Monday, March 11, 2013

Firestarters Newsletter

This post is a copy of my regular e-newsletter, published to my clients each month. It offers an up-to-date look at some of my latest projects. I work with a broad range of clients, on a wide variety of projects.Yet each client generally asks for the same kind of work each time, and we rarely discuss the other types of work I do. Sometimes all it takes is a quick look at different things to spark change and growth in our own thinking and, with this e-newsletter, I hope to show you real-world ideas that might help you take your business in new and unexpectedly successful directions.

Mountain Hardwear
Product Catalog

The Client and The Project
Mountain Hardwear is a manufacturer of high-end camping, mountain- and rock-climbing gear and clothing. They have a world-wide presence, and sell their product primarily through third-party retailers such as REI, using a large full-color catalog. Their in-house design team created the look of this beautiful catalog, but production on this scale is a very specialized skill. The catalog generally runs about 250 pages and contains hundreds of products, each with multiple illustrations and detailed product information and data. All must be layed out into the design, accurately and quickly. The product information is housed in a database, often in different units than is needed in the catalog. Four different versions of the catalog are needed for the major world divisions of the company.

Our Work Together
My work with Mountain Hardwear includes development of special data filters to process their raw database output - translating units, formatting data, and stripping out any extraneous characters that might interfere with the final layout. I designed and built the workflow and templates that allow the automatic merging of data and product illustrations into the finished layouts, and that allow any update made to one book to be made simultaneously to the other three without any manual labor at all.

The Results
We've cut production time for the books by weeks, and now produce four catalogs for about fifty percent more than it previously cost to build just one - a huge cost reduction. The project consumes less time for the team at Mountain Hardwear, and all four books now have exactly the same data, with no errors that might be introduced by having separate teams produce each book locally. We use the internet to distribute electronic layout files to regional printing vendors, saving the cost of shipping heavy paper books all over the world.

Do you have a project or idea for your business that involves merging large amounts of data into a graphic layout, be it for print, eBook, or PDF? It could be a catalog, a book, an annual report, a report for a client that you'd just like to look better... There are a huge number of possibilities. Give me a call and let's discuss it, or click here and send me an e-mail. I'll be in touch and we can get started. For more examples of my work, please visit my website and click on “Case Studies” in the left-hand menu.

I hope you’re having a great day, and I look forward to talking with you soon!

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