These days, it’s all about adding value; doing whatever you can to stand head and shoulders above your competitors
Hoad’s Children’s Shoe Shop are renowned for being the local authority on children’s shoes – their specialist fitting service instantly makes them more valued to parents than your average high street shoe shop. And of course, the day that a parent takes their little one into Hoad’s for their very first ‘proper’ pair of shoes is a very special one – a sign that their precious baby is growing up. To commemorate this, Hoad’s give their customers with a photo of that first pair of shoes, presented in a lovely keepsake folder. Isn’t that a lovely idea?
To help measure and improve their customer service, we’ve created a small feedback card too for customers to share their thoughts. A simple thing, but so crucial to ensure you’re offering the very best service that you can.
The Hoad’s brand is a great example of how a brand can be styled differently for various demographics. The look and feel of the main store is very different, and quite rightly so (remember the work we did with them to promote their fashion event?) – the playful, child-like feel of the typography used in this folder would be totally wrong for their adult customers. Nonetheless, the essence of the Hoad’s brand is always consistent, and that’s absolutely fundamental in building a powerful brand.
I can still remember the feeling of confusion and bewilderment I had when I first stood in front of a tray of type for my first attempt at typesetting.
With the composing stick clutched in my left hand and the copy in front, I had to compose a line of type by arranging the characters upside down and back to front in the stick before transferring the line of type into the galley. When all the type had been assembled, it was inked and the image transferred onto paper. If all was well, the type was cleaned and the type was “dissed” back into the trays of type. This was how typesetting had been done since the 1450s. With a nod to the way things used to be, we proudly display letterpress style blocks in the studio today.
Today that is seen as an artisanal pursuit where strange men, and women, wax lyrical about the good old days. Little did I know that the printing industry was about to experience such a huge revolution. I have seen typesetting evolve through hot metal to cold type (phototypesetting), computer setting using vastly expensive Linotronic systems to being one of the first in the country to invest in an Apple Mac computer. We have gone from quads to Quark Xpress and from picas to pixels.
Along the way, I have seen printing become quicker, cheaper and more accessible. Today it is cheaper to print in full colour than in one or two colours. You can have your job printed quicker than the time it took to get the artwork made into printing plates 20 years ago. And the software available today allows you to create designs that were unimaginable all those years ago.
Today we can send our files from Sevenoaks to our printing hub in Manchester over the internet and within minutes that job could be on the press and back with us within 24 hours, printed in full colour in high definition at a price and quality that would knock Gutenberg’s socks off.
There’s a fascinating article here about letterpress – and click here to take a look at an article about letterpress and litho printing.
After watching the growing success of the Ditto blog, Hannah has allowed me to put my four pennyworth into the mix and allow me to tell you about my life in the graphic design business. I have been involved for over 40 years and in that time have seen many changes and developments in that time. Everyday I still learn something new (today I’m learning how to blog!) and anyone who thinks they know it all, take it from me – you don’t!
So stick with me, I hope to bring you news and developments from the perspective of the senior member of the team who still has the smell of cow gum in his nostrils and the scars of scalpel cuts on his fingers.