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Last Friday, Darin and I were presenters at the Spokane Regional MarCom Association May meeting. Our 60-minute presentation was titled, "When Good Projects Go Bad". The discussion centered around how design, advertising, website, marketing and PR projects can "go bad" and what to do to get them back-on-track when they do.
The presentation was held at The Lincoln Center in Spokane. The venue was prepared with a couple of stools set up on the stage in front of around 80 attendees. Our discussion was videotaped by a crew from The Hamilton Studio. (Thanks, Don!)
In our presentation, we outlined ways that projects can get derailed and highlighted that by sharing examples of about a dozen Klündt | Hosmer projects where budgets, timelines and expectations didn't turn out as planned. We then shared what we did to maintain the client-relationship and work-out the issues.
Many aspects must fall into place – from the initial project estimate to the final delivery or launch – in order for a project to be successful. We discussed these issues and shared how clear communication, accurate project descriptions and estimates, setting expections, and honesty are critical to finishing projects successfully.
To wrap-up the presentation, we shared our own Top 10 List of tips to keep projects on track:
1. Expect things to go well and implement plans so that they do.
2. Develop a clear project scope and mutual understanding with the client.
3. Adapt your communicaiton style to match the client's personality.
4. Have milestone recap meetings or emails to keep everyone on track.
5. Never give up on a project or client.
6. Always use the MRI (most respectful intent) when dealing with clients and teammates.
7. Outline the criteria for successfully accomplishing the project.
8. Re-establish the project goals and criteria when presenting your solution to the client.
9. Try to separate personal "needs and wants" from the project.
10. Don't be afraid to be honest when communicating "challenges" with a client.
We had a great time doing the presentation and based on feedback we received from attendees, they had fun too – and learned something in the process.
Darin and I hope to deliver similar presentations to other associations and business groups in the future.
Sure, I keep up on the advertising and design industry.
I subscribe to Communication Arts, Print Magazine, HOW, and Adweek. I even mix in contemporary business publications like Fast Company. But lately, I've been getting inspired by a Cartoon Network series that my 14-year-old daughters turned me on to: The Regular Show.
The Regular Show features an eclectic mix of characters and storylines that I really enjoy. I've been getting caught up on episodes streaming on Netflix. While I think that most broadcast television is utter crap, this is a television program that both my daughters and I can watch together. Although, I think I appreciate the show's visual design, music and writing more than they do.
This afternoon I was going through my business mail and came across the latest issue of Adweek.
In it was an industry interview (like they have in each issue), but in this issue the featured interviewee was J.G. Quintel, the creator of The Regular Show.
In the interview, Quintel shares how as a student at the California Institute for the Arts, he developed the characters. He also shares how his creative team comes up with fresh ideas for each episode (over 160 episodes so far).
It was a strange collision in my head when the creator of my new favorite TV program showed up in my Adweek magazine.
If you haven't watched The Regular Show on Cartoon Network, you really should give it a shot. You may even get "Free Cake! Free Cake!"
Facing a blank wall covered in chalkboard paint is an undeniable temptation to any graphic designer. Fueled with a box of chalk, it is certain that the wall will not remain blank for long.
Diane Mahan recently had the wall behind her desk painted into a magnetic chalkboard. As soon as the paint dried, it became covered with small drawings, notes and NCAA tournament picks.
But last weekend, Tyler Kracht came into the office armed with an eraser and a box of chalk. In a short period of time, he turned that black wall into a typographical masterpiece.
Klündt | Hosmer visitors and clients are now welcomed to our office with a hand-drawn message celebrating the 26 years we have been 'bringing it' to the field of graphic design and visual communication.
While the photo above may be only 400 pixels wide, in real life, the graphic is over 8 feet wide.
We're already wondering when one of our other designers will have the guts to erase this artwork and put up their own masterpiece.
I am working on an upcoming presentation for a marketing and communications group. My partner Darin and I will be talking about what to do when projects go "sideways" and how to get them back on track.
After 30 years in the graphic design business, I have seen a lot. And I have discovered that often (not ALL, certainly…) but OFTEN times when a project goes awry, it's because the client thinks they understand the design and production process when they really don't, and that lack of understanding hitches the process.
Lest you think that I am being too judgmental, check out the website: Clients from Hell
As I scrolled through the real-life client/designer encounters in the website, I came across one that I really want to share with you:
Client: I don't like the color. I have the correct color in my Photoshop.
Designer: Well, you can provide me a color code that you like…
Client: Black is 10%. Yellow is 26%. Magenta is 82% and Cayenne is 100%.
Client: Yes… as in CMYK! Don't you know your colors?
It is part of our job as designers to help our clients understand what we need and when we need it to accomplish the project. But sometimes (especially after reviewing some of the Client from Hell stories), no matter what the project budget… it's not enough.
Klündt | Hosmer has developed nearly 500 corporate brand images (logos) over years. It is an important facet of our business and it is vital that our clients receive a professional design that conveys the correct image for their organization.
But (as author, Ted Matthews states in this video), The Brand is NOT the Logo.
Your brand is not what YOU THINK about your business or product. It is what OTHER PEOPLE think about your business or product.
If you are a business owner or in-charge of the "brand" of a company, invest 20 minutes of your time to watch this video.
If you'd like to bring the conversation to a personal-level, pop over to our website's CONTACT US page and give Darin Klündt, Jean Klündt or me a call. While Ted Matthews wears a tie and has more grey hair than we do, we speak the same language (without some of Matthews' expletives) regarding impactful brands.
Why is it impossible (or at least a very challenging) for a company to develop it's own effective branding, marketing and social media strategies?
According to Recourses, a management consultant to marketing service firms:
"It's so hard to discover your own firm's positioning because you're inside the bottle, and you can't see the label."
–David C. Baker, Recourses
So stop trying to think out of the box. Klündt | Hosmer will show you the world "outside of the bottle".
Thanks to Lloyd Kahn's blog (via Paul Wingate’s message) for posting this:
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Last Friday night, Jean, Diane and I had a blast competing with Zipline Interactive in the Red Shoe Draw-off at the Luxe Ballroom in Spokane. The Draw-off was part of the Spokane Advertising Federation's annual Red Shoe Event and Benefit Auction, which helps fund scholarships for Spokane area college students studying the arts, advertising and design.
The competing teams were given the theme: When I Was in School. We were provided an 8′ by 8′ blank canvas, black and red paint, brushes, markers and a time limit of two hours.
For Klündt | Hosmer's piece, we created a painting featuring elements from when we were in school – including a Schwinn Sting-ray bicycle (with flowered banana seat), a troll doll, a Hostess cupcake, Snoopy and other elements from the '60s and '70s. An oval "Schwinn-emblem" between the handlebars featured the lyrics to "Bicycle" by Queen, an iconic group from the '70s.
A requirement of the artwork was that it include a red shoe. We chose to draw a red Converse All-Star hanging from the handlebar, along with a lucky rabbit's foot – a symbol of good luck to the students receiving scholarships funded by the competition and auction.
The two hours went by very quickly. We had a great (yet exhausting) time working on the painting, enlarging our original 8-inch square design to an 8-feet square format.
The voting for the Red Shoe Draw-off competition was done by the audience members contributing $1 per vote for their favorite drawing. It was a very close competition and between the two teams nearly $800 was raised in scholarship money. In the ultimate vote tally, Zipline was victorious.
Art prints of the two pieces will be available for purchase soon at Zazzle.com.
Jean Klündt, Diane Mahan and I are creatively preparing for our upcoming Red Shoe Draw-off, a live 3-on-3 art battle where we'll compete against Zipline Interactive.
At the Draw-off, we'll create an 8-foot by 8-foot piece of black, white and red artwork based on the provided theme, "When I Was in School".
The artwork will be created live, starting at 5:30pm on Friday, November 30 at the Luxe Coffee House. We'll be going head-to-head against three fine folks from Zipline, who will be working with the same theme.
The Red Shoe Draw-off is a fundraiser at the Spokane Advertising Federation's annual Red Shoe Event, where custom-created art furniture will be auctioned off to raise money for the Toni M. Robideaux Scholarship Fund, assisting regional design and advertising college students with their education.
You can view an interesting video of a previous Draw-off competition here.
Come watch Jean, Diane and me give our "artistic all" for a great cause.
The Red Shoe Event
Luxe Ballroom @ Luxe Coffee House
1017 W 1st Avenue
Friday, November 30
Tickets are $15 and available from Diane at Klündt | Hosmer, or online at www.aaafspokane.com.
"Good Design is Good Business."—said in 1973 by Thomas Watson, Jr., legendary IBM CEO
In an earlier blog post, I mentioned picking up a copy of the October 2012 issue of Fast Company to read while waiting for a client to pick me up at the Seattle Airport. I wrote that this issue reminded me why I had subscribed to Fast Company years ago and made me wonder why I had let my subscription lapse. The issue really is that good.
Today I received an email from Diane Mahan (one of our art directors) with a link to an article in that very publication. It is timely and important and I want everyone visiting this blog to have a chance to read the article, even when the issue is no longer on the newsstand.
If you ever wonder why graphic designers do what we do and if you ever wonder if our work really matters, take a bit of time and read this article by Cliff Kuang, titled "Good Design is Good Business."
At the end of the article, the author shares the words that Thomas Watson, Jr., used to lead up to his soon-to-be-famous statement. "We are convinced that good design can materially help make a good product reach it full potential."
That's why designers do what we do. And that's why our work really matters.