good design, estimate, file format, text files, image files, deadlines, dpi, project development

When It Comes to
Being Successful,
Design Matters.

Good design reinforces a unique experience and enables clarity, and can ensure that your messages communicate quickly and effectively, even inspire change and alter perceptions. Achieving a high level of design quality requires more than being a great designer. It requires the use of a clear process to ensure that your project moves ahead quickly, smoothly, and efficiently.

Gaining a clear understanding of your project

Ideally, we like to meet with you in person or talk on the phone so we can gain an understanding of the finished product you require, your intended audience, and your communication's purpose. We are pleased to present our portfolio for your review at this time.

Providing an estimate

Before providing an estimate, we will review the elements required to successfully complete your project. For example, will text be provided, or will new writing or editing be required? We also review your image needs, considering whether any are to be supplied and whether further enhancement work will be needed. Finally, we review any tables, graphs, and charts you require, determining what format they will be supplied in and whether they will need any further enhancement.

Please note: we strive to provide you with our best estimate based on our findings. However, if the work exceeds what our estimate outlines, the actual costs may be higher. If less work is needed, the actual costs may be lower. Applicable taxes are extra. A first-time client will be asked for a deposit.

File formats

You can save money by giving us text and image files in the right format.

Text files

The best way to give us text is in a Microsoft Word file (.doc or .docx) or saved as an .rtf (Rich Text Format) file. If you use another word processing program like WordPerfect, please send us your text in .rtf file.

Some helpful hints when sending text files:

  • A lot of extra formatting is not necessary—as long as we can figure out what is needs emphasis by the use of boldface, italics or boldface italics.
  • Leave your text in a plain font like Times Roman or Arial. We will find, with your approval, the best font to convey the emotional part of your message. That is why they call them characters.
  • Don't worry about extra spaces or extra tabs. We have scripts that can take them out quickly and accurately.
  • Do a spell check before you send it to us. Some words may be spelled right but in the wrong place. For example, "reading between the lions." Lions is spelled right but not the right word. A spell check would pass right by lions.
  • If you want a table, put the information in a simple table. we'll dress it up. The same goes for charts. Just a simple sketch can be turned into some attractive artwork that will embellish your page.
  • If you want a specific image, let us know as well. We have access to millions of images or if necessary find a photographer for that special shot.
  • If possible, don't put images in the word processing file—put a note that such-and-such image should be placed at or near this point in the text, and send the image as a separate file. See the notes below on how images are handled.

It is helpful to send a printout of your word processing file as well. This allows us to verify that the electronic files match the hard copy. If we notice a discrepancy, we will check with you before laying out the text. This can prevent an unnecessary expense and delay caused by accidentally  providing us with an outdated electronic version.

Image files

Two kinds of images are used in design: vector (or postscript) files (with file names ending in .eps, .ps, or .ai) and raster files (with file names ending in .jpeg (or .jpg), .tif (or .tiff), or .gif).

  • Vector images are the best way to draw straight lines, curves, and angles. This kind of image can be reduced or enlarged without losing clarity. Fonts are usually vector-based images. A good program that creates and manipulates vector images is Adobe Illustrator.

If you are going to send us a vector file, make sure that you have changed all the fonts to outlines, especially if it is a logo. That way we will be able to work with your image even if we don't have that font installed on our system.

  • Raster images are pixel-based. Pixels are little squares that combine in a grid to create an image (e.g., a photograph). Each pixel has its own color. The overall combination of colors forms the image. With a program like PhotoShop, you can add to, enhance, sharpen, blur, and make many other alterations to an image.

If you are sending us a raster file, make sure that it has a high enough resolution for reproducing the file accurately. Resolution is measured in dpi (dots per inch). A file intended for print (on paper) should have a resolution of 300 dpi. Sometimes a large .jpeg file can be reduced to the proper 300 dpi resolution. (For reproduction of the highest quality, send us images that are not compressed.) On the other hand, resolution cannot be increased (i.e., dots cannot be added) by making the file larger. .gif files and low-resolution .jpeg files (72 dpi) are strictly for Web graphics and not for print documents, where they look unacceptably blurry.

Unsure whether your image has the best resolution? Send it to us for evaluation and our recommendation.

If you have any other questions on how to prepare text or image files, feel free to ask.

Meeting your deadline

Based on the scale of the project, we agree on a completion date. If necessary, milestones will be established for project reporting and payment. Every effort will be made to maintain this schedule, as long as required materials are provided in the proper form at the proper time.

Changes to project parameters

If the unavailability of text or other materials makes it impossible to meet the original production deadlines, new deadlines will be mutually agreed upon. Increases in the scope of work (e.g., if substantially more text or images are added) will require re-negotiation of deadlines along with any necessary adjustments to the estimated costs. If schedule slippage or an increase in scope must be accommodated within the original deadline, a rush surcharge of 50 percent will be applied to the relevant portion of the estimate.

Project development

Once we have established the design look, we will provide you with sample pages—a "blueprint" for what the pages will look like. Based on your approval at this point, we then move forward to complete the project. During the course of the project, we will keep you informed of progress. Following our design presentation, the first two hours of changes that you make to the hard copy are free. Your completed project is supplied to you as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file.