April '23

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M A P R I L 2 0 2 3 • G R A P H I C S P R O 8 5 but I can tell you that my experience has shown me that not every photograph will translate into an acceptable graphic. A design your customer may be justifiably proud of might not work with your soft- ware. A laser engraver depends on getting an image as sharp as possible, and your software might not work with a less-than- ideal .jpeg graphic. If you can get an edit- able format, that is a huge help. In some cases, the best option is to manually trace a graphic. You probably won't end up with an exact copy, but with some experience, you'll be able to get really close. Be careful of "textured" images. Most graphic software will offer options to include backgrounds or fills to replicate textures, and careful machine adjustment can produce excellent results. Similarly, patience and careful adjustments can pro- duce great results on material you might not think would be suitable. Working with light card stock, I was able to repro- duce a lace effect on our younger son's wedding invitations. Always remember to save your finished graphic as a template. Even if a partic- ular customer may not become a repeat customer, the basic design may very well become useful for somebody else. (Name tags, for example.) Try to maintain your product offerings in standard sizes, if only to keep inventory costs down. Price tag Finally, costs. Your time is valuable, so include a cost for your time. Just remem- ber your time will not be as valuable to your customer as you think it is. Try and maintain consistent suppliers. Spend time finding a supplier who offers con- sistent quality and reasonable prices, but once you are happy, stick with them. You may earn credits; you may qualify for free samples or even free stock; or you may develop a relationship where you can get replacements for damaged or poorly fin- ished pieces with no questions asked. (Don't overdo the last one!) Always try to offer realistic lead times. It can become all too easy to develop a backlog and then have a customer rush in with an "emergency" request. When you push that customer to the top of your work orders, the customer at the bottom of your list waits even longer. In our store, we try to never accept an order with a "no rush" lead time. With the best intentions in the world, the risk is for a "no rush" order to sit at the bottom of your work list for an unreasonable amount of time while you deal with "must have by" jobs. In summary, the world of personaliza- tion is wide open and can be lucrative – but only if we remember that the customer is in charge. GP Try to maintain your product offerings in standard sizes, if only to keep inventory costs down. Open-Architecture Handle large, heavy and irregular shaped objects with ease. No Heavy-lifting Needed Focus your laser directly to the material with the adjustable z-axis. Add Emotional Value to Your Products! Visit or call 800-585-8617. With AP Lazer 24/7-365 US & Canada Based Tech Support Larger Engravings, Larger Profit.

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