How does your design process work?

Although we are a boutique design firm, we utilize the same process as a large advertising agency. This ensures results that are strategic, on-brand, and consistent with your vision. Here is a quick overview of our design process:

Step 1Initial Asset Collection (Optional)

The client collects all available assets (if any) and delivers it to us for review. If the client doesn’t have any assets, that’s ok. We can build entirely from stock.

Step 2: Pre-Design

The client fills out a document called a Creative Brief. The Creative Brief is a questionnaire that provides insight into the specifics of your project and what you are looking for in the design. If you’ve never filled one out before, that’s ok. Our brief includes instructions and examples to walk you through the process. This step is essential to our creative process. We can’t read your mind… but we CAN read your brief!

Step 3: Project Kick-Off

We internally review the Creative Brief along with any provided assets. If there are no questions that arise, we inform the client that we can move on to the next step. If we have questions that need clarification, we may schedule a call with the client to review the brief together.

Step 4: Design

Our internal team brainstorms ideas and designs the first round of concepts. During this time, we may request more or different assets from the client, if available. During the design process we may contact the client if questions arise. Once the first round of concepts are complete, we submit to the client for review. We only show completed work, not rough work in progress.

Step 5: Review

The client reviews the first round of concepts, and emails us comments, questions, and direction for the first round of revision. Revisions can be as simple as combining a title from one concept with a background from another, or seeing different color variations of a concept. Revisions can also be more complex, such as moving elements around, changing the layout, or swapping out a different photo of an actor. This revision process repeats two more times, at which point, most clients find that they are happy with the concept they choose.

Step 6: Finishing

The client selects their final concept, and DOG & PONY begins the finishing process. In this process, we go through the file in detail, retouching as necessary to make sure the file is perfect and ready for printing as well as online viewing.

Step 7: Final File Delivery

DOG & PONY delivers the final files to the client. We can deliver files a few different ways, according to the client’s preference. We can upload to the client’s ftp, upload to our own ftp, or send via WeTransfer.

How fast can I see the first round of art?

Short Answer: As fast as you need it.

From the time we receive your assets (if any) and completed creative brief, it typically takes somewhere between 1-3 weeks for us to send you the first round of comps. The turnaround depends on the size and complexity of your project, our current workload, and seasonal variations (eg. we get busiest just before the major film markets). Therefore, the earlier you send us your project, the better. Need it sooner? Please contact us for a custom estimate. Additional fees may apply for rush projects.

How long does the entire design process take?

Every project is different, but an average Key Art project takes between 4-6 weeks total, from the time we receive the completed Creative Brief and assets (if any) to the final file delivery. This timeline is highly dependent on how quickly you give us revisions. We understand that some clients need to have many people weigh in on the Key Art, and so may take longer to get back to us. Of course, the sooner you give us direction, the sooner you will get the next round.

What is a comp?

A “comp” is advertising lingo for a design concept.

What types of assets can you use to design?

Acceptable assets include digital stills from a photo shoot, on-set photography, unit photography, screen grabs from the film, a hard drive containing the high resolution film, and/or stock photography.

Which asset file types are the best for your design process?

We try to use the absolute best possible assets in our design process. This ensures the highest quality product. However, there are times when legal necessity or marketing strategy require the use of lower quality assets. The following ranking will help you understand “The Best” to “The Worst” quality of assets.

The absolute best with the least amount of limitations:

1) RAW format still photography (In the form of Canon .CR2 or Nikon .NEF):

This image file type provides the highest quality and the greatest flexibility in terms of lighting, and detail within the image. We strongly prefer this format whenever possible.

2) Stock Photography:

We have access to a very large library of royalty-free stock photography, which we are happy to utilize at no additional cost to the client. Of course, there are limitations based on what is available, and specific requests may not be an option (period clothing, as one example, is difficult to come by).

3) High-Res still photography (In the form of TIFF’s or JPG’s):

Quality varies greatly depending on the quality and file size provided.

4)  High-Resolution Screen Grabs from the Film:

Screen resolution is lower than print resolution, and therefore screen grabs are not a preferred form of assets. However, they may be used in certain limited circumstances.

5)  Low-Resolution Screen Grabs or Low-Resolution Photography:

These are generally not usable. We will only use these if there are legal requirements for us to do so, (i.e. an actor’s face must be shown) and no other assets are available. We are incredibly limited when using these so we will explain to the client beforehand.

I don't have any assets from my film. Can you still make me a poster?

Short Answer: Yes, absolutely!

We work with many films that are in pre-production, script or pitch phases. We pride ourselves on our ability to create high concept, beautifully executed art using only stock photography at no additional charge.
In some cases, the film has been shot but no still photos were taken. We can still create a beautiful poster, but please understand that there will be some limitations. We can pull frame grabs from the film, but we are limited by the resolution of those frames. Print resolution is higher than screen resolution, and posters are large (27″ x 40″). There may just be a limit to how large an actor’s face can be on the poster, for example. We will let you know what we are able to do, and our suggestions.

What is the difference between a revision and a new concept?

Some questions to ask are:

1. Will the revision look significantly different from the original concept?

2. Will the revision be able to use almost all of the original image assets?

3. Will it take a long time to design?

If the answer to all of these questions is no, then it is a probably a revision.

Revisions are relatively minor adjustments to a concept. The revision doesn’t majorly change the concept, and can be accomplished in a relatively short amount of time. A revision will utilize most, if not all, of the initial image assets in a concept.

Some examples of revisions are: trying out different color palettes, taking a title treatment from one concept and putting it on another, stripping out a head of an actor for a different shot, moving the placement of a tagline, title or above title names, trying out different texture treatments or borders, or swapping out a background shot for a different shot at the same angle.

If the answer to one or more of those questions is yes, we probably have to build a new concept.

New Concepts are generally made using more than one or two new image assets. They contain larger changes that significantly alter the concept and will take us a significant amount of time to accomplish. They require us find new photography assets, and then re-design accordingly. This desire by the client for new concepts can be for a variety of reasons. For example, a client may have new idea they would like us to try out. He may change the marketing strategy. She may desire a new perspective/angle of shots, or an entirely new layout, or new set of image assets.


On my Key Art, I would like the actor's face to be bigger. Can you make it bigger?

That depends on the quality of assets used. If the client provided us with absolute best quality raw still photos assets, then the answer is most likely yes. On the other hand, if the client provided us with lower quality assets, then we will notify the client to explain how large the image can go without losing quality.

When do you require payment?

For the vast majority of projects, we will send an invoice once the project is completed. We generally do not require any partial payment upfront.* Once we send the invoice, payment is due within 30 days, and additional fees may apply for late payments.

*There are certain exceptions to this rule, including international (outside of the US) clients, projects that require photoshoots, and projects that are very large or complex. In these instances, we will notify you of the payment terms.

What forms of payment do you accept?

Payment must be made as check, cashiers check, or money order in US dollars.