Web design is the process of creating websites. It encompasses many different aspects, including visual design, user experience (UX) design, information architecture, and coding.
A well-designed website can be a powerful communication tool for businesses to establish their online presence, reach potential customers, and showcase their products or services.
Why should businesses hire a web designer instead of a DIY model?
- Professionalism and Credibility: A professionally designed website can give your business credibility and help establish trust with potential customers. A well-designed website can show that your business is legitimate, trustworthy, and takes its business seriously.
- User Experience: A skilled web designer can create a website that is easy to use, navigate, and understand. A well-designed website can help visitors find the information they need quickly and easily, leading to a positive user experience.
- Branding: A web designer can help you create a website that reflects your business’s brand identity. From choosing the right colours and fonts to creating a logo, a web designer can help you create a cohesive and memorable online brand.
- Responsiveness: A web designer can create a website that is optimized for all devices, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. This ensures that your website looks and functions well no matter how it is being accessed.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): A web designer can create a website that performs well in search results, which can lead to increased visibility, more traffic, and ultimately more sales.
Overall, hiring a web designer can help businesses create a professional, user-friendly, and effective website that can help them reach their online goals.
Below is a list of common web design terms that we use on the site. Please let us know if you have any questions or if we missed any, we always want to be as transparent about our process as possible.
HOSTING – Just like on your computer, there is a collection of files that makes up a website.
All of your websites files are collected and stored on a server (which is essentially a collection of hard drives) and your company will rent out space on this server that “Hosts” your website.
Hosting charges are monthly fees and are dependant on the site’s size. Hosting is a mandatory monthly fee that every website needs to pay unless you have an adequate global-reaching server in your basement.
DOMAIN NAME – A domain name is the unique address that identifies a website on the internet. oaktreedesigns.ca is our domain name.
Without domain names, we would have to remember everyone’s IP address, which for example, looks like this: 188.8.131.52
Domain name charges are mandatory, typically yearly, fees and are dependant on the name itself. There are high ranking keywords that make some domain names more expensive than others.
SSL CERTIFICATE – If you’re on just about any website these days, check the URL bar and there should be a tiny lock to the left of the domain name.
This little lock tells us that this a safe website in terms of authenticity and operated using an encrypted connection.
It is a vitally important security mechanism used to keep internet user safe from scammers and bots.
SEO – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing a website and its content to improve its visibility and ranking in search engine results.
When you search for something on a search engine like Google, the search engine uses an algorithm to decide which pages should be listed on the results page, and in what order.
SEO is the practice of making changes to a website in order to make it more likely to appear at the top of the search engine results pages.
The goal of SEO is to attract more traffic to a website, which can lead to more visibility, more clicks, and ultimately more overall sales for your company.
RESPONSIVE DESIGN – Responsive web design ensures a website is optimized for all devices, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. This involves designing a website that adapts to the screen size and resolution of the device it is being viewed on.
In years past, a designer would add an image that was x number of pixels tall to fit a certain area but with the increase in technology and different screen sizes, a better solution was required.
Responsive design is a must in modern times and ensures that your content will not only be available for any device but look good too.
E-COMMERCE – E-commerce is a solution to help businesses sell their products and services online. Our e-commerce solutions include website design, payment gateway integration, and globabl inventory management.
Ask us today how we can help!
CMS – A content management system (CMS) is a software application that allows website owners to manage and update their website content without needing a computer science degree, know HTML or programming languages.
For the purposes of OakTree Designs, we use WordPress for the majority of our projects but are also familiar and comfortable with Shopify, Wix & SquareSpace.
CRM – A customer relationship management (CRM) tool is a software application to help keep a business organized. OakTree Designs lovingly refers to our CRM as “The Fort.”
It is where we create invoices, complete billing, document expenses, manage our projects, send files, sign contracts and more. We use our CRM everyday and it keeps us organized.
If you would like to add a CRM to your web design package, please contact us.
Graphic design is visual communication. The goal of graphic design is to combine text and graphics (illustrations, art, etc.) in a way that is intended to communicate a specific message to a specific audience.
Graphic design is used by everyone in our modern age. Invitations for a 5 year old’s birthday party, a funny mug you gifted your boss or your business cards, they were all designed with a purpose in mind. Hiring a professional graphic designer will produce better results and save you time, which will probably save you money in the long run.
A professional designer has the knowledge and expertise to transform your idea into reality. If you are an individual or business, graphic design is a part of your life. Especially as a business, graphic design is an integral part of operating. Logos, advertising, banners, stickers, decals or brochures are just a few of the many items a graphic designer creates on a regular basis.
We offer a range of web and graphic services as well as printing and advertising or marketing solutions. For complete details of our services, please visit our services pages:
Advertising & Marketing – Contact Us
Depending on the nature of your project, we have different pricing structures:
Web design can be a big bill and there is a lot involved so we offer preset monthly options to make it easier for small businesses to invest in themselves. We also offer continuing care plans for once the design is completed so you can focus on building your business and we can worry about your website. We also offer a “design only” option, which is the classic industry way of web design. You can find more information and our web design pricing on our Web Design Services page.
Graphic Design is priced by the project. When we are first approached by a client, we will talk about the overall goals of the project, time-frame it’s needed by, any assets that are being currently used (logo’s, branding, etc.) if any, and the overall budget for this project. We will review this information and create a quote based on the project’s needs.
We offer template services for projects with a smaller budget and a price list for certain designs. For more information about our graphic design process and prices, check out our Graphic Design Services page.
Welcome aboard! We are super excited to get started on this project with you but before we begin, there are a few housekeeping items we need to take care of first:
– Client Portal Login: The Fort is OakTree Designs Client Portal. It is where you can view and pay invoices, check on the status of your project, send and receive project files, schedule a zoom meeting with us, sign contracts and more. We will create a login for you once you have accepted your proposal.
– Contracts: We will send over a contract for use of our services. Please read it carefully and be sure to ask us for clarification or changes before signing. We are always happy to answer questions or have a chat about to contents of the design contracts.
– Design Consult Meeting: Once we have the admin completed, we will set a zoom or in-person (if local) meeting to chat about the project specifics. At this point, we will already have a good idea what what the end goal is, how long you would like this project to take and the kind of resources we will have at our disposal.
During this meeting, we will chat about some specifics about the project and create a time-line for completion. You will be able to follow along in The Fort and we will keep you up to date on the progress of your project as we complete it.
– Design Start: at this point, we get to work. Some projects are just a few days to completion, some take a few months. Once we have our design consult, we will get to work straight away and will contact you with updates and revisions.
Business branding is the process of creating a unique identity and image for your business that distinguishes it from its competitors. A brand is more than just your logo or tagline – it encompasses everything that your business represents, including its values, voice and overall personality.
Here are a few key elements of business branding:
- Logo: A logo is a graphic representation of your business that serves as its visual identity. A good logo should be simple, memorable, and reflective of your brand’s values and personality.
- Tagline: A tagline is a short phrase or slogan that sums up your brand’s unique selling proposition (USP). It should be memorable and catchy, and communicate what makes your brand different from its competitors.
- Brand Colours: Colours play an important role in branding, as they can evoke emotions and associations. Choosing the right colours for your brand can help communicate your brand’s values and personality.
- Voice and Tone: Your brand’s voice and tone refer to how you communicate with your customers.
- Visual Identity: Your brand’s visual identity encompasses everything from its logo and colours to its typography and graphic design.
Overall, effective business branding can help your business stand out from its competitors, establish trust with your customers, and create a strong emotional connection with your target audience.
A brand audit is an analysis of a company’s branding efforts and how well they are aligning with the company’s goals and objectives. The purpose of a brand audit is to identify areas where a company’s branding efforts may need support, as well as opportunities to overall improve and strengthen the brand, if necessary.
Here are the key steps involved in a brand audit:
- Define the brand: We start by defining the brand’s mission, vision, values, and personality. This will serve as a benchmark to measure the brand’s current performance.
- Brand inventory: We create a list of all the brand’s assets, including its logo, tagline, website, social media accounts, and marketing materials.
- Check consistency: We check how consistent the brand is across all its assets and communication channels. Are you using the same fonts in all your posts or complimentary ones? Is your logo being stretched or distorted in any of your communications?
- Analyzing the competition: We analyze the branding efforts of the company’s competitors to identify areas of differentiation and opportunities for improvement.
- Gather customer feedback: Collect feedback from customers to understand how they perceive the brand and what they like and dislike about it, and why.
- Identify strengths and weaknesses: Identify the brand’s strengths and weaknesses based on the analysis of its assets, consistency, competition, and customer feedback.
- Develop a plan for improvement: Based on the findings of the brand audit, we create a plan to improve and strengthen the overall brand. This may include updating the logo or website, refining the messaging, or developing a new brand strategy.
Overall, a brand audit can provide valuable insights into a company’s branding efforts and help identify areas where improvements can be made.
As a part of most web design projects, a brand audit is included.
As much as we would love to say that it will take exactly what we projected in your proposal, sometimes we have delays or set backs. We also finish ahead of schedule quite often, so it always comes down to each individual project we work on.
To help your project finish on time, we wanted to share some experiences from past projects to shed some light on where things can slow down for a project:
– Reply’s take forever: We sent you revisions, copy to review, images to review, etc. but you haven’t gotten back to us. We have to communicate quite often about design choices, project updates and more.
The longer it takes for us to have a response, the longer your project is going to take. We always want to stay within the time-frame we talked about but if lines of communication are slow, your projects outcome will also be slow.
– Non-specific feedback: You don’t like the design we sent over for your logo, banner, sticker, etc. and you tell us that you don’t like it….but that’s it. We are always happy to hear your thoughts on your design, it is your after all, especially if you don’t like it, but there’s not much to go on with “I don’t like it.” Please be as specific as possible with your feedback.
Not giving us reasons for not liking a design will slow down the project as we will have to come back to you with questions. What is the colour, the overall tone, the fonts we used? The more information we have, the better the design will be and the less time it will take. Which brings us to:
– Endless revisions: We don’t mind making the corrections you ask for but we do mind creating a design, progressing with that design and then all of a sudden you want to change the design in its entirely. To go back to the beginning after the first round of revisions is frustrating for us, and expensive for you.
The other issue we see on occasion is “Can you move that “t” one pixel to the left?”…These kinds of requests are a waste of time and I will explain why, whenever we send revisions, we will remind our clients to look and the overall shapes, colours, feeling of the design.
We have a finishing process that happens at the end to make sure that everything is level, centred and digitally as perfect as we can make it. When requesting revisions, remember that every time you ask for one tiny thing, it will slow down the project and result in delays and aggravation – especially if its happening during a branding package that will be added to a website design.
– Unclear directives from other members of your team: We have our design meeting, contracts are signed and everything so far has been signed off by our point of contact. As far as we know, everything is going great. All of a sudden we get an email that says “So and so doesn’t like the logo, can we change the entire website?”
In situations like this, we have to remind our point of contact that we needed to know who the decision maker was at the start of the project and the contract signed is clear on communication with decision makers.
We are always happy to make changes but in a situation where we weren’t given the correct information, additional time and money will be required to get the project over the line if significant changed need to be made. We are people too and no one wants their time or efforts to be disrespected.
– Non-payment: At the beginning of a project we will take a deposit for design work to begin or start monthly billing instalments for web design plans. If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot pay your deposit, we are happy to have a conversation about alternative payment options.
We want to be able to help wherever we can and we understand that small businesses don’t have a lot of cash flow for large expenses, we are a small business ourselves. If we have a 4 month project a head of us and we asked for a 50% deposit at the start of the project and the remainder due at the end, we can offer 25% monthly until the end of the project for example.
If you think halfway through that you will be unable to pay the remainder of the balance due, please let us know as soon as possible and we can chat about it.
Final design files are not sent until we receive the remainder of the balance due.
Your completed design files are added to The Fort client portal upon completion of the project. You can always find your files there. If you have any difficulty logging into your account, please contact us.
To login to The Fort, CLICK HERE.
Contact Us! We are more than happy to create the sizes you need for our completed project together.
Not a former client but need a quick resize? Contact us anyway, we’re happy to help and provide quick services at reasonable rates.
* Make sure you check to see if you have your original design files, they will likely be a .AI or .EPS file type. On occasion, they may be a .PS file type. Not sure? Click the link above to get in touch and we can chat about how we can best help you.
If you have signed your contract and we have completed your designs but you would like to go back and make further revisions, we are more than happy to talk about your change of heart and how we can help. That being said, you will be required to sign a new contract and a new quote will be created for the projected work.
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