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Ask45—Issue No. 2

Wow, has it really been over a year since we did our last Ask45? How time flies!

Well since we feel like slackers for letting the series float around unattended for so long, we decided to put our feelers out on Twitter this morning to see what our followers would like us to cover in this installment. So without further a do, here are our responses to your questions.

Question 1: “Where do you usually look for inspiration first when creating the mood/feel of a project?”

As the old saying goes, inspiration is everywhere you look. When we’re starting in on a new project, we try to set the mood and tone early. However, before we start going pixel crazy, we take a step back. We look at the client’s existing brand and try to figure out what problem we’ll be solving. After all, it’s hard to come up with a new direction for the client if you don’t know what did or didn’t work previously.

A sign outside your office, a menu at the corner deli, trade publications, design books, magazines — all of these are great places to find ideas that can spark your imagination.

Next, we try to organize and structure the client’s existing “stuff” in to a story that makes sense to their audience. This part might not seem obvious to some people, but thoughtful information architecture and flawless UX will definitely affect the mood and feel of the site. And not taking time to get this information in order can lead to a bad user experience.

Finally, after we know what path we’re going to take, we start looking offline first for design ideas. A sign outside your office, a menu at the corner deli, trade publications, design books, magazines — all of these are great places to find ideas that can spark your imagination. Even though our profession involves optimizing our design for the screen, don’t just look at web galleries and look for the latest trend or design style. Designing consciously with sound principles will get you a lot further along than you think.

Question 2: “How long does a typical project take?

Whether large or small, every project is different. We’ve had ongoing relationships with some of our clients for more than five years, while others we’ve worked with for only five days. What really matters and sets the time line for the project are the requirements. We try to take on projects with a healthy (and realistic) time frame so that we don’t feel boxed in by the ticking of the clock. For us, anywhere between 8-12 weeks is enough time to take our clients from start to finish. Here’s a breakdown of the typical project that comes through our contact form and how long it takes us for completion:

  • Front-end web app design & development: More than 12 weeks
  • Basic company site with a CMS and/or blog: About 6-8 weeks
  • Front end development, WordPress plugin work or design only: Less than 2 weeks

Like we said, there are always exceptions, but these time tables work for our small, yet efficient 3 man operation.

Lighting round bonus questions!

We got a couple questions via Twitter that we thought were fun and deserved an answer. So here are your bonus questions, dear followers:

@EdwinBrett asks, “I’d like to know your favorite things to do when you get some downtime.

  • Matt: I enjoy playing pool in my basement, watching NFL on Sundays and drinking whiskey with friends on “Whiskey Wednesday”. We also have a growing web community called the AWDG, and I always have a blast hanging out with friends both old and new.
  • Adam: I rarely get to play much anymore, but if the weather is nice I always try to get in a round of golf. Most of the time though I’m spending my free time hanging out with family and friends watching or talking about NFL football.

@bsrome asks, “Beer of choice?

  • Matt: I’m not much of a beer drinker, but when I do, I’m usually at Ceviche eating fish tacos. That being the case, you’ll probably catch me with a Tecate and a cold glass.
  • Adam: You’ll rarely catch me drinking a beer, I’m more of a whiskey man, but there are certain situations and places where I do enjoy a cold brew. If I’m at a Mexican restaurant I’ll have a Dos Equis Lager. If I just finished a round of golf and I’m trying to look like I usually order beer, I’ll have a Stella Artois.

Send us your questions

We hope that this article answered some of the questions you sent us and we’re looking forward to answering more of them in the future. We’re really excited about the new Ask45 series and we hope to receive more of your questions in the coming weeks. Feel free to send us your questions via our contact form, email us directly at info@45royale.com, or send your questions to @45royale on Twitter. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the questions presented today too, so please don’t hesitate to join the conversation!

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