Learn from Madrid: Well intentioned friends still may require that you hire a professional.

Hopefully it won't be too late for you to hire a professional after you have asked your neighbor's son who visits twice a year to create your logo, website, or online presence.  Poor Madrid. Did you read the story about the fresco that was ruined by a well-intended woman in her 80s who volunteered to restore the fresco, "Ecce homo" of Jesus.  Tragic, but a perfect example of you get what you pay for.  Hard lesson, one that cannot be fixed.

Despite Good Intentions, a Fresco in Spain Is Ruined (excerpt and image from the NY Times)

Ms. Giménez said she had worked on the fresco using a 10-year-old picture of it, but she eventually left Jesus with a half-beard and, some say, a monkeylike appearance. The fresco’s botched restoration came to light this month when descendants of the 19th-century artist, Elías García Martínez, proposed making a donation toward its upkeep.

News of the disfiguring prompted Twitter users  and bloggers to post parodies  online inserting Ms. Giménez’s version of the fresco into other artworks. Some played on thesimian appearance  of the portrait.

The Borja authorities said they were now considering taking legal action against Ms. Giménez, although they insisted that their priority was to try to return the work to its original state, under the guidance of art historians. Read the full story here >

Back to the topic of hiring a professional:

Before you hire a professional graphic designer or web developer, check their work, check with their clients listed in their portfolio, or best yet – get a recommendation from a colleaugue you trust.  You want to make sure your chosen professional communicates timely, clearly and is available when you need them during normal  working hours. 

  • Will they pick up the phone or is their only support via email?  That may be acceptable to you, but know that up front.
  • What do they bill for? 
  • What do they not bill for?  You want to understand what you will be charged for before the invoice arrives. 
  • Do you want quotes on tasks or projects before they just run wild and create solutions?
  • Do you want them to send you a list of the tasks so you are sure you have both communicated the project clearly?  What may be "dark and dramatic" to you may be "boring and dreary" to them.
  • Is it clear that what they create or program for you is YOUR property? Get it in writing.  My clients understand that anything I create for them is theirs. They have paid me. I would not have created it without requests by them. They can have the code, the original files and resources.
  • If you are purchasing services or domains through them, are they setting up accounts for you with YOUR email and name?  This is a must.
  • Will they provide you with a list of passwords, etc. in case you want to seek another provider or just access the accounts yourself?