Thursday, 22 December 2011

The Duchess and I

I was delighted to see that according to this morning's Sun, the Duchess of Cambridge and I have something in common. We both have five changes of outfit to contend with during the Christmas Day - although I suspect for different reasons....

6.00-9.00 I will be teaming my baggy boxers with a pair of stylish black ankle socks in pure nylon. I am likely to complete the ensemble with a shapeless grey towelling dressing gown, the ideal outfit for a morning fag and cup of tea.

9.00-11.30 A change of pace for the grand present opening as I divest myself of my leisure look and switch to more formal attire in a pair of ancient leggings from the house of adidas, complimented by a fetching fleece jogging top. The button-down style will be lightened with a pair of Homer Simpson novelty slippers.

11.30-5.30 The sartorial highlight of the day as I prepare to wow the household in my daring collection of baggy-arsed denim jeans and shapeless tee-shirt - possibly with a humorous connection. In the past, this silhouette has been most successful complimented by an apron bearing the legend 'screw the cooking, let's get pissed' - and my philosophy is, once you've found a fashion style that works for you stick with it. This classic shape will carry me through the main activities of the day; going to the pub, overcooking the sprouts, drunkenly laughing at the queen and generally entering the spirit of the day.

5.30-8.00 As eventide descends, it will be time for another fast change of outfit. Evening games will be undertaken in a collection of sparkling new knitwear from Her Majesty's Marks & Spencer and possibly Matalan - offset with a sprightly paper hat worn at a jaunty angle.

8.00-12.00 The day will climax in a cornucopia of revelry as the esteemed family and friends get stuck into the Bailey's and Stella. This will require a final slick change of attire as I swap the knitwear for 'that shirt you've been saving from the holidays'. This will be the impulse purchase from the summer, a brilliantly colourful affair complemented by images of parrots and palm trees. As night time turn into the early hours, the look will be completed by sodden socks from the quick 'conga' round the garden and festoons of silly string.

Ahh, how like the homelife of our own dear future queen...

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Why free design isn't worth the money...

Back in the day, I worked for printers who offered my services for free and then built the cost of my salary into the cost of the print.

Initially, a lot of customers were delighted - they thought they were getting something for nothing. Obviously, they weren't - they were just paying more for their printing than they needed to.

But worse than the sneaky hidden charges, was the quality of the design they were getting.

I just needed to produce something that, according to the owner of the company, 'looked professional'.

I didn't really care about producing a job that would get the client more business. My work was worth nothing, so I just designed something that 'did the job' - it got the client's message across - but it didn't make anyone want to use them.

The clients didn't really know much about design, so my unscrupulous printer boss just got me to reproduce the same basic design job over and over again - giving it a few tweaks and a new logo to 'ring the changes'. It was a fast way of working, so he could keep the cost of my time down - and bill some extra hours to the client - which he would make a big deal out of pretending he was 'absorbing' the cost of!

And because the design was a popular one, he could sell it to every client as 'professional and effective' - because, the last 20 customers had liked it, why shouldn't the next 20.

Sadly, the poor clients paid for their overpriced print and templates design time after time, thinking they were getting a bespoke service and achieving only a fraction of the results they should have. Because they thought they were getting a good deal, they just didn't realise what a bad one it was.

And that's why 12 years ago, I set up Davis Davis Design and Advertising. We don't offer free design because we want the businesses we work with to succeed, not just be fleeced. Instead we offer cost price print to our clients so they get the best possible design for their business and the lowest print cost. In the end the price works out the same - but the difference in results is what keeps our customers coming back.

Printers still offer 'free' design and still provide the same second rate service. But if you want to find out how much you can really save on your next print job, just drop us a line or give us a call on 01304 213008. In 2012, don't you owe it to your business to find out how well you could be doing?