Tag Archives: Grand Ledge

The 8 Agreements for Working With a Graphic Design Firm

computer with artistic sketches doodles. Design is... Steve Jobs quote.

There are a variety of reasons why a small business can benefit from working with a graphic design firm. Skilled graphic designers can help your company shine and organize information efficiently and in a graphically appealing manner. Once you have determined the project you are hiring the graphic design firm for the next step is to establish a clear understanding of who is responsible for each element of the project(s)

8 Agreements for Working with a Graphic Design Firm :

Explain Yourself – know what you are trying to communicate, to who (target audience), how (in print, billboards, or online, etc.). If you are not sure about the direction you need to take, you may want to schedule a marketing consultation or graphic design consultation before you begin working with a graphic design firm on a project that is defined ahead of time. Many graphic design firms offer consultations and provide marketing services to help you at this stage.

Be Prepared – Compile all text, copy, logos, photos, graphics, charts, etc. that will be included when the graphic design firm begins the project. If the graphic design firm is responsible for creating the graphics, locating photography, it is a good idea to share your ideas on style, color, size, etc.

Content – Will you be writing the copy for your project? Will a copy writer be providing copy? If you are working with a graphic design firm that also offers copywriting services request a bid for copywriting. Graphic design services do not automatically include copywriting, choosing headlines, compiling captions, etc.

Proofread – Graphic designers are paying attention to fonts, placement, scale, dimensions, color, graphics, photos and flow. Graphic designers are not editors or proofreaders. Sometimes while working through a project they may catch a typo or inconsistent use of text this is a bonus – this is an editing and proofreading task and is ultimately the client’s responsibility. Make sure you always get a proof and proofread it carefully before you go to print or post online… and then have someone else proofread it again.

Don’t Make Assumptions – You know your small business or organization best. It is important to share everything you want to include or depict. Don’t assume the graphic designer knows which are the featured services, products, mission and message you want to convey. A graphic design firm will learn about your company or organization but you know your organization best. Don’t assume it’s obvious what your company’s unique selling proposition (USP) is. Your current website and other marketing materials may not be explaining it as clearly you hope.

Share Ideas – Provide samples of designs you like. The examples can be from companies in your industry or just eye-catching designs with compelling messages that speak to you. This sharing helps designers follow your desired trajectory right away. A professional graphic designer will not copy these ideas, they will use them as inspiration, a jump off point, to build original work for your company.

When you are working with a design firm and leave it entirely up to them without any examples of what you envision you may have a rocky road ahead. If you are someone who is open to innovation and new ideas and you envision working with a graphic design firm as a refreshing exchange of creativity, give them full reign! It could be a great experience for both parties. If ideas go off track however, you will be paying for the revisions to get them back on track.

Don’t take things personally – a professional graphic designer will present new ideas you may not have considered yet. Be open to hear about the concept. Remember you hired the professionals for their expertise. If you really don’t like the new ideas a professional graphic design firm will not force them. Hopefully a compromise can be offered that merges both ideas and a winning design will result. Remember you are working with a design firm who wants to keep you as a customer, they want you to succeed and sometimes that means attempting to break you out of your comfort zone.

Always Do Your Best – Plan ahead for your graphic design and marketing projects. Whether you are looking for a brochure design, annual report design, logo design or website design, etc. allot enough time for all the project stages and mostly for design time. A full campaign will require more time than a corporate brochure. Creativity can not be turned on and off like a computer. A minimum of two weeks is requested. Although most design firms will do their best to fit in rush jobs, keep in mind you may not be getting their best work when creative time is cut short. Also remember to include the time it will take for the next steps of your projects, committee previews,board approval, printing, distribution, coding, etc.

Connection Group is a marketing and graphic design firm located in the Lansing, Michigan area. We work face to face on graphic design projects for small businesses and organizations in Grand Ledge, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Kalamazoo, Mason, DeWitt and Charlotte, Michigan. When working with companies throughout Michigan we like the initial meeting to be at your location to get a feel for your business environment.  Connection Group also provides marketing and graphic design services to companies throughout the United States. Consultations via Skype, phone and email offer opportunities to collaborate, share proofs and meet comfortably without additional travel expenses.

If you feel confident working with a graphic design firm is your next step, connect with us today.

 Stay connected!

Every Door Direct Mail® Lansing Area

RFC Home Improvement Every Door Direct Mail® postcardAre you a business in the mid-Michigan area looking for a cost affective way to reach area residents or businesses? Do you have a specific product, service, event or promotion you want to get out to potential customers?

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has a new campaign with incredible postage rates for flat mail pieces. These mail items can be targeted into specific neighborhoods. There is no need to spend hundreds of dollars purchasing a list. Do you want a direct mail campaign in Lansing, DeWitt, Waverly, or Grand Ledge, or a direct mail campaign just in Whitehills? With this program we can target an entire city, rural area, or hit a specific neighborhood. You can choose to run 500 pieces or 350,000 pieces or more, there is no cap.

The postage fee for the Every Door Direct Mail® pieces are a mere 17¢ each! That is a savings of 28¢ per piece compared to a standard first class mail piece. The postage savings as well as the elimination of the mailing list expense offers an opportunity for small businesses to have a more level playing field against companies with larger marketing and advertising budgets. Lansing restaurants can mail menus, local retailers, local service companies, local builders and beauty salons can mail promotions, coupons and even local political campaigns can enjoy the savings.

Connection Group recently completed an Every Door Direct Mail® campaign for a local home maintenance company, RFC Home Improvement. We chose to primarily target the area where they are located, where they have an existing clientele and have built brand recognition. We also chose a targeted Lansing neighborhood with similar priced homes that were of an age that may require the specific services RFC was promoting in this mailing.

We worked with our client to determine what services are best to promote for the Spring and Summer season. After establishing the focus, our graphic designers created a custom designed postcard displaying before and after photos of the clients work. The promotion was clearly outlined with a call to action included. Mail quantities were determined and the postcards were printed with the correct indicias and mailing information the USPS requires for the Every Door Direct® mail campaign.

Neighborhoods and routes were then counted and the every door direct mail campaign pieces were bundled in packs of 50 with facing slips attached.  For each post office drop off point an Every Door Direct Mail sheet was included with Connection Group unique customer i.d. and the specifics of each route were outlined.

With the large variety of advertising and marketing options available for business – especially with the explosion of social media marketing, internet marketing, SEO and SEM – it can be difficult to know where to commit your marketing budget. Direct mail campaigns can compliment other marketing efforts and continue to expand brand awareness and recognition. Not every marketing component is appropriate for every business, including direct mail. Custom solutions targeted by industry and by market are the best approach.

Connection Group specializes in implementing integrated marketing solutions. This means, we can help you determine if the Every Door direct mail campaign is a good fit for your business.

Although the USPS has attempted to make this an easy experience for small businesses to create these campaigns themselves and theoretically save more money by doing everything in house, experience shows this may not be the best choice. As professionals, with over 20 years experience in direct mail, our crash course with our first Every Door Direct Mail campaign found us going in circles on the USPS website. Once the direct mail pieces were ready to mail we spent time sharing what we learned with some of the postal service employees who were not familiar with the program and were able to keep the project moving forward. Using a professional can keep your costs in line and take away a lot of headaches. Of course a professionally designed layout can present your message in an appealing and professional light that recipients will take seriously.

So if you are ready to increase brand exposure in your area, introduce your new business, attract attendees to an event, get votes, share your new product list, service menu, restaurant menu and more, give us a call. We can get your get your foor in every door.

Call us or email us today – 517-645-4387 or info@connectiongraphics.com

Connection Group Publisher of MI Sport Page Magazine

Brianna Flowers, Tony Sweet and Jill Marlin featured in Grand Ledge/Waverly Mi Sports Page Magazine

MI Sports Page Grand Ledge Waverly Michigan Magazine Issue 1

The inaugural Mi Sports Page Magazine, covering Grand Ledge and Waverly is now available on the newsstand in multiple community locations.

The first edition includes stories on former Grand Ledge athlete Jill Marlan, who has used the discipline she learned and benefitted from as an athlete to cultivate a successful educational and professional career; former Grand Ledge basketball coach Tony Sweet who has now taken his  basketball knowledge and passion to Brighton where he coached the Bulldogs’ boys team  to a Kensington Lake Athletic Association championship in his first year; and the steady, calming influence Brianna Flowers had on the Waverly girls track program during her four year years.

As an area leader in website design, print and corporate communications, Connection Group, is proud to introduce the first Mi Sports Page Magazine. Our goal to support local businesses and communities with highlights and feature stories of local athletes and high school athletic programs.

Please visit misportspage.com for more information.

Thad Kraus (517)645-4387

email: thad@connectiongraphics.com