Monday, July 5, 2010

Boundaries


If you believe…”The Customer is always right”, to be the best way to keep clients, then you have realized that demanding customers can cut into profits.


Graphic Investments will always provide more services than what is actually paid for by the client. We try to educate the client as to when the extended service has begun compared to standard product development. We cannot assume that clients have will understand, realize or even care that you have gone beyond the normal “scope of work” to make them happy.
The time to apply the brakes is well before a project gets started. Defining exactly what is to be provided is obviously the best solution to keep all parties on the same page. This works, but, there is always a company willing to provide more for less. We find ourselves willing to provide the customer with what they need at someone elses price. This is exactly when you need to make sure the client understands that you are providing services at a discount and that anything beyond this negotiated price will incur additional charges.
To be clear, I am discussing the average small business owner who specializes in a product or service that has nothing to do with graphic design.
Using the web site package as an illustration, there is way too much information for a client to digest when getting into the specifics of the work. That is why they want a package price to begin with. This package needs to defined so that both the designer and the client know what is included.
A basic web package might include: 5 pages, domain name, email accounts, hosting for 1 year and search engine submission.
This is not enough information to keep a project from getting out of hand. I visited a client who wanted a five page website, then, wanted me to scan over 200 pictures and place them on one very long page, in a specific order, grouping five pictures at a time. This was a construction contractor who thought this would be standard because “prospects need to see the pictures”. A different client wanted custom flash movies to load on each of five pages.
Here is our standard web site package that I submit to a client who just wants a start up web site.
  • Custom design with your corporate branding includes page layout and images for web site design. Logos, copy and product or service images must be furnished by client.
  • 7 pages – Home, About us, Products, Services, Contact us form, Thank you, Privacy Policy
  • 5 Email accounts. (unlimited capability to add more)
  • 5 Web links to outside web sites.
  • 5 Links to PDF's.
  • Up to 20 images for a slide show for 
your products or services
  • Analytics to track your web site traffic.
  • Web site submission to Yahoo, Google, Ask, 
MSN.
  • Meta tags for search optimization.
  • FTP file transfer access
  • Unlimited storage for your files.
  • Free web editing tool (training at additional charge)
  • One year hosting.
Options for additional services to enhance you visitors experience include:
Video Production - Video Loading - Flash Elements - Counters - Maps - Full Tracking - Web Site Optimization Facebook - Twitter - Administration Pages - Administrator Access - Data Base SQL Management - Customer File Uploading Page - FTP Access - Blogs - Feedback forms - Shopping carts - Site Search - Private or Shared Servers - Unix or Windows Based
This almost covers everything. A client gets a good look at what they are getting and also options to get more.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Garbage In, Garbage Out!

Graphic Investments is primarily a designer and production coordinator for print projects. This includes a wide variety of complex printing projects from 1 color to 5 color. This brings me to the heart of this article. “Garbage in, garbage out”! This is a very common term used by the graphics trade to refer to artwork.

With almost any printing web site there is a section dedicated to the type of files required and the specific dpi required to get work accomplished for a print project. These requirements are pretty standard based upon each companies ability to work with certain file programs. and can be found under, "Acceptable File Formats" or "Pre-flight Information". PDF format is now the choice of file for most printers.

One catch, your average business owner who needs a brochure, business card, pocket folder, book or sales material has no idea what is required to produce a project for printing. Secretaries are not working in the correct programs for printing and the owners do not want to be bothered with acquiring the knowledge of print production.


Owners do however have realized the benefit of owning a
web site. This is where they believe that print production designers can get artwork for the project in mind.

Someday I would like to see a front page national newspaper run an article with the headline splashed across the whole header of the publication:

“Warning: Internet images and logos taken off your web are Garbage for printing!”

Garbage in, garbage out.

Even the most awesome looking logo or picture online is not the quality required to print from. These images are 4 times less resolution than required to produce a printed project. The images above represent an image how it would look if used as a high resolution image designed for printing. The "fuzzy" image, represents how your image would print when taken from the Internet.

Good enough has now become the norm because of the ill conceived notion that If we have a good web site I can develop a brochure that will help keep your company branded.

My advise is to have a graphic designer, not a web designer, develop the branding with print quality artwork and scan and store pictures at print quality resolution.

This is the correct way to produce all your artwork. These images, logos and text can readily be converted for the Internet. The web art can not be converted for printing.

If all you have is artwork developed for the Internet you will need to have a graphic designer start from the very beginning to assure the quality and integrity of the printed piece. This will be costly and could have easily been avoided had you developed your art for printing, then used it for the Internet.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Preying on the Innocent

The state of the economy today has many people searching for opportunity. Yahoo Hot Jobs, Monster and many other employment search environments make it easy for “Work at Home “ scam companies to prey on people seeking work to support families.

My wife recently finds herself unemployed due to company cut backs. She is a very qualified individual specializing in corporate management, creative marketing and communications. Not easily fooled, she signed up for an opportunity that seemed like a data processing work at home program. The original opportunity was written to “look” like a posting by, Florida Job Markets. With Google as the main focus of a work from home program, and knowing how much internet marketing is in demand, she thought that Google would be offering an opportunity to load ads for companies on web sites.

Wrong! What a scam.

The advertisement had included language that took this program out of the “get rich quick” type marketing and promised benefits like customer support, tutorials and a package of tools to help get started making money in less than a few hours. All you had to do was work hard, stay on course and follow the predesigned marketing strategy that any 6 year could follow. Comments by users of the program were included as quotes and the main article described the success of a woman that is from Spring Hill, FL., our community.

What she got for her original $1.99 sign up was a membership, that if not cancelled within three days would cost a one time fee of $129.00 and a recurring credit debit of $49.00 per month as long as the membership was active. The sign up also automatically placed her as a member of a social network that if not cancelled within 9 days would have a recurring debit of 17.50 per month. There were no tools, no package of information to process and no customer support.

The link that was sent as part of the membership took us to a web site that shows how important it is to build your own web site. Advises to find affiliate advertisers to load onto your new web site then advertise with pay per click marketing companies. Advise on how to build blogs, network with social media and on and on. No real marketing tools or services.

I called all the customer service numbers for cancellation and customer support. You guessed it, no answer. I waited for recordings that implied my call would be answered in three minutes, then two minutes and for the next ten minutes “your call will be handled by the next customer service representative". Ultimately we had to cancel the bank card used for the original purchase of $1.99 or risk being billed the “one time fee” and recurring authorized credit debits.

Upon further review of the original article that had her impressed, the bottom line on the page, in the smallest web rendered type available, was this statement:

"THE STORY DEPICTED ON THIS SITE AND THE PERSON DEPICTED IN THE STORY ARE NOT REAL. RATHER, THIS STORY IS BASED ON THE RESULTS THAT SOME PEOPLE WHO HAVE USED THESE PRODUCTS HAVE ACHIEVED. THE RESULTS PORTRAYED IN THE STORY AND IN THE COMMENTS ARE ILLUSTRATIVE, AND MAY NOT BE THE RESULTS THAT YOU ACHIEVE WITH THESE PRODUCTS. THIS PAGE RECEIVES COMPENSATION FOR CLICKS ON OR PURCHASE OF PRODUCTS FEATURED ON THIS SITE."
*We are not affiliated in any way with CNN, WebTV, News Channel 7, ABC, NBC, CBS, U.S. News or FOX. CNN, WebTV, News Channel 7, ABC, NBC, CBS, U.S. News and FOX are all registered trademarks of their respective owners.
All the above “affiliations” were mentioned in the Fake article.

Before signing up to any marketing program or Home Based Business, check out:
www.snopes.com.
A quick search might save your peace of mind.