Archive for April, 2010

Color inspiration: in the paint

April 26, 2010

Looking for just the right color palette for a design? Inspiration may be as close as the nearest hardware store.

Paint manufacturers spend a lot of money researching color trends and putting together ready-made palettes for their customers. From swatches to glossy brochures, you’re sure to see some fresh color combinations to inspire your design! And unlike your Pantone book, you can hold these swatches individually, place them next to other colors to see how they interact, and even cut them out and paste them on your inspiration board without doing hundreds of dollars in damage.

But here’s something even cooler: many paint manufacturers have great websites for creating and experimenting with different color combinations. A favorite of mine is at Behr.com, which includes articles and information about color and color theory, see sample rooms and the colors that inspired them, and lets you create a room in your own color scheme using their interactive tools.

Behr website

Paint manufacturers like Behr offer fun tools and inspirations for selecting colors

Glidden.com includes a Top 10 Color Palettes page and its own version of a color-your-room interactive.

And Valspar.com includes a nice section on color palettes based on historical references, nature, architecture, ambience, and trends (this site also includes a paint-your-room interactive).

I’m sure there are dozens more sites, but you get the idea. Enjoy!

Correction in Mix E-Newsletter

April 22, 2010

Our monthly e-newsletter, >the mixer, went out today. In the newsletter, we featured products we designed for Drymate. I erroneously stated that they are from Shakopee, MN. In fact, they are located in Savage, Minnesota. I apologize for the error.

Here’s a larger image of their product design. Look for more to come!

Drymate pet products package design

Drymate Pet Products package design

If you’d like to sign up for our e-newsletter, click here. Each month we feature an article related to design or marketing your business, and feature recent work and news from Mix Creative.

The Art of the (Business) Apology

April 14, 2010

Several years ago, I found myself outside a vendor’s home, glancing at my watch, and wondering if I had read the date and time of our appointment correctly. The minutes ticked by…5….10….15, and still she wasn’t there. Assuming one of us had the wrong time and place, I heaved a sigh and drove back to my office.

That very afternoon, I received a call from the vendor, apologizing profusely for her error. No harm done, I said, knowing sure enough it could have been me.

The next day, a package arrived. Inside was a handwritten letter from our vendor, apologizing for wasting my time, and a book: Time and the Art of Living.

Now, let me me just say: I know darn well that it could have been me who were late, and I certainly held no grudge for her forgetting our appointment. And I’m not sure it even crossed my mind that an apology was necessary. But I can tell you this: the book and letter acknowledged that my time was valuable. It was a sincere gesture that made me feel appreciated. It was a gesture I never forgot, and the business relationship was repaired.

Let’s face it: as business owners, it’s highly likely that at some point an “oops” will come between you and a client. While your gut may be screaming to blame the error on Bill Keane’s Not Me, a more prudent approach is to apologize. The goal: repair the business relationship and restore good word of mouth to your business.

So, for the next time you royally mess up, here are some tips to master the business apology:

  • Don’t play the blame game. Even if you believe you’re right, you must acknowledge your client’s perception of the situation, and allow for the possibility that you may be in the wrong. Listen carefully to your client’s concerns, and reflect back what you hear to ensure you understand the issue. Focus only on the issue at hand.
  • Be prompt in your apology. Prolonging an apology may cause your client to doubt your ability to handle the situation, and make any subsequent attempt at a mea culpa seem insincere.
  • Take personal responsibility. A study published in the Journal of Management found that people respond most favorably to a sincere apology when the person apologizing takes responsibility for the situation, versus blaming outside forces. Acknowledge your role and the hurt or damage that was done, and take responsibility.
  • Ask for forgiveness. The frightening thing about giving an apology is that you relinquish control. The enlightening thing about an apology is that you demonstrate a commitment to that business relationship.
  • Take steps to make things right. Provide a refund, credit, or revision as needed.

A legal caveat: some apologies have legal implications. You may consider speaking with an attorney for mistakes of a serious nature or that involve contractual obligations.

The Art Department

April 14, 2010

This morning’s Dilbert made me giggle. I wonder if I’d look good with a snout?

Dilber: the intern gets moved to the art department because his new snout makes him look "alternative"

The Art Department