Tag: quality

Top tips for a great business card

great business cardRecently I was asked to say why business cards are important and how to create a great business card. In a recent post, you can read about the pitfalls you should avoid Top 5 business card mistakes. Here I will provide a list of 10 top tips to ensure that your business card looks the part and works for you.

Make it memorable. Flash your card to someone for 5 seconds or so. Can they recall something memorable about the card, such as colour, logo, text etc?

Make your cards a standard size. Yes, you can create a non-standard size or shape. It will be both expensive to produce and may not fit into a cardholder or pocket. You can ignore this advice but you need to know what you are doing.

Use good quality card. If you use thin card or paper then you will not impress the people that you give it to. The card will not look good (if at all) for very long.

Design using CMYK. This is a tip for those designing their own cards. Please do not be tempted by all of the different colours that your design software might produce. You might notice that when you look at a design on your screen and print it out you see slightly different colours. This is because on the screen we see an image made out of Red, Green and Blue (RGB). When you print you see an image produced using 4 or 6 colours. Printers usually print using (up to) 4 colour printing (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black). Designers will also use Pantone colours. You can convert between all of these systems but remember printers will use CMYK, the 4 primary colours for pigments. So if someone else does your design, ask for a sample that uses CMYK.

Allow room for bleeding. You should ensure that images other than a logo or photograph extend over the whole face of the card. To ensure that there is no unwanted white border, make sure that the image (or solid colour) extends into the bleed area (usually around 3mm). This allows for any  inaccuracy in trimming. You should also be aware of the protected area within the card boundary so that none of your text is cut off!

Allow some white space. Having said that we want a nice memorable image or log which covers the card, you should ensure that there is some white space somewhere. Many people like to add a note or to after meeting you. Place this on the back of the card if you like.

Employ a designer. Yes you can do this yourself (I have) but it might take many years and several iterations. Find an expert and you will save time.

Images must be of good quality. You should ensure that all images are greater than 300 dpi or else they will look grainy when printed onto your nice new cards. Please also check that you use either royalty-free graphics or that you have the required license.

Proofread everything. I know that you will check but get someone else to do it too. Once the print button is pressed you will have to pay to rectify any mistakes.

Make sure that your shiny new card is congruent with your business. Are you one nice consistent brand, do you believe in what your card says or shows?

Take care of the above and you will stand a good chance of creating a great business card. The image shown at the top of this post is a great example. It also has the advantage that being a stand-up design, people will naturally play with it and hence notice more of the writing on it.

 

 

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PM aims to tackle ‘care problem’ – oh really?

Today this article was published on the BBC website as David Cameron announced measures to tackle the so called ‘care problem’ within the NHS. Read the article here.

In short, Mr Cameron recommends that the public be encouraged to carry out inspections and nurses carry out regular ward inspections. There are a number of flaws in the logic here. First of all those urged to carry out inspections will already be doing so. The public will be looking because they are concerned about the environment that they and their relatives find themselves in and nurses will be looking anyway because it is part of their job. Nurses, however, are busy and will not be quite so vigilant. If they are to me more vigilant then which aspects of their job does Mr Cameron suggest they give up?

These are trivial issues, what is more important is the fact that Mr Cameron thinks that Quality can be inspected in to a system. This is an old fashioned argument that simply does not work. If you regularly inspect any system and you keep finding faults then you only have 2 options 1) Find the same fault again during your next inspection 2) spend a huge amount of time firefighting.

When Japanese products first became popular it was because of the high quality. When we in the west tried to emulate these methods we failed dismally. Why? It was because we inspected everything thoroughly and we did produce quality items but only because of the large number of defective items that we threw away. The cost was enormous.

So there are two main issues, poor quality costs, in terms of both money and health as far as the NHS is concerned and also the fat that the more you monitor a system the more expensive it becomes to run.

The answer to all of this is simple. To make the NHS work better at a lower level simply change the system. Avoid high level edicts about how things should be done, just state what they targets are (infection rates, bed occupancy or whatever) and let the people who know, those on the front line such as nurses and junior doctors, fix the system with the excellent knowledge that they have.

Call this creativity or innovation within the NHS if you like but surely it is just plain common sense?

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Why Innovation best practice could be bad for you

Even though Quality is no longer the buzzword that it was in the 1980s, its offshoot, ‘Best Practice’ unfortunately lives on. In the private sector this does not have a huge impact because many organisations try and keep their cards close to their chests and often ‘reinvent the wheel’. In academia or public sector organisations, the sharing of Best Practice is widespread. In some cases, the accompanying knowledge is also transferred, but the dangers of doing this are great. Innovation best practice might actually be bad for you.

It always seemed to be the case that Quality was ‘inspected in’, i.e. the more you inspected a system, the more quality you got. This was thankfully superseded by modern quality systems where the emphasis was on the process itself. Best Practice seems to have followed a similar fate. It seems to be something that you give to other people and the more you give (or receive) the better it is. Or so the theory goes.

If someone tells you to do something but without telling you why, you would think twice about doing it, particularly if it might hurt. Often, organisations adopt working practices and tools simply because someone else is using them successfully and they have no idea why that course of action should work in a new situation or what the side effects might be.

For instance, I have a classic car which occasionally has a problem with a sticking carburettor float. The remedy is to tap it gently with a small hammer. Someone else might deduce that the way to fix a car which has stopped without explanation is to hit it under the bonnet with a hammer. I have made use of some knowledge that was transferred with the ‘Best Practice’. This is just one of the reasons why knowledge transfer is an important part of any Innovation Programme.

If we look at the world of Literature or Art, then copying what someone else has created is known, rather bluntly, as plagiarism. This is quite rightly frowned upon. Even if the originator gives you permission to duplicate the work, the original ‘soul’ or ‘emotion’ that went into the work is lost.

Next time you adopt Best Practice, think about what else you should be transferring into your organisation to make sure that it works.

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