This is the place where I tell you all about how I work, so you know exactly what to expect. We wouldn’t wan’t any surprises when we start our design adventures together. But first the most important question:

What are the advantages using Design Marie over a design agency?

It’s cost-saving. As a freelancer I have low overheads and can generally offer more competitive prices than a design studio. However, lower design fees do not reflect on the quality I deliver. With more than 20 years’ experience in my field, my designs are always of high standard. Want proof? Check out my portfolio.

Every single one of my clients is special to me. Especially smaller companies can disappear in the mighty client pool of a design agency. I make sure all my clients get the best treatment – in the way I communicate, design and deliver my projects. You won’t have to wait long for requested design amendments, and getting through to me is easy: Just pick up the phone and dial 07834 277 654.

I keep on learning. I love my job but, being employed by an agency can take the fun and passion out of a designer, because ‘it’s just a job’. As a freelancer, I continue to do courses to improve my design skills and network with other designers to stay on top of new developments. Also, running my own company, I understand everyday business and marketing needs, which gives my design projects an extra edge.

My network is immense. I work with talented photographers, marketeers and web developers, can put you in touch with trusted and cost-effective printers and proof-readers, and know my way around stock libraries and font websites. If the job is too big for one person, I have a direct dial to other talented graphic designers who I can call on for help.

I’m honest. If your company has a massive design turn-around that can’t be dealt with by a single designer, you’re better off finding a design agency – or even build up your own in-house design team. But if you work for a smaller company – for instance a start-up or a charity – and you’re looking for someone who helps you with your design projects and takes the strain off dealing with printers and other suppliers, you’re in the right place. Hello and welcome to my freelance design world!

How I work

Great – and timely delivered – design work needs everyone involved to play their part. I follow this useful process to ensure we all know what is expected from us and when:

Every project starts off with a discovery process. Preferably we meet in person (or chat on the phone or Skype) to discuss the project, objectives, responsibilities and timelines. At this stage I can give you an initial indication of costs to help you decide if you’d like to go on. After this chat, I begin my own discovery relevant to the project and we might have follow-up chats on the phone or by email. The result of the discovery process is a strategy brief, which simply details the project’s creative and communicative objectives as I have understood them. This document is reviewed, revised if necessary, and signed/approved by you. For bigger projects, I also ask you to sign a contract and my T&Cs.

At this point, we agree on schedules, so you know exactly when to expect the first draft as well as the final print. Of course that depends on how quickly you can get the text, photos and other elements needed for the design over to me, and how fast you can turn around amendments. I work hard to stick to all deadlines but cannot deliver if I don’t received copy or amendments on time. That’s why the schedule includes deadlines for you and for me.

Now the design process can commence. I usually work from 10am to around 6pm. But that doesn’t mean I can’t turn around an urgent job at other times. Key is to give me a call rather than email. My phone is on from 9am, Monday to Friday. I receive calls at the weekend but can’t promise I can work on your project right there and then. I also let you know about any big holidays planned that might interfere with your projects.

When discussing presented designs, I’d like your candid feedback! As much as you’re tempted to say ‘I don’t like this!’, try to communicate negative feedback as problems rather than solutions. Feedback that isn’t constructive or describes how to change something in too much detail prevents me from bringing my own expertise to the table. Good feedback describes the problem; for instance, how a specific or general project requirement is not properly addressed by the current strategy or by a specific feature of the design. As much as I like to hear your ideas, problem feedback will give me the chance to exercise the expertise you’ve paid me for.

Once you have approved the project, I deliver the files either to you or your printer/supplier. I can help you with print negotiations and management. Then we only have to wait for the printer to deliver and, voilà, the project has come to the expected happy end.

Costs

I charge £40 an hour (or £400 a day) and would give you a time/cost estimate at the discovery stage of any project. I’m good estimating time but, in the rare case that I make a blunder of it, I let you know as soon as I notice and we can negotiate the rest. I don’t want my clients to wake up to surprises when it comes to my invoices.

Most time estimates and quotes cover everything involved, not just the design: discovery and briefing, negotiations, two amendment stages, print quotes and production, if required. As mentioned before, I can help you with print negotiations and management. This will be reflected in the initial quote I’ve given you and should therefore be agreed in the beginning. Print costs and fees for stock images or scans are not included.

After initial talks about what the project involves, I send you a written quote and list all the services included. Transparency is key!

I only invoice after the job is printed and in your hands.