When we met Steven Abruzzo and Michael Rossman back in 2007, they were already an established company with a stellar reputation, amazing design talent, and an impressive showroom. What they lacked was brand development, high-quality photography, and collateral.
As is often the case, we provide consulting services to our clients. We suggest which marketing mix might be right for them (web, print, PR, e-mail marketing, advertising, social networking, events, etc.) and then provide a proposal for what the various components are going to cost–just like a PR/marketing firm would do, but without the monthly retainer!
For Abruzzo, we were asked to focus on print/web, so we recommended the following:
- Hire a GREAT photographer to shoot your best projects/showroom so you don’t have to reply on “stock” shots from the custom cabinetry manufacturer.
- Develop a high-end leave behind piece to support the sales process (a capabilities brochure)
- Develop a full-page ad design that would could be used in Luxe magazine and Quintessential Barrington magazine
- Develop a series of low-cost prospecting postcards
- Redesign their website
Step #1: Photography
We work with a number of exceptional photographers and recommended a few to our friends at Abruzzo. In some cases, we’ll art direct the shoot (for an additional fee) to make sure the composition and styling are just perfect. In this case, Abruzzo decided to work directly with the photographer without art direction from us. The images turned out great and we were ready to move to step 2.
Step #2: What’s it going to look like and what’s it going to cost?
That’s always the question. Although we try to get budgets from our clients, more often we provide “good, better, best” alternatives with production estimates. In this case, we explored various sizes/shapes/page counts and levels of finish with our printers and produced a series of paper dummies for presentation. After a couple of rounds back and forth, we decided on an 8-page + pocket format.
Step #3: Text
In some cases, we work with copywriters to provide content and in other cases, the copy is supplied by the client. Abruzzo supplied all the copy for this project.
Step #4: Design
With photos, copy, and a format/budget approved, it was time to start designing the piece. We originally chose a dark gray background, but the client preferred black. We chose to make the background dull and pop the photos with gloss. We added foil stamping to the cover for the logo and “Beyond Fine Cabinetry” headline and we used an additional metallic ink on the inside and back cover. All the interior pages and folder wrap are printed on a high-quality cover stock, so the piece feels upper end . . . just like their product.
Step #5: Printing/Press Checks/Quality Checks
For some projects, we simply send the file to the printer, review proofs, and off it goes. But for high dollar projects or those requiring extra attention, the designer should always be in direct contact with the printer so questions about process/color etc. are addressed during prepress. The designer should also attend the press check to make sure that the printed sheets look like the final approved proofs. We did that for this project and we also made sure the foil stamping was sharp. We made sure the bindery did their job correctly and that crossovers and diecuts were precise. We arranged for the proper containers for the finished pieces and made sure they were shrink wrapped in convenient bundles. In short, we handled all the details so the client got the best piece possible.