Exponential Impact Voice of the customer 1
For the Love of It
Done in: Fall 2019 / Customer: APTech/LeadingPRINT / Task: Story Design
The deadline was fast approaching. The editor and I were trying to tell a story of a graphic arts company that provides best in class service/comps/packaging solutions using artistic insight and the expanding edge of technology.
Since this company serves high visibility customers the obvious (and unfortunately predictable) solution was photos of beautiful and recognizable packaging to position them visually. The problem is, every, (and I do mean every), trade magazine tells the “company A uses technology B to produce product C and they make a bunch of money” story.
The scary decision that the editor made in this magazine was to ask the human questions … What motivated you? How did that feel? What was life like and how did that help/hinder your decisions?
It may be normal for every editor to be a bit nervous about what “design” is going to come up with, but it is my philosophy that the visual solution to EVERY story is IN the story the writers/editors provide.
Let me give you an example. The editor gave me “Zora Agheli / Rush Graphic story is ‘the evolutionary tale of mixing art and technology in print.’”
Staff for this issue was in three different states so we met via Zoom to brainstorm. There was lively discussion and multiple solutions, but the one we settled on was the idea of the owner photographed against a beautiful New York City skyline to establish context and personality.
Unfortunately when you ask someone to interrupt a busy life and pose for an environmental photo shoot, it is dicey.
On the day of, the City was having a color cold day with bad atmospherics. It happens. Fortunately we had an aggressive photographer (yay) who gave us options and great help from pre-press with color correction (yay) so that an alternative shot didn’t just work, it became the opening spread.
The photo that anchored the that spread caught my eye because of its visual drama. The next decision was to add a type solution as dramatic as the opening pose and the strong architecture in the background. Mirroring that, a judicious use of white space to bring real focus to some of the company’s work and the editor and I were well on the way to establishing the visuals for the story..
Editors and magazine staff depend on me to do the visuals and provide out of the box solutions but I’m always quick to remind them that without the story, there’s no design.
If you’re looking for a remote worker who can save you money over an in-house employee and is well practiced at being part of a distributed team, give me a call.
From the Publisher, Thayer Long
What happens when you make transformation an everyday event? Zappos executives famously encouraged employees by reasoning that 1-percent daily improvement makes you 37 times better after one year. What would happen if you challenged yourself, and your company, to be a fraction better in your execution from one day, week, month, quarter to the next? What is the mass effect of small steps, taken in increments but accrued over time?
The company leaders featured in this issue remind us. When done with intention, the impact can be big. True entrepreneurs are always tinkering and elevating the game, whether it’s by improving profitability 1 percent at a time, like Tom Moe; staying on the bleeding edge of technology, like Zora Agheli; or bringing a spirit of innovation and fresh thinking to each and every job, like Rick Sands.