Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cubicle Ninjas - Your Totally Badass Web Design Team

I love Ninjas! Always have. I used to dress up as one and throw Chinese stars at my fence when I was little. I'm still not sure why they're called Chinese stars when Ninja's are Japanese? And they are the only assassins to use those badass weapons! My favorite country is Japan, surprise surprise. Home of the Ninja. And I hold a special place in my heart for the city of Kyoto. Why? Because when you walk around the old town late at night, you can totally imagine Ninjas running across the rooftops or hiding in the shadows, ready to pounce. It's that old and that cool. I'm serious about Japan (and Ninjas). And I can talk. I've been around the world.

So I was super excited when I began talking recently with Josh Farkas, over at Cubicle Ninjas. They're a web design and illustration company out of Chicago. And they produce some damn good design. But what I really like about these guys is that they act like a startup themselves, which means their customers are very important to them - and they ensure their happiness. I spoke with Josh about their process and it's a helluva lot better than what I used for our logo design (I'm still not happy with it!). They work with you, constantly iterating and revising - and while a lot of companies promise that, you need to be aware that most of these companies have no designer continuity between revisions. That means when you resubmit your design for a revision, you may get a totally different designer who hasn't seen your project before. Or they're just interested in cranking out work as quickly as possible, so they don't really listen all that attentively. It created a nightmare when we worked with Logoworks.

Of course, cost is always a concern. In Josh's words: "As for cost, we're very flexible. We can work at an hourly rate or by all inclusive project rate. Or if there is a cost a customer has in mind we'll let them know what we'd be able to achieve in this time. Plus, we give free no obligation quotes.

Finally, we have a satisfaction guarantee. Many agencies are focused on turning around projects quickly, but we measure success by customer happiness. So if that means a few extra weeks making changes (as long as they fall under the original scope) then we're there. As a creative partner their success and happiness is the most important factor in working together."

Finding a good designer is incredibly challenging. Especially on those oDesk type sites which are great for programmers. It's hard to evaluate a designer from a small portfolio. And it's not good to skimp on design. I can't stress enough the importance of smart, intuitive, simple, good looking design. And while this post sounds like an ad. It's not - I really like what these guys do!

Ninja's formal list of services include:
- Advertising Ideation & Design
- Animation
- Blog Design & Promotion
- Brochure & Book Design
- Brand Creation
- Character Design
- Email Design & Campaigns
- Flash Production
- Illustration
- Logo Design
- Presentation Design
- Search Engine Optimization
- Web Design
- Website Content Management Systems

Give the Ninjas a call: 630.940.6337


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