What to expect during a large design project
You likely know what service you need, or at least have a vague idea, and maybe you even know who you want to provide that service for you & how you want it done, but maybe you have no idea how much (if any) work you’ll need to put in. We’ve all been there!
This works for pretty much anything in the service industry, right? From home renovations (choosing furnishings, and countertops, and appliances, and paint colors, etc.), to graphic design, which is what I do!
Whether you have or haven’t worked with a graphic designer like me before, I’d be willing to bet you’re not sure what to expect, especially in a remote work or freelance situation.
Because I find myself explaining these kinds of things frequently, I know that there are a lot of you out there who have no idea & that’s okay! To help you out, I figured I’d fill you in on a little bit of what I expect from my own clients during a large project (like Branding or Web design).
5 things you can expect during a web design project
After you decide what you want, I’ll let you know if what I offer is a good fit for you, then I’ll make some suggestions about which of my packages may work the best for you & your business/situation.
I don’t want you to pay for more or less work than you actually need. I’m not trying to upsell you, or take on work that I know is outside of my skill set either. I’m really good at what I know, and that’s how I want to help!
1. DOCUMENTS & OTHER INFO
Boring stuff first, I’m afraid!
First I’ll send you a proposal (with details about what’s included) with options that seem to fit you best. You’ll be able to select the options you want in that form, which builds your invoice for you, so you'll know how the pricing changes as you select your options.
Once you fill out the proposal, you’ll have access to the contract & will be able to sign it digitally. It will outline what’s expected of both parties! Convenient, right? Everything all up front, right from the get go.
After you sign the contract, you’ll be able to access the invoice for the amount you approved in the proposal. From there you can make the first payment.
Payments can be made online with a card or from your bank account. My system doesn’t store that information unless you choose to have recurring (automatic) payments for the duration of that project. Mailed checks are also accepted, but I don’t send the receipt or apply the payment to your account until it has cleared.
After that, you’d officially be a new client! YAY!
Next you’d get a series of questionnaires so I can pick your brain and ask all the questions that help me figure out what you’re really looking for in your design.
A lot of non-creative people have trouble talking about what they want, and still others don’t even know what they want, so they can’t talk about it. My questionnaires try to pull specific information from you to help me piece that together, so long-winded answers are always welcome!
For example: if we’re working on a website project, your questionnaires for the Business-Newb plan would be a little different from those included in the Business-Savvy plan, because the latter allows for Shop setup.
what service(s) you provide
details for each, if there is more than one
the pricing for your services / service packages
your business bio
how your customers should contact you
submit photos you want to use
or if you don’t have any, whether you’d prefer free or paid stock photos
professional photos of you
whether you want to have a branded email
do you want to connect any social media platforms?
what you want your domain to be
whether you want to have an online booking system
portfolio, team, or product photos (if applicable)
do you want a blog
(if not, I have resources to point you to for those things)
☑️ YOUR PORTAL
Because all of that can be a lot to take in, all these documents will live in a Portal that is for you, and you alone.
You can access it any time with your own login, print out any of the above documents, check back through some of our emails, view your contact information, change/update information as needed and access any links I’ve provided for you (like the URL where your draft-site can be found for the duration of the project, any tutorial videos I’ve made for you, or the link to our project management information, etc.).
2. PROJECT MANAGEMENT
I use a project management tool for my projects, because there are so many moving parts. Right now that tool for me is ClickUp; it’s FREE & easy to learn/use.
I realize it can be a big ask for my clients to learn a new app just for this project, but it is imperative for both our sanities. 😂 It helps so much to have all of the information in one organized place, accessible to both parties (& their teams if need be), including the status of the each phase of the project, who is assigned what & when it’s due.
No more fishing through our inboxes or text messages with fingers crossed, hoping that email or text is still there so you/I can remember what was said.
I use ClickUp to put dates on the calendar when you or I will be unavailable, due dates for work submission & your feedback for my submitted work, so we can stay on schedule. Anything that is assigned to you will send you reminders about the due dates coming up so no one will forget (myself included!).
ClickUp is available on a web browser, desktop app, mobile app & syncs across all devices. Since it reminds you/I when a task is due, and we can mark it as complete, we can stay on task as we move through the project. You'll always know what's going on and what comes next. #nosurprises
3. ROUGH DRAFT & REVISIONS
Next we move onto the fun part! I’ll use everything you submitted to create your website using a 6 month free trial with Squarespace (as opposed to their usual 2 week trials if you DIY).
After the draft-site is completed, I’ll send you a rough-draft link to preview it. You’ll then be able to provide feedback on what changes you’d like to make either via form or quick phone call. That means no email attachment downloads for proofing, no texts of images, and no back & forth!
4. FINAL WORK-THROUGH
Once the final design is approved, I’ll begin going through to double check for technical things like finalizing your basic SEO implementation, checking connected accounts, any form submissions will go to the right email address, that any add-ons you asked for are working properly (Acuity, newsletter/email marketing setup), etc.
5. GOOD COMMUNICATION
☑️ HOW I COMMUNICATE WITH YOU:
Phone calls are by appointment only (so I can separate my work time from my family time, because that’s important to me; I also have my own business to run, so I can’t be available for phone calls at all times).
Video chats are also by appointment, whenever needed and I like to schedule at least one per project so we can meet face-to-face and get a feel for each other’s personality!
Most of my clients aren’t in my city or state, so in-person meetings are not possible in most cases, though I’m definitely open to them if you’re truly nearby.
I also send video tutorials to literally walk you through how to use the tools like ClickUp, Squarespace, and Google Drive or Dropbox (where I’ll store your final files for you to download & I’ll explain what’s in there & where to use it).
☑️ HOW YOU COMMUNICATE WITH ME:
The most important part of having a great experience is communication. I can’t stress that enough, especially when working with someone remotely. I can’t know what you don’t tell me, because I can’t read your mind!
When you submit your pre-work/homework questionnaires, you can upload information as attachments.
Email is great, as long as it’s not information I’ll need to hunt down later for the project (such as content or images for the website, etc.). We all forget things though, so if you slip up on that one, I’ll remind you by saying that I’ll put that information in ClickUp for easier reference.
I’ll continue to encourage you to keep as much info as possible in ClickUp, so we can both find & keep track of it easily! Plus, when the project is done & the support period is over, it makes it easy for me to archive or delete all of that (sometimes sensitive) information, protecting your privacy!
Family is a huge priority for me, but I also tend to be a workaholic, because I absolutely love what I do!
That being the case, please know that if you were to email me at 11pm, I will not be replying before 8am the next day (even if I’m awake), because I’m “clocked out” and on me-and-family-time.
Now, if it’s launch day and you email me in a panic because something has gone terribly wrong, I’ll keep an eye out for something like that, obviously, but that’s highly unlikely. I choose my platforms wisely for that very reason (stability).
I work during regular, reasonable hours, and frankly you should be too! We all need rest in between working hard to build our businesses, so we can resume our work with fresh eyes later. Right? And if we don't take care of ourselves, then everything & everyone around us suffers.