Over the past decade, I’ve been asked the same questions many times. I’ve compiled my answers here to share with you so that when we speak, we can focus on YOU and your design goals.
How long have you been doing what you do?
Neal: I’ve been working continuously in graphic design studios and ad agencies since I graduated from Penn State in 1985. I’ve worked on design as it relates to brand strategy, marketing collateral, interactive, and my favorite: publication design.
What is your super-power, when it comes to publication design?
Neal: I’ve been putting publications on press since 1985. With every project, I learn something new about paper, ink, varnishes, folds, and all the variables that combine to create a printed publication. This gives me a great depth of knowledge when it comes to design, layout and prepress, that a less-experienced designer could never have. I am a prepress whisperer. My attention to detail may seem like a curse to my team, but it’s an incredible benefit to my clients.
Who are your clients, exactly?
Neal: Most of our work is with enterprise-level non-profits, and our clients include federal agencies, large nonprofits, charter schools, well-known public policy institutes, venerable universities, and associations. Of note are long-standing relationships with Georgetown University and The Brookings Institution.
How are you different that a freelance designer, and how would the services you provide differ?
Neal: Just in the last ten years, I’ve put 350 + publications on press. I understand printing inside and out, and my team and i know how to prepare files so that they run right, choose paper, and work with printers. Did I mention my team? This means that if I’m out of the office for any reason, there is no delay in scheduling. And as a design firm, we have strong project management, reliable backups, and strong relationships with printers, photographers, illustrators and all types of creatives that we can tap into.
How do you price your publication design services?
Neal: Often we will review a client’s previous annual report, to come up with a price estimate. We ask a lot of questions, and do some initial simple calculations such as the number of running pages, front material pages, unique sections, photos, charts, graphs and tables. We add on the number of cover and interior design options a client would like to invest in, and we add in the cost of three distinct rounds of diminishing edits. Next, we determine whether a project will benefit from stock photography, custom photo shoots, and illustrations. Additionally, we work with experts who can help you to determine and convey your impact effectively in the report, and we team with expert nonprofit writers and editors when our clients request assistance in developing content. After this initial discussion, we see if your requests are aligned with your budget restrictions, and our ballpark estimate. If it is, we draw up a formal agreement. After pricing hundreds of publications, we’ve gotten pretty good at estimating. This initial strategy allows us to eliminate surprises in pricing our services. Heather wrote a blog post on this by the way.
What can I expect if we work together?
Neal: You can expect meticulous design, error-free work, friendly service and timely checkins. If the project is important to you, it’s equally important to us. We make sure that you look like a hero to your peers and colleagues at the end of our engagement, and come away with a well-regarded publication.
How do we get started?
Neal: First off, we will ask you to fill out our “get-acquainted” worksheet, so we understand your project goals. Next we can set up a 30-minute get-acquainted phone call. Please contact us at 301-933-4062 Monday – Friday between 9 am – 5 pm EST, or fill out our contact form on our contact page.
Can I contact some of your previous clients?
Neal: Absolutely. They are easy to connect with from LinkedIn, and I can provide names of recent clients.