Understanding the 10 steps a design takes from Estimate to Invoice. Designers will have their own variation on the process. The following outlines the general practices of Ripple Design.
- Find a Designer: Referrals from peers are a great way to find a designer with a good reputation. Find examples of design pieces you like and contact the client if the designer is not listed.
- Discussion: Contact with the designer, in person or by phone/skype/email etc. to discuss the scope of your project. This is an opportunity to your goals, ideas and inspirations. Getting a strong sense of a project’s specifics and personality will aid in putting together an accurate estimate.
- Estimate: Not only will this document supply you with a cost estimate and an outline of the design process, it will also give you a sense of how well your projects has been understood by the designer. Do keep in mind that it is an estimate and not an exact quote. However, your estimate should not differ greatly from your final invoice without discussion in the mean time. Once the estimate has been approved and the deposit has been paid, it’s time to begin designing!
- Initial Draft: The first proof you will see. Depending on what was outlined in the Estimate, this will consist of one or more versions. This is the ideal point to communicate whether the design is on the right track. Discuss the project with the designer, if you’re not sure, have them explain their design choices. Share the document with others, their opinions can be very valuable.
- Revision: The revision process is most effective and efficient when done in an organized manner. Collect all your changes together before passing them on to the designer. See the article 10 Tips for working with a Graphic Designer for tips on doing this in a pdf proof. Major changes may be most easily described verbally.
- Second Proof: The project will then be returned to you with the prescribed changes made. Be sure to review it carefully to catch any final adjustments that need to be made before approval. A number of revision cycles may take place, especially if selecting between numerous options. Keep in mind that a finite number of cycles is included in the estimate and additional revisions may incur additional fees.
- Printed Proof: Once the design has been approved, and if the project is to be printed, the design will be sent to the printer of your choice. The printer will print a single copy of your project for you to review. It is important to get a hard copy proof made to see the actual size, colours, and quality of the final product.
- End Product: Ta da! You can collect your finished product confidently, knowing that you’ve participated throughout the design process. Your reviews and approvals ensure that your project is as you envisioned it.
- Other Final Files: Some projects are not destined for print, such as logos or website designs. In this case, your final product will be a copy of the files in the format set out in the estimate.
- Invoice: An invoice will be sent to you for the remaining balance owing. Unless otherwise agreed upon, payment is due upon receipt of the invoice and prompt payment is greatly appreciated.
Congratulations on your finished project. It’s been a pleasure working with you!