process
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our creative process

We kick off each project with a meeting where we assemble a team of skilled creative professionals to discuss the project background, audience, and goals. Next we conduct research. This is extremely important because it helps us understand your organization, your audience, your competition, and ultimately, your message.
The creative team works together to transform your project specs and their research into mood boards, sketches, draft layouts, and finally a comprehensive direction (a comp or proof) of developed concepts for the design. Comps are draft versions so they sometimes use placeholder "dummy" text to fill space and low resolution, watermarked, or pixelated images. We typically send one to three comps (per our agreement), to give you a choice of direction — once you choose one we stick with it and revise until it’s completely polished. Usually three rounds are sufficient; each round is a back-and-forth between us with your design and content revisions. Do you still want to revise after the number of rounds in the project budget? That’s fine, but note that extra rounds will be billed at an additional hourly rate.
Once you’re satisfied, we prepare the files and send them to production.

Ready to begin a new project?

We have a proven, streamlined process that keeps everything simple and efficient. Before we begin any work, we start with a standard terms of service contract to make sure everyone gets treated fairly. Typically one contract will cover the duration of the relationship and can be adjusted based on the needs of your company and/or project.

1 } Tell us about your project

The more information you give, the more time it will save in the long run and the better we can tailor your design to your audience.
SPECIFICATIONS (SPECS):
Project Background, Audience, Goals: What do you want to convey? Who will to see it/use it and how?
Size/Measurements: We can make recommendations based on your budget. Deciding before starting the project will save a lot of unnecessary production work later on.
Printing Process/Printed Colors: How and where will it be printed?
Print Run: How many people will need it?
Number of Pages: We can help you decide if you're not sure how to spread out information for the best results.
Tentative Deadlines: When do you want to see a first draft? When does this have to be finished and distributed?
Extra Services Needed, Special Requests: Do you need custom photography or copywriting? Do you need a mailing service?

2 } Receive a project budget

We use the specs you send to create a project budget. For smaller projects we provide a breakdown of tasks and items with costs. For large projects we provide detailed report containing an overview, the scope of work (or deliverables), our recommended process, the timeframe needed for each phase, a breakdown of the budget, and the terms of service. We create milestones for each phase of your project to help us stay on time and allocate hours for each phase of your project to help us stay within budget. Unforeseen circumstances — added deliverables, additional revisions , etc — can lead to additional work and are be billed in 15-minute increments at a standard hourly rate.

3 } Approve the budget in writing; send assets and deposit

If you approve the project budget, send us all the existing content (or assets) you have: text, imagery, and reference materials. FTP is the fastest way to send files. Ask us and we'll set you up with a free account on our server.
We send you a detailed timeline with milestones of the start, first proof, and finish dates of each item in the project. At this time we also require a 50% deposit of the project budget, which will be credited to your final invoice; we usually waive this fee on smaller jobs.

project roadblocks

Here are some ways you can help us to minimize project roadblocks and keep the project quality high, on budget, and on time:
» Plan as far in advance as possible. Good design takes time; rushing the process can seriously degrade the finished quality.
» Finalize specs and assets on your end before project commencement. Major revisions to imagery and text will change the feeling and layout, often sending the project back a few steps.
» As a rule of thumb, revisions should not take more than 10–15% of the entire project time. If they do, there may be a problem with the collaborative process.
When you send us revisions, tell us about the problem. It's our job to find the solution for you. Here are some sample revision requests and how they could be revised to better enhance the quality of your finished project:
Don't think about the solution:
» Can you make the author's name bigger?
» Can you move this image an inch to the right?
» I don't like that font; can you change it to Arial?
Think about the problem:
» Can you do something to focus more attention on the author's name?
» This area looks unbalanced, can you fix that?
» We are looking for a clean, minimal font that is easy to read; can you show us some options?

invoicing

We use a web-based system to send project budgets and invoices — just go to apsaracreative.com and click on Client Login. Click on "Forgot your password?" if you need to generate a new one. The system allows you to access your current and previous quotes and invoices. Our mailing address and terms of payment will be on your invoice. Snail mail or email? We email your invoices by default, but if you'd like to receive a hard copy let us know.