Tag Archives: branding

How Will You Meet Your 2011 Goals?

OK, so it’s October…It’s Fall…Do your thoughts turn to dry brown leaves, cooler days, holidays and gatherings with friends and family?

OR as a business person, do your thoughts turn to the fact that you haven’t met your 2011 goals and you only have 3 months left to do so?

As a commercial from way back used to say…”So what’s a mother to do?” (or in this case, what are YOU to do?)

Well, as the owner of a graphic design business, I’ve been thinking the same thing (although I have to admit I almost bought some Candy Corn the other day….That once-a-year purchase that I eat til I feel awful, and then I don’t do it again til next October…After all, it’s tradition!)

But I digress…One thing that I am going to do is touch base with all the clients I’ve done business with in the past.  I want to remind them that Designer Mouse is available to help with their promotion…To help them meet those 2011 goals.  I plan to utilize email marketing and make a monthly connection. For a reasonable investment in time and money, you could do the same.

Follow ups could include a postcard, a personal note (an art that has gone by the wayside!) or a phone call.

Provide an incentive. Offer a discount. Do something to get your clients to reconnect. Or simply connect to see how that individual and their business is doing.  Just a reminder that you’re available to help them meet their goals can go a long way.

So those are my ideas…What are yours? Please share your thoughts for the benefit of all! I look forward to your comments.


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How to Potty Train a Water Turtle (and other opportunities to Think Outside the Box)

Did you ever have a pet water turtle as a kid? You know, the ones in the plastic bowl with the palm tree?  They never lasted too long….Well when my daughter was 5, she received a turtle at a birthday party instead of a goodie bag…It was just about the size of a 50 cent piece (wow, that dates me, doesn’t it!)…As a parent, I would have preferred she receive the goodie bag!

Anyway, that was 17 years ago and Sally the turtle is still with us…As you know, once you name them, they’re part of the family. ..and turtles are the dirtiest things!  Over the years, Sally has outgrown bowls and aquariums. I have cleaned more turtle containers than I care to mention!

Well, we decided to let Sally have the run of our laundry room rather than be cooped up in an aquarium all the time. We started providing a shallow pan of water.  We would put her in the pan and feed her and she would take care of the rest.

What began to happen was that Sally would get in the pan on her own when she was hungry. We’d feed her, she’d take care of business and then move on…The beauty of this is that cleaning out a small pan is so much easier than a large aquarium.

Did you know you could potty train a turtle?  Did you think turtles were that smart? I had no idea!

I know this is such a random story to tell, but believe me, there is a point…It’s about Thinking Outside the Box! At a networking seminar I recently attended, the concept of thinking beyond the obvious client opportunity was introduced. The question is: what type of business (that your competition hasn’t thought about yet) would be a good referral source for you? If this hasn’t occurred to your competition, then you are ahead of the game!

As a graphic designer and particularly one that is looking to build my photo restoration business, let me just throw out one idea….Again, this will seem random but stay with me…Morticians…..Now you’re asking “why would a graphic designer want to be introduced to morticians?”  Well, think about it. When someone is preparing for a service for the dearly departed, they put out a display of photos…Some are VERY OLD. They’ve been stuffed in a drawer, folded, torn…You get the picture (well actually, I hope I get the picture–ha ha).

They also might have a family photo where one person is missing from the group. They would be ever so grateful to have the entire family together in at least one picture.  See the lady in the striped shirt in the picture on the left?  Well, now she’s added to the photo on the right…plus she has feet!

Back to thinking outside the box…Morticians…Such an odd sounding referral opportunity, but a potential goldmine…And there are others. We all just need to think beyond the obvious.

Here’s another good tip…Figure out who you know that would have the same database of clients, non-competing of course. Who is their supplier of products they use?  What about the financial planners who want to meet those who have just received an inheritance? These are individuals who would love to share referrals—They are not your competition and they open new opportunities.

Just think about it…Outside the box, of course!

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Filed under CA, Designer Mouse, effective sales promotion, fun, Graphic Design, graphic designer, leads, marketing, Orange, personal referrals, photo editing, photo restoration, photoshop, promotion, referrals, Sales, sales force, think outside the box, turtle

Graphic Designer – PATIENCE is my Middle Name

The graphic design process is not simple.  It is not something that is quickly accomplished.  It is just that….a “process”.  And many times in that process is a lot of trial and error…Well, not really “error”… The process is one of getting inside your client’s head…Figuring out what floats their boat!

Many times in the “process”, I have clients apologize for saying, “yeah, that’s close, but not quite what I was looking for.”

I’ve also heard “I have NO idea what I want but I’ll know it when I see it.”

Well that opens up the entire world! As I said, the process becomes one of getting inside the client’s head, evaluating their personality, their likes and dislikes, their sense of humor (which I LOVE to work with!), their target market, the marketing approach, their expectations, etc.

It is only at that point that the physical design begins. If for instance you need a concept for a marketing campaign but have no idea what you want…As a graphic designer, I would go through the “get to know you” process mentioned before and then provide you with 2-4 quick concepts. They would be varied. At that point, we as a team begin to narrow down your likes and dislikes. This is where the fine tuning begins.

This is also where I usually hear the apologies for my client’s “picky-ness” and the fact that I’m “so patient.”   Yes, I am patient, but this process is part of the graphic designer’s job. Apologies are not necessary!!!

The creative process is actually quite fun…And the reward is when the final concept is “just what the client wanted.”

So don’t hesitate to work with a graphic designer because you have no idea what you want for a concept. We will work together and come up with something that will hit the mark and bring in more clients.

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You Know What I REALLY Love???? Ramblings of a Graphic Designer

OK, sometimes we all have frustrating clients  that drive us CRAZY… One has the choice to take a negative attitude when things go wrong, however I’ve find it helpful, dare I say humorous, to take an over-the-top POSITIVE approach.

Generally I will say “You know what I REALLY hate?’ At this point venting can be very therapeutic, but it also has a tendency to give my gut “grumblings”.

On the other hand, if I say (now mind you, this is with sarcasm, but that’s my style) “You know what I REALLY love?” and then go on to tell you the opposite of what actually occurred, it allows me to laugh about the situation, thus providing me with pretty little butterflies that tickle my insides…Do you sense the sarcasm? Good!

Anyway, do you know what I really love? As a graphic designer, I love it when my clients entrust me with the opportunity to help them promote their business.  You know who you are, and thank you for your trust!

I love it when clients stick with the approved design once it has gone to the printer…Uh Oh, I’m going to the dark side!

Don’t get me wrong. Graphic designers want their client’s feedback. They want to know what’s going on inside your head and what concept you will be pleased with.

Here’s the bottom line…Allowing your graphic designer to do their job gives you the time to focus on your expertise, thus saving you time and money! (Do I have your attention now?)

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Photo Editing Test…Was this Person Added to the Photo or Taken Out?

It’s amazing what can be done with Photoshop. You truly need to question any image you see.

So here’s your test…Between the following two photos, there is one extra individual..Was this individual ADDED to the photo or REMOVED?

I’d love to hear your your comments! I’ll let you know the answer in about a week.

In the meantime, if you are in need of some photo editing or photo restoration, get in touch!!!

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Filed under branding, CA, Designer Mouse, effective sales promotion, email marketing promotion, email marketing promotion, flyer, Graphic Design, graphic designer, newsletter, Orange, Orange County, photo editing, photo restoration, photoshop, promotion, website promotion

How come the photo I downloaded looks so blurry in print?

Have you ever copied an image off a website , pasted it into your file, printed it and were disappointed with the blurry results?

It looked fine on my computer monitor!!!

Well, there’s a reason for that…Online images look terrific at 72 dpi (dots per inch). This is fortunate, because the lower the resolution, the smaller the file…The smaller the file, the faster it displays online. If you’ve ever waited for a huge file to display on a website, you know what I’m talking about. Generally, unless it’s REALLY important, you don’t wait…You move along to another site.

When it comes to print, though, a crisp, clean image needs to be at least 300 dpi. 

As a graphic designer, I often receive “artwork” from clients that appears fine on their computer screen. They assume I’ll just be able to drop the image provided into a layout and go from there…If the image came directly off a website, chances are it is a very low resolution and will need editing.  Sometimes simply increasing the resolution and sharpening the image will do the trick; but in most cases, the original file is your best bet.

Bottom line, your graphic designer will be able to determine the quality of the image and the potential printed outcome before you go to expense of printing….so NO SURPRISES!

Surprises are great when it comes to parties, but when it comes to a print project, you want “WYSIWYG” (“What you see is what you get!”).

So work with a professional graphic designer. Take advantage of their knowledge and experience. It’s possible that individual learned the hard way and wants to save you that experience!

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Logo POWER!!!

Quick…What are you thinking about right now???

Displayed is just a portion of the Coca-Cola logo and yet I suspect you are seeing a glass of Coke in your mind’s eye!

Can you see the benefit of a good logo? Consider that Coca-Cola uses the same image on EVERYTHING…from their advertisements to their products and packaging to signage and trucks…The same logo, the same look. Repetitiveness and consistency are the key to their branding.

Do YOU have a logo? If you do, is it displayed on ALL of your promotional materials? Is the look consistent?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, then consider updating your company’s promotion. When someone sees your logo, you want them to immediately think of your product or service. From your printed materials to your emails to your online presence….A graphic designer can provide you with the consistency in your advertising that will get you noticed!

Who knows, someday they may just see a portion of your logo and you will come to mind. Now that’s Power!

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