How to get Started on your Project

Please browse my website to see if the work and style feel like a fit, and if you have a new project you’d like to ask about, contact me here and introduce yourself with a brief description of your project.

Or call me at 724-542-4400.

Why Do you Need a Professional?

Great design and content can make your customers want to stay and browse

Whatever you’re putting out in the world to market your company is saying something to each and every person who comes across your website, ad, etc. Websites are more than just content, they have to be interesting enough to want to click on a link, easy to navigate and understand, create a desire to eat at your restaurant, shop at your store, come to your event, support your cause or buy your product. You’ve put a lot of effort into creating your business, now you have to decide where to spend the money and how much you are able to do on your own. What you also need to take into consideration is the loss of money or customers that just passed over your ad or your website if not done well. The savings may not really be savings.

A seasoned designer knows when to use the bells and whistles, coming at the project from a different point of view, idea first, then execution. Not starting with the tools and figuring out how to implement them into the site. The end result of throwing all of the ingredients into the soup is not good design. You wouldn’t cook that way, it’s much the same. You can wind up with a very distasteful or bland image if overdone or underdone.

A designer can wade through rubble and sort it out: pick out what’s salvageable and reuse, rework or repurpose the recycleables, and scrap the junk, channel your random thoughts, read between lines, sift through piles of information and materials, and formulate an organized plan. And come up with a solution.

How to Get the Most out of Hiring a Designer

Trust between designer and client

In design there’s a reason for every decision. So before you ever see the first draft, it’s likely that the designer has already gone through dozens and dozens of iterations of logos, colors, fonts, ideas, etc. and scrapped the ones that immediately didn’t work. When you say “can I see that in blue?” and the designer says “I tried that but it didn’t really work,” it takes a trusting relationship for the matter to drop right there. When I work with new clients, I always have to show it to them in blue. When they say “okay you’re right, I just had to see it for myself,” the trust starts to build. Over time and processes, as the relationship develops, clients begin to learn how to work with a designer and ask more productive questions. Like what? I’m glad you asked. Ready … write this down … “then what do you suggest?” Ah, that’s music to my ears. After all you hired a designer because you know they have experience, so it makes sense that you would put some amount of faith into their skills and instincts.

Remember that everything you need to see for yourself is time on the clock, and that equals money. Eventually rather than showing you the logo in blue, the conversation becomes a more forward moving discussion about all of the available options there are, many of which will be more suitable to the goals. Moving on to figure it out instead of swimming around in this blue pool.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times when you really just do need to see something, just so you can put it on the shelf and move on. As a designer, I am a visual person so I see graphics in my head, often eliminating the need to draw it out. Even so, there are times I too need to see things drawn out, so I can keep moving. Sometime a surprise even happens, and it works. Fortunately I’ve been at this for a very long time, so I can move through many designs quickly both virtually and physically.

When you work with me, I will listen to your needs, and create in the end what is best for your company. The best solution is one that you have a hand in, due to the fact that it’s YOUR company, not mine, and you have more information than I do about it. A solution that I, as the designer, can put my stamp of approval on and you can also be proud of what you have. It’s a team effort, between client and designer.

Starting a new project

I’ve put into a form, the basic process of working with me, and expectations of payments, etc. If you are interested in beginning a project as a new client, you’ll be asked to read the agreement from the link below, so there’s a clear understanding of how it works.


Hot Designs did everything from soup to nuts for our website. Shanna is professional, creative and a joy to work with. She always has fresh ideas and fun suggestions on where to go next. Current with technology and knowledgable about the area, I have come to depend on her guidance. Thanks, Shanna!

— Virginia Robertson, Owner, Main Street Wine Bar

chili-tinyHOT TIP  When it comes to keeping the marketing in-house to save money, not so fast. Working with outsiders can be a huge benefit. When you’re too close to the project, it can be blinding. It doesn’t mean money savings if the product is less than professional.