My Rules

Before you decide to work with me,
I’d like to share some of my work practices.

They’re simple, really; meant to protect you as well as me. This might be your first time hiring an independent graphic designer, or it may be your first time hiring me. So this should help give you an idea of my most basic principles. Click on each to see the full explanation.

You can't drive it off the lot without a signature and down payment.

Before I start any design work, a signed contract and deposit are required. I’m sure your intentions are pure, but this is my insurance that I’m not being taken for a ride.

Proofs aren't for use or distribution.

During the course of working together, I’ll be providing proofs to you for review. They’re password protected and often watermarked. That’s for a few reasons:

  1. Proofs are low resolution, so they’re easier to share for reviewing purposes. That means they’re not fit for printing.
  2. This protection insures against the wrong file going to print.
  3. The work remains my property until I’m paid in full (at the end of the project) for my services.

Left foot, right foot ... one proof at a time.

Let’s face it, proofing can be complicated. In order to make the process as quick and painless as possible, I only circulate one proof at a time. What does that mean? If you have one person or a dozen people reviewing your piece, they all see the same proof … one proof at a time. After sending out a proof for review, I may get changes back from one person, only to have another person make conflicting changes. So I wait until all the changes are in, from all parties involved, with each proof. This way, if any of the people reviewing the piece have differing changes to the same area of concern, I can bring it to your attention for clarification. Otherwise it’s easy to get lost in the jungle of multiple proofs and revisions, and that’s when mistakes happen.

Think of your project as being on a 'layaway' plan.

You’ve given a deposit, signed on the dotted line and we’re under way on your project. And with only a deposit in hand, I’ll see your project through to completion — no worries. But you have to think of your project as being an item you’ve placed on layaway. So when we near the end of your project and you’re ready to “pick it up,” please be prepared to pay for it in full first.

I still have to sleep at night.

I say this for two reasons:

  1. Please don’t expect me to check my e-mail at all hours. Other people may do that … and they’re nuts.
  2. Please don’t ask me to do anything unethical. This includes “recreating” a piece someone else has done. It goes against an unwritten credo shared among designers and artists. I won’t do it.

Where I come from, 'spec' is a four-letter word.

spec•u•la•tive. adjective. engaged in, expressing, or based on conjecture rather than knowledge; undertaken on the chance of success, without a preexisting contract, involving a high risk of loss

A dirty, nasty four-letter word. “Spec” is short for “speculative.” Sure there are designers who will do spec work. They are usually desperate to land a job, broaden their portfolio, or just don’t know any better. This is damaging to our industry and the practice is frowned upon. For those unfamiliar, it’s a process where a “potential client” asks you to create a design — be it a logo, an ad, or some such thing — with little, or sometimes no, promise to pay. This can take the form of a contest in which you only get paid if your design wins. If you’re lucky, the client likes your work and pays you for it. If you aren’t so lucky, they may claim they don’t like it, in which case you don’t get a dime (you essentially wasted your time). In worse cases, they rip off your work by taking one of your proofs to someone cheaper than you to recreate it. As you can see, spec work is a treacherous road, and one I won’t take. To learn more about how spec work hurts the design community, go here.