Here are some ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ (FAQ) related to Graphic Design, Web Design and Marketing. If you have any other questions or need more clarity, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I would be delighted to hear from you.

Graphic Design

As a graphic designer, I can produce a variety of work in all kinds of formats mainly for Digital and Print. Some examples of work I have produced include Websites, Packaging, Brand Identities, Event Flyers, to name but a few. A project could be as small as a business card or as large as graphics for a shop sign. You can find more examples of my work on this website on the portfolio’s pages.

Once a client has given the green light on a project and an agreed initial payment has been made, the project gets started. I then write up a design brief based upon our initial meeting which outlines the direction of the project. I then come up with some rough concepts or sketches for you to look over. Once the client has chosen the design they are happiest with, the design concept is tweaked and refined until the client is happy with the final design. After which I prepare the final artwork for print and online use.

During our initial logo meeting, I first begin by discussing the client’s ideas, business history, target market, and intended uses for the logo. I then ask for examples of existing logos that the client likes or dislikes to get an idea of their taste. Occasionally the client already has a design concept in mind. Other times, they have no idea what they want. Nonetheless, I make sure I have collected enough info before I begin a project.

All artwork for print is supplied in high res vector format (.PDF and .EPS), these formats ensure that no quality is lost when the work is enlarged or reduced for use online or for print. I also create images in JPEG and PNG for use on the web and social media purposes. At your request, I will supply the electronic files to you via CD/USB, Online File Share, or through E-Mail. I also keep backup copies of your project on file for future updates or should you lose your copy.

Yes, your logo will be given to you to use as EPS and PDF vector files along with JPEG and PNG files. Having a digital vector file of your original logo gives you versatility, giving the opportunity for you to use it on stationery and branded marketing – including business cards, letterheads, envelopes, websites, emails etc. The vector file remains crisp when scaled up or down, there is no loss in quality! Giving you a sharp clean version of your logo to use every time.

Every project and deadline is different. You should always allow enough time for the designing and proofing of your project. If your deadline is very tight, I will do my best to complete your work within the set timeframe. Providing that any additional work is not added, that was not originally agreed upon at the beginning of the project.

No, proposals and concepts will be provided at the quotation stage of a project. Only once a project has been given the green light by a client and an agreed initial payment has been made can a proposal and concepts be drawn up. Due to the time and effect that has to go into them, this is understandable within the design industry.

Depending on what design package you go for, the norm is between 2-8 rounds of revisions. I only ask that you provide me with a full list of changes each time to make the process quick and smooth. Revisions only become an issue if it’s obvious we are moving in circles. If this happens, I will work with you on getting the project back on track, this can include for example revisiting the initial design brief and concepts.  

Every project is different and individual. I always like to give an accurate quotation, so I find the best and easiest way to do this is to have a quick chat with you. Either call me on my mobile 07843 764 555 or drop me an email through my contact page with your contact details, briefly outlining your requirements. And I will get back to you as soon as I can.

I own the rights to the original artwork files unless agreed upon otherwise in the proposal. If you do request to have the original artwork, I am happy to provide it once the project is fully complete and paid for. Any approved web stock images and high-resolution stock images purchased are 100% yours once the project is also fully complete and paid for. I do also reserve the right to use any work for my own business promotional purposes. 

Possibly, I am used to working to tight deadlines being in a deadline driven industry, however, please be considerate when giving me a project to do last minute. As a designer, I am used to being put under pressure with a constant workload. I would always recommend allowing extra time for your project and setting a realistic timeframe which includes any revisions and approval stages. 

Possibly, A PDF (Portable Document Format) is a file format that has captured all the elements of a designed document as an electronic image that you can view, print, or send. The best way to make changes is to go back to the native design file (Adobe InDesign or Illustrator) make changes and then remake the PDF file. Though it is occasionally possible to edit PDFs, this is not a recommended way of making a change, as the original design file will not have your updated changes and you may not have the correct fonts (this is vital for branding purposes, maintaining consistency over your brand).

No, when starting a design project, you will be asked to supply your company logo as an EPS file as this is the native design file. The logo on your website will be either a JPEG, PNG or GIF file and will be sized specifically for web use only, this means that when it is enlarged it will be pixelated resulting in a blurry/grainy looking image. An EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) file is the standard file type for logo creation and can be blown up to any size without losing its original quality. An EPS file also comes with a transparent background, so it can be used on other colours without the need of having a white box around the image.

No, as a designer I use specialised graphic design software, for example, Adobe Creative Suite and CorelDraw. Unless you have access to or prior knowledge of these design software’s, I would not recommend editing it yourself.

No, I wouldn’t advise using any images that you have pulled from the Internet from a search page, they are often low-resolution and do not reproduce well for print. They may be OK to use online for digital use, like on social media, but not for print. The other consideration is copyright and permission to use that image. If you need to source an image, as a designer I have access to online stock libraries where professional images taken by professional photographers can be purchased with a license to use the images.

Yes!!! I am able to communicate via phone and email and my clients come from all over the UK (London, Cambridge, Birmingham to name but a few places). Just get in touch and let’s get designing today!

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Web Design

Yes, I can help you with the purchasing and setup process of your website and talk you through what you need to do. It can be an overwhelming process I understand; therefore, I am more than happy for you to utilise my expertise.

A domain name is your website name, it’s a unique address where internet users can access your website, e.g. ‘mybusinessname.com’.

If you don’t yet have a domain name, I can purchase and register one on your behalf at a low cost of £10 which covers the cost of purchasing the domain name. You can also do this yourself if you prefer, the cost will be around the same. 

Web hosting simply means where your website is stored (located) and accessed online, it is usually done by a third-party hosting provider. Think of it like a real-life bricks storage company who you pay to store your personal belongings as you don’t have the space to do so yourself. 

Yes, you need hosting to access your website through the internet. I also offer website hosting packages, though trusted hosting companies I get special discounts with.

Yes, I provide website hosting services for you, though trusted hosting companies I get special discounts with.

Yes, I can create up to 5 different email accounts with your web hosting, for example for ‘mybusinessname.com’, you can have ‘hello@mybusinessname.com’ or ‘yourname@mybusinessname.com’. Giving you a more professional and usable email address for your clients to contact you on. 

The cost of a website depends on your design requirements, just like the cost of building your own home would for example if you wanted to add extra features or stick to a basic build. I offer very affordable website packages, just get in touch for a custom quote that’s right for your needs and business.

The project starts with a 50% upfront deposit after the design sign off by the client, this is to ensure that the client is fully committed to the project. During the halfway stage of design, I collect another 25%. The final remaining 25% is collected when your website is scheduled for launch, this is normally paid just after launch once you are happy with everything. 

Depending on the level of complexity of your website and the package you have gone for, a basic website can take approximately 60 days to create. With a more advanced website taking approximately 120 days to create. Please note this timeframe will vary from project to project, I also need to be able to communicate with you and have content for the website as and when I need it.

Yes, the website once fully built and paid for is 100% owned by you. My clients are always happy with my great aftercare maintenance service. However, if for any reason you decide you want to move your site to another hosting service and have another company service the site, I will happily assist you in making the transition as quick and easy as possible. Afterall you are the owner of the website.   

I build all my websites using WordPress the world’s most popular open-source Content Management System (CMS).

WordPress is considered to be by far, the world’s most popular open source Content Management System (CMS). It’s used by approximately 75 million websites. WordPress is free to install, deploy, and upgrade.

No, you have to understand that every website is built differently, it’s like baking a cake, two bakers will use two different sets of ingredients and methods for baking the same cake, so it will always look and taste different. The same can be said for a website, different designer and developers will use different methods. I only support websites that I have fully built, I’ve found that often it’s cheaper to start over again then it is to modify an existing website by another designer.

Yes, I can as an additional service help you write copy if you are unable to do so yourself. During the planning stages when I am building your sitemap and laying out the structure for the foundations of the website, it is a lot easier to think about how to write content for the website.

Yes, I can source professional stock photos taken from professional photographers from sites such as istock.com. I also work with a lot of local photographers and videographers who can create custom photography and videos for your website. 

No, I don’t need content right away however it is good to have some basic contact details to hand. For the early part of the design process, I use placeholder content while you work on your content. This also helps to guide you on what type of text and images that will work best for your website.

Yes!!! I am able to communicate via phone and email and my clients come from all over the UK (London, Cambridge, Birmingham to name but a few places). Just get in touch and let’s get designing today!  

Responsive web design is when a website is able to adapt its layout to fit the size of any device such as a mobile or tablet. It’s the same website just that there is a more user-friendly version which allows you to view it on your mobile or tablet like you would with any other website or app.

Yes, all my websites are built to be mobile friendly with responsive web design, that allows them to be viewed on any mobile, tablet device regardless of size, operating system or spec.

Yes, I exclusively use WordPress, the words leading CMS. I believe it provides me as a designer with the right balance of customization and usability, and my clients also love it too.

A Content Management System (CMS) is software that allows you to create, edit, organise and publish content to your website through an easy-to-use- interface. I use WordPress as my chosen CMS.

SEO is short for ‘Search Engine Optimization’ which is the process of improving a website’s ranking on search engines such as Google and Bing.

Yes, your website will need some sort of SEO if your intention is for people to find you online (if not then that would defeat the point of having a website and online presence). SEO is an ongoing part of your website marketing, Google is constantly making changes to the way websites are found and ranked online. If you want to be noticed online and stand out from all your competitors, it’s a good idea to invest in SEO for your website and business. I offer basic SEO packages alongside my web design packages.

Yes, however, it will take time and is not something that happens overnight. It will take a lot of planning as well as time to get your website to show up in Google search results. Using the right industry keywords around your business is only one of many ways Google ranks your website.

No, if anyone comes to you making you this promise, don’t give them any money. They are more than likely doing things which are not allowed by Google to get your page to no.1 in a short space of time. To do it properly providing your business is not in an already over saturated market can take months to years to even see your website somewhere on the first page of Google. 

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Digital marketing is marketing directed at people using electronic devices connected to the internet such as computers, smartphones and tablets. Using digital marketing channels like search engines, social media, email and websites and apps to connect with potential clients. I use a lot of digital marketing to promote client’s websites and brands, using free platforms like social media is a great way to reach new customers and tell them about your products or services.

Start with the why, why are you in business? What sets you apart from the competition? How do you create value for your clients? How can you improve the lives of those you serve? Once you can answer these fundamental questions you will be well on the way to communicating your message to your customers, that resonates with them.

Yes, it can as long as your prepared to put in the time, social media marketing is normal for all businesses these days with so many people on social media, it’s all about having an online presence and actively engaging with customers via social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The end goal apart from driving sales is to boost awareness of your brand, drive traffic to your website, interact with customers, and build loyalty. A lot of what is said about your business is said online on social media, not on the high streets.

Consider what social media channels your clients are on, is it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram? This is where you clients spend most of their time and this is where you will be best able to reach them directly.

You can’t “control” it, it’s impossible no matter how big you are, your brand is now in the hands of your audience. Once you have excepted that fact you’re ready to join in on the conversation, by communicating with your customers and showing you care. 

You should update your website as often as possible, a website that goes for long periods with no updates and new content is unlikely to perform well in search results. Having a blog is one way to keep your website up-to-date.

A Call to Action (CTA) is a prompt that grabs the user’s attention to take a specific action. It can typically be in the form of a button or link on a website, email or another digital platform e.g. ‘Click here to buy’

Keywords are words or phrases used by a user to search on a search engine to find relevant pages, images, video or any other kind of information. Keywords are used normally when looking for answers, knowledge, products or services. Keywords are a big part of SEO.

Yes, video content has grown a lot more of the past few years, customers love watching video content. Social media sites such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all use video to engage users. It would benefit your business to have video used on your website and social media for example if you’re a restaurant then the chances are people are going to want to see that food being cooked and served rather than reading about it or seeing pictures.  

Yes, a blog is another great way to increase your SEO, it provides the opportunity and platform for you to release new content onto weekly/monthly or whenever you want to. Let your clients know what is going on behind the scenes. They want to read about what you get up to, and once you post something on your website it gives you another opportunity to post about it on social media which then drives people to your website that otherwise wouldn’t have visited.  

Yes, well-written and thought out copy adds value to your brand and connects with readers. A professional copywriter makes the content sound more interesting even when what is being written about is not that inspiring. If you need help with writing copy, let’s talk.

Any more questions?

If you have any more questions you would like answered, please contact me through my contact page below or call me on 07843 764 555 or email design@jamesmall.co.uk and I will answer your question.