There's a secret out there that printers and print advertisers don't want you to know about. They aren't going to like that I wrote this article and they'll be even less pleased that alert business people like you are reading it.
Rather than just shaking up the bee's nest for fun, my purpose in writing this article is to help you, the small business owner trying to get the most out of your investment. I've seen a lot of clients find out the hard way that “free isn't what it was cracked up to be" and I'd love to know that I've helped you make the right choice for you and your business. Here's what I want to share with you:
As an incentive to work with them, printers and advertisers will provide a similar “free" offer of design assistance when you use their services. While this may have seemed like the deal of the century when you were in the salesperson's office, after you read this article you are going to have a very different take on things. In fact, most business people that learn the inside scoop on this “free" offer never take advantage of it again.
Here's how the process works.
Printers and advertisers hire 1-5 production artists to prepare client files for final production, this is called pre-flight. Pre-flight is a lot like an assembly line: projects are cranked out one at a time and as efficiently as possible. In addition to preflight, printers and advertisers took this assembly line idea and had their artists design projects for clients that wanted design done for free. This makes pitching their services much easier and attractive to clients because clients think they are getting something for nothing.
It's a clever idea. When you purchase business cards or a yellow pages ad, you now get free design with it.
Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? It is.
Speed is the key component of a production artist's job. The more jobs they design in a day the more money their employer will make. Their salary is a fixed cost. Here's something you might not have known, they aren't really free, the printer or advertiser has already built the cost of the artist's time into the price they charged.
Since it's a fixed cost, the faster the production artist completes the project the more money the advertiser or printer will make. So their goal is not to get the best results for your company, rather to move you through the production line as fast as possible.
I know, not a very good surprise, was it?
Think about it, the more time the production artist spends on you, the less money they make their employer. So the production artist's goal is to get you in and out as fast as possible. In fact, they are encouraged to move your project through the process without investing a lot of time on you. How do I know all of these insider secrets that advertisers and printers don't tell you? I used to be a production artist. I know what they're doing.
If you are really looking to grow your business and get a positive, solid return on your design investment, skip the “free" design that printers and advertisers throw in and only work with a professional designer. You want to work with an experienced, business savvy designer that will give you and your project the time and attention it deserves.
Will you save some bucks by having the printer's or advertiser's production artist throw something together for you? Sure. But you have to ask yourself:
"Should I trust my business image and livelihood to someone that knows nothing about me, my customers or my business?
“How good can I expect my results to be when the production artist that is working with me has a different agenda and set of goals than helping my business grow?"
“And is free all that it's cracked up to be?"
You're a smart businessperson and fooling you isn't easy. Now that you know this insider information, do what's best for you and your business and hire a business savvy designer that has the expertise, time and talent to focus on you and get you the results you deserve for your business investment.
Remember what your parents always taught you, “You get what you pay for", and “If something is too good to be true, it probably is".
Jeremy runs the only business savvy graphic design firm who helps companies build more confidence and credibility into their business identities. “I help you take your business’ vision and shape it into a company identity that will make you look better, feel better and have more confidence about your business. "
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