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WHY HELLO. YOU’VE FOUND THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE OF FELICIA DAY.

Looking for Website Revamper!

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Hey all!

I want to redesign this site a bit, it’s high time it got a face lift!

Looking for something not unsimilar to what I have now here, but with easier project adding/browsing, better social media integration (including Tumblr), links to things people can buy that I make, and responsive design for mobile so I don’t need an app. Still WordPress based.   A video player would be nice too.  Because I make hundreds of videos each year haha.

Question though:

I have been approached by people who run big sites to do a “contest” of sort to pick a designer.  Do you think using sites where people submit design ideas on spec is tacky or ok?  Given that I can drive a lot of traffic and visibility to the submissions, maybe it’s not a terrible idea, because even someone I didn’t pick would get seen?  Or is it asking people to do work before being paid? (Which it is, but I come from a world where actors and writers do that all the time).

Anyway, email:

emailtheflog at gmail dott comm if you have a portfolio!!

Thanks!

  • ANG

    I think it is a great Idea to start a contest because even if you don’t like the design. If you could figure out a way to publish their submissions then they could get some free advertising from you. I’m always on the look out for new web page designs so personally I think it would be cool to see what ideas people have for you.
    imo-ang

  • My opinion is if you are looking for something similar to what you have, there isn’t much ‘design’ to be had for a contest unless you tell everyone to push the limits.

    Hire someone who is not a lone freelancer. Possibly a small group of pros who can get the job done and have a good time while doing it. Stay away from the large agencies.

    Cheers!

    • AddieA

      I love the way you’ve approached this, I’m sure you’ll get a lot of solid submissions. I respectfully disagree about the large agency comment. I think it depends on the agency. If its not a solid fit you should be able to tell right away. How quickly do they respond to you? What is their culture like? Their values? If they jive, it’s cool to give them a fair shake. There are pros and cons to any provider, free-lancer or firm. Maybe consider the kind of relationship you’ll have with them as one of the qualifiers, what do they bring to the table and how easy are they to work with. Best of luck, can’t wait to see the new site!

  • Tacky. You’re asking people who would otherwise get paid (you *do* want a professional, right?) to work for free in hopes that something will pan out for them visibility wise. How much time do you want them to spend doing that? Logo design alone takes at least 15 hours to do well…and it’s based on an in-depth interview, research and exploration process that’s really only possible one-on-one. And what are your goals for your site? More subscribers? A cool place for fans to hang out? A supreme launch pad for monetizing w/ online e-courses? If you hire someone to work with you, the sky is the limit. If you want people to compete for your attention, you’ll run up against the reality of pros who like to be paid for their work. My $0.02. 🙂

  • For myself, I would usually be very suspicious of a request to do any significant amount of design work “purely on spec”, mostly because if there’s anything a small IT shop learns really, really fast is that there are thousands of people asking for various things on spec, and most of them are one form of scammer or another. I’ve been burnt some that way, and I know plenty of other people in the business who’ve been burnt worse – either by ending up doing lots of work for free, or in some cases by finding their customer claiming to have found another designer to implement something almost-but-not-quite identical to their proposal.

    Now, if you came to me and asked me to do a design on spec, I’m not going to think _that_ , ’cause, hey, doing spec work for Felicia Day ain’t exactly the same thing as doing spec work for a Random Internet Customer. (And unlike what most customers claim about their work-for-free, is actually something that really might look good on my resume.) But still, it’s not great company to be in, would be my point.

    Good luck finding someone! (Alas, I don’t do WordPress/PHP myself, or I’d be happy to bid…)

    Alistair

    • Me too, that’s why I started creating my own websites instead. One friend was charged $20,000 for a “ghost Investigator” website that was never completed. What a nightmare. I design and build because i love doing it. I don’t charge much.

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  • I am so happy you thought to ask this. If you know what you want more or less, please OD NOT have a contest. crowdsourcing content through contests may be great for the person running the competition but the designers end up doing what amounts to spec work, hoping to get paid for their work and undercutting there own future potential earnings.
    Look through the abundance of portfolios of designers online or seek out someone who designed sites you like and just hire them.
    Along those lines, there’s an indiegogo campaign to get a website going to help out all those professional fantasy/sci-fi artists out there. The pay scale has been getting bleaker and bleaker. So while there are more games/films/books than ever, earning a living doing all that awesome eye candy is getting harder and harder:
    http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/pact-professional-artist-client-toolkit/x/1094712

  • Skiant

    There’s a really neat video that explains why you should not run a contest for your next website design: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsstOs-K7gk

    So in my opinion, I’d say you’d be best finding a freelancer or small webdesign/dev studio who’s done some work you love, and ask them if they feel like doing this, at which price.
    Then you can have a healthy discussion with them about what you want, how you want it, etc.

  • gesikah

    In theory, it’s a nice idea, but, from what I understand, it’s generally frowned upon by the design community. I am sure Skiant’s video explains it better than I could (sorry, haven’t watched it yet).

    My advice would be to find an individual or small firm. Get recommendations from friends, etc and then check their references. Just like you would for getting work done on your house. Make sure they are willing and able to do what you want before getting into any contracts (some prefer to work in or push their own CMS solution, for example).

    You probably have enough projects ongoing, that it will be beneficial in the long-run to do the work upfront to find a good match and then be able to step back, confident that the work will be done efficiently, creatively, and to spec.

    Also please avoid phrases “The logo needs to be bigger”, “It needs more pop”, and phrases where an emotion is used as a descriptor “I think the sidebar needs to be…happier”. 😉

  • Will

    IMO, go with a freelancer or a small firm, especially if you want a quicker deployment. Running and evaluating entries in a contest are going to take time.

  • I agree with the “find a freelancer/company” sentiments. Aside from the plethora of negatives around design contests, in your case it probably just ends up being more of a time-consuming headache than to simply find an awesome person or group who can really knock it out of the park for you.

    When it comes to design, especially web design, having the ability to sit down with someone who knows exactly what questions to ask to make sure your new site not only kicks ass in all the way you want it to but so that it kicks ass in all the ways you didn’t realize you needed it to. You mention you want it to be easier to use and more functional, and that’s not really something you’ll be able to judge from a design contest.

    Look around the interwebs at sites you like the look and functionality of and find out who did their site. It will give you a good place to start looking at designers who might be a great fit for you.

    Good luck, lady!

  • I designed my site and many more. Tattoo shops and simplistic site that are easy to blog from, update and manage so even a grandma can do it.
    My other site http://www.herosjourney.info was a site for learning the hero’s Journey (screenwriter) but I decided I wanted to try my hand at selling hot sauce. Visit my site and see it. Hero’s has a database and tons more work. My personal site (michaelatenciom.com and Mickcharger.com both are the same. That’s because they share my new little WordPress blog. I’ll help ya out if you want. maybe you can help me with a screenplay getting read sometime. I have one I’m working on that is an Agatha Christie Ten Little Indians movie with a slight paranormal twist. I’ve optioned a few but nothing has been made yet. I love horror films, even worked on several B movie sets. My writing is improving enough that this one (after many terrible screenplays) is my best. No promises cause you know how the industry is. Just a willingness to read it and if you think it’s good enough to be read by a producer, ya pass it along. How reasonable is that? Right? I know!.
    Let me know.
    Mike Atencio

  • I know this is a really controversial topic, but as designer whose reputation and business is based on other people’s perceived value of her work, I’d ask not to support the practice of spec work. Not only will a good relationship from someone who is invested from start to finish help your end product be much better, but it also helps make sure that the hard work that does go into a designed piece is valued as hard work. Here’s the AIGA’s (American Association of Graphic Designers) position on contests and spec work:

    http://www.aiga.org/position-spec-work/

    It is so much more thorough than any one comment can be, and really helps outline why the design community in general isn’t comfortable with the practice.

    Generally speaking, going into a contract agreement with a designer or developer is saying that you respect their talent and trust them to work with you to make the right decisions for your site. And I personally like contracts because it gives both of you a pre-arranged out if the project isn’t working the way either of you anticipated.

    I think one-time unpaid commissions can be good, but they work best when the artist/designer approaches a potential client and offers, or when the client approaches someone whose work they admire and ask about it.

    On the other hand, it’s not uncommon to approach a few different designers/developers and get quotes for work before deciding to move forward. That’s pretty much expected.

    http://www.behance.net/ contains a nice collection of portfolios to hunt through, generally individuals, and I’d second the advice about finding an example site and contacting the admin to figure out who designed/built it.

    So maybe the contest is for portfolios? It might be cool to ask designer fans to send in their books and then post who got chosen, or the ten finalists, or something…

    (wow, that turned into a novel; totally unintentional!)

    • Hunt Ng

      As a designer i agree with the AIGA position on spec work. And i am very much against spec work when it comes to everyday clients and trying to make a living.

      When taking on passion projects its a bit harder to judge whether spec work or contests are ok. Occasionally you may have an idea that you just need to down on paper (i say paper… but you know) and this can be a really good start to a process to create something really interesting.

      I do however believe that good work must be a product of interaction between client and designer. I would definitely commit to a designer and a process rather than seeing what get pitched at you. The commitment of the client and is often the most important ingredient to good design and is rooted in the dialog between designer and client. Spec work, free or contests often lead to design that is unoriginal and superficial.

      Best of luck with the search.

      Note: On spec work/pitching and working for free. I have found that pitching concepts can be good, but only with clients i already have a great relationship with and usually already working with them on other things. Seems to work ok for advertising but not design. “Free” jobs almost always suck for both designer and client…

  • Thanks for your feedback all! I decided to take portfolios and comb through them after Comicon to find someone. you can email them to emailtheflog at gmail dit com if you want!

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  • mJr

    why don’t you try freelancing websites. I think the work you need done is better suited for a freelancer. Try something like freelancer.com or something; you’ll have all the portfolios you need, js.

  • I don’t see why it would be any big challenge to revamp a site like this. The theme you have now is one of the most basic I’ve seen. A decent coder should be able to redo this site with little trouble. WordPress sites are cake.

    my personal wordpress site – http://theLair.me
    my personal business site – http://topshelfeverything.com
    a recent custom wordpress – http://stablecontracting.com
    hand coded php – http://limerickvillagemassage.com

    TopShelfEverything@gmail.com Holla!

  • Danny

    I’ve worked in design in-house and for agencies in the roles of designer and Project Manager, for I’d say in the comments Laura has the best advice for you.

    That said, my advice (coz, we all know better right? hehe) if you’re looking for someone to do design work for you, the first thing you should do, is really figure out what you want (you’ve pretty much done this but I’d list them out and include everything that you want), and list them:

    Figure out exactly what it is you want a designer/company to do for you:
    – Do you just want just a visual refresh? (easiest and quickest)
    – Do you want to add new features? (such as the video player you mentioned, integrating social media, but list the sites you want to integrate explicitly)
    – More backend/code work? (integrating to other APIs is going to need someone with more than just Photoshop skills)
    – Do you need want it to work across new platforms/devices? (you mentioned wanting it to work without the need for an app, maybe you need a scalable UI that can work across small handsets to Xbox running on TV sets)
    – How much you’re willing to spend?
    etc

    Now, a good designer or firm, can help with getting this list together, but as clear an understanding as you have of what you want beforehand will help everyone. This will lead you to the RFP (Request For Proposal), where you’re asking designers to prove that they should get the job.

    The pitch process is standard and hated across the industry. Agencies and designers will put in a lot of man hours, money, and effort in the hopes of getting your business based on an RFP. This is what other comments are eluding to, this spec work is an industry standard, but only the big boys tend to be able to afford it. Too many RFPs with no contracts can break a smaller shop.

    Portfolios are good, but they’re not going to tell you if the designer can do what you want. What is really going to help you is interaction with the designer/team. You need to like them, and trust them. The industry is full of people who think they’re better than you, know what you want and should have in a design, and therefore won’t be listening to your needs. Good designers will listen to you, help you, and show you the way, not take you down a path you had no interest in going. Just because you want something, doesn’t mean it should be done, a good designer will show you a better way, or why something shouldn’t be, rather than ignoring your requests, or worse, making poor design decisions just to please you.

    You’re going to need to figure out if the person/shop that you like has the skills to do what you need/want. The good thing with agencies is that usually they’ll have all of the talent in-house or on contract, but often at a premium. Individuals will be cheaper, but might not have all the skills you need. You might need find you need a visual designer, then hire a coder separately to implement new features, but sometimes designers come up with stuff that you can’t really implement 🙂 A good individual designer will let you know up front what they can offer, and if you need extra (such as coding), will have someone they trust that they can bring in.

    Also, there are designers out there that will take another designer’s work and try to pass that off as their own, so no matter what you do, do not pay anything upfront 🙂

    Once you’ve figured out who you’d like to work with, you can then begin the real process. I’d personally pay for 2-3 concepts per designer that I short-listed. The concepts would just be visual at this point, and let them talk to how they see the site working with their ideas. See if they get your vision, and you get theirs.. That should put you on the right path.. Remember though, you don’t have to pick one of these concepts, they could nail it or just help you in selecting the correct aesthetic. Go with your gut!

    I guess finding a good designer is a lot like dating, there are a lot of good people out there, but you’ll need to weed out the scumbags, the freeloaders, and the cheaters to find that perfect match. Good luck with your search!

  • Ohhh, I wish my WP/design skills were up to date — I totally would have loved to work for you! Too many real-life issues the past few years, so I let my web skills slide. I’m trying to catch up now (in addition to trying to finish a fantasy novel — yes, I am that crazy) but it’s hard to get back up to speed once you’ve fallen behind. Oh well… I hope you find someone great who appreciates you and will give it their all!

  • Kevin Fronduti

    Yes, I agree to the above points. But, I still see some of the important points in the article.

  • Will you be in more of hit paranormal drama supernatural and will something grow between Charlie and dean

  • My web guys does a great job. I’ll let him know…that is if you’re still looking for someone.

  • I agree with some of the others… I’m a professional designer from Sydney Australia and spec work is really frowned upon here as well. These type of contests and sites like freelancer and elance are ruining the industry… getting people to work for peanuts or a lot of the time nothing at all. It’s not good. I feel like I’m being taking advantage of when asked to do spec work and only do it when I’m in desperate need of money.

    Also, generally speaking, you get what you pay for with design.

    On a completely different note, just discovered your Geek and Sundry channel, fantastic stuff! Stay cool Felicia! 😉

  • James

    Felicia,

    I strongly suggest against doing any sort of contest. It’s basically asking people to work for free and gets around paying for the most important part and time..which is creativity and design.

    http://www.nospec.com/about

    There is a great site that you can read that goes into this sort of thing…once people read it, they usually will never ask for spec work again.

    Best
    James

  • James

    Here’s the meat and potatoes of why spec work hurts our industry (I’m a motion/graphic designer)

    http://www.nospec.com/faq

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  • Valeri Djukov

    So evidently this turned out just as you had hoped it would 🙂 To new beginnings !

  • 5dedevil

    just do what you feel like isnt a hard ask of yourself if someone has a perspective and talant they can do whatever they want if they chose you like many do as in your pretty cool dont stress on it come to terms with them when the become a member of your gang then be generous yay things and stuff 🙂 Jamie

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