Working with Mrs Smith
designer, freelance, graphic, branding, brand, logo, identity, corporate, visual language, mrs smith, wordpress, freelancer
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I am privileged to have started my career at Brown KSDP (previously Pentagraph) and have worked in well-known South African design and branding agencies. Over the years I have gained valuable experience and knowledge that continues to help me each and every day. I thrive on the adventure and challenge each time I embark on a design project – I have realised that in every job, large or small, there is something to learn – about design, business and even myself.

Brands I am honoured to work with


I love that I get to work with amazing clients, studios and companies. From larger intense projects like CI manuals and campaign roll-outs, to the smaller more intimate corporate identities, I love creating, thinking and designing. My client portfolio has grown so much from when I started Mrs Smith in March 2011 and I thank each and every client for trusting me to be a part of their brand journey.

  • Brand Union
  • Lattitude
  • HKLM Group
  • Openco
  • Creative Vision
  • Breinstorm Brand Architects
  • Barclays Africa
  • Cub3d Consulting
  • JansenHarris (Dubai)
  • The RCS Group
  • Diagnostech
  • RWW Engineering
  • Kat’s Café
  • Stones Marine Timber (UK)
  • University of Johannesburg (UJ)
  • Signage Production Studios
  • Showentell
  • Vertopia
  • Deeper Life (USA)
  • Robia Ministries (USA)
  • Art-Movie-Book
  • Van Riel Developers
  • Cornerstone Performance
  • O’Brien Design
  • YLED
  • Vhutshilo Brands
  • Fresh Earth Bake House

Listed here are a few common questions and answers that will help when commissioning me to do work for you. If there are any issues not covered or if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to give me a shout and I will be happy to discuss these with you.

It is really important that clients understand the timings, processes and requirements involved when commissioning a design project. I am a very strategic designer and I take a lot of pride in doing a job properly. Understanding each parties responsibilities will help us implement the best procedures for our mutual benefit and optimum delivery schedules.

This is the first time I am commissioning design work. What is your process?

I prefer meeting with first-time clients in person. I want to make sure that I fully understand your requirements and that the brief is as succinct as possible. This ensures a more accurate and satisfactory outcome. Alternatively, if it is not possible to meet or you are looking to commission me on additional projects, I require an in-depth brief (by way of email) detailing all your requirements – the more detail, the better. It is preferable if you can provide a project budget beforehand, but I understand that is not always possible.


Once I have all the information I need, I will send you a quote via email for your approval. For first-time clients I will need the following company details:


Company name / VAT number (if applicable) / Physical or Postal address / Name & number of contact person / Email address.


On approval of the cost estimate, I require a 50% deposit* (my banking details are indicated on the quote). This payment secures your booking and allows me to schedule your work. Work can only start once the payment reflects in my bank account. I unfortunately am unable to offer credit facilities. *Please note that Terms and Conditions apply. Please email me and I will send you a copy of my Full Terms & Conditions.


Your project will then be scheduled into the existing workflow and final deadlines and delivery dates will be communicated to you via email. Any delays with regards to approvals, checking of proofs, supplying of text, pictures or content will affect the final delivery date. I will always strive to deliver on time but it is contingent on the client’s ability to provide what is needed. The delivery of concept deadlines/final artwork deadlines depends on various factors, including but not limited to:


1. Number of projects already scheduled
2. The urgency of the delivery deadline
3. Your commitment and delivery of required content, information (i.e. text, pictures, reference material etc)
4. Your approval and feedback on any questions or reverts.

How much does a logo / brochure / website cost?

The answer is dependent on so many variables. I need to be supplied with the most detailed information and requirements before I am able to accurately determine a project’s cost. Let’s discuss your requirements and ensure that we are both on the same page when it comes to expectations and deliverables. A client cannot expect to pay for a Fiat and get a Ferrari. Likewise, I am not going to charge you for a Ferrari when all you really need is a Fiat.

How long is a cost estimate / price valid for?

My cost estimates are valid for 30 days whilst the printing quotes are valid for 14 days due to the fluctuation of paper prices and other factors not within my control.

How long will my job take?

It is important to remember that I am a freelancer and passionate about what I do and therefore choose to work on every design project myself. You are hiring me for my talent, experience and creativity. This ultimately means that you my client are guaranteed a product that has been researched, thought about and designed with care, attention to detail and a lot of love.


Depending on the current workload and the complexity of your project, I will advise you of a potential presentation/delivery date. The process may take a few days or it could take a few weeks. The best jobs are the ones where the client trusts that I will always deliver my best on a project even if it sometimes takes a little longer than expected.


I can only start the job once I receive the required 50% deposit AND the necessary content. If either of these 2 deliverables are delayed or incomplete this will affect the final deadline. I cannot even pretend to understand your business in detail and if I have to create, source or research information in this regard it will add to the overall time it takes to complete the job. Where you rely on me for content and assistance with copy etc, this will be accommodated for in the costings. Please provide me with the right information and materials I need in order to deliver a quality product. Where possible provide me with prompt and helpful responses to questions and enable me to to fulfil your brief to your satisfaction.


Finished Art (FA) also known as artwork finalisation is when I prepare and finalise a job for printing/production and hand-over, this is a vital step in the design process and takes time. It is not a process that should be rushed as there are many factors to take into account, all of which will ultimately affect the end product.

I have an urgent job, can you complete my design really quickly and will it cost extra?

Yes, I can and do accommodate clients that have super urgent jobs and tight deadlines. It is the nature of our industry. There will be a premium for these projects. This can vary from a 25 to 100% increase in the original fee, depending on the urgency and ability to move existing deadlines. The bottom line is that Mrs Smith is flexible.


Please note that I cannot guarantee that printers, suppliers and manufacturers will do the same.

Do you have Terms and Conditions?

Yes, I have standard Terms & Conditions which are available (via email) on request and are sent with my cost estimates. On acceptance of a cost estimate and/or on commencement of any and all work undertaken, you automatically agree to Mrs Smith’s FULL Terms & Conditions. You agree that you have the authority to enter into an agreement and to bind your respective business/company/organisation to all the terms and conditions therein.

What is your payment procedure?

A 50% deposit is required upfront in order to secure your project and to schedule the project workflow. The balance of payment (and all additional invoices) is due on completion of the project. Interest is charged on all outstanding accounts over 30 days. The 50% deposit is non-refundable if work has commenced on the project as well as all moneys required for the proportionate amount of work completed.


Sometimes things don’t go as planned and a client’s job is never printed or they change their minds during the project. If an element has been designed, e.g. a brochure that doesn’t need to be printed, the design work will still be invoiced. If it has been designed, it needs to be paid for.

Will there be additional charges?

Mrs Smith endeavours to honour original estimates but more often than not clients want to add additional content, change various elements, or requirements change and it means I have to pursue a new direction within the project but I will always consult with you on the need for additional payments if the changes warrant it.


Mrs Smith will charge you for the changing and resupplying of final artwork if it has already been supplied. It is the client’s responsibility to check and approve everything before the final files are handed over to avoid additional costs.

I want to give another supplier the design files you created?

Unless it is requested or specified in the cost estimate, the client pays for and is given print-ready files – usually a PDF – supplied for printing/production and/or distribution i.e. emailing or uploading onto a website. So if you commission me to design an A4 poster, I will supply you with a high-resolution PDF for printing. I do not give out the open/source files.


If open files are requested in the initial briefing, these source files will be provided at an additional cost, dependent on certain criteria. Alternatively, if the client requires files that will be used as templates with editable information, this will be accommodated upfront and the appropriate files in the correct formats will be supplied.


It is the client’s responsibility to clearly convey their requirements, from the outset, as this will help to streamline the entire project and ensure the deliverables are as expected.

How many changes can I make to the artwork?

Mrs Smith’s cost estimate makes allowance for a ‘reasonable’ set of corrections. This typically involves 2 rounds of minor changes (essentially two (2) proofs for approval/checking) such as text/copy changes, colour changes and minor modifications to the design and layout. If your changes are going to affect more than 50% of the design or take as much time as it did to initially create the designs, then a new cost estimate will be submitted for approval.

What if I don’t like what you have done, will I get a refund?

Unfortunately, there are no refunds but I will always endeavour to provide you with a design solution that best fulfills your requirements, understanding that the design work produced will be according to your brief and requirements as briefed at the start of the project. It is the client’s responsibility to provide as thorough a brief as possible upfront to avoid unnecessary issues, delays or incorrect deliverables.

I need business cards and pull-up banners, etc printed. Can you handle that for me?

Mrs Smith offers printing/print management as a service to my clients. I have preferred printers with whom I have built relationships and worked with over many years. It is important to understand that in order to cover the administration and coordination involved with a print/production job, I add a standard mark-up to the final print/production costs.


This mark-up covers the time and effort spent in obtaining quotes, liaising with printers and making sure that the final printed product is of the highest quality and is in fact correct. The mark-up becomes compensation for my expertise, experience, time and the initial cash outlay for a print job (sometimes it is a 50% deposit. Other times it is full payment upfront) until the client settles the final invoice.


If you prefer handling the printing and production yourself but you require my advice and assistance with your printers etc, I may charge a Print Management fee to cover the costs of providing such a service.

There was a mistake on my printed artwork, I need to reprint it?

Artwork can be reprinted but the additional costs to do so are for your account.


Mrs Smith does not accept any responsibility for final, approved artwork that is printed and the Terms & Conditions clearly state liability in this regard. It is the client’s responsibility to check the final proofs and make sure that there are no errors or omissions.


I am not able to guarantee that a reprinted job will meet deadlines as the printer’s workflow is not within my control.

Can you guarantee the colour and finishes of my final printed product?

I advise clients to do a colour check on the machine or, for an additional cost, request a machine proof from the printer. It is not possible to guarantee a final printed or reprinted product due to many different factors that pertain to printing. Everything from humidity, types of paper used, printer’s machines, etc affect the final quality and result of a job. Printing something now and the same item in six month’s time can result in differences, even if only slight. I will, however do my best to deliver a quality product that is worthy of an endorsement. Because printing depends on so many different factors, it is almost impossible to know upfront what it will cost.


All of the factors listed below affect delivery and lead times, colour results, pricing, etc. It is always best to obtain print and production quotes once we have a final design because we will then know all the details such as size, quantities, finishes, colours, number of pages, etc and will allow for a more accurate costing. There are many variables such as:


1. Printing process (Litho vs Digital)
2. Quantities – 25 vs 10 000 (Economies of scale)
3. Paper stock used
4. Spot (Pantone®) vs full colour CMYK
5. Finishes (i.e. spot UV varnish, binding, etc)

Are some terms confusing you? Click to view a basic graphic design glossary

When an image or printed colour extends beyond the trimmed edge of a page, it is called ‘bleed’. Bleed ensures that the print extends to the edges of the paper, and the page is usually trimmed to the desired size after printing.


A unique and identifiable symbol, association, name or trademark that serves to differentiate competing products or services. It is both a physical and emotional trigger to create a relationship between consumers and the product or service offered.


It is how an organisation structures and names the brands within its portfolio. There are three main types of brand architecture systems: monolithic, endorsed and freestanding.


The outward manifestation of the essence of a brand, product, service or branded environment.


A statement that describes the ‘place’ that a brand occupies in the minds of target customers. It focuses on the equities that meaningfully set the brand apart from the competition.


The ‘big picture’ plans and tactics deployed by an organisation or company to create brand equity.


The monetary premium that results from having customers who are committed to your brand and willing to pay extra for it.


The description of the purposes and objectives of a project. It should succienctly detail every requirement and deliverable in a way that a designer can follow and ensure the end product is on brand and correct.


Inks used in four-colour process printing. The letters stand for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black). Also called process colours.


A corporate identity (CI) is the ‘persona’ of a corporation and it is the image identifying your company. A strong corporate identity strengthens your brand, becoming recognisable to the target audience. It is the visualisation of your corporate strategy. A corporate identity is made up of visible elements ranging from the companies name, logotype, symbols, signs, letterheads, packaging, business cards, etc, which are used in a consistent manner to identify a company. The logo will be present in all the pieces that form the corporate identity system. All these elements and supporting devices are commonly assembled within a set of guidelines. These guidelines govern how the identity is applied and confirm approved colour palettes, typefaces, page layouts and other such methods of maintaining visual continuity and brand recognition across all physical manifestations of the brand.


A special shape that is cut into a printed piece. The process uses hand-tooled or photo mechanically made brass, copper or magnesium dies. The cost of die-cutting depends on the complexity of the die.


Dots per inch, a measurement of the resolution of a screen image or printed page.


Double-page spread, a term used to describe a feature or article that fills two facing pages of a newspaper or magazine.


A font is a complete set of characters in a particular style and typically consists of a full letter set, a number set and any other special characters. Examples of fonts are ‘Arial’ or ‘Bliss’.


The printing process that reproduces colours by combining cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black).


An image with a high level of sharpness/clarity (a minimum of 300dpi is the best resolution for printing).


A ‘kit’ contains all branded elements (such as specified colours, lines, shapes and fonts that are unique to the brand). These specified elements can be used in different combinations in corporate communications to convey a uniform message.


The terms ‘brandmark’, ‘logo’ and ‘brand signature’ and 'identity' are general terms for a symbol or wordmark that is used to identify a specific brand or company.


The uniquely designed alphabetic letters that communicate the name of the company in the identity.


Low-resolution images, 72dpi or 100 dpi, are most commonly used for screen images and are not suitable for high-resolution printing.

Pantone® Matching System (PMS®)

A popular colour-matching system used to print spot colours, ensuring the consistent and accurate matching of colours. Pantone® colours do not always accurately match CMYK values.


Inks used in four-colour process printing. The letters stand for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black). Also referred to as CMYK.


Rights-managed photographs/film clips/illustrations etc are licensed on a use-by-use basis. The fee for using a RM product is calculated from several factors including size, placement, duration of use and geographic distribution. Exclusive rights are available for purchase for some rights-managed products. All licences of rightsmanaged products are subject to terms and conditions.


Royalty-free photographs/film clips/illustrations etc may be used multiple times for multiple projects without incurring additional fees. Royalty-free pricing is based solely on the file size of the product needed and the number of people entitled to use it (maximum10), not the specific use. No additional royalties have to be paid on a use-by-use basis. However, the rights granted are non-transferable and personal to the user. Royalty-free licences are always non-exclusive. All licences of royalty-free products are subject to terms and conditions.


A specific colour in a design, usually designated to be printed with a specific matching ink, rather than through process CMYK printing. The Pantone® Matching System is the most popular and designers work with swatch books to ensure the correct choice of colour. Theoretically, the specified colour should always be the same shade, whenever it is printed.


The typestyle specified for brand communications other than the basic brand signature. Typography is often an existing, modified or custom-designed font. Typography is also the art of arrangement, style, appearance and printing of type and typefaces, that can enhance the design in order to communicate through written words.


Is a sealer that overprints ink and paper to protect them from scratching and scuffing. Varnish can be gloss, dull or tinted and can be used in small or large areas.


Vector graphics are drawn in paths, which allows the designer to resize images freely without getting pixelated edges as is the case with bitmapped images (such as jpegs, tiff’s and eps’s). The vector format is generally used in printing while the bitmap format is used for on-screen display. Vector formats are commonly supplied in Eps, Illustrator (.ai) and CorelDraw (.cd).

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