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By The Image Group

The Faces (and Feet) of The Image Group

Our new website features bios describing the many unique personalities that make up The Image Group team. For some customers, this feature allows them to put faces with the names of people they’ve communicated with on the phone or via email. For others, it provides added insight into the work experience and personal interests of the people with whom they regularly deal. Plus, it kept our in-house copywriter occupied for a couple weeks (but that’s a post subject for another day).

In keeping with our know-us-from-head-to-toe philosophy, today we’re giving you a glimpse into the various footwear preferences our team shows off on a typical Friday. From sneakers to pumps to boots, the shoe assortments in our offices reflect, among other things, the creative diversity among our staff members.

You see, a great thing about being part of a large marketing team is having the opportunity to collaborate with other highly creative people. Whether our salespeople are sharing cool product ideas with each other, or our graphics designers are brainstorming on a new client logo, there is always creativity in the air here. And what makes us particularly good at what we do is our ability to exploit our matchless blend of differing perspectives.

So, unless Nike, Adidas, or Under Armour offers us a lucrative team endorsement deal (which, by the way, we would sign in a heartbeat), you’ll notice a variety of shoe styles around The Image Group. But no matter what shoes we’re wearing, you’ll always get the benefit of multiple individual mindsets.

In other words, we’ll always put our collective best foot forward.

To see today’s footwear selection, checkout our Facebook page.

By The Image Group

Top 10 Ways To Tick Off A Graphic Designer

Generally speaking, graphic designers tend to possess a certain amount of artistic temperament – an anguished intensity inherent in many creative geniuses. In other words, they’re largely an irritable lot and it doesn’t take much to set them off. That said, here are ten things you can do to get on their bad side.

  1. Supply “vector artwork” that isn’t really vector artwork. When you ask designers to incorporate existing art into new graphics, they will probably ask that you provide a vector version of the art. Simply put, vector is an artwork format that allows designers to resize illustrations without affecting image quality. If you don’t know if the art you have is vector (helpful tip: MS Word documents are not vector), just say so. You might pay more for your design, but you’ll know up front if that’s the case.
  1. Request endless, senseless revisions. “This looks great in our corporate colors, which is exactly what I requested. But now I wonder what it would look like in grayscale. Oh, and can you use a friendlier font? And just make the whole thing a sixteenth of an inch smaller?” Look, creativity involves a lot of trial and error. Designers get that. But your perfectionist tendencies should not generate infinite work for us.
  1. Decide, after countless revisions, that our original design is your favorite after all. Hey, it’s your money. And by that we mean we’re charging for each revision whether you used it or not.
  1. Provide contradicting directions. “We want the design to really pop, without drawing too much attention.” Clean but without any white space. Modern with a retro look. Can you do that? Maybe, but maybe not.
  1. Ask us to “match the font” you saw somewhere. The website dafont.com offers over 28,000 downloadable fonts, which means the odds of us finding your exact font are at least one in 28,000. Fonts, it turns out, are a critical component of the overall design ­– which is what you hired us to create. Let us surprise you.
  1. Be Adobe. Most designers have a love-hate relationship with Adobe. Clearly, its tools have long been designers’ preferred choices for transforming their creative ideas into usable content. But the company seems intent on turning current customers into former ones with such bonehead moves as its Creative Cloud all-or-nothing pricing model. With the list of alternative platforms growing daily, Adobe should be courting clients – not alienating them.
  1. We’re skipping #4, because we feel duty-bound to repeat #10. We just can’t stress that one enough.
  1. Share criticism from your family and friends with us. So your brother-in-law took a Photoshop class in high school and has some ideas on how to improve our work? No problem. Everybody’s a critic. Just remember that you hired us for our professional knowledge. What’s really important is that our designs work (i.e., generate sales, create top-of-mind awareness) the ways you want them to. Amateur opinions should be treated as such.
  1. Create physical harm with your color scheme. Some colors contrast so fiercely that using them together literally hurts your eyes. Here’s another area where you should rely on your designer’s professional expertise, lest you inadvertently inflict visual pain.
  1. Suggest we work for “exposure” rather than money. We appreciate that being associated with your brand will boost our careers to unforeseen heights, but right now we have rent to pay. So we’ll take cash, thank you. And if you’re lucky, when we’re in famously high demand, we’ll consider making time to work for you again.

By The Image Group

Hello Columbus

Columbus, Ohio. It’s the capital of Ohio and home of The Ohio State University, the Wexner Center, Nationwide Insurance, and Wendy’s. And now, it’s the location of The Image Group’s newest sales office.

Columbus is an emerging market for The Image Group. Opened in July, our newest office is in Dublin, Ohio’s upscale Metro Place business center – just moments from downtown. The office staff includes Bob Motter and Jon Ruby, two Columbus residents and industry veterans who are committed to getting area businesses seen and remembered.

We’re glad to join the Columbus market, and we’re looking forward to being part of the community.

By The Image Group

Generation “i”

They’re called Generation Y, or Millennials, or countless other monikers referring to the newest members of the full-time workforce. Some criticize the age group for exhibiting a sense of entitlement, or for being overly attached to their smart phones. To be sure, the stereotypes abound. But we’ve recently hired some amazing young people who are proving the stereotypes wrong.

The latest additions to our Customer Service team are five hardworking individuals who demonstrate a tenacious work ethic. All toil full-time at The Image Group and attend college on nights and weekends. They’re smart and inquisitive; funny and respectful. They’ve added an exciting new energy to our organization.

Whatever you call the cohorts comprising this workforce segment, or whatever your concerns about this particular employee age-bracket, we really like what we see. Our young team – who we refer to as Generation “i” – is showing ageless initiative.

Generation “i” pictured from left to right: Danielle Bauhaus, Haley MacRitchie, Yadira Gutierrez, Lucila Luna, and Rosa Torres.

By The Image Group

Responsibility

We’ve just published our annual report on corporate social responsibility. In these pages, you’ll learn about recent efforts to ensure that The Image Group’s entire supply chain shares our interest in safety and social compliance. You’ll read about a job training initiative through which we’re creating desperately needed work opportunities. And you’ll see some of the many ways our employees are helping improve the lives of others.

We’re working hard to be good corporate citizens. Please let us know how we’re doing.

Download the report here.

By The Image Group

FASHION-TISING: Marketing That’s Always In Vogue

Paris. New York. London. Milan. And now, thanks to The Image Group, Cleveland (or, to be specific, Independence, Ohio) joins the list of fashion capitals of the world.

Okay, maybe that’s a stretch. But fashion is the focus of The Image Group’s 2015 Product Expo coming up April 29.

Wearable branded merchandise continues to be a highly popular promotional product. Take shirts as an example: According to the Advertising Specialty Institute, 48 percent of U.S. consumers have logoed shirts. What’s more, 57 percent of people develop more favorable feelings about advertisers who give them a branded shirt.

So stay in fashion by attending our Product Expo. Over 30 fashion-forward suppliers will be on hand to show off this season’s hottest branded apparel and accessories. Held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Cleveland, the annual event features hundreds of ready-to-wear and custom-made promotional products, all stylishly designed to get your organization seen and remembered.

There are also two free educational seminars. The first discusses tailoring your marketing to a multi-generational audience. The other explores using web analytics to assess and improve your site’s overall effectiveness. Register for one or both.

And, of course, lunch is on us.

So don’t settle for off-the-rack marketing ideas. Join other fashionable trendsetters at our 2015 Product Expo.

RSVP now!

By The Image Group

Cliff’s Rules

This week, we buried a beloved coworker, Cliff Milios. Cliff worked in the promotional products industry for most of his life. Some people here worked with Cliff for a short time, while others worked alongside him for decades and at various companies. His quick wit kept us in stitches, and his commitment to customer service kept his clients coming back again and again. He is greatly missed.

While gathering Cliff’s personal belongings, we discovered a list of “rules” tacked to his office wall. We can’t cite the source for this list; for all we know, he compiled it himself. One of Cliff’s coworkers read the list at his funeral service, and now we’ve had numerous requests for copies of “Cliff’s Rules.” So, here they are.

Cliff’s Rules:

  • Don’t lie.
  • Don’t be a fool, and don’t believe in fools.
  • Be grateful for everything you have.
  • Free your heart from hatred.
  • Free your mind from worries.
  • Live simply.
  • Give more.
  • Expect less.

By The Image Group

A Great Place To Work

A Great Place To Work

The Image Group has placed among the top twelve employers in the promotional products industry, according to PPB. The magazine’s June issue features this year’s “12 Greatest Companies To Work For,” a listing of companies nominated by their employees as excellent places to work.

Each year, PPB seeks employee nominations to identify and applaud the nation’s best workplaces in the promotional products industry. According to PPB, its recognized employers share a common trait. “The most-favored workplaces are often built by leaders who care about their employees first, and create a culture where employees want to do their best.”

Indeed, employees credit the great-workplace honor to The Image Group’s owner, Jon Levine. “Jon is a fair boss who considers all sides of every issue,” explains COO George Brymer. “What’s more, he’s extremely approachable; employees at every level of the organization know they can talk to him openly about work concerns as well as personal issues—and that he will always make time for those discussions.”

“The culture of our organization is based on the Golden Rule,” says Brymer. “It’s a very simple concept but one that helps to define what’s expected of those who join our team.” He adds that respect for one another and a commitment to being a team player are required from everyone, at every position in the company.

By The Image Group

Preferred Vendor Policy

Preferred Vendor Policy

News reports abound about unscrupulous manufacturers – many operating in foreign factories with little or no oversight – requiring their employees to work long hours at unfair pay and in unsafe conditions. At the same time, a growing number of lawsuits result in recalls of children’s products containing excessive amounts of lead, dangerous drawstrings, loose parts, or other harmful risks. The social backlash from these stories affects not only the responsible manufacturers, but also organizations that sell or buy their products.

That’s why The Image Group is committed to maintaining a safe and socially compliant supply chain, one that ensures our company’s values – as well as those of our clients – are represented in all our sourcing decisions. To further strengthen that commitment, we’ve implemented an exhaustive, risk-based vendor approval process that makes certain we choose suppliers that are responsible, conscientious, and ethical.

From time to time, a specific product you wish to purchase might be unavailable from our approved suppliers. In those cases, we’ll make every effort to identify an acceptable alternative product from one of our preferred vendors, or to locate a socially compliant supplier who carries that product. However, there could be rare incidences where we will advise you against purchasing a particular item because we cannot verify the acceptability of the vendor involved.

When you buy from The Image Group, be assured that we’re doing whatever it takes to protect your brand, and your organization’s hard-earned reputation. Our Preferred Vendor Policy is just one step in that effort.

By The Image Group

Social Responsibility

Social Responsibility

At The Image Group, we’re serious about impacting social change – and raising safety compliance awareness within the promotional products industry. This past year, we’ve implemented new policies that have put us at the forefront of children’s product safety, and toward ensuring a socially compliant supply chain. You can read about those initiatives in our 2014 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, along with other steps we’re taking to be a good corporate citizen. We know the report is not a final scorecard, but a milestone marker along our social compliance journey. However, we’re committed to the path we’ve taken.

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The Faces (and Feet) of The Image Group
Top 10 Ways To Tick Off A Graphic Designer
Hello Columbus
Generation “i”
Responsibility
FASHION-TISING: Marketing That’s Always In Vogue
Cliff’s Rules
A Great Place To Work
Preferred Vendor Policy
Social Responsibility