THE DESIGN ASSASSIN :: CREATIVE BY INSTINCT. DIFFERENT BY DESIGN.

FAQ / Help Centre ● Technical Specs

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ACCEPTED FILE FORMATS

  • DIGITAL CAMERAS
    Digital cameras these days produce high quality images and are fine for 4-colour printing. Professionally photographed images will greatly enhance the look and quality of your site and advertisements, and reflect more positively on your business. Professional photographers worth their salt, will understand how to correctly use lighting to make a photo or product look the best it can. If it is necessary for you to send images taken by an amateur on their own digital camera, please ensure they use the highest settings possible. Professional digital cameras generally produce very high quality picture in RAW or TIFF format. RAW formats will have to be converted by you and sent to us as TIFF files. We are able to edit some formats of RAW files from some brands of DSLR cameras, however it is more time consuming to convert them, so TIFF or high resolution JPEG is preferred. Preferred format for images is:
    • JPEG – saved or taken with highest quality and resolution settings
    • TIFF
  • SCANS
    Scans must be at least 300 ppi with dimensions of the finished product. Scans with lower resolution will produce a product that is not clean and crisp. Keep in mind, files with high resolutions may be difficult to upload . Please scan black and white line art at 1200 ppi (file size is smaller in black and white and line art requires more detail for certain applications). Scanning a previously printed piece can result in the dots from the colour process showing up in the finished product so you will have to use the descreen filter in your scanning software (or apply blur and then unsharpen in Photoshop®).
  • VIDEO FILES
    Video files are generally large. If they are for use in on a website and you have them on YouTube or Vimeo, we can simply embed them into a website and save on bandwidth. For edited video files these are best sent using an online file transfer using a format such as:
    • MPEG-4 (aka MP4)
    • AVI
    MPEG-4 (aka MP4) – offers the best combination of high quality, small file size and a large installation base.  Save at 30 frames per second, and a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels for best viewing quality. AVI – Audio Video Interleave, or AVI files can be played on all Windows computers going back to Windows 3.1, and on many Macs as well, providing that the codec used to create the video is installed on the computer playing the video. For footage that you are sending to me to be edited, please provide as:
    • MPEG-4
    • WAV
    • AVI
    • MOV
    QuickTime uses many codecs, though Sorenson 3 and H.264 are among the best for delivering high-quality files with small file sizes. It is up to you, the client to ensure all audio and video licenses are cleared for usage where you are not the explicit copyright holder. See the Terms and Conditions ADD LINK for more. NEEDING IMAGES OR FOOTAGE? If you do not have images, a logo or the right photographs The Design Assassin can assist and provide appropriate images for your design, print and/or web needs. That is part of the service and depending on your needs we can offer advice or handle this for you. We can assist in arranging footage if needing to be shot or source stock footage where necessary.
  • AUDIO FILES
    Incomplete, incorrect, or illegible audio files will result in production delays, and possibly poor presentation of final product. It is better to send us higher quality audio files as The Design Assassin can recode for use at a lower bitrate as needed. Audio files preferred are:
    • WAV – High Resolution 24 Bit WAV files are PREFFERED
    • AIFF
    • MP3 – send at the highest bitrate possible. A recommended bitrate of 320 kbit/s & sample rate of 44000 Hz if you can.
  • FONT FILES
    Fonts can be sent to us as OTF (OpenType Format) or TTF (TrueType) in order to be compatible with our machines.
  • INFORMATION, TEXT AND COPY
    You may submit information using the following files and formats:
    • MICROSOFT®  WORD – text only (.doc, .docx)
    • MICROSOFT® EXCEL – text only  (.xls, .xlsx, .csv)
    • Open Office Files (.csv)
    • Text Files (.txt)
    • RTF (.rtf)
    Whilst we do our best to ensure information is free of errors, it is the responsibility of the client to ensure that all information supplied is correct and free of error whether it be grammatical or information being correct. Due to formatting issues, sending information for use in a website, text or copywriting for use in print or web, PDF files are generally not favoured. If sending files for inclusion “as is” (such as a downloadable form or file for a website) then by all means you may send us a PDF. Just be aware that it should be optimised to a smaller web-friendly size if your document is rather long and contains many images.
  • LOGO ART GUIDELINES
    Please send us your reproducible logo artwork, colour specifications and your logo usage guidelines if any exist. For all existing logo artwork please send as follows:
    • Provide a scalable version of the file (EPS and vector files allow this)
    • All required registered, trademarks and service marks must be part of the logo artwork.
    • Colour must be applied directly to the digital art file.
    • Provide detailed information along with specific colour specifications such as CMYK values or Pantone® colour codes used, variants, etc. Please detail when you send the digital file.
    • Provide 1 digital file of your logo in colour, on a white background.
    • Providing a hard copy of your logo on a white background is also recommended.
  • DIGITAL FILES, IMAGES, ARTWORK
    Digital files for PRINT will be accepted in the following formats only:
    • JPEG – maximum quality only
    • PDF – fine for logos. For sending info for use as copy, see below
    • TIFF – great for images, photos.
    • EPS – preferred for logos & illustrations
    • AI – preferred for logos & illustrations, but all fonts must be converted to outlines or paths.
    • PSD – in some cases. Fonts must be supplied. Do not merge layers of PSD files.
    All files required for print must be supplied with a MINIMUM resolution of 300dpi. See below for a primer on resolutions and print terms. I can accept the majority of Adobe native files. We cannot currently accept Quark or PageMaker files, so please convert these before sending. Accepted file formats for WEB & WEBSITE usage include the above as well as:
    • PNG – use 24 bit highest quality where possible
    • GIF
    • Animated GIF
    Images and artwork will not be accepted in these formats whatsoever (does not include data or text):
    • MICROSOFT WORD
    • MICROSOFT POWER POINT
    • WORD PERFECT
    • MICROSOFT PUBLISHER
    • GENERIC PAINT PROGRAMS – that cannot convert to any accepted file format
    Image files sent to us in the unaccepted formats are unusable in a professional sense. They are of terrible quality when embedded in such programs so are unable to be used. We do not accept these formats for quality issues. These programs do not export files at a high enough resolution and can reduce the final product quality. If you have no other format then sometimes we may be able to recreate the artwork – such as a logo that you have.

ARTWORK SPECS

  • LOGOS, PHOTOS, AND ARTWORK
    When providing non-digital work, please make sure all items are clean and of highest quality possible. We can scan them for you if necessary, please note this will incur an extra cost. If you want to scan a printed piece, please be aware that dots from the printing process will show up in work created from said scan. It is best that the file is properly digitised. Graphic Files originally created for Internet use cannot be used effectively for print purposes due to quality issues.

Before We Begin

  • What information is required?
    Depending on the project. If you want something for print or web made from scratch then I often don’t need anything apart from the information you want depicted (if anything specific). For websites, brochures, general needs include the content (unless I am writing it), images/photos should you have any specific ones to use, logos, and requests or ideas if you have any that you are keen on. All media you send me should adhere to the submission specifications detailed in the TECH & SPECS ADD LINK outline. I will usually send you a list of the things that are needed to proceed with the project upon acceptance or enquiry. You also need to have an idea of an end result: what are your expectations? This is extremely important for websites. If you are happy to leave it up to me that is fine, however I will need some information on your goals and needs and can send you some questions that will help define these objectives.

Effective Communication

  • Effective Communication: APPROVING ARTWORK
    The designer / web designer /writer will need to know if they are on the right track and will often seek feedback from the client during the draft stages of the design. Sometimes a client may not be able to pick what they like or dislike about draft designs. Or may feel that they cannot put into words what they are feeling. Some may feel overwhelmed by the differences in technical knowledge. This is one stage however where it is important that both parties are as clear and specific as possible about opinions or feelings toward the design, idea or text. Mainly when expecting a certain outcome. A lack of clarity here could result in something totally different to what was expected. So being able to depict to a designer what you like or dislike in an effective manner, can actually be an important step in the process, and will give them the best opportunity to create something pleasing. A suggestion I offer is to do the best you can to put it into words. Not knowing the technical terminology is no problem, as long as you can convey what you mean. If you have difficulty in describing what you like/dislike at this stage, the best thing is to take some time and think about it. Maybe you can describe your response. Is it the colour scheme? Is it the shape or the linear quality? Is it the way something reads? The imagery? Do any specific features make you excited or uncomfortable?
  • Effective Communication: EMAILS
    A simple yet effective move such as descriptive email subject lines, helps keep a project more organised and easier to keep in line. Many people ignore or do not fill in the subject line when sending emails. When a person (in this case TDA) receives sometimes over a hundred emails regarding a project, many missing a subject line or title, it makes searching time consuming, costing both the client and designer time or money. When emailing, clearly labelling the subject line with something that indicates the email content or files / project attached is requested. For instance, "Allan's Website, Product Photos" or "Betty's Website Text" as this will make it easier to search for and reference. It also helps with versioning for revised files and other media. Your help in this area makes for a smoother process.  

General Questions

  • What is an RSS Feed?
    RSS (nowadays standing for “Really Simple Syndication” or Rich Site Summary) is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works—such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardized format. An RSS document (which is called a “feed”, “web feed”, or “channel”) includes full or summarized text, plus metadata such as publishing dates and authorship. Web feeds benefit publishers by letting them syndicate content automatically, and let their followers know that new content has been added to the site. They benefit readers who wish to easily subscribe to updates from their chosen websites or to aggregate feeds from many sites into one place. For a really simple explanation, read this.  
    Most webfeeds maintain a running list of the latest content items posted to a site. Each item in the feed includes a headline and often a summary that corresponds to a new piece of content on the Web site. That content usually is text (like an article or weblog entry), but it could also be a discussion thread, cartoon strip, audio file, spreadsheet, or any other kind of online content.

    Each item listed in the feed also includes a link back to the original (full) item on the Web site – so if a particular headline or summary catches your interest, you simply click to access the full content. Also in most cases, each time fresh content is added to the site a corresponding new item is automatically added to the webfeed at the same time. - via contentious.com
     
  • Can you give me a guesstimate on timings?
    It always varies on complexity and how prepared the client-provided items are (such as photos, product images, content if applicable). Also how strict your wants and needs are can play a part. How booked up I am at the time and how quickly the staff on your end respond to emails or approvals affect it too. It is easy to generalise but it can vary wildly so things below are to be only a loose guide.
    • Flyers and posters: can take mere hours to several days – longer if requiring detail and illustration.
    • Websites: I don’t guess on these because these requirements fluctuate the most. Some people need simple 1-3 pages, whilst others need ecommerce solutions with mailing systems and more.
    • Photographic: generally as long as your event is plus extra time spent on processing and transit. The more photos you get or require, the longer the time-frame.
    • Business Cards: the design can be done relatively quickly. I recommend allowing 7-14 days if you want me to deliver them printed through my discount sources. Print turnaround is often a week, but if there is larger volume and fancy finishes it can take longer.
    • Copy: how deep is half a hole? How long is a piece of twine? Depends on if you need a press release, a feature article or a short story. I think you might catch my drift 😉
  • How long is turn-around time?
    Again, each project is different. Some projects are simple and are able to be completed fairly quickly. Other more intense projects can take longer – particularly for larger print projects such as magazines and graphical content layouts, which need to take into account things such as printing time. Simple lading pages and basic websites are much easier and faster to create than whole eCommerce systems. Priority options are available where time permits for jobs needed urgently.
  • How much do you charge?
    It always depends on the job. Cost is based upon different protocols and determined by what is required, skill and complexity involved, resources and time frames. It depends on whether the job is design based, photographic or which of my skill sets it involves. As for cost, we can usually work out something that all parties are happy with. Any jobs undertaken by the Design Assassin are completed with skilled ability. I prefer to charge an hourly rate, however for larger projects and ongoing clients we can talk about arranging a quote.

METHODS OF SUBMISSION FOR MEDIA

  • METHODS OF SUBMISSION
    • E-MAIL - best for files up to 12MB
    • ONLINE FILE TRANSFER – using services such as:
      • www.dropbox.com - cloud storage, up to 2GB free
      • www.sugarsync.com - cloud storage
      • www.yousendit.com - free for up to 25MB
    • DVD
    • USB Flash Drive - can be mailed
    • CD
    • FTP UPLOAD – can be arranged, but online transfer, email and DVD are the preferred methods.
    Please include all the files needed for the job, label all discs and files clearly, and make sure all files can be opened on PC platform. If you are emailing or using online transfer of files, please zip or rar files (using Winzip or Winrar) as this will cut down on transfer time and is more secure. It also helps safeguard artwork from being corrupted when uploading. It is still a good idea to test your zip file by unzipping it again to make sure that it wasn't corrupted. When emailing, clearly label the subject line with something that indicates the files / project attached. For instance, "Allan's Website, Product Photos" or "Betty's Website Text" as this will make it easier to search for and reference. Please see more in Effective Communication ADD LINK. If you wish to use FTP to submit your files, you may arrange to do so when the files are needed. This service needs to be set up and you will be sent the login details at the time..

PROJECT SPECIFICATIONS

  • Project Specifications: FOR NEW PROJECTS
    When starting on a new project of any kind, particularly those with new clients, I may send you one or two questionnaires to fill in first. This will help me understand your needs and give me some background information so we can complete your project to the best of our ability. Planning and organisation are key, therefore the more I know, the more I can help you. This doesn’t apply to all projects, but can be helpful when undertaking projects such as ad campaigns, new websites and marketing, TV or web advertising.