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Kristal Clear Graphics Kristal Clear Graphics Fall
2012
Kristal Clear Graphics
Offering Creative Services from Print Web and Beyond Offering Creative Services from Print Web and Beyond Offering Creative Services from Print Web and Beyond
 

Kristal YoungThe 4 C's of Crystals, PART 3:

I'm sure most of you are aware of the 4 C's of diamonds, cut, color, clarity and carat. It's an easy guideline to help the consumer select a high quality diamond. But have you heard of The 4 C's of Crystals? These are similar guidelines I developed to help businesses and consumers identify crystal clear graphic design. They are: CREATIVE, CORPORATE, COMPETITIVE and CHARMING. While I originally developed the 4 C's of Crystals to tie in closely with a play on words to my company, Kristal Clear Graphics, this is a helpful guide that can be used when looking for any graphic design company or similar creative professional.

In the last newsletters I talked about the creative element of design and their corporate appearance. Moving on to the 3rd of the 4 C's of Crystals, let's talk about COMPETITVE. Making sure your graphic designer is competitive when it comes to price is probably one of the harder attributes to nail down. It's difficult to compare apples to apples often times with this one because there are so many variables to consider.

Let's say you're a startup new small business in need of a logo. You could probably find yourself paying anywhere from the price point of free all the way up to the thousands. So how do you know what the true value is? Here is my recommendation because almost always, you are going to get what you pay for.

Option 1: Hire an internet company for their teaser "FREE LOGO" Design. The nice part about this is it costs you nothing and if you're not particular, you can come up with one pretty fast. Here are the bad points, this process is basically an automated way to pair your company name with a clip art image that is used over and over by other companies. Logos are meant to identify your company but how can it accomplish that when your coffee shop has the same icon as the lawyer office next door? 2nd, last you checked, you were good at running your business, not knowing the perfect strategic image to brand your company or trusting it to some software. Aside from a little bit of technical help from the "design company", you're pretty much on your own on this one. You're not paying them for their professional advice or years of experience they can bring to your project and they're not going to hand that out for free.

Option 2: Hire an independent designer in the range of $20-$150/hr. Depending on how many hours the designer generally puts into their clients, this total will range from several hundred dollars to several grand. This is a good deal for the reason you'll be working with a person who can give you feedback on your ideas and produce many of their own ideas for you. You should expect the logo you obtain will be 100% original and tailored to your company, which is the whole point of a logo in the first place. How do you narrow down that price range, though?

First understand what you'll generally find at each end of the spectrum and then analyze what traits are important to you. The professional with a lower hourly wage is generally new to graphic design or has a smaller clientele and willing to take a cut for your business. Higher hourly rates generally have much more experience and sometimes overhead costs like outside staff, office space, etc. My recommendation is to view some samples of their work and track down some of their past clients. If your budget fits with their number and their past work indicates a level of professionalism you respect, you've found your match.

Option 3: Hire an ad agency. The positive side to this option is you'll have a team of professionals guiding you to find your perfect logo. With all the time and energy spent on your logo, there hopefully won't be any other option than to end up with a perfect logo. The down side to the agency route is the price point is usually completely out of reach for start-up businesses. There's a lot of time put into the logo with meetings, multiple drafts and entire teams working on the project. While the end result will look wonderful, often times you can find just as effective results with option #2.

So when it comes to being sure your designer is competitive, do your research. Get quotes and estimates after looking at some of their previous work and making sure it's a fit with your style. Often taking option #2 and finding an hourly rate somewhere in the middle will give you the best of both worlds between quality and price.

 
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Fall Design Discount

2012 is beginning to wind down and I'm sure there's a good chance budgets are as well. For those companies who still have projects on their goal list they wanted to check off before that ball drops in Time Square, but their budgets are dwindling, this deal is for you. From now until Nov. 30, receive
20% OFF YOUR NEXT PROJECT
when you mention this newsletter. Let's get your next project started and meet your 2012 deadline!

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New Referral Thank You Program

I want you to know how much I appreciate your business, and in the same way I want to help anyone who is important to you and needs some graphic design assistance for print, web or photography. When you refer anyone to me, besides A HUGE THANK YOU, I'd also like to give you

15% OFF YOUR NEXT PROJECT

with Kristal Clear Graphics. I am always appreciative and never too busy for your referrals! I look forward to working with you again soon.

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Register for your Designer's Touch Wedding Album Online So Guests Can Purchase this Gift for You AND a FREE parents' album when you buy one.

I ran this ad in the Shepherd Express this Spring and want all of you to see it too. register online for your wedding album

Here's what it's all about.

A wedding album is one of the most thoughtful gifts your guests can give you. Why not ask them to give you the wedding album you REALLY want! ... A professionally designed, digitally-collaged wedding album.

See SAMPLES of Designer's Touch Wedding Albums HERE and discover the difference you'll receive having your wedding album designed by a professional graphic designer who works with you one-on-one to create it for you. Designer's Touch Wedding Albums are made of the highest quality materials, with custom fresh designs and your personal "extras" sprinkled throughout like special quotes, backgrounds and scanned-in wedding sentiments like jewelry, invitations, favors, etc. Whatever you dream up, it can be created for you - simple or complex.

Guests can purchase your entire album for you or contribute any dollar amount to whichever album you select. It works similar to a shopping gift registry or honeymoon travel registry. Questions before getting started? Contact Kristal at kristal@kristalcleargraphics.com or 414-325-6976.

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Important KCG Reminders

If you missed a previous quarterly newsletter and want to catch up, you can always find it online or contact me for a personal copy.

Not much new with you? Maybe you know someone who has something special going on and a Designer's Touch Photo Gift would be a perfect way to celebrate? Kristal Clear Graphics always appreciates you passing along a recommendation to your family and friends. As an added thank you, you'll receive a discount off your next project when you do have something to celebrate, yourself.

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Photo Tips

Each quarterly newsletter I like to share new photography tips with you to help give you a jump start on creating amazing photos for Designer's Touch Collages.

11. Shy away from using digital zoom on your camera because instead of actually zooming it’s just enlarging part of your image to full size. You’ll lose quality with this technique the same way if you would zoom in and crop an existing digital picture and print that. Optical zoom will produce the best result because it uses the actual lens of the camera to bring the object closer and you get a high quality-sharper picture. Digital zoom tries to simulate optical zoom and will be quickly evident when you start enlarging those photos.

12. Print out your pictures AND back them up in several spots. While printed photos aren’t indestructible, it only takes one thunderstorm and a worn out surge protector to erase years of memories. I challenge you to set a time limit for yourself to print your pictures. For example, say to yourself “On the last day of the month, I will print out the best pictures I want to save.” This would also be a great time to back them up too if you don’t have something automatic set up.

If you'd like to see the other tips, contact me at kristal@kristalcleargraphics.com and type "photo tips" in the subject line.

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