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CBJ's View on Design Work before contracts are finalised

Posted by Malcolm Iliff, on 27th November 2012

Design Before Contract – CBJ Digital’s view.

It is not uncommon for business owners to make unrealistic requests of web design firms at the point of offering a job for Tender submissions.  Probably the most common is when a prospective client contacts several web companies and asks them all to design or ‘sketch out’ something for them, whether it's a logo, a home page or some other piece, with the intent that they will choose one of the designs if they like it.  While it may seem as if this is a reasonable request, in reality, we believe it is not.

So called ‘spec work’ and spec-based design contests are a growing concern in the industry. In an effort to educate those working in the Visual Communication industry as well as the clients who use their services, a group of designers banded together to bring the NO!SPEC Campaign to the public.  CBJ Digital supports the NO!SPEC Campaign. You can read more about it at http://www.no-spec.com/faq/.

If I cannot decide whether I like a design before I pay for it, how do I know I am going to get a good one?

Well, this is why it pays to use a professional designer.  Professional designers are just that – professionals.  They are experts in their craft.  It is their job to do good work.  How do you tell one designer from another?   CBJ Digital suggests to its prospective clients that they look at a portfolio of work already prepared for other clients.  Some examples of CBJ Digital designers’ earlier work can be found at http://www.cbjdigital/portfolio/.

We want to make sure our clients are happy with the designs we build for them.  Before we design, we talk to our customers, listen to their ideas, their likes, their dislikes, their thoughts on colour and their thoughts on layout.  We will suggest and comment.  Only then can the professional designer create something that is likely to be really appreciated.  Our designers cannot second guess what is in the mind of the client before the conversations have even taken place.  We trust that CBJ's portfolio will be good enough to persuade you that there is sufficient talent illustrated there so you are able to feel that your choice will be:  i. a safe one and ii. will be effective for your business or organisation.  

Once you get that feel for our work and ‘personality’, we hope you will quickly be able to feel confident that you and we can have a successful working relationship together.

The other reason for not choosing a web developer on the basis of spec-design is that the real business of a successful website goes on underneath the bonnet, so to speak. Consider, the way the site will appear in different browsers, consider the Content Management System and how easy it is to update; consider the way a site reacts to Search Engines; consider the quality and availability of ongoing support and whether the company will still be there when you next need help.   But what about the design?  We’ll get that right – with your help!  

If you know you're not getting the right results, we should talk.