat clients only, I do offer to recreate PDFs with necessary materials supplied.




Can you just pull my logo from my website?


If you didn’t hire me to design your visual brand identity system, when starting a design project you will be asked to supply your company logo(s) as an EPS file as this is the native design file. The logo on your website will most likely be a jpg or png, and will be sized specifically for web – this means that when it is enlarged it will be pixelated and blurry. An EPS ( Encapsulated Post Script) file is the standard file type for logo creation and can be blown up to any size without losing quality. They also have a transparent background so can be used on other colors rather than having a white box around them.

So no, I cannot and will not grab your logo or any other brand elements from your website or other existing materials. You will need to have your high quality, native asset files on hand and ready to share with me before beginning any project.




What do you need from me? / What are my responsibilities as the client?


It is imperative that clients provide ALL of the necessary content in a timely manner and it is their responsibility to review and 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 Monday - Friday 9:00 to 5:00 EST – which is done predominately via email.

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-estimated along with a resume fee before work may again commence.




Can you put it in a format that I can edit?


This is a question that is also asked pretty often, but unfortunately the answer is usually no. As a professional designer, I use specialized graphic design software, for example Adobe Creative Suite, so unless you or someone on your team has access to and a strong knowledge of this software it wouldn’t be possible or recommended to edit it yourself. See my response to editing PDFs.




Can you use this image I found online?


Images pulled from the web are often low-resolution and do not reproduce well on printed pieces. They may be okay to use in a digital piece, like a newsletter or social media, but not in a print product. The other consideration is copyright and permission to use that image. If you need to source an image, I have access to stock libraries where a license can be purchased to use that image. Certain projects include a limited amount of stock assets in their starting price, however certain resources may require additional costs that will be added to your final project invoice. Don’t worry, I will never purchase and use any stock assets without clear communication and approval from you first.




Will you do a free mock up design?


You mean, will I do a quick mock up for you, so that you can know what my ideas are on your project before you hire me for it? That’s a hard no.

I don’t do spec work for free, as that still requires my valuable ( and billable) time and would be making what begins as my intellectual property ( original design work) vulnerable to plagiarism and theft. You are welcome to take a look at my portfolio, though, to make sure my style and capabilities are right for your project!




What kinds of clients do you typically work with?


My client base spans various industries including medical professionals, manufacturers, realtors and developers, builders, architects and interior designers, social and environmental activists, cannabis, consumer goods, artists and other creative entrepreneurs.

I also partner frequently with digital marketing agencies, advertising and publishing companies, web/application developers, and even interior designers to provide creative design and direction for their client projects.




What do I need to get a project started?


An approved quote/proposal, a paid deposit and an organized compilation of any copy/company info, existing assets or other materials you want included in the design work. Fill out a project inquiry to get started!




How and when will I receive my design project once it is finished?


A finished project is yours upon receipt of final payment. At your request, I will supply the electronic files to you via Google Drive, Dropbox, or through e-mail. I also keep a copy of your project on file for later updates. However, should you lose your copies, I can only guarantee backup storage for 6 mos. after project completion.




Do you have reviews from past clients?


Yes! Many of my clients have happily shared their experience working with me. You can view them here.





Branding

Do you offer brand strategy services?


For clients who have only just begun to outline their brand’s strategy, I am available to help guide the process, exploring personalities, attributes, value propositions, messaging, tone, image and more. However, I only offer brand strategy assistance to brand design clients.




Do you offer logo design only?


Not anymore. While logos are an important asset, there is so much more to building a brand than just a few marks. I cringe at the thought of sending a client on their way with just a logo, maybe a font or two, and nothing else to support their new identity. If you’re even considering hiring a professional designer to design your logo, it’s worth the investment to have them design your complete Visual Brand Identity System and perhaps assist with strategy too. See my Brand Design service description.




Do you offer rebranding services for existing businesses?


I do take on some rebranding clients, depending on the extent to which they are wanting to “rebrand”. Usually when a company is looking to re-brand, they are looking for the whole brand identity package, rather than simply updated a color or font. These re-design projects can often times be more involved than a new brand because of all the existing media coverage that the brand currently has. Also, the time, skill, and tasks required are often the same as that of a brand design project for a new business, therefore deserving the same rate. Please fill out a project inquiry.




Do you help with business naming?


No. While I’m happy and experienced enough to assist with some brand strategy work, I do not help with business naming. Choosing a name, tag line and any other associated slogans involves quite a bit of research to make sure it is not infringing on any existing brand names and/or trademarks, and I am not willing to take on that responsibility. You must have, at minimum, a secured and protected business name before beginning any brand design project with me. This protects both my time and your investment, as I will have to charge full price to start over should you find out your desired business name is unavailable or risks copyright infringement.




Do you offer copywriting?


Copywriting can be added to any packaged service, such as Web Comps Design, and is an available On-Going Creative Service for returning clients. I don't claim to be an expert writer or editor, but I do have experience with creative, on-brand messaging for some industries, so please note if you're interested in copywriting in your project inquiry and we will discuss further during our consultation.




How many logo options will you provide?


I want to make this clear from the beginning … I don’t do canned logos. I will pitch you a custom look based on your needs. For most clients, I only pitch 2-4 very well-thoughtout, completely custom concepts. These usually include multiple options/variations of each, but usually, I have a strong idea of what will represent your brand well, and I can capture it in the first few shots. That said, if you hate it, I will throw it out the window and return to the drawing board.




How prepared do I need to be to begin a brand identity project?


I require all of my new brand design clients to fill out and submit a thorough questionnaire covering business details like the official registered name, any slogans or trademarks, and contact info. This survey also dives into brand strategy, prompting you to think critically about your value proposition, personality and attributes, tone of voice, market positioning, target audiences, mission and more. The stronger grasp you have on your brand's framework, the better I'm able to help bring it to life through a visual identity system.




What's the difference between hiring you and sourcing a site like Fiverr or UpWork for a logo design?


I've been asked this more than you would imagine. A straight-forward answer is: you get what you pay for. This is in no way a bash at designers who offer services through these platforms as I myself have provided work for their customers. But, just like any other designer providing on-demand services, I only put forth the effort I thought deserving of the extremely low rates. While these sources may be sufficient for some businesses, you really miss out on the opportunity for a more stratigic, well-thoughtout and finely crafted design that's possible with an independent designer or agency. Hiring a designer who is a good match for you, your business and your specific project(s) is an important investment. Unlike hiring a random designer through Fiverr or Upwork, you'll have my full attention. I will take the time to learn about your business, your industry and your goals, and then apply that to creating a fully custom, intuitive design rather than throwing together something as fast as I can so that I can move on to the next.





Digital

Do you build websites, or just design how they'll look?


Both! However, more and more of my web design projects have been focusing on the user interface ( overall flow and appearance). This service is called Web Design Comps ( short for comprehensives) where I will literally map out how each web page should look and be organized, in detail. I then hand over the set of "Site Plans", as I like to call them, along with a Design System Manual that specs all design elements and UI components for the web developers to follow when building the actual site.

For more information on how a full web design + build or a web design comps project works, please contact me directly.




Do you offer hosting services?


No. Linsey Gray Creative is not a digital marketing agency or web developing company. For the few sites I do design and fully build, the client must set up and pay for their own domain and hosting services. I do provide basic training on how to make general updates to your new site, but I do not have the bandwidth to provide on-going support for any websites that I design.

To ensure your new site continues functioning properly, and is successful in lead gen and any other goals you have for it, consider hiring a web developer in which I can collaborate with, or I can recommend a digital expert to build and/or maintain your new site. See my perferred partners for digital marketing assistance.




What does web design cost?


Each web design project is different and therefore requires different scope and pricing. However, all web design services begin at $3,000 and go up depending on whether or not I'll be designing and building, or just providing a set of comps, how many pages your site will need, the complexity of the site, if any iconography, custom illustration or stock media is needed, and more. Please see my Web Design Comps service description or contact me directly to learn more.




Do you offer website maintenance/SEO?


No. Linsey Gray Creative is not a digital marketing agency or web developing company. For the sites I do design and fully build, the client must either maintain their site themselves or hire an agency to do so for them. I do provide basic training on how to make general updates to your new site and basic SEO maintenance skills, but I do not provide on-going support for any websites I design. To ensure your new site continues functioning properly, and is successful in lead gen and any other goals you have for it, consider hiring a web developer in which I can collaborate with, or I can recommend a digital expert to build and/or maintain your new site. See my perferred partners for digital marketing assistance.




Do you offer content creation?


No. Currently, I do not have the bandwidth to provide content creation for social media or other marketing campaigns. Content creation is typically an on-going need for any client and involves way more communication and business/brand involvement than my schedule can handle. I highly recommend hiring an experienced Content Creator who understands how to follow branding guidelines, producing content that remains on-brand while successfully executing any campaign.




Do you design digital advertisements?


Yes! Through my experience in both agency and corporate settings, I've designed various types of digital ads over the years. While I don't provide ad placement services, I can provide you with the graphics for social media ads, website banners, static and animated ads, digital publication ads and more. Digital ad design is available as an On-Going Creative Service to repeat clients only, or as an add-on to a packaged design service.





Payments + Fees

What are your rates?


My standard design rate starts at $90 per hour and extends to $125 per hour depending on the complexity, scope and timeline of the project.

However, not all projects are billed at an hourly rate. Most of my new client services start at a flat rate and sometimes require additional fees at my hourly rate depending on the scope. This will be determined during the initial client consultation and project estimate phases.

Any on-going creative services will be charged at my hourly rate.




Do you charge rush fees?


Yes. WHEN I accept it, there is a 150%-200% rate increase for expedited design work that I am able to squeeze into my schedule. The scope of work and timeframe will determine the % increase. Never assume that I am able to take on a rush project as I regularly maintain a full schedule that cannot be compromised out of respect to my other clients.




What payments do you accept?


All invoices can be paid electronically with debit card, credit card or via PayPal. I also except checks and will provide detailed instructions on how to do so if that's your preferred payment method.




When is payment required?


Every project is different and therefore poses different costs and requirements. However, I require 50% down upon booking any new client packaged service. This secures your spot in my client queue and ensures that I’m compensated for any opportunity I may have had to turn down to fit your project into my schedule. Other payment options can be arranged for higher priced jobs, such as equal installments scheduled throughout the project.

Specific payment schedules and requirements will be included in your initial quote and must be finalized and agreed upon by all parties before any work on the project begins.

Final invoice balances must be paid in full before any final deliverables are sent to the client.




Do you charge extra for stock material used in a project?


Yes and no. Depending on the project and the scope we agreed on, a certain amount of stock content may be included. However, any stock materials that surpass the agreed upon amount or that simply may have a higher cost will be added to the final balance invoice, and sometimes may require upfront payment depending on the pricetag.

Don't worry, I will never purchase any stock material before getting your approval first.




Do you provide pro-bono work or discounted rates?


To maintain universal professionalism and fairness, I do not offer “discounted rates” outside of retainer contracts. However, one or two pro-bono projects may be accepted per year. There are certain criteria that need 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 reach out for more info on pro-bono projects.




If you have an hourly rate, why to you set certain services/packages at a starting flat price?


For larger, more complex and intuitive projects, like brand or web design, charging hourly is not the way to go. Trust me, you don’t want to pay me by the hour for these services. While each starting rate is based on the estimated average time needed for each service, most tend to require additional time simply due to the nature of the work. Depending on HOW MUCH additional time is needed, those flat starting rates will increase and be reflected in my initial proposal if I'm able to anticipate them at that time. If the scope of work changes during the project, and/or extensive revisions are needed, additional costs will be added to the final balance invoice. Know that I will always communicate anytime I forsee the need for additional costs.





Availability

Are you available for regular on-going design work?


I do accept a select number of retainer contracts throughout the year based on availability, scope of work requested, and terms presented by the contracting client. To inquire, please send me an email briefly explaining the type of work being requested, how often it will be needed, and your budget.




Are you available for full-time hire?


While I don’t like to be hasty in turning down rewarding opportunities, I am currently unavailable for full-time hire. I have worked in both agency and corporate settings, serving senior graphic designer, art director and creative director positions. I credit a large portion of my skills to those valuable experiences. However, the decision to become a full-time entrepreneur has been the best decision I’ve made for my career and personal well-being.

As the owner and sole designer of Linsey Gray Creative, my clients deserve 100% of my professional attention and creative energy.

But before you leave in disappointment, I am open to contract opportunities! Please email me directly for inquiries on retainer availability.




How much lead time do you require for a new project?


Depending on my current availability, I typically require 4-6 weeks notice for all new clients before beginning a project, longer if my schedule is really full. Sometimes I’m able to fit smaller projects in earlier depending on the scope/complexity, however I do reserve the right to charge a rush fee/rate in those circumstances.

Also, keep in mind that most projects require a lot of information and content from the client. Your efficiency in gathering and supplying me with those materials can delay the start of your project.

Unless my current schedule is booked further out than usual — and you've provided all necessary material — I can almost always find a place within my client queue for your project to begin within 4-6 weeks of your inquiry.




Are you available/willing to collaborate with marketing, advertising, or PR agencies?


Absolutely — I love to collaborate with other creatives! I work regularly with a handful of locally and regionally based marketing/PR agencies, media and publishing companies, as well as web developers and other designers who need some extra help. If you're feeling overwhelmed with client work or just want an extra set of creative eyes on your project, please contact me directly.




Can I have it back today?


Being in a deadline driven industry, I am used to delivering under pressure. But due to my steady workload, scheduling a job into my current client queue will take time. It’s always recommended to allow extra time for your project and set realistic time frames to include all revision and approval steps. Recommended time frames vary depending on size and complexity of each project. An estimated timeline will be included with your initial project proposal. Also, it’s just plain inconsiderate to any creative to request a same-day (or even same week) turn-around, especially if you are a new client with which the designer has not previously worked with.





Terms + Policy

Are you willing to sign a non-compete agreement while working on my project?


No. As an independent designer, I cannot afford to miss the opportunity to work with other clientele, even if they may be your competitor. Please know that I do maintain a code of ethics and will never expose any sensitive information before, during or after our time working together. And if you have a new product or service that needs to remain confidential until an official launch, I am more than willing to wait to share any portion of the project with colleagues, other clients, or the public through my social media or website until I have your full permission to do so.




Do you provide support after project completion?


Once a project has been paid for in full and all deliverables are in your hands, my job is done. The only exception is if you find an error on my part within those deliverables, in which case I will correct right away. For additional design services, you may inquire about my next availability to fit you in as a repeat client.




How often do you charge additional fees?


I try to remain as transparent as possible from the consultation to the hand-off, however, sometimes additional costs are inevitable due to changing scope, unanticipated additional materials (like stock imagery), or extensive revisions. Any need for additional fees will be communicated immediately.




Are you currently licensing any design work?


Currently, I am not licensing any design work, however that is something I've been working on inbetween client projects. If you have a specific design in mind that you'd be interested in licensing from me, please contact me directly.

Otherwise, an announcement will be made if and when I make any work available for license.




What do you do with the work product during and after project completion?


Because the nature of my business relies heavily on my portfolio and client referrals, I reserve the right to use any work product ( sketches, notes, process work and completed files) in my professional portfolio on my website and across my social media platforms. If your project is sensitive to exposure before an official launch, please let me know in the beginning and I will delay sharing it/including it in my portfolio until the agreed upon time. Rest assured knowing that I will not sell, license or copy any portion of your project to any outside parties.




What if I don't like the work you provided?


Then we throw it out the window and start over. Throughout my experience, I’ve become well-versed in many different styles. Chances are, I can give you the look you are going for. If you hate the first draft, I am capable of doing a complete 180 and starting in a new direction. Usually, the questionnaire that you will answer at the beginning of the project helps me get a feel for the look, so it isn’t often that clients feel like my work greatly misses the mark… but I’m not perfect. When I do miss, I make sure to get it right.




Will I and/or my business own the work or will you?


As is industry standard, I retain ownership of all design work and reserve the right to use it in my portfolios (which is totally normal). As the purchaser, you will have exclusive, unlimited use and reproduction license on the designs I create for you. This means that YES, you own your logo and you can do whatever you would like to do with the files. You can take all the original Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop files wherever you would like except sell any portion of it for profit to a party outside of your business. (Exception: If you were to sell your entire business and its assets). See below for official usage terms.




What are your policies on project usage?


Designs are to be used by the client and the client only, unless otherwise specified. Any usage of said materials/designs by outside parties must be negotiated and authorized by Linsey Gray Creative at an additional fee to be determined. Original artwork/designs created by Linsey Gray Creative are Copyrighted and may not be reproduced/edited in any form or sold for profit without written consent and authorization.

Linsey Gray Creative retains personal rights to use the completed project and any preliminary designs for the purpose of marketing the studio’s business and addition to LGC’s portfolio.

Important note regarding original source files: Linsey Gray Creative retains ownership of ALL original native/raw layered project source files. Said ownership is retained by way of Copyright and Intellectual Property of the designer. Clients receive final projects in the format specified in the contract – which may be a .jpeg, .png, .pdf, .eps, etc.





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