You got questions?
I got answers … hopefully.
See below for a bevy of information including questions about design projects, timing and cost, and how to know if we’ll be a good fit. Don’t see your question here, email me directly and ask!
General Design Shit
What are all the different file types and when how do I know which one to use and when?
There are A LOT of different file types on the market today, many of which the average user might not understand when and where to use, much less be able to open.
One of the most important things to know when it comes to file formats is the difference between raster and vector.
A raster file is an image made of hundreds of tiny squares of color information, referred to as pixels. The most common type of raster graphic is a photograph.
A vector file uses math to draw basic geometric shapes using points, lines and curves. A vector image is scalable, meaning it can be increased or decreased in size without compromising quality.
Here’s a brief overview of the most common file types you might encounter.
.ai (Adobe Illustrator)
Adobe Illustrator is software program used within the design industry to create vector artwork. Vector files are ideal for things like logo design because they can be scaled up or down without affecting image quality. Adobe Illustrator is required to open and edit an .ai file.
.eps (Encapsulated PostScript)
This file format is supported by most graphic, illustration, and page layout programs and is usually the preferred format for design professionals as it can be opened in multiple programs such as Illustrator and Photoshop. These files can be resized but not directly modified without specialty design software, similar to an .ai file. This format is what I provide to my logo design clients.
.gif (Graphics Interchange Format)
A low resolution file format typically used for web, email and basic animation. This format has a maximum of 256 colors and is therefore not appropriate for most photographs. If you use the internet at all, you’re likely familiar with gifs. Particularly because I’m obsessed with them.
.jpg or .jpeg (Joint Photographic Experts Group)
A compressed image file format used for digital photos and web graphics. This format uses what’s called “lossy” compression, meaning image quality decreases with file size. Essentially, the smaller the file size, the crappier the image quality. It also doesn’t support a transparent background and thus, forces a white background to your graphic. This is the format of most digital photographs, like the ones you take on your phone.
.pdf (Portable Document Format)
A universal file format that can preserve and embed fonts, images, and layouts. These are great for sharing and viewing online as well as printing. PDFs can be viewed on many different platforms without the need for the original program the document was created in and can even be created from Word and PowerPoint.
.png (Portable Network Graphics)
A high-quality file format that utilizes lossless data compression and retains better image quality. PNGs are the native file format for screenshots you take on your computer and they include transparency, unlike jpgs which force a white background.
.psd (Photoshop Document)
Photoshop is another Adobe creative program used primarily by industry professionals. PSD files are typically raster files made up of tiny dots, that when enlarged or reduced significantly in size, lose quality and become pixelated.
.tiff (Tagged Image File Format)
Ideal for photographic images, .tiff files are like the bigger, better looking brother of the .jpg. Higher in quality, but not vector based, they are good for print production as they are uncompressed. However, the file size does tend to be quite a bit larger than most other file formats.
.svg (Scalable Vector Graphics file)
.svg files use an XML-based text (code) format to describe how the image should appear. Like an .ai file, an .svg file can be scaled up or down without losing quality. These files are commonly used in web design to create scalable graphics that are small in size.
What is image resolution and why do I care?
If your project contains items for both print and web mediums, resolution is very important. In Layman’s terms, resolution is basically the same as image quality. By definition, it’s a term used to describe the number of pixels in an image. It also describes the overall amount of information in that image.
To consider it very simply, higher resolution = more detail. Lower resolution = less detail. As general rule of thumb, screen (or web) resolution is 72 dpi (dots per inch). Print resolution is 300. Comparing images from screen to print is very inaccurate as they require different resolutions. Remember the rule of thumb and you’ll be good to go.
Web: 72 dpi
Print: 300 dpi
I’m gonna pull some photos off Google to use in my project, cool?
No. Not cool, for a number of reasons. The biggest being that these images do not belong to you, nor do you have rights to use them. Simply grabbing images from the web, without explicit use permission or licensing, could be copyright infringement. Just because an image is on the internet doesn’t make it free rein to use for whoever wants it. Don’t do this.
Secondly, there is a big difference between images for web and print when it comes to resolution. If your project contains any printed marketing materials, these images will be too low quality to use. See above question What is Resolution and Why do I Give a Shit.
The good news is that there are tons of places to obtain images that:
- will be suitable for a print medium
- are royalty-free; meaning they have alternative licensing, granting you the rights to use them, and
- are affordable; or hell—free even
Here are some of my favorites places to find images:
My prints don’t match my screen. What’s the deal?
Screen and paper are two very different things. The computer screen is like a flashlight, where it projects light. Paper, on the other hand, reflects light, which is highly dependent on the ambient, or natural light in the area. In order to see colors accurately on screen, your monitor needs to be calibrated (which the average user isn’t gonna do and doesn’t really need).
In addition to monitor calibration, there are a lot of other factors that go into reproducing colors accurately in print, especially on a low-end, desktop printer—most of which are complicated and confusing. Both paper and ink selection have an impact on color reproduction and finding the perfect match can take lots of time, experimentation, patience and money.
When you’re printing at home, you should expect color variations from what you’re seeing on screen, sometimes drastic ones. Assuming your design will be professionally printed, just know that what you’re printing at home does not represent the final printed product.
If you need a very specific color match in your print project, there is a solution for that, called Pantone Matching System, which is a propriety system of colors created to provide the most accurate color match. Make sure to let your designer know if this kind of color match is important to you.
Shit if You Wanna Hire Me
I have no idea where to begin. Can you help me?
Sure can. I offer consulting services specifically for this, which are easy, quick, and don’t require a huge financial commitment. Take a deep breath and meet me at Beer:30.
How much do you charge?
That’s a loaded question, akin to asking “How much does a car cost?” Or “How much is a house?”
Like a car or a house, there are a lot of variables that can affect price so there is no single fixed price. This is why it’s important for you to know your budget and understand your goals before embarking on a design project. Each client’s business is unique, and therefore, no two projects are alike. As such, custom estimates are provided for every project.
All that said, I encourage you to get in touch so we can discuss your specific needs and vision.
Who will I be working with if I hire a little creative?
Me, me, and me. And depending on the scale and scope of your project, possibly a couple of my personally recommended and hand selected colleagues to fill in the gaps where I lack. But mostly me.
Can you start on my project immediately?
Maybe? I’m a one-woman show and my schedule is carefully planned out so that I can serve all my clients in meeting their deadlines. If you’re interested in working together and have a strict timeline in mind, make sure to indicate it when you contact me. Depending on what my schedule looks like at the time of your inquiry, I very well may be able to start immediately.
I’m not located in your area, can we still work together?
Thanks to the miracle of the internets, yes—absolutely! Through Skype, Google and a gazillion other technological inventions, connecting virtually is easy, peasy. Most of my clients are not local to me, so I’m adept at managing projects long distance, making sure everyone stays informed.
How do I know if we’re a good match for one another?
Well, there’s no guarantee, so there is risk involved. Working with a designer is a lot like dating and compatibility is important. First and foremost, take a look at my work and make sure my style and aesthetic is something you like and you think would fit your project. Next, read my about page and get an idea of my personality. I’m definitely not for everyone and I’m ok with that.
Definitely read through my High Five on the about page, which are the primary values that I live and work by. If you strongly disagree with any of them, we may not be a good match.
Also take a look at the testimonials I’ve received from previous clients (in the yellow sections throughout the site). Some are short and sweet and others are quite detailed in regards to attentiveness and creativity.
Most importantly, we need to meet. Email communication is great, but hearing someone’s voice and seeing their facial expressions is a whole different type of connection, one which is vital to mutual respect and understanding and something I insist on.
If I book a project then cancel, will you refund my deposit?
Short answer: no.
In order to reserve space in my schedule for your project, all deposits are non-refundable. Holding this time for someone makes me unavailable for others and I often book projects weeks or months in advance. Therefore, if you decide not to move forward with your project, which I’ve held space for in my schedule, it may leave a gap that could have been utilized by someone else, which also means lost revenue for me.
What file types do I get when you design my logo?
Final logo files are delivered in multiple colorways and formats for ease of use across a variety of mediums. Logo design projects include the following file formats:
What if I need to change the scope of my project after we’ve started?
This happens quite a bit actually, particularly with small businesses experiencing rapid growth. I like to think forward with my clients and create projects that help future proof their business, at least for the short-term. I’m happy to add to our original project parameters, but keep in mind that additional costs and extended timelines will likely result. We’ll hash out all the specifics when and if they occur.
Do I really need a logo?
Maybe. Maybe not. This article might help you decide.