Why Have an In-plant? A Creative Services Director Explains
It makes a lot of business sense to have in-house graphic designers churn out the work and help maintain a consistent brand image. And on that same note, having an in-house print shop is equally important as it facilitates the printing of marketing materials, business cards, and myriad other assets. By bringing our two teams together, our company, CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System, can achieve consistency in their printed materials and protect their brand image.
Having in-house graphic designers and print shop employees working together provides many benefits. The first and most important is consistency in branding. By working together, our teams can ensure that the colors, fonts, and design elements used in all printed materials are consistent and follow brand guidelines. This is essential in building a strong brand image and ensuring that people in our community recognize and trust our brand.
Whenever brand elements or assets are updated or changed, Creative Services ensures this gets communicated to our internal print shop. My print services colleagues have a deep understanding of our brand and expectations. They also partner with us to ensure that the result is what was intended especially where colors are concerned. They're great about working with their vendors to make sure our brand colors are consistent across all their machines, and they share best practices and color profiles with my team, as well.
Another benefit of having us work together is increased speed and efficiency. In-house employees can collaborate and quickly create and print marketing materials, reducing the time it takes to get assets to market. This is especially important for businesses like ours with tight deadlines or fast-moving industries, as it allows us to stay ahead of the competition. We both understand the expectations; there's no need for long explanations or having to reinvent the wheel each time we work on projects. We can simply take the files and run.
The Print Services team has also freely shared knowledge that helped us streamline and automate some of our processes. Since our department serves multiple health systems throughout all of Texas and Louisiana, we began using data merge spreadsheets and scripts to aid us when versioning materials for many different entities, and it has saved us a lot of time.
Furthermore, having an in-house graphic design team and print shop can save businesses money in the long run. By bringing these services in-house, businesses can reduce the need for expensive outsourcing and the costs associated with printing materials externally. Additionally, in-house employees can work more closely together, making it easier to identify and resolve issues quickly, reducing the need for reprints and costly mistakes.
We also work together with the Print Services team to select and standardize asset sizes as well as paper and plastic products used in printed materials. This includes choosing the type of paper or plastic, as well as the weight and texture, ensuring that all materials have a consistent look and feel. By doing so, businesses can create a unified brand image across all printed materials. And using a heavier weight paper for business cards and brochures can make them feel more substantial, while using a lighter weight paper for flyers and handouts can make them more cost-effective. Similarly, using a specific type of plastic for banners and signage can ensure they are durable and long-lasting. Plus, standardizing our stock is another cost savings, since it helps our print shop get better pricing on their materials when they order in bulk. Also, determining a set size for assets (like rack cards or direct mails) allows us to maximize the press sheet so there's less waste.
Another way Creative Services partners with the in-house print shop is by working with them to develop templates that can be used for different types of digital or printed materials especially if they're frequently used. These templates include the layout, font, and photo choices, making it easier for CHRISTUS employees to quickly create and print materials that follow brand guidelines. We use this for our stationery, observance materials, signage, brochures, and the list goes on and on.
Years back, we worked together to figure out the most efficient way to provide our InDesign files so they could more easily get them added as a versionable product on our company's online ordering site. They also help us modify our asset offerings by running reports to see if something was underutilized, and they let us know when people come to them asking for things that aren't available. Having self-service templates ensures that the design and layout are consistent, improves brand recognition, helps employees get their materials faster, frees up my team to provide designs for other projects and reduces waste by allowing us to see what assets aren't in high demand by our health systems.
Finally, by working together, our two teams can help protect our brand. Our brand is more than just our logo and color scheme; it's the way that our customers perceive us. By maintaining high-quality standards and consistency in our printed materials, we can ensure that consumers have a positive experience with our brand. This can lead to increased brand loyalty and ultimately, increased earnings.
Print Services does an excellent job reaching out any time they receive a print request that's outdated or doesn't meet brand standards. We're grateful to have the Print Services team making sure everything they produce is top notch and on brand. Period. We also meet quarterly to review the quality of products and share information that will help strengthen our brand.
In conclusion, having an in-house graphic design and print team to standardize products for our company has many benefits. It allows us to maintain control over the entire design and production process, ensuring that our brand guidelines are followed consistently across all our printed materials. It also allows us to be more efficient in terms of time and cost, as it reduces the need to outsource the design process or printing. By working together, we can ensure that all our printed materials are of high quality and recognizable as part of our brand.
Related story: In-plant Road Show in Texas a Hit