We receive a Request for Proposal (RFP) in some form or another nearly every day. Some projects are simple, but none offer as much potential for miscommunication as the Web Design RFP. Often, first contact is in the form of the impossibly vague question, “We need a website; how much do you charge?”
It is important to note that web design projects can range from the very basic (e.g., PSD deliverables for under a grand) to the mind-twistingly complex (some website budgets can reach seven digits). If you don’t provide a clear picture of what you need, there’s no way a design company can quote on it.
Design is a rogue industry. Service providers range from ambitious seven-year-olds to outsourcing wholesalers to small expert teams to corporate giants, and from the customer’s point of view, they can be difficult to tell apart.
This can easily leave the customer feeling overwhelmed and a bit lost, especially in trying to establish a project budget.
“Creating a new website is like having a baby – the first one really is the hardest.”
These words came from one of our current clients, during the early wireframe phase of his first website. And although we make the process as easy as possible for our clients, it remains a valid point. Your website is your company’s public face after all, so you really do want to make sure that each and every detail is just right.
The process can be overwhelming for the uninitiated. If this describes you, read on. What follows is a basic, plain-language checklist for getting your organization online.
Companies hire corporate designers to craft solutions that clearly and memorably communicate their brand’s message, directly to their market. They understand that without a full comprehension of consumer psychology and the user experience (UX), they may as well be chucking paint into a corner.
Effective strategic design is somewhat like a composition written for a symphony orchestra, in that it requires several instruments working symbiotically in order to achieve the desired result.
I’ve long been a proponent of the view that if a technology is to be used, it should be done deliberately, with intelligent restraint, and with purpose. What’s more, it should not be used for reasons such as abstract trendiness or at the expense of general usability. You can have impact without beating your audience over the head.
What follows is a recounting of one man’s frustration at the restaurant industry’s infatuation with Flash. Enjoy.
It is difficult to address this topic without bias. However, I have been through the freelancing process from both ends… as the freelancer, and as the hiring party. And in both roles, what I’ve learned is that the world of freelancing is a turbulent ocean, with thirty sets of teeth for every pearl.
That’s not to say that hiring (or being) a freelancer is a bad idea. The pearls are there, and they are worth the swim if you’ve got the legs for it. The problem – or at least one of them – centers around an over saturated and under regulated marketplace.
There are thousands of resources online and in print purporting to hold the secret to success in business. It’s a vast and profitable industry, and books continue to fly off the shelves. From a service industry perspective, to me it seems to boil down to a single, simple ideal: The best way to attract and keep clients is to create a service experience that is second to none.
Providing exceptional design is not the full picture of what our company does. For a professional firm, quality of design should be a given. What keeps people coming back is the combination of high quality work product, and excellent customer service. And the same is true with any business.
One of the most influential brands to come out of the 1970’s has got to be Braun. Not to be confused with the Braun we know today – after being acquired by P&G they became bland, dull and ultimately meaningless. No, the Braun of the seventies was a design powerhouse, producing some of the most iconic everyday pieces of consumer electronics ever designed.
Led by Dieter Rams, the Braun of the seventies embraced a design sensibility that was both minimalist and modernist-inspired, leaving us with a collection of timeless pieces that are fast disappearing into the homes of collectors worldwide.
Though product design is slightly removed from what we do at Sage, their approach to what Rams called ‘Good Design’ translates quite well.