I was on the phone with our web designer, Eric Dingler, the other day and I realized something. Eric just finished a new web design for a client and we were talking about re-designing our own site as well. He was listening to my ideas on things I wanted to include and making suggestions. Then he spent some time telling me about website podcasts he listens to, and their advice on the matter. He excitedly told me about a new “tricks and tips” he could work into our site. That was when it hit me.
The best people to work with are the ones that are constantly learning and honing their craft.
Always. It never stops.
Then I looked around my office and noticed the same thing with our designer Josh. He is always looking at design. Sure, he went to school for design and he has the background and the chops. But he follows designers, he studies their work, he enjoys the conversation. He is honing his craft.
The question is…what are you working on? What do you want to become great at? If you will or if you won’t can be answered by whether or not you are continually learning or studying your craft. Want to be a fitness expert? Yes, of course you have to put in the work. You have to work on your own diet and your own fitness. But are you reading the latest blogs? Are you up on the latest workouts?
Want to stand out in Content Marketing? It’s not just about creating content (though that is super important). It’s also about studying other masters to see what is working and what is not? Want to lead in sales? It’s not just about making the sales calls (though that is where it starts). You need to continually be reading articles, books, and blogs on the topic. You have to get re-inspired and re-imagined to continue to be the best.
Do you want to be great at something or are you just saying it? A simple self-audit will tell you the truth if you let it. You are passionate about what you work at and study. Look at your calendar and study your time. That will tell you the truth. Make sure you never miss an update! It’s a great time to become a VIP! Sign up here for our weekly email with all of our content.
The year was 2004 and my wife and I were on a fantastic sales incentive trip in Bermuda. We had a great time (as you might expect). But one of the unexpected highlights of the trip came when we were given the “Sales Leader” award by the company. We were thrilled, to say the least. Then, as one of the awards, we were given a watch. At the time I was excited about all of the recognition, and I put on the watch right away. It became a symbol of that night for me. I didn’t always think of that evening when I checked the time…but I often did!
A New Wrist Award
I am reminded of that because when I was recognized recently as a Rising Star in the Promotional Products industry, I was given a new watch! The simple fact is, I was very excited. I promptly took the old watch off (yes it was still the one from that night in Bermuda) and attached the new one to my wrist.
Maybe you think that some people don’t wear watches anymore. “They have a phone for that!” And maybe some people don’t. But I don’t think watches are going away. And more importantly, you should never pass up the opportunity to make your team feel this special.
If your organization would like to call out people or teams in a personal way, a watch might be the perfect award. This might just be the award they wear on their wrist, every day. I speak from experience when I say, “It is a powerful and positive reminder.”
If you want to say “thanks” for a job well done, then an everyday reminder is not a bad way to go.
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There is often confusion around Art files and what types we can accept. Terms like Vector Art, Camera Ready, etc… get thrown around. Most people, unless they are graphic artists, do not understand the differences. So, what is vector art and why does your logo or artwork need to be vector? Let’s answer that question now!
Vector art is created using vector illustration software programs, such as Adobe Illustrator, Freehand, and Corel Draw, among others. The art created with these programs can be blown up in size infinitely without any loss of quality. (Think of zooming into a picture and it becomes blurry.)
Raster Graphics, such as photographs, and graphics files created in Adobe Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, and other Raster editing programs, in most cases cannot be used. Notice how in the example picture that the edges of the art become blurry rigid and not smooth? With Vector Art you can blow up the image to any size with no loss of quality.
How Can I tell if what I have is Vector Art?
Vector art is usually created in Adobe Illustrator, and is commonly saved as a particular file type: .ai. Vector art can be saved in other file formats (such as .eps, .svg, or .pdf). But, it is important to remember that just because a file is saved in one of these formats, does not mean that it is truly vector art. Only art originally created in a vector editing program, such as Adobe Illustrator, is truly vector art. Also, you can identify vector art by process of elimination. There are some file formats that can only be Raster art, and therefore cannot be Vector art. The most common examples are .jpeg, .png, .bmp, .gif, .psd, .tif. These files cannot be vector art.
There are art charges that are incurred on some orders if Vector art is not able to be provided. In this case, we must either take the time internally to re-create your art, or send the provided art off to an outside designer that can re-create your artwork in a Vector-based program. If you see an art charge on your bill, this is most likely what has happened.There are also art charges, sometimes, for layouts and formatting even if you already have the vector file. For Example: If you have your logo in Vector format but you want to add specific text under it for a promotion. The text needs to be added in a Vector Based Program and sized appropriately for the item that it will be imprinted on. This might incur an art charge too.
Ask your Designer
Keep in mind that if a professional design created your art for you, chances are they may have your artwork saved as vector art, even if they have not sent that file to you. Some designers do not provide their clients with vector art, as they assume that the client will not be able to open the file. So, if you had a professional logo designed for you, but all you have is a JPEG, or something similar, contact your artist, and ask them for vector art.
Our hope is, this will helps shine a light on what Vector Art is, and why you need it! Please reach out to [email protected] if you have additional questions. If you want more ideas on art, marketing, promotions and content creation, make sure you check out our blog page here. Oh…and if you want to get valuable content delivered to your email once a week…sign up to become a VIP here.
When creating a promotional campaign, you want a creative powerful promotion that will wow customers and affect human behavior. That is what a great Promotional Products campaign can do…affect change. The best campaigns can create an increase in direct mail opens, engagement on social media, create a safer work place or increase sales!
But in addition to making sure you create a campaign that “hits the mark,” most organizations want to make sure they are getting a fair shake on price. No one wants to over pay…and no one wants to be taken advantage of! In order to solve this concern, many organizations create a bidding process to ensure the best price. While this is understandable, in theory, it’s important to consider the cost of such a campaign.
Yes…there is a cost.
First, it’s important to note that if the first part of this equation is NOT true (you have an effective promotional campaign), then the second part (the cost) really doesn’t matter. You are now just spending money to spend it. No good would come from that…agreed?
So if you have a trusted promotional advisor (and if you don’t, we can help!) then their job is to help you create those effective campaigns. The best relationships like this are like partnerships. You share the themes, goals, and budget with them (if you don’t create them together) and they provide you ideas that help you reach those goals. It’s a win-win, because you get great ideas (hopefully) and they get the business.
But when you take their creative concepts and bid them out on the individual products, it’s a different relationship entirely. The relationship becomes entirely transactional. That is fine (if that’s what you want) but you start to rob yourself of the value of the advisor.
If you take your partners ideas and bid them out, they are not likely to bring you ideas again. And if they do, they won’t put the time and effort into them. After all, you have told them (by your actions) that the ideas are not what you value. So they may decide not to provide you ideas at all.
“Let me know when you decide what you want,” they might say. “Then we will be glad to provide a bid.”
What does that mean, in dollars and cents?
Let’s say your hourly rate is $15 per hour. In order to get a creative and effective promotional campaign, you could easily spend a day looking for ideas. Then you might spend another day going through bids to make sure they are accurate (and comparing apples to apples). So that’s two days of your time. In most cases, pricing between competitive promotional distributors is going to be close. So you might save a nickel per piece. If you ordered 1000 of whatever promotional item you decide on, you have “saved” $50. But you spent $240 to do it.
Of course this does not factor in your creativity. It doesn’t call to attention that a good partner is probably attending industry shows (and seeing the latest and greatest promotional items) and you are not.
But at the end of the day, you have lost a free, trusted, creative, outside source. It’s a choice. And it’s yours to make. Of course if you don’t have that trusted source, that’s a different conversation. But if you do, you might be wise not to drive them away.
So just ask yourself…what is your time worth? Because, my friends, there IS a cost to bidding.
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