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But how do I pay for it?

Posted by on Jun 26, 2014 in Ads, Blog, Branding, Brochures, Business analysis (including marketing strategy), Business Cards, Catalogs, Conference Marketing Materials, Corporate Identity, Corporate Stationary, Custom Illustration, Fliers, For Slider, General Business, Information Architecture, LAMP Server Maintenance, Logos, Marketing, Presentation Folders, Product Literature, SEO, Social Media, Usability, Web Design | Comments Off on But how do I pay for it?

But how do I pay for it?

Given what you may have already read elsewhere on the web about web design and development, one thing you might be asking yourself is “how do I pay for it?” Though my rates are pretty reasonable given the industry average of $50/hr (you can read more about what web designers charge here), I do realize that many people wanting a web site don’t necessarily have a large budget to do everything they’d like. I’ve worked with a number of clients whose budgets have ranged from a few hundred dollars for a basic online presence, to those with upwards of $1,000. One thing a client needs to understand when doing such work while remaining within their budgetary constraints is that they can establish the basics then always expand when they can budget more for additional functionality or other addons. This works well for those with minimal funding, and I often find them returning for more when they’re ready to do so. They stay happy—which keeps me happy—and I remain gainfully employed. I also do fairly large web sites of course, complete with all the functionality a client might need as well as anything else dictated by their specific requirements (e.g., custom page layouts, additional graphic design, custom logos for use in their web sites, etc.) for those who have the budget to have such work done. You can browse a selected range of my web work via my web site portfolio, which includes work I’ve done where costs ranged anywhere from $400 for a smaller, complete web site, to tens of thousands of dollars over the course of a few years, where such work included ongoing site maintenance  and a number of regular revamps (e.g., converting sites that I did a few years back to those based on today’s responsive design frameworks). How much you spend and can have done for that amount is really up to you and your budget. What you can expect regarding what you get for your money is explained fairly well here. Providing value for my clients As a freelance professional, the most important thing for me in the work that I do is to provide value for my clients, regardless of their working budget. It’s my belief that everything I do for a client should be of high quality within the scope of a project, simply because I both support the notion that the customer is always right (something I picked up working for a number of larger corporations), and thoroughly believe in customer satisfaction. That said, I also believe maintaining such relationships often involves an educational process to some degree (depending on the client, but especially true in the case of web site development and design) and that effective communication is paramount to the successful completion of a project and that ensuing satisfaction. Clients of mine appreciate this philosophy, which you can read about here. …everything I do for a client should be of high quality within the scope of a project, simply because I both support the notion that the customer is always right, and thoroughly believe in customer satisfaction. So, how do I pay for it? Whether you’re looking for custom graphic work like web banners, including all manner of ad layouts, printed brochures, trade show banners or other printed material or you’d like to know more about re-branding your professional identity (e.g., logo development), or you’re thinking about a web site for your large or small business (eCommerce or other); whether you’re an individual or larger group of people who manage(s) a small or larger business or an educational or non-profit organization of any size, please don’t hesitate...

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The Fine Print: other graphic work of mine

Posted by on Jun 20, 2014 in Ads, Blog, Brochures, Business Cards, Corporate Stationary, Custom Illustration, Fliers, For Slider, Presentation Folders | Comments Off on The Fine Print: other graphic work of mine

The Fine Print: other graphic work of mine

Most folks I talk to in the course of my daily business realize that graphic design is a creative process that combines art and technology to communicate ideas (a unique message, if you will), the end result of which allows us to convey that message to a particular audience for some sort of purpose. In the web-related and other graphic work that I do, the goal of that message is usually to get people to buy things from us, subscribe to something we’re oftering, etc. (what we call “conversions” in the marketing world), and is associated with what’s called “conversion marketing,” which is relevant to all of the work that I do.  I talk about it in the second half of this post. I use Adobe’s Creative Cloud (CC) applications to do the brunt of my graphic work, using mostly a combination of Photoshop®, Illustrator®, and InDesign®. I’ve been using Adobe’s applications since the mid-nineties, and feel they suit my purposes best. Though there are a number of open-source and other vendors’ applications available (a number of which are truly good, if not great tools), I’ve yet to find something that will do the job as well or better, perhaps with the exception of Microsoft’s Visio® in one respect, which I use for flow-charting and page comp purposes when I’m working on larger projects where information architecture and usability are paramount. That said, as great as Adobe’s applications are, even they can’t do everything as well as I’d like. For instance, though Photoshop does provide specific functionality that allows you to re-size images, the result of doing so using Photoshop can leave some things to be desired (e.g., re-sizing text in images can be problematic, resulting in a sort of lossy effect where the text loses the sharpness it had before the process). To work around such limitations, I also use tools like OnOne Software’s Perfect Photo Suite in conjunction with Photoshop which, when used properly, provides very pleasing results. I also use color scheme generator tools like Adobe’s Kuler when determining the colors that will work well together in a specific project, whether I’m working on graphic illustration or someone’s web site. Lastly, with respect to my graphic work, my process often includes the development (where required) and application of proper branding for a client. A client may already be satisfied with how they brand (their corporate identity) themselves, or may find they’re in need of a branding refresh (e.g., they might be after a newly designed logo which could be used in all their printed matter and online content). I also talk more about branding toward the bottom of this post. Conversion marketing Conversion marketing is generally thought of as an eCommerce phrase most commonly used to describe the act of converting site visitors into paying customers; although different sites and physical businesses may consider a “conversion” to be some sort of result other than a sale. Examples include sales of products, membership registrations, newsletter subscriptions, software downloads, or just about any activity beyond simple page browsing or window shopping. The desired action can take many forms, varying from site to site, or in the case of printed matter, physical business to business. One example of an online conversion event other than a sale is if a customer were to abandon an online shopping cart, the company could market a special offer, e.g., free shipping, to convert the visitor into a paying customer. A company may also try to recover a potential buyer who leaves their site through an online engagement method such as proactive chat in an attempt to assist the...

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Urban Garden Connections

Posted by on Jun 20, 2014 in Brochures, Custom Illustration, Logo Gallery, Logos, Portfolio, Web Site Gallery | Comments Off on Urban Garden Connections

Urban Garden Connections

Type of work: design and development of two full web sites, including the use of Google map mashups, for the umbrella organization for the Bronx and Manhattan Land Trusts (community gardens). Work also included the design of a multi-use logo for these sites, as well as a three panel brochure which was used in securing a six-figure grant for one of the community gardens in Manhattan. Website urls: www.manhattanlandtrust.org; www.bronxlandtrust.org Platform:...

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QR Codes: the next greatest thing?

Posted by on May 31, 2011 in Ads, Blog, Brochures, Business Cards, Catalogs, Conference Marketing Materials, Corporate Stationary, Custom Illustration, Fliers, For Slider, General Business, Logos, Presentation Folders, Product Literature | Comments Off on QR Codes: the next greatest thing?

QR Codes: the next greatest thing?

Just about anyone who drives down Route 73 through Keene, NY has a smartphone of some kind. An iPhone, or an Android, or one from the other handful of flavors that permeate the current market. One equipped with a camera. And if there’s even a smidgen of truth to the statistics reported by Clarkson’s Adirondacks Business Center, that means there’s about 1.6 million of them traveling through town yearly. 1.6 million of them, those smartphones, accompanied by potential customers. Give or take, that is. What does this mean for local businesses? Imagine this: techno-savvy customers pull into your parking lots to check out your wares, perhaps get a bite to eat, or secure a room for the night or longer. They note the ads in your windows, your room-rates, or the prices on your menus. Perhaps the tickets you’ve attached to the furniture you’ve got for sale. You sell them something, something they like, great food, comfortable beds, the unique knick-knack or three. Being more than pleased with their purchasing experience, they whip out their smartphones, and take pictures of one of those QR codes you thoughtfully had embedded in your marketing literature or price tags. They then process the pictures they took using an application that converts QR codes into legible information for storage on their smartphones and voila: they’ve got access to your digital content on the [mobile] web, enabling to them to connect their mobile devices to a web browser, allowing them to easily find your place of business again. For example: I could easily place copies of the above flyer in strategic business locations, especially high traffic areas. Folks in need of the sort of assistance I offer might then photograph the QR code embedded in the doc and refer to it later upon their return to the office. I could also spice up the ad a bit if I wanted to, by adding, e.g., links to discount coupons customers could print out, lending to the enticement. QR codes can also be used by potential customers to spread your  word (you know, that great marketing info you had coded into your QR codes) to others, via email, instant messages (IMs), and SMS (short message service), greatly enhancing the potential for repeat and new business. According to Jeff Korhan, over at the Social Media Examiner: Quick Response codes (QR codes) and other two-dimensional codes are expected to achieve widespread use this year – and for good reason. Consumers want immediate access to what’s relevant and QR codes are being used to make that possible.   Jeff goes on to explain more about QR codes themselves. Their origins, how they’re produced, the various benefits they provide. See his site if you’d like to know more in general about them. One last thing before closing: all this isn’t to say that the addition of QR codes to your literature is some sort of magic bullet that’s going to fix everything that might be wrong with a business. Only a business owner can do that, perhaps with the assistance of a sound business analysis. But QR codes certainly can’t hurt, and if what they’re saying about their coming role is true, they can certainly help a lot. If you’re interested in pursuing the use of QR codes yourself, why not touch base with me, your local expert. Consults are free, and I love to meet new people. –...

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