Project workflow

[two_third]The Proposal
With every new project we draft a brief document, the Creative proposal, that outlines the project description & deliverables, specific inclusions (number of initial directions, number of client revisions, etc.), and any special considerations and/or exclusions. This Creative Proposal will include concept development, design and any other creative costs associated with the project.
Usually, any printing and/or production fees will be determined and proposed at a later date when we have a more concrete idea of the size, structure, quantity, etc. (generally after the Design Review). The Printing and Production Estimates are submitted separately, prior to the release of any artwork to the printer or vendor.
The Creative Proposal also lists the cost range and a place for you to sign and date the proposal. After an authorized individual signs the proposal, you simply fax it back to initiate the project… this way everyone has documentation of what was agreed to.

In the spirit of open and honest communication, and in the interest of saving time for everyone involved, we encourage a frank discussion of budget prior to proposal development. If you have a budget, or if you have a cost ceiling, please let us know… in turn, we will be able to make sure our proposal fits your needs and expectations.

Upon approval of the proposal, we will issue an Invoice for one-half the lowest estimated fee.

Concept Development
We begin with a conversation including all key decision makers to clarify the parameters and goals of the project. In addition, we will review all client supplied content, copy or other materials that might impact creative development. Content can be provided by the client in an MS Word document or via email.

At the initial Design Review, we will generally present two to three (2-3) concepts. Depending on the type of project, we may show a portion or sample of the visual identity in order to get a feel for how the idea will work throughout the rest of the piece. For example, we might present a cover and a typical inside spread for a printed brochure or annual report. When presenting concepts for a website, we might show a home page and secondary page design.

In conjunction with the Concept Development, we will draft a Key Date Schedule that outlines all the necessary tasks related to the project and when each task is due in order to meet your deadline. This way, we can hold each other accountable for the work required to make the project a successful one – one which comes in on-budget and on-time.

Revisions & Refinement
Upon choosing a design direction, we will begin revising and refining the chosen concept.

Our proposals include anywhere from two to five (2-5) rounds of client revisions depending on the nature and scope of the project. The chosen design direction from the Design Review should be shared with all key decision makers so that the initial rounds of revisions will be comprehensive and all-inclusive. The final round of revisions is for catching overlooked errors and omissions and making minor, last minute revisions before preparing the final files and releasing them for production.

Design and text revisions beyond the scope of the proposal are billed separately. To protect our clients from unexpected costs, we employ a Change Order system that formally records additional revision requests and/or new design directions. Change Orders are always authorized by the client before any work progresses. (More on Change Orders in section 3.3)

To make sure we fully and accurately understand your requests, edits and revisions to layouts must be submitted to us in one of the following three ways: legible, marked-up fax, succinct edits via email or a PDF file using the note tool. We will not take any edits or changes over the phone.

We do our best to ensure the accuracy of the content provided by our clients. As our partners, we trust and expect that our clients are proofreading during the design and approval stages of the project, and as such, the final accuracy of the content rests with you.

Final Production
After we receive final approval from you, we move on to Final Art and Production. At this stage, we make sure the electronic files are set up in the most accurate and efficient manner possible and transfer them directly to the chosen print/production vendor.

With the vast majority of projects, Emu is placed in charge of selecting the print/production vendor who is best suited to execute the job with the right balance of quality and cost effectiveness. Our network of trusted vendors was built over time on a foundation of consistent quality, good business practice, and reliability.

By allowing us to choose and manage vendors we are able to leverage our professional relationships which results in benefits such as preferred pricing and scheduling, increased quality control, and overall production efficiency.

Emu is extremely selective about the vendors we choose. You can rest assured that any vendor we bring to the table has repeatedly demonstrated the capacity to produce high-quality deliverables at a reasonable cost. Clients who instead choose to work with their own production vendors must assume full responsibility and accountability for all work produced.

Having fun yet? All-righty then, on to Billing Practices