Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

These tend be questions that come up so often we thought we'd list them here, rather than on a blog.
Please come back for updates or contact us if we can be of any help.

What is graphic design? 

Put simply, graphic design is all about visual communication – but there's a bit more to it than that. 

Design is defined as v. To conceive or draw a plan for a specific function or to execute according to a plan. n. A drawing or plan. 
The key thing here is that there is a plan. There's nothing random or haphazard about design. 

Graphic design is defined as: The art of combining text and images in the design. 
This means that graphic design sets out visual communication according to a plan (for a specific purpose), defining your visual image, how others identify and recognise you. 
It tells customers and suppliers who you are, what you do and what you stand for. It's the visual aspect of your brand. 

What is branding? 

Your brand is the perception others have about you and your company or product. It's the way they 'feel' about who you are (and/or your product) and what you and/or it stands for. 

Do you own your brand then? Yes – and it's up to you to protect and promote it. 

Branding is the process of setting out and communicating your values – giving a clear, consistent and positive message. 
Most people associate branding as creating a logo or some stationery. This is part of it but it goes much deeper. 

People tend to buy on emotion, so what people think and feel about you is important. Integrity is vital. Branding can cover a variety of sensory experiences. For instance, a radio station will have a logo and website following the corporate identity, however voices, jingles, vocals, playlists and so on will play a bigger part in the overall brand experience as the medium is mostly auditory. 

Graphic design covers your logo, literature, website, packaging, signage etc. but it needs to be used as part of your branding strategy, as it is part of your brand. 
It is therefore important to understand your target audience and make sure your offering appeals to them, rather than setting up shop and hope people like what you're selling. Basically you need to 'fish where the fish are' and 'use the right bait'. 

As part of the design process we look at your target market and competitors, in order to give you the edge. 

How much will it cost? 

This is always a tricky one as no two jobs are the same. Everything we do here is bespoke. There can be different criteria, restrictions and objectives for every project we work on. 
Our policy is to exceed expectations in delivering quality solutions and ensure an excellent return on investment to help make the most of your budget. Please contact us for a no-obligation quote for your next design or artwork project. 

What if I don't like it? 

This is a common concern. Our simple answer is that you will. Or more to the point, that the design work will fulfil its objectives. It's more important that your design engages with its target audience and gets the desired results than if it just looks 'nice'. 
We ask relevant questions and research the market, working closely with our clients at every stage of the design process. This ensures we are moving in the right direction – and that there are no unpleasant surprises. 
It's also important for you to be aware of how the design was arrived at and what it stands for. 

Why do colours look different in print and on-screen? 

This is a question that we are asked so often that it makes sense to explain it here. 

Primary colours on screen: red, green and blue (RGB), are made out of light.
The presence of all gives white and the absence of all is black (or as close as the screen or monitor can get to it).
Monitors and screens vary in contrast & resolution and will give varying results. 

Primary colours in print: cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK), are made out of pigments. 
The presence of cyan, magenta and yellow, overprinting at 100%, gives black. (Black is usually added to the print sequence as a key (hence CMYK), to lock the image together, add contrast to images and make type and keylines clear.)
The absence of any ink will leave the colour of the substrate (printing surface) visible. This is usually, though not always, white.
Printing on different stock will give different results. For example, uncoated paper will absorb more ink and reflect less light than gloss paper. This means that uncoated stock tends to give darker and duller results than gloss. 
One printer will give different results to another, even with calibration. Most print jobs are passed on press, which means adjustments can be made during printing to ensure fidelity and consistency. 

Some RGB colours simply cannot be printed as it is not possible to print light. These colours are referred to as out-of-gamut. 

In order to print from an RGB file, the computer needs to convert the colours to CMYK. Sometimes this happens at several stages. At every stage of the process there is a chance for corruption or interpretation, depending on the profile and equipment used. Any out-of-gamut colours will be replaced with something 'close'. 

CMYK colours viewed on screen will look different to their printed counterpart as they have been converted to RGB and are backlit. 

One of the services we provide to our clients is to adjust colours (for logos, stationery etc.) to work well on their office printers and paper supplies. We do this by creating a colour chart based on the branding. We then assess how the printer is reproducing colours and create a set of graphics with adjusted colour values to give consistent results. These are solely for use on a specific printer. 
Please contact us if you would like help in doing this. 

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