Our process is centered around your needs and priorities. We actively engage you in every stage of it, so you can be sure that your experience from start to finish will be as smooth and as hassle free as possible. Here is how we approach each project. We will use a logo design and a web site development as examples.
Research and Planning
We start by learning about your preferences, goals, your company, your customers, competition, and general rules of your industry. A special free consultation time is reserved solely for this stage of the process.
You can help us greatly by providing sample graphics and web sites that are similar to what you are looking for. The rest of the process will depend on this preliminary research and clear communication.
Proposing a Solution
Once all main questions are cleared up, we’ll write a formal proposal (if you require that) or send you a detailed estimate along with the description of what we see as the best solution for you based on your needs, deadline, and the allocated budget.
After requesting the estimate, expect a ballpark figure or a range of costs within 1-2 business days. A more accurate estimate may require additional discussion that usually takes 3-5 more business days.
Signing the Contract
The contract contains the final cost of the project, a scope of the project, time line, and terms under which the project will be executed. A 50% retainer is required upon signing the Contract.
The exact amount of the retainer will be in the contract. You can pay by check, money order, or online at http://www.duskowl.com/_v2/make-payment/.
Refining the Plan
There are always details that slip through the cracks during the initial research and planning, so the first thing to do after you accepted our estimate and signed the contract is to review the scope of the project and define it more precisely.
For a logo and other graphics it means confirming or refining the general direction of the design. For a web site it also means creating its structure: pages must be logically grouped and interconnected, general content of each page must be defined with wireframes (a skeletal arrangements of design and functionality elements). This stage does not include developing actual designs or using any graphics.
Designing the Visuals
When we are done with technical details, it’s time to move to the creative part. Logo design starts with hand-drawn sketches, then those that look best to you are digitized in black and white, and finally colors are added to what you determine to be the best black and white design. For a web site, this stage of the process means creating mockups for different types of web pages based on wireframes you approved earlier. For any items that contain text (web pages, ads, flyers, etc.) it’s best to have real text copy before we start to refine the design.
At this stage web site mockups may contain placeholder graphics and text and don’t represent the final content of the website.
The time frame for this stage can vary widely depending on your specific needs and the scope of the project. It takes the longest to create the logo, collaterals (ads, direct mail pieces, etc.), and a web site layout, but even for smaller projects there is no common time frame because each project is so unique.
This stage only applies to web development projects. After we agree on the web site structure and the look of mockups, all that will serve as a foundation on which your web site will be built. This stage involves creating a real navigation and layout that reflect the proposed look and feel for your web site.
With a very rare exception, web sites we develop are powered by WordPress, CMS MS, WebsiteBaker, or another content management system if it suites your needs better. If your specifications include a shopping cart, a membership system, or other complex functionality, it will be added at this stage of the process. While in development, your web site will stay at our staging server. We will thoroughly test our creation in various browsers and operating systems, then give you an opportunity to test it yourself and share your experience with us.
Like with the design stage, the time frame for web development will be defined by the scope of the project. We make every effort to work as efficiently as possible and try to minimize delays that sometimes happen for technical reasons or due to schedule conflicts.
Deliverables and Going Live
Once everything looks and works to your satisfaction, the remaining 50% of the project cost is due. Once the payment goes through, we hand all files specified in the contract over to you. Your logo and collaterals will be delivered in multiple formats and sizes to accommodate various printing options and web use. Your web site will be uploaded to your web server and tested there for the last time. You are welcome to test too to be sure that everything is ok. To help you learn how to operate your new web site, we provide up to 2 hours of free training after it goes live.
You will also receive a short sign-off form that will indicate that everything was done to your specifications and that the project is now officially over.
Web Site Maintenance
We will be happy to help you maintain your web site, upgrade its components, or expand it as your business grows. This stage is optional and requires signing a separate web site maintenance contract.