Every project is different. No two are the same because we see our job as giving you what you envision, and that it will be unique to you. Here are some of the questions that come up most often in conversations about new projects (click + to reveal response):
+ How do we begin our design project?
We'll need to talk about your project needs - your ideas, your schedule, and deadlines. We'll walk you through what you need to do to develop your project and get it started most efficiently.
+ How does your design process work?
- Step 1: Contact us via phone or email or the form on our Contact Page and send us information about what graphic design work you need completed.
- Step 2: Once we receive your request, we will contact you to discuss your design needs. It's best if you're prepared with a good description of what you'd like or even some reference for us to view. (See "cost" below for tips.)
- Step 3: Dancing Tornado will create a quote based on your graphic design needs and email it to you.
- Step 4: Once the quote has been signed off by you, we will actively begin working on your graphic design items. We will provide you with design in a few days (depending on the size of the project and the schedule/deadline) which you will view at your convenience on the web, so you can decide on the direction of the design.
- Step 5: Dancing Tornado will make updates to the graphic design items until you are satisfied with the design, within the projected budget.
- Step 6: Once you have signed off on the final proof via our FINAL APPROVAL FORM, Dancing Tornado will email your design files directly to a printer, or to you, or, in the case of a website, upload the files to your webhost to make your new site live in an instant. We are also able to provide the files on CD.
+ How much will everything cost?
Each design project is unique and so will have a different cost. The more complex the design and production, the more time it will take to develop and complete. For example, wesbites can be basic and flat like a corporate brochure, or they can involve:
- e-commerce functionality
- copywriting, etc.
Plus, a site can range anywhere from 1 to 100 pages. We make every effort to give our clients a very accurate estimate once their needs are known.
You can make your job less complex by having good art reference to show us, such as posters or websites that you like (they don't even have to be in your field), color schemes that appeal to you, styles, multimedia that you like, etc. You can get this just by spending some time surfing the web, paying attention to the art and styles and interactivity that you see. Keep an open mind; have fun with it! If you can point us towards some reference, then we'll know what your tastes are, and we can work directly towards the style that you desire. This also helps us to get a visual idea of how complex your art may be and will help us to very accurately estimate what it will take for us to accomplish it.
We do our best to offer flat fees on almost every project. Logos are based on complexity and usage. Custom art, such as key art for theater is based on complexity, as are websites, as explained above.
As we develop your design, if we feel your project is going above the original estimate, we will make sure to discuss it with you ahead of time before we complete any work so there are no surprises when you receive an invoice from us.
How might a cost go up? Sometimes a job is nearly completed, and then someone from "the New York office" comes into the project and decides he'd like to "explore a whole new direction..." This naturally would mean more time on the job and adds pressure to the deadline. This would be an unforeseen cost which would have to be added to the project total. If costs change during the job, such as when there are excessive rounds of changes (for example a "photos" page for a website changes from a table of 12 images to a set up of 144 images) or sudden design changes after several rounds into our work mean more time, we'll let you know that the budget has to change. No extra cost will be incurred without client consent. Remember, we're working by the hour on a budget.
+ What methods of payment do you accept?
We accept checks, cash, and PAYPAL (which accepts major credit cards), and now Wells Fargo and Bank of America customers can send payments directly via mobile app to our telephone number: 310-497-2752. Please see Policies
. A deposit must be paid for any new job to begin, and final payment is due upon completion of work. We do not have any type of delayed payment or monthly payment system unless contracted ahead of time. Late fees may be charged for outstanding balances.
Please see our PAYMENTS page for details.
+ Will we need to meet in person?
No, in fact we have many clients that are so busy that we have not met with them in person - ever. We have clients in California, Colorado, Tennessee, Florida, Virginia, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, Ohio, and on...
We have found that our method of posting proofs online is an efficient way to streamline a graphic design project. It allows anyone with internet access and your "project key" to view your proofs so that all of you don't even have to be in the same room at the same time. This saves time for everyone. Meetings are billed hourly within or above a project estimate --> fewer meetings = fewer hours.
+ What is "design-on-the-fly, and why isn't it a good idea?
What we call "Design-on-the-Fly" is when a job gets caught in the vortex of time during a day in which a client will look at work and then call or email about revisions, but then need to see them right away - and then more changes/developments and back and forth throughout a day. Doing the revisions, however, can be an unpredictable factor of time in between those rounds of looks. It's not a good idea to try to plug into good design, even revisions, on such a rush.
Sometimes it is the nature of deadlines that this is unavoidable. But it is best to try not to let your job get to this point. What if on that day the manpower is just not there to accommodate the urgency because of other work on the docket? Plus, it can get very expensive if it forces us to put all other previously scheduled work "oh hold" while your job gets completed.
Sometimes it is best for everyone, however, to get a job done this way. If so, it's best to schedule this kind of work time so that everyone is on the same page.
This can be avoided by having your materials prepared and the schedule of all the people involved in the decision making process ready to go at an early point - i.e., lists of actors in your play, thank you's, etc... Also, often it comes down to good proofreading. You should be proofreading your job very carefully all throughout the process. When things are getting down to the wire, you don't want to be making major changes against a deadline if at all possible.
+ Saturdays and Sundays?
Most business and vendor deadlines take place between Monday and Friday, so we are always working very hard during the regular week to create and complete projects.
Any job that requires hours, including phone or email communications, from Friday after 5 p.m. through Monday morning will be charged at double the regular M-F rate.
+ The importance of good proofreading:
There is nothing more important than proofreading. You should be proofing very carefully through every single round of design that you see. We have many jobs and many specifics to review. We do our best to catch all typographical errors on our part, but then, we don't know exact correct spellings of website URL's, or actors' names, or authors, or medical procedures, or natural health remedies - certainly not telephone numbers, etc... Those can't be found in Spell Check. And - believe it or not - sometimes clients send us text that itself has not yet been proofread which then gets copied and pasted into design.
As you will see on our Final Approval Sign Off form, the client is ultimately responsible for all content AND PROOFREADING. This form is a great reminder to check everything one more time so that your job ends perfectly every time. We'll work together on it, but please know that proofreading is tricky, and you should triple check everything. One good method we've learned is to check your text backwards, that way taking the words out of context as you read.
+ Why should I choose Dancing Tornado Design?
Have you looked at our portfolio? We do it all and do it very, very well. Great design leads to very happy people.
+ Will my website show up in search engines?
Search engines generally use the text within the body of the website. They also use META TAGS such as the Page Title, Site Description, and Ketwords, which are hidden lists you would create for us to include in your html. You'll also write a one or two sentence brief description which would appear under your site name in Google results. Webcrawlers usually take a few to several weeks to find and catalog a new website. There are also paid advertisers that help you get higher Google search results. You can find them by searching on the web. They are expensive, and the results can be unpredictable as Google and other search engines are constantly modifying their methods. We do not offer that service.
+ Do you maintain the site? How do I make changes down the road?
We will maintain your site. Websites are much more complex than most causal web users realize. Often making one small change can lead to cascading changes that make a page look unbalanced or awkward. Blogs are good for those who need to update text content regularly. Those layouts are much simpler. We can include a blog link into your site.
We will maintain your site as far as making basic revisions on an hourly basis. Most clients don't change their content too often, and usually simple text changes can be done in less than an hour. We do have several clients who revise on a regular monthly basis such as calendars or other postings. You can call us or simply email any changes that you'd like to have done at any time.
Changes to art elements or major html elements like changing menu items may necessitate changes across a whole site and could be more involved. But as business changes, sometimes it's inevitable. We would estimate any work such as that for you before we move ahead.
+ Do you offer HOSTING services for websites?
No, we do not offer HOSTING services. A hosting service is the service which stores your site on the web so that it can be found by internet users. There are many services that offer various packages such as Yahoo, GoDaddy, ValueWeb and many, many more. We can talk about which ones we recommend.
+ Do you offer PRINTING services?
No, we are not printers, but we have dependable printers that we use frequently.
We will make your design files print-ready and will be happy to work with the printer you select or supervise the printing on our end to make sure that your design files are printed correctly.
+ Notes on emailing:
Emailing is a great way to stay in touch and send content or revisions. You can attach photos or text files, or even better, if you have revisions send them in the body of an email, and then we can just copy and paste them without having to open any other software, such as Word to get to it.
Please always remember to be as specific as possible in the Subject Line of your email. Junk email has gotten out of control, and if your email address is not already in our recipients address book, it can be difficult to decipher it from dreaded junk email. Creating a job-specific Subject Line in your email will make it easier to spot as we sift through the cyberjunk.
Also, timing is an important issue. If you send us an email toward the end of a day, say after 4 p.m., then it's best not to consider it actionable until the following business day. It's unlikely, outside of any design / deadline emergency, that we'd have the work time available that late in the day to schedule new tasks. This is especially important to consider as the week goes on. Often work schedules slide a bit through the week as things pile up, and Fridays can become very task-loaded. If you've sent an email late on a Friday, then it is best to be considered as a Monday work request unless specified as an urgent rush.