Colorado's Voyage radio program on 560 KLZ radio interviews Amy Beth Stewart of BASS Creative, she has a unique niche for companies who are looking for a creative way of producing graphic designs to attract customers.
Tom "Amy why don't you go into a little bit more detail on your company why you do it and the products and services you offer"?
Amy "Well, whether or not your project is extensive or a smaller size, our company size allows us to be more detail oriented and more cost effective. We provide graphic design for anything pretty much under the sun - for logos, corporate Identity packages, brochures, websites within the Joomla framework, magazine ads, postcards - basically the list goes on and on. One nice thing we do offer is print brokering for our clients, as we have a lot of clients that come to us that want to hand off the project and just get it back when we’re done because they’re busy - so we do offer print brokering. We do have some clients that have their own printers that they like to work with, and we have no problem working with them because the ultimate goal is to come off with a project that the client's happy with.
What we like to do first, is research the actual client and their business acumen, their personality and then we sit down and address what goals that they want to achieve with that logo in their branding. A lot of people
confuse branding with the actual logo and they are actually two different things - because you want to keep your logo really simple. For instance, you said Nike - when you see that swish you automatically know Nike. There’s not a lot more to it than just the swoosh, and THEN they can go into their branding. So a lot of time clients come to us with 'we want this, this, this, this, and these elements in the logo,' so we try to pare it down to where we have a simple, original idea that gets out there to the audience".
Tom "What programs do you use the create your designs"?
Amy "We use the normal packages that most designers use - Adobe Creative Suite, In-Design, Photoshop - those type of packages".
Tom "When did you start the business"?
Amy "We started about 24 years ago. My husband, Bob Stewart and I, we started the company together. At that time, he was the Creative Director for a publisher of trade journals. They relocated to Atlanta, Georgia and offered for us to go out there with them. Being a Colorado native and having family here, we both decided we were just going to stay here, so we opened up our own doors. As far as what our original concept was, other than being a successful graphic design studio, we envisioned creating original, visual stimulating designs for other businesses, but the main goal was to help other businesses grow. So, their success was our success, and we just wanted to be known for having a passion for what we do - for producing quality work. We really keyed on the 'partner' part of it, so when we sign on with someone, we’re not just considered a vendor, but that we’re an actual partner in the process. As far as changing, the biggest thing of course is technology. When we first opened our doors, our forte was designing for print. Then in comes the Internet and it explodes, so we had to get on board the technology train, and that was one of our challenges. We had to decide whether we were going to learn how to create websites, etc., or if we were just going to be done. So we decided to press on, and we got on board with technology. Luckily, we had a client that came to us that needed 25 websites designed within a certain time frame, so from the skills that we learned on the electronic end of it, that really helped us hone in on our skills and then we took off from there".
Tom "We’re talking with Amy Beth Stewart of BASS Creative. Her company offers graphic design and is a small family company. She’s partnered with her husband correct and tell me about your experience and all the benefits
associated with your company. If I went ahead and outsourced to you what can I expect, do I have to sit down with you for a couple of hours and talk about all my wants and desires and effectively what I’m going to come out with"?
Amy "As I mentioned earlier, we like to consider it more of a partner type thing. So we do sit down with you in an initial meeting - to get a foothold on your business and what you have in mind down the road, your personality etc., and we like to incorporate that all into our projects. So when the actual project is done, you can see that personality come through in your voice, but it’s not a 24 hour process type of thing. We just start out with an initial meeting and then we
build from there. After that, we try and keep it simple regarding meetings, e-mails, phone calls that type of thing, but the bottom line is to keep the communication going".
Tom "What are your favorite projects"?
Amy "That’s a that’s a good one. One of our favorite things to do is when the client comes to us and says 'you have creative freedom, think outside the box, do something fun.' For instance, we just did a large project for a Denver based, nonprofit agency that was doing a sustainability type brochure and gave us creative license to make somewhat of a cartoon look, but professional looking, and we just had a blast with that! Everything was original illustration, hand drawn, and then incorporated into the computer to be produced. So that was a really a nice project and was fun to work on."
Tom "I think the Gerber Baby Icon is one of them that has not changed, that baby never grows old. I liked some of those figures from back then Charlie Brown was one of them. I would always love to use his logo because he reminds me a lot like me. I have a dark cloud over my head. What will go wrong will definitely go wrong. What will go right will go wrong. Something always happened to me. If I break mirror and somebody will come up to me and say you got seven years bad luck. Well I’ll go to my attorney who says “well I could get you 4 to 5”. Is there any business that took a turn for the worse - any projects and you had to make a correction and then it came out better than you thought"?
Amy "Oh sure, after over 24 years of business, of course that’s bound to happen throughout time, but I think one thing that we do run into is we will meet with someone in the company that gives us their vision for a project and what’s required. So then we go back and get on the drawing board and get a prototype together and then we come back with the prototype, go into a big meeting with everyone that’s involved, only to find out that the big Decision Makers had a totally different vision and our prototype was not what they were wanting. I mean, that’s easy to rectify, so we just go back to the drawing board and re-calibrate, but then it kind of puts us behind the eight ball on deadlines and the budget. So we try to do everything we can to stay within the client’s budget. So that is a challenge when something like that happens and we have had to re-calibrate on that before".
Tom "How about any setbacks that you had and you had to overcome those
Amy "Well like I mentioned earlier, one of the biggest setbacks was not being well versed in the electronic age and trying to keep up with how fast it changes. So we’ve had to educate ourselves to get on board that electronic train that never seems to stop. One big challenge for graphic designers is keeping current with your software and your computer equipment. Keeping up with everything is just an never ending process. Just when you think you’re all caught up with updating everything and putting the cash out for it, then the next computer upgrade comes up and the next software upgrade".
Tom "Can you take on more business with the projects that you are working on
Amy "Oh absolutely, we can always take on more business. We accommodate for that, since we are so small we can work nights, weekends - we do whatever we can do to get the job done, whether it’s a small job for a small company or a large company. We’ve produced work for companies like G.E, CDOT, etc. so we kind of span the gamut of the size of our clients".
Tom "Go to our website at Coloradosvoyage.com. Amy Beth is going to provide us with some of their work and we will produce it in a video format this week and check it out, and once you’re on the site you can also listen to a podcast of this interview and Amy Beth, she is part of the BASS Creative with her husband. You can find out more about the company on the Web site, can you tell us the web site and your address and phone number and how they can contact you"?
Amy "Absolutely, it’s www.basscreative.com and we have our portfolio on there that you can download and look at our additional samples as well, and our phone number is 303-693-4508".
Tom "What challenges are you going to be facing in the future. I’m sure
that technology is one of them. Can you think of any other challenges that might affect your business"?
Amy "Well, the economy always kind of drives us in that so if the economy tanks out, you know our clients will pull in their marketing dollars and see what’s going to happen. They kind of divert that money elsewhere to cover their own costs and then if the economy starts booming, then they’ve got those funds available to release and we see a lot more work come in, so we always have to accommodate for the direction the economy’s going, as well as, the
Tom "How many projects have you worked on total do you have that figure in
Amy "Since it’s been so long I don’t have that total, but were looking at our numbers and we probably do 100 to 125 projects a year, depending on the size".
Tom "How do you get your customers to with the growth of Denver alone, so
many businesses coming in and so how do you keep track of that"?
Amy "Well we don’t really do a lot of marketing per say. What we do is, we attend Denver Chamber events and try to contact new clients through LinkedIn. Probably 90 percent of our business is referral and repeat business".
Tom "Amy why don't you tell us how they could contact you and where are you located"?
Amy "We're located in Aurora Colorado and the website is www.basscreative.com, phone number is 303-693-4508"