Spotlight: RICOH Graphic Communications
With staff and clients scattered about, how can designers spark new life in their creative processes? These tips will help you and your team navigate through digitally induced obstacles and highlight the positive impact the right tools and tech can have on your business.
1. Elevate Your Digital Meeting Room
Video conferencing is here to stay whether we like it or not. Zoom. Teams. Google Meet. They’re all prerequisites for a marketer’s toolkit. Here’s how you can make meetings run smoother and mitigate digital fatigue.
- Publish an agenda: Make sure you have a clear purpose and intended outcome for each meeting. An agenda helps participants maintain focus and motivates guests to come prepared, which makes your meeting more effective.
- Encourage collaboration: Integrate a virtual whiteboard into the meeting. This mirrors an in-person environment, fosters interaction, and adds a colorful touch.
- Get branded: Set the tone and deliver a unified agency message. Spice up an otherwise drab video conferencing screen with a fun, branded background. It’s also an icebreaker and another way to showcase how you can add value to your client’s business.
2. Remember the Right Technology Makes a Difference
Clients who work from home are likely to review your designs and pitch decks on a mobile phone or on monitors that are not properly calibrated. Key components of color and format lose their luster when viewed with inadequate technology, and this can diminish the impact of how your work is perceived. “Without high-resolution monitors, or actual prints in their hands, clients miss the details we spend so much time perfecting in layout,” explains Fay Latimer, Senior Designer at a New York agency. Try these approaches:
- Help your clients calibrate: Agencies who help clients adjust their monitor settings give design materials the most optimal environment for being reviewed digitally.
- Explain RGB vs. CMYK: Just because you understand the difference, don’t assume your clients do. Avoid color mishaps and manage expectations by explaining that what your customers see on screen might be different from the final printed piece. Offering your expertise builds trust and strengthens customer relationships.
- Print it! With creative teams back in house, you now can access print technology you wouldn’t have while working from home. With a professional-grade printer at your disposal, you can easily print and send layouts ahead of review calls. This allows clients to experience the full impact of your work and increases engagement on calls. Another benefit is that it provides insight into the design and production process.
“Nothing replaces the tactile experience of a physical piece in your hand. When we get actual samples in clients’ hands, selling the idea becomes that much easier,” remarks Alysha Burch, a New York City ad agency owner. “We have two Ricoh color production printers; they’re great to create comps and proofs for sign-off.”
3. Know What’s Next
No matter where clients are working from, they rely on agencies and designers for fresh ideas and strategies. Help them cut through the clutter and capture customer attention with new designs and emerging print trends. Think hot pinks, bright oranges, metallics, personalized direct mail, short-run digital packaging and versioned catalogs. Here are some tactics to keep in your tool kit:
- Keep it bright: Show your clients specialty print and design techniques they haven’t seen before. Use color to stand out and deliver the fresh feel consumers are craving. Ask your print vendor about their capabilities. Explore the latest neon colors and learn how they can be blended with CMYK to achieve an extended gamut that pops off the page.
- Stay ahead of trends: Keep yourself relevant. Look to industry authorities for articles and analyst predictions. Share these with your customers and creative teams—they will appreciate the information and inspiration.
- Create comps: If you have a new idea create the comp! This allows you to discover design flaws early in the creative process, saving you time and money. This is another reason why having print capabilities in-house is key. Designers can play with palettes, test media and build comps without incurring the time and expense of outsourcing to a print vendor.
Ready to infuse some energy? Get funky Zoom backgrounds you won’t find anywhere else, and a series of industry articles focused on 2022 print trends. Plus, enter to win 1 of 50 special edition Neon Pink Color Gamut Charts! Contest ends July 14th. (United States entries only, please). [THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED]
RICOH Graphic Communications is committed to supporting the vitality of the graphic arts community. Your brilliance continues to drive us and the products we create.