About Lena Questions

I am looking for a designer but I don't know any of you people. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself so I can get an idea of what kind of person you are?

Sure! I've always been an artist, but my formal degree is in Advertising Design and Illustration. I've done a lot of work both in the print industry, (where I learned the value of a production-oriented work ethic) and in the corporate world. (Where I learned I'd rather be a freelancer.) Working for myself allows me to take on a huge variety of work, and gives me the chance to constantly meet new people, and learn new things about their businesses and the way they do things. This is probably the most rewarding aspect of my job, and I'd recommend it to anyone.

Personally, I enjoy spending time with my husband, creating artwork, playing computer games, and cooking. I also enjoy learning how to make things, teaching, doting on my animals, and dreaming of cultivating a green thumb… and I seem to have a passion for spending too much time on the computer.

How long have you been in business?

I have been providing design services professionally as a full-time freelancer for 17 years.

What’s your specialty?

No two clients are alike, and no two projects are identical. I decided long ago that if I was going to have a specialty, it needed to be listening to people. I may have the experience in this job, but you are the only person who really knows what you want. No matter how good I am at building websites or designing a brochure, without knowing what you need, I may as well be working blindfolded.

Who will I work with on this project? Who does the actual design work?

Me and me. The only exception to this is if the project demands we bring in some additional help (writers, marketing, additional programming, etc). If that happens, we will discuss it and I will give you my recommendations. I have plenty of people I work with regularly, and have been thoroughly vetted by me personally.

Will you use my work on your website as a sample?

Its very possible I could use your work in my gallery or news area. However, I try to always give the name of your company and a linkback if possible. I would not post anything that I considered sensitive or I would ask first. However, if you have concerns about me posting some of your work, please let me know. If you would rather it not be posted, I'm happy to respect your wishes.

What happens if you go out of business or get hit by a bus?

I would be very, very sad. Or dead.

Seriously, I think what you are really asking is, "What will happen to my files if you go out of business?" I keep meticulous files, backups, and disks of your projects. You are free to request final files of your projects at any time. Regardless of actual circumstance, I would still have copies of your files and you are welcome to request them.

If I'm dead my husband has agreed to check my messages and give you copies of your files right after he has come out of his drunken, grieving stupor.

You host my website. What happens to my website(s) if you go out of business?

If for some reason I decided to stop offering web hosting, I would sell my accounts to a trusted 3rd party and alert everyone ahead of time so they would know I wasn't handling them any more.

Can you send me some samples?

You can see lots of samples in the portfolio area of this Web site. If you are trying to find a particular type of sample, let me know and I can look for something in the archives.

Will you show me a few of your ideas for my project so I can get a feel for your work?

I'm sorry, but I don't do work on speculation, but you can go look at my portfolio and see plenty of samples of previous work.

Why should I hire you for the job?

You should hire me only if you think I'm a good fit for you. I strive to be a good listener, understand your needs and wants, give you my professional opinion, and create something you are going to love... and a final great reason to hire me; I will actually return your phone call!

General Questions

How much does it cost?

Obviously, this depends on the work needed. Shoot me an email or give me a call to discuss your project. Once I have a clear understanding of your requirements, I can produce a quote for you with all the details and pricing for you to make an informed decision. If you want a general idea of costs, you can hop over to my rate sheet.

How long will it take to complete my project?

Turnaround time can be estimated by your project type, work involved, and current work schedule. Average graphic design projects take anywhere between 5 and 14 business days. Larger projects (like full website design) could take 1-3 months or more, depending on what needs to be done and my current schedule.

What’s included with my project?

Most projects include consultation, design, and press-ready files or final web-ready files. Eventually there may even be cake.

What do I need to provide?

This is up to you. I can help with all aspects of your project, or you can provide portions of it, such as writing, or logos. This would be addressed during the estimate stage so that everyone will have a clear idea of what is required at the outset of the project.

What if I’m not happy with the design?

Talk to me so we can discuss your concerns and come up with a great solution.

Who owns the design once it’s finished and paid for?

You do, that's what you're paying for! Exceptions to this would be uncommon and would be discussed before work starts.

Working Together

What are your working hours?

Most of my clients are working 9:00 – 5:00 so I like to maintain the same regular hours. I don't typically work on weekends unless we have arranged a rush job.

Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday - Friday. This excludes major holidays.

What is a typical project flow?

This is the typical project flow I follow:

  • Discussion: We talk about your project and the message you are trying to get out.
  • Estimate: After our discussion, I will provide you with a comprehensive estimate that covers specific items we discussed and costs associated with them.
  • Retainer: When you are ready to start on your project, you can send in a retainer to schedule the job.
  • Design and Proof: I will work on your project and provide a proof for you to review.
  • Changes/revisions: You will submit any changes to me after your review and I will send you another proof. Jobs normally includes 3 rounds of content changes. Additional changes are subject to additional charges.
  • Approval: After final design approval, your job will either be delivered to you, sent to the printer, or your website will be deployed (made live).
  • Billing: You will receive an invoice for the balance of the job to be paid within 15 days.
  • Remitted Payment: I receive the payment, dance a little jig, and go to the Bahamas.

How do deposits and payments work?

  • Design: A 50% deposit is required to schedule a job; balance due upon job completion, unless other arrangements have been made and agreed to by both of us.
  • Printing: All orders that involve printing must be pre-paid to schedule the press.
  • Web Hosting: Fees are due monthly, quarterly, or yearly (your decision) at the beginning of the cycle.
  • Payment Types: Check, money order, or cash. (Sadly, bananas and other produce will no longer be taken.) All invoices have a link to pay online. You can also make an online payment through the website. Automatic/Recurring payments through your credit card are also available through PayPal Payment Systems upon request and can be cancelled at any time.

How do estimates and invoices work?

Estimates are valid for 30 days from the proposal date. Unless otherwise noted, estimates do not cover taxes or shipping. Invoice totals may change if the specifics of the job have changed. Surprises on invoices aren’t good for anyone. We will discuss new or additional costs that will significantly affect your final invoice ahead of time. Updated estimates can be provided.

How long will it take to finish my job?

  • Graphic Design: Turnarounds vary due to complexity of job and my current schedule. A medium job averages 5–10 working days for the initial design to be given to you for review/approval (after you have provided all support materials). However, if you have a very complex project, this time can vary. After client approval, turnaround time is an additional 3-5 working days to complete the project. Feel free to ask for a turnaround time if one hasn't been provided to you.
  • Web Design: The average turnaround is 10–14 working days for the initial static design to be given to you for review/approval (after you have provided all support materials). However, if you have a very complex site, this time can vary. After client approval, turnaround time is typically an additional 15-25 working days to complete the site. After final approval, your site will go live.
  • Design and Web Changes: Minor design changes can usually be made and given to you for review/approval within 3 business days. If your changes are more complex, the turnaround time will be on a per-project basis determined by the current workload.
  • Printing: If your project requires printing, assume 10 additional working days to complete printing on top of your design time.

Do you offer rush fees?

Sometimes the normal turnaround just won’t cut it. Talk to me about your schedule so we can see if we can work something out. If we can’t do something within the normal time frame, you may find a rush fee beneficial.

  • General: Rush charges are not automatically added to a job. You will need to approve of the charges before work begins. Rush fees may or may not be available due to scheduling conflicts and are accepted on a per-job basis. If you feel that a rush charge would benefit your project’s time line, please speak to me to discuss options.
  • Rush Fees: Rush charges are based on the percentage of the cost of service. Add 25% for weekday rush jobs and 50% for weekend rush jobs with a $35 minimum rush fee.

What are my responsibilities as a client?

You are expected to provide anything that is not covered in the estimate to complete the job. These items could include:

  • Copy writing: Headlines and written content (body copy) needed for your project
  • Logos: Your company logo or affiliate logos
  • Photographs: Photographs of your business, employees, or stock photography
  • Illustration: Cartoons, graphs, or any other visual need that isn’t covered by photography
  • Video: Any videos or movies you might want to post on your site to get your message across

If you find that you need services in writing, illustration, search engine optimization, logo design, photography, or videography, let me know. I provide many of these services, but also have a great network of people to get your job done.