7 Big Ticket Copywriting Secrets I Learned from Ted Nicholas

I recently sponsored and attended Joel Christopher and Ted Nicholas’s Double

Birthday Bash and Interactive Marketing Summit in beautiful San Antonio, Texas.

There was a fantastic lineup of speakers including John Assaraf, Joe Vitale,

Brad Fallon, George McKenzie, Shawn Casey, Alan Bechtold, Tom “Big Al” Schreiter,

Brian Keith Voiles, Rosalind Gardner, and Sydney Johnson.

And, of course, both Joel Christopher and Ted Nicholas presented as well.

Don’t know who Ted Nicholas is?

Ted is a living legend in the offline direct marketing world. He’s considered

the “King of Print”, the “Copywriter’s Copywriter”, the “Entrepreneur’s

Entrepreneur” and the “GodFather of Direct Marketing”.

He’s known as the “4 Billion Dollar Man” because that’s how much of his own

products he’s sold using offline marketing methods.

Ted’s business card says: “I help people turn words into money“.

Anyway, it should be clear that Ted knows a lot about marketing and

especially copywriting.

Copywriting is simply selling with words. When someone reads the “copy” or words

of an advertisement or sales letter and is compelled to respond to the offer,

then you know your copy is effective.

I wanted to pass on some copywriting secrets I learned from Ted while I was at

the Double Birthday Bash. These secrets are taken directly from my notes so any

errors or omissions are mine.

Secret #1: Write the copy BEFORE the product is created!

Ted Nicholas says the smart marketer writes the copy BEFORE the product is


Say, for example, you have a product idea. You should write the copy that sells

the benefits of the product even before you create the product.

There are two great reasons for doing that.

The first reason is that you get a much clearer idea of the focus of the product

from a customer perspective because you will be focusing on the benefits to the

customer in the copy.

Remember, people buy products that help solve their problems or give them

information that they need to solve a problem. By focusing on the benefits to

the customer, you can ensure that your product is really targeted towards

providing those benefits.

The second reason to write the copy first is to do market validation. In other

words, even if you’ve done some market research that indicates there is a huge

market, you can perform one final test using the copy you write first.

Even if people order your product you can tell them that it is not ready yet but

that they will be the first to be notified when it is ready.

If no one tries to order the product THEN don’t spend any more time on it! This

is the smart way to determine if a product is worth creating before wasting time

creating it! Especially for a Big Ticket product.

Also, if a ton of people order the product based on the copy then it is a huge

motivating factor to create a product that meets the expectations in the copy!

Secret #2: Headlines – The Most Important Item to Focus on when Writing Copy

When Ted Nicholas writes copy for a product, he has to look at the research, the

features, the claims and the benefits of the product – all before he creates the

copy for that product.

The first thing Ted writes are the potential headlines for the products.

Ted writes the headlines FIRST!

Before any copy.

Without the headline you are DEAD!

Because if the headline does not draw your reader’s attention and intrigue them

enough to read further, then they WON’T buy your product!

It does not matter if you have the most killer Big Ticket product in the world,

if people stop reading after the headline you have no chance to make the sale.

Spend 50% to 80% of your time on your headline and make sure that there are no

more than 3 ideas covered by the headline. Any more than 3 ideas is too

confusing to readers. And confusion causes readers to stop reading, something

you definitely don’t want.

One final tip on headlines: Studies show that 27% more people will read a

headline that has quotation marks around it because it indicates that someone

important said it. And of course someone important did say it – you did 🙂

Secret #3: Headline Generation Process

As mentioned in Secret #2, when Ted Nicholas writes copy for a product, he has

to look at the research, the features, the claims and the benefits of the


As he goes through this process, he lists all the benefits of the product on 3×5

cards. He lists one benefit per card and uses as many cards as required to list

all the benefits.

Once Ted has all the benefits down on the cards, he reorganizes the benefits in

order of highest impact.

The strongest or best benefits are used in the main headline for the sales copy.

Many of the other benefits become sub headlines for the copy. Any others that

are left over are often used as bullets in the body copy.

So this process is extremely useful not only for creating headlines but making

sure that all the benefits are covered somewhere in the body of the copy itself.

With Big Ticket items and their higher price tags, it is crucial to make sure

all the benefits are covered. The more benefits you can point out in the copy

the more you move your reader away from their natural skepticism towards the

value that your product can offer!

Secret #4: Copy Flow is Key

Ted Nicholas brought up a quote that many of the top copywriters agree on:

“Copy can never be too long. Only too boring”.

What this means is that you must engage your reader and keep them engaged

throughout the copy of your sales letter or advertisement.

If your potential customer loses interest at any point and stops reading or puts

your copy down there is a good chance that they will never come back and finish


Your Big Ticket copy needs to cover all the benefits and possible objections

that your potential customer might have. That means its going to require a lot

of copy to cover everything. So you must ensure that your copy flows and that

they keep reading.

Here’s what Ted had to say about the flow of copy and what makes good copy:

  • Keep your paragraphs short and only cover 1 idea per paragraph.
  • The best way to test the flow of your copy is to read it out loud. If it doesn’t flow naturally when you read it out loud then chances are doesn’t flow. Change the copy until it does.
  • Have a student in Grade 7 or 8 read the copy. If any of the copy is hard for them to read then you need to rewrite your copy. You want the copy to be easy to understand.
  • Great writing is about rewriting. It makes it clearer and simpler, removing unnecessary words and loaded with emotion. That is when the writing is truly great.

Secret #5: Buying is Emotional

Almost all purchasing decisions are emotion driven. When we buy something, we buy it because of how we think it will make us feel or because we think it will solve a problem for us and make us feel better.

We may come up with all sorts of other rational reasons why we should make or made the purchase but the core reason is always an emotional one.

The last bullet in Secret #4 says that great writing is clear, simple and loaded with emotion. It appeals to our emotions.

So, when you write or read a good sales letter, you need to look at the copy and ask:

What is the emotional feeling you get when you read the sales letter?

Is it Hot?


Important but boring?

Or just plain boring?

Any parts of your copy that are in the “Important but Boring ” or “Just Plain Boring” categories you need to rewrite or get rid of those sections.


Because those sections are the ones where your potential customer could choose to stop reading.

You never want them to stop reading!

Ted Nicholas also said:

If you can’t cry, you can’t write copy!

It takes great strength to admit your feelings.

It’s also vitally important that you can relate on an emotional level to the situation of your potential customers. The more you can emotionally experience where they are coming from the better copy you can write.

Secret #6: Trust

When people know you, trust you and love you they will buy from you forever.

If you ever betray that trust, you will lose your customer forever.

In copywriting, never try to trick your potential customer with misleading copy and then switch topics.

They can detect that, will feel deceived and will not read your copy any further. You have lost the sale.

So when you sell someone a first product, make sure you astonish them with the first product because you want to win their hearts and minds!

This is especially true of Big Ticket products.

Secret #7: Avoid These Common Copy Mistakes in Your Sales Letters

Here is a list of the most common mistakes you must AVOID in your sales letter or advertisement:

  • No headline – You must have a headline. It is what catches your reader’s attention and makes them want to read you copy.
  • Few subheads – People tend to read in two ways. They either read your whole letter or they scan it. If they scan it you want to have lots of sub headings to catch their eye and interest and make them read at least those sections.
  • No guarantee – Always include a moneyback guarantee with your offer. The longer the guarantee period the more credible your offer.
  • No P.S. – Always use a P.S. on every letter you write. If people scan a letter they will usually read the P.S if nothing else. The P.S. should re-emphasize the strongest benefits and restate your offer.
  • No signature – Always sign your letter. It’s more personal.
  • No free bonuses – Free is one of the most powerful words in the human language. Providing free bonuses enhances the already great value of your product offering. In some cases, the right bonuses might convince someone to buy your product just to get the bonuses!
  • Logo on the letterhead – Your logo is about you, not about your customer. It’s just one more distraction from your sales message. If you must include a logo put it at the bottom of the letter.
  • No close – Make sure you give specific instructions on what you want your potential customer to do. If you don’t tell them to buy your product and exactly how to do it then the won’t.

And that’s it for 7 Big Ticket Copywriting Secrets I learned from Ted Nicholas. I hope this helps you improve your own copy.

Or, if you need help with your copy, at least hire someone who knows and follows these secrets. It will be worth the money you pay them to get more sales with great copy.

Copyright (C) 2005 Chuck Daniel, Like Magic Marketing, LLC — All Rights Reserved.

SEO Services

Professional SEO services can lift your site above your competitors. According to SEO experts, they help business owners deliver their sites to top rank search engines. They ensure that the site has a unique setting that attracts Internet users. Search engine optimization experts apply the newest analytics service, which has a positive impact on a website. SEO companies are facing great competition in the SEO field. However, they introduce guaranteed SEO services to cope with the competition.

These SEO companies have a strategy requiring clients to pay the major search engines (including Google and Yahoo) for monthly website maintenance. However, the company has guaranteed SEO services, where clients do not pay maintenance for that month.

Google has remained top, since they have accurate methods and algorithms that deliver credible results to the searchers. However, Google has made it difficult for web developers to use optimization tricks in manipulating search engines. This is why SEO companies have the guaranteed SEO money refund.

SEO companies ensure that guaranteed SEO services include the Google’s webmaster guidelines. Webmaster guidelines boost website rank and search activity. The services clients get from SEO experts are like marathons. However, clients should be aware that SEO tricks can have a great impact on a website and damage it-which is why they have to use the legitimate SEO strategies in order to receive impressive results.

Although one may read a lot about the search engine ranking, no search engine optimization company can ensure that his or her site will get the first page in Google or Yahoo search engine results. Despite this, SEO companies have guaranteed SEO services and it is great when one signs with Google. The fact remains that SEO services assure clients that even if the site will not rank among the top search engines, the money will not be a waste because of the refund.

Many webmasters are confused when hiring a search engine optimization SEO expert. Although SEO experts are believed to save time and improve webmaster sites through SEO strategies, they can also frustrate webmasters. Thus, webmasters must investigate the pros and cons of SEO services. The major tasks of the SEO experts are:

– Ensure that the site is well reviewed in the content or structure

– Provide Search engine optimization SEO advice on website development like use of JavaScript and web hosting

– Develop website content using SEO services

– Provide online business improvement campaigns

– Target keyword research

– Offer SEO training

However, the webmasters can grasp search engine optimization SEO through websites. They will understand the benefits of hiring an SEO expert and what to expect from one.

It is clear that when webmasters hire a search engine optimization SEO expert, they stand a better chance of maximizing their SEO services. When they want to start a new site it is good to look for web developers who have web design talent. The web developer will ensure that a webmaster’s site reaches the top search engine ranking like Google or Yahoo. The web developer also assists in improving an existing site.

However, webmasters have to ask several questions about search engine optimization SEO including:

1. Do they have previous examples and testimonies from past clients?

2. Do they follow the guidelines from the Google webmaster?

3. Do they implement the SEO Internet marketing services to improve online business?

4. Do they have experience in the webmaster’s industry?

5. Do they have knowledge of the webmaster’s country/city?

6. Do they have experience in developing sites for international companies?

7. What are the best SEO techniques to implement on the webmaster’s site?

8. How long has the SEO expert been in web design?

9. Does the SEO expert have good communication skills when making changes on the client’s site?

Although the SEO experts provide great SEO services to their clients, there are a few who ruin the web design industry through their greed in marketing efforts and manipulate search engine rank. If search engine optimization SEO does not involve ethical practices, the site may have low visibility on Google or even be removed from the Google index.

SEO and social media marketing ensure that one’s site has the best SEO Internet marketing, which means that their company can remain competitive in the online market. All the individual has to do is transition in their online business.

SEO Internet marketing has major components, which develop the website traffic, and top search engine rankings. However, webmasters should be aware that these components are not easy to get. They must apply formulas and SEO strategies to produce effective results. There are many websites providing pertinent information about SEO and online marketing, and you can learn from them.

If one’s business does not have SEO Internet marketing strategies, he or she will need help from SEO experts. They will have to find SEO expert websites, who will help the business owner’s site have many customers in online marketing. The obligation of SEO experts is to create exposure to businesses. They focus on SEO Internet marketing goals and provide top search engine rank like Google and Yahoo. However, to accomplish all this, web developers use SEO custom services, which have long-lasting SEO Google rank.

SEO companies ensure that your site has all the SEO Internet marketing such as business improvement, localized product sales, high quality online generation and the rest. Webmasters are guaranteed to remain competitive in the online business if they stick with SEO experts. They will have all they need to ensure business success.

Business owners who do have a business website lose massive amounts of money from online marketing. They should know that SEO Internet marketing mandates a business website, since it is a necessary online marketing tool. A website or blog is same as news ads, letterheads, or the yellow pages. However, the website must be user-friendly and just as advertisement is important, the SEO website is the same.

It is true that 44% of small businesses do not have a website or blog. They are unable to reach 73% of Internet users each day. If your company has a website, customers can research the latest products the business owner’s company offers. SEO Internet marketing can help any company through their site to sell products. All businesses should have their own website, including companies using websites provided by insurance.

Josiah Wedgwood – The Manager and Entrepreneur

Most of us have our favorites; be they sporting heroes, politicians, film stars, chefs, and so on. It’s as if our selection of a particular person reflects positively on us-our perspicuity, insightfulness, and plain good taste. In the world of management, for example, we’ve had our flavors-of-the-moment. At one stage it was ‘the celebrity CEO’ (until we realized that they, too, were fallible). We even tried to uncover leadership lessons from figures as diverse as Chief Sitting Bull, Attila the Hun, ‘Stormin’ Norman What’sHisName, and Winnie the Pooh.

Amid all this exploration it is inevitable that some people deserving of recognition and their moments in the sun go unnoticed. One such person is Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795)-master potter, founder of the Wedgwood Company, and grandfather of Charles Darwin.

Wedgwood employed work practices and introduced innovations hundred years before they became accepted parts of everyday organizational life. And in the process, he grew his 20-pound inheritance into 500,000 pounds.

Here are 10 of Wedgwood’s qualities that have contributed to management as it now practiced. [1]

He embraced change

The Industrial Revolution brought with it enormous social, industrial, and economic changes. In the early 18th Century, pottery had been functional, mainly crude vessels for storing and carrying. The pottery industry was dirty and squalid, and its people and work practices coarse and primitive: the industry was ripe for change. Wedgwood embraced many of the changes influencing the ways that his products were made and sold: craftsmanship, designs, processes, and innovation flourished.

The size and sophistication of the market developed throughout the 18th Century. Industrial wages were paid creating increased sources of wealth and disposable incomes. Stylish table accessories were in huge demand in the burgeoning industrial cities and increasingly wealthy colonies. The imbibing of tea and coffee joined the traditional pastime of beer drinking as a national characteristic.

The Industrial Revolution brought with it the opportunity for the pottery industry to replace traditional water-driven mills and windmills with coal-fired steam engines. In 1782 Wedgwood bought one of James Watt’s steam engines. The rest of the industry was quick to follow his lead.

Wedgwood moved in liberal reformer society, too. He applied the principles of the division of labor espoused by his contemporary Adam Smith. He was an avid reader of Paine and Rousseau. He supported the American War of Independence and was an ardent member of the Anti-Slavery Committee.

He built and maintained productive relationships

Today, Wedgwood would be described as a ‘Renaissance Man’. He was a master networker and collaborator. He valued and nurtured friendships and personal connections, many of whom possessed quite diverse interests. For example, he collaborated with leaders in the Arts and Scientific communities towards even better designs for his products. His friend and business partner, Thomas Bentley, expertly read social trends that enabled Wedgwood to produce fine things that were in demand. The marketplace was amazed at how Wedgwood was able to read and respond to social trends that ultimately resulted in increased sales.

His collaborating with leaders in their fields at the time, enabled Wedgwood to replace (with confidence) the drab, coarse, and everyday with a huge range of beautiful and affordable products. He worked also with fellow Staffordshire potters to solve common technical problems. In 1775, for example, he initiated what was probably the world’s first collaborative industrial research project.

He practiced MBWA

The term Management-By-Walking-Around (MBWA), borrowed from Hewlett-Packard and enshrined by Tom Peters and Bob Watermanin in the first business bestseller In Search of Excellence , was practiced by Josiah Wedgwood almost two hundred years earlier. Wedgwood believed in and practiced being visible to his workers-mentoring and coaching rather than ‘snoopervising’. His practice of MBWA enabled him to produce a highly detailed ‘Potters Instructions’ developed from over the 30 years of his on-the-job experiences.

An initial drawback was a weakened knee-a leftover of childhood smallpox. When the knee began to hamper his ability to walk around the factory, Wedgwood decided to have his leg amputated. With that inconvenience dealt with, he strapped on a wooden leg and continued his practice of MBWA.

He insisted on WH&S

Wedgwood was conscious of health and safety, especially to the ever-present dangers of lead poisoning. He insisted on proper cleaning methods, work attire, and washing facilities. Substance abuse was not tolerated. He instituted a complete ban on drinking alcohol. Punctuality was demanded. Constant attendance was encouraged. Fixed hours and a primitive check-in system were introduced. Wedgwood was scrupulous about cleanliness and avoiding waste. Workers were heavily fined for leaving scraps of material around.

He led by example

Wedgwood began work as a potter aged 11 (his father died when Josiah was 9 leaving him the youngest of 13 children). He knew all of the ‘tricks-of-the-trade’. His ‘Potters Instructions’ covered detailed explanations of every process to be undertaken and every trick used by the workforce to cut corners.

Wedgwood was hard working, driven, demanding, intellectually curious questioning established practices, and always on the lookout for better ways of dong things. He was highly ambitious and fastidious about quality doing everything exceptionally well. And he expected the same from his workers.

Wedgwood’s persistence is legendary. His favorite motto was ‘everything yields to experiment’. Even though Edison’s efforts in perfecting the light bulb is familiar to most people (although the number of failed attempts is open to conjecture), Wedgwood’s persistence almost one hundred years earlier in producing Jasper have gone largely unrecognized. After more than 5,000 recorded experiments, Wedgwood (1775) produced Jasper, a product described as one of the most significant innovations since the Chinese invention of porcelain nearly 1,000 years earlier.

He pioneered productive work practices

When Wedgwood founded his main factory (Etruria), he set out to industrialize what was a peasant industry. He applied the principles of the Adam Smith’s division of labor by involving specialists concentrated on one specific element of the production process resulting in enhanced efficiency. Training and skill development were important features of this process. In 1790, nearly one-quarter of his workforce were apprentices, many of them female.

The factory system at the time had no tradition of foremen, clerks, or managers to exert discipline. In a precursor to what was to become Scientific Management in the early 20th Century, he produced highly detailed ‘Potters Instructions’ based on the regulations and rules he had developed over the 30 years of his experiences.. They covered detailed explanations of every process to be undertaken, every trick used by the workforce to cut corners, and instructions on how to reward high performers and reprimand poor ones.

Through their flexibility, the Wedgwood factories were able to produce short runs of highly varied goods, quickly changing color, fashion, style, and price as the market dictated. His production system minimized proprietary risk, reduced fixed costs, and maximized input from skilled labor.

He was fastidious about quality

Wedgwood was a visionary: he wanted to leave the world a better place as a result of his contributions. One of his boasts was that he ‘made artists out of mere men’. To that end (and others, of course), he was famously intolerant of poor quality. He would prowl the factory smashing substandard pots and writing in chalk on offending workbenches, ‘this will not do for Josiah Wedgwood’. Workers were fined for breaches of his demand for quality.

He was, however, committed to training his workers and providing them with the best quality raw materials. He supported an apprenticeship system, he invested in education, health, diet, and housing of his employees. In what today would be called ‘global sourcing’, he purchased clay from America in a deal struck with the Cherokee nation, from Canton in China, and from Sydney Cove through his contact with Joseph Banks.

He used marketing to create demand and increase sales

Wedgwood provided the pièce de résistance of marketing to a world where ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ was the operative. He opened new showrooms in London and allowed customers’ comments to inform design and production. He introduced self-service, catalogue-selling, pattern books, free carriage of goods, money-back guarantees, regular sales, all aiming in Wedgwood’s words ‘to amuse, and divert, and please, and astonish, and even to ravish the ladies’.

He assiduously sought patronage from aristocrats and politicians and exploited their orders as testimonials are used today. When Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, ordered a tea service in 1776, he trumpeted the royal endorsement on his letterhead, in his showroom, and in his advertising. Calling his cream colored line, ‘Queen’s Ware’, he excited the aspirations of its users. For the privilege, he charged premium prices, compared to those of his competitors, for those wishing to eat off plates fit for a Queen. On another occasion, he made a 932-piece service for Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia. People (including royalty) cued outside his London store to see the sensation.

He chose open innovation over intellectual property

Wedgwood was inspired by the work of others and, to that end, he was flattered by others copying his work. He was less concerned about maintaining intellectual capital that he was about contributing to the development and enhancement of relationships, as this example illustrates.

One of the perennial challenges of making ceramics was measuring high temperatures in kilns in order to control the production process. Wedgwood invented a pyrometer, or thermometer, that recorded these temperatures. In true Wedgwood fashion, he did not try to retain the technology for himself. He also provided fellow scientists with specially designed experimental apparatus.

He was the master of logistics and infrastructure

No stone was left unturned by Wedgwood in his pursuit of excellence in product and sales. He devoted enormous amounts of time and money to improving communications and transportation, especially with the ports that brought him raw materials and provided his routes to market. He promoted the development of turnpike roads and was treasurer of the construction of the Grand Trunk Canal, an extraordinary engineering feat 93 miles long, linking Staffordshire with the ports of Liverpool in the West and Hull in the East. It is estimated that following the completion of the canal, freight rates reduced by ninety percent.

1. Ockham’s Razor, Radio National, Australia: ‘An innovator for the ages’, 14 December 2008, presented by Professor Mark Dodgson, Director of the Technology and Innovation Management Centre at the University of Queensland, Australia.

Social Responsibility Begins at Home

Talk to anyone about a company’s social responsibility and some of the first images that come to mind are the rain forest in Brazil, with the associated need for conservation, and the sweatshops in the Far East, where small children make T-shirts for the West. In other words, things far away from home; big multinational stuff, the sins of globalisation that the Seattle warriors fight by burning McDonalds’ franchises. Society is a nice concept that, if a bit vague, a bit idealistic and a bit moral, fits well in company mission statements. After all, imagine the alternative. Do you know of any company that would admit to wanting to pollute the environment, destroy social relationships or run workplaces like concentration camps?

The trouble with global social responsibility is that it distracts from what is happening next door or downstairs. Companies that are ‘socially responsible’ – by the stereotype standards of no-pollution-no-child-labour – may, in fact, operate socially irresponsible policies affecting their own staff. Sumantra Ghoshal, a professor at the London Business School in the UK, refers to the atmosphere in some companies as being like ‘Calcutta in summer’, a suffocating environment. Such companies may have mission statements espousing their commitment to social responsibility: promising no polluting of rivers, while ignoring the daily pollution of the minds of their work force.

Let’s face it, Ghoshal is right. Some working environments are not nice! High levels of internal politics and personal wars, disregard for the life of employees who are just numbers on a spreadsheet, and irrational ‘contingency policies’ (hire fast/fire fast) may lead to a ‘Calcutta in summer’ workplace, even if the company swears it will never dump a chemical in the nearby river.

Social responsibility, like charity, begins at home: in the manager’s office next door and downstairs in the HR department and the labs. It has to do with understanding that people spend a great deal of their daily life working for organisations and that the company – whether it wants to recognise it or not – has a ‘social responsibility’ to them. A responsibility that involves a duty to provide an environment that respects the individual, enhances the human condition and values the employee. Surely, if it’s good for trees, it must be good for humans.

Those who think this is airy-fairy stuff are no different from those who think that the pollution of the river by the chemical plant is a necessary evil if business is to meet its objectives. Years ago, such people got away with murder because the population was largely ignorant of the issue, or silent or insensitive. Today, such practices make headlines that backfire on the company in a way that it can’t afford. Probably, some years from now, the Calcutta-in-summer workplaces will make headlines in a similar way, with similar consequences.

As a self-confessed novice in matters green, who still needs to be reminded what a recycling box is for, it may seem strange that I should use ‘green examples’. I am not bringing them here as an expert practitioner but to compare and expose the double standards of so-called social responsibility.

The circadian mind of a manager

One of the behaviours one finds in a less than socially responsible environment is a kind of management schizophrenia. Outside the office, a manager may be a kind, civilised and perhaps church-going human being. In the office, he may transform himself into a careless nine-to-five manager who, quite frankly, may not give a damn about the ‘working environment’ as long as ‘the numbers are achieved’ (and his bonus is safe). Perfectly reasonable human beings become very unreasonable managers on entering the office as if affected by some sort of toxic gas. Once in the office, toxic management takes over. It’s as circadian as night and day.

A company’s obvious need to have policies and procedures is a perfect excuse for toxic managers. They say, “Sorry, it’s not me, I have to do this, it’s company policy” or “If it were up to me, I would allow this, but I don’t make the rules“; or “I can’t allow you to do that, because then everybody will expect the same“. And the employee is denied a small privilege that would have made no difference to the running of the business, but that might perhaps have made all the difference to a working mother, such as a little flexibility in her working hours.

Managers who hide behind company policies – ‘I don’t make the rules’ or ‘I have to treat everyone the same way’ – are often simply lying. In many cases, they do have the power and ability to interpret company policy. They could grant an exception to the rule and accord the individual a special concession because common sense says that the rule was not invented to make life difficult.

One of the best defence systems of the toxic manager in the Calcutta environment is the use of ‘internal equity’ as an all-seasons argument. “We must see the equity aspects of this issue in the organisation,” a manager or an HR leader will say, “We can’t give this to Smith or it will set a precedent for others“.

That kind of argument assumes many things, but the one that has always puzzled me is that it presumes that the entire organisation may want the same as Smith. This is not true in most cases. For example, I did an MBA sponsored by my employer. As I remember, there were no rigid criteria about who could do it. I knew a couple of colleagues like myself who were sponsored. My boss did not have a long queue of people in his office wanting to do an MBA! As a matter of fact, it was hard work that some of us did on top of our normal workload. In another organisation, such an opportunity would not have been available because (here it comes): “It would not be fair in terms of internal equity!”

Fairness, the greatest parapet

Fairness is a word that can be used with a great deal of semantic discretion. Many managers – and many HR departments – seem obsessed with defending fairness. And yet, under this parapet, they exhibit the greatest unfairness of all, that of homogenisation. Fairness, as unilaterally dictated and interpreted, may boost the manager’s moral ego but may not impress anybody else. Salary differences between staff, executive privileges, boards driven by personal gain, are all unfair, yet they are part of daily life.

At this point you may be convinced that I am determined to paint a dark picture of business life. Let me be clear: I know business life can be highly rewarding and enlightening. I also appreciate that much work takes place in non-Calcutta environments. But the cynical way in which corporations deal with so-called social responsibility should not be covered up. The company is socially irresponsible, despite all its ‘care for the environment’ policies, when all it achieves is a good track record of clean rivers, but it is a place that is not worth working in as internal mental pollution merely replaces external pollution. Blame it on my lack of environmental education, but I can’t stand those environmentalists who care about recycling their memos, who dispose of cans in special containers and who use the same hotel towel every day to save water, while they pollute the working environment of the people working for them. Maybe we should have offices or cubicles painted in green for those managers.

Pending revolutions

The customer revolution took place in the 1980s with a proliferation of customer services departments. Today, these are the baseline; they don’t raise eyebrows of admiration any more. Companies are supposed to have them. The Quality movement focused on quality as a final end, today, this is the starting point. In a few years’ time, you won’t see an ISO logo on letterheads or on the company van.

Now, as the shareholder revolution is beginning to take off, the actions of boards and management are increasingly scrutinised. The next big revolution will be the employee revolution. At that point, toxic management will be uncovered and companies that are internally socially irresponsible will make the headlines. Those companies that are brave enough to look at themselves in the mirror and identify socially irresponsible internal practices, and who are then also brave enough to do something about them, will win the game.

You and I know of companies full of ‘nice people’. In many cases, though, it’s as if we were saying: “Individually, we’re all basically good guys. Collectively, we can be a bunch of arrogant people who use the excuse of rules dictated by somewhere else to exercise power and control“. If a working environment can produce and nurture Calcutta-in-summer managers, who otherwise are ‘nice guys individually’, this environment is toxic; you should avoid it if you can. And that’s the problem: the ‘if you can’. After all, a few million people live in Calcutta. Many can’t afford to be anywhere else and, indeed, some may even like summer there.

Social responsibility is not merely a green issue or an ethical corporate governance approach which takes a stand on not polluting rivers and not cutting trees in Brazil. It must begin at home. That is, in the office next door, the manufacturing plant or the project team. None of this, however, is taught in business schools.

Letter Writing: Confrontational Letter Writing – 12 Tips

A confrontational letter is a letter that confronts a situation, a problem or dispute. It seeks a specific objective from the recipient that will not usually be granted without resistance.

The writer wants a certain objective and the recipient of the letter will not grant that objective unless convincingly persuaded that he should.

Here are some tips as to how to effectively structure a ‘confrontational letter:’

1. Appearance is very important. The letter must be a hard copy and appear impressive and professional. You must use good quality paper and have the letter printed using a good printer on a professional appearing letterhead.

Emails do not project the impressive image that is truly effective.

Emails are unimpressive and these days a hard copy is becoming more and more rare. For that reason the appearance of an impressive appearing hard copy letter signifies that the letter is a serious letter and written by a writer deserving serious consideration. An impressive hard copy letter stands out from the crowd.

Have you ever noticed how much more respect a man in a well-tailored suit receives? The same principle applies and the physical appearance of the letter is very important and must project the writer as a serious, refined, educated individual.

Behind that projected image is implied the fact that the writer has the ability and wherewithal to take the matter further – i.e. to superiors of the recipient and/or to authorities that oversees the conduct of the recipient and his organization.

The serious and impressive appearance of the letter projects the clear understanding that the writer is the type of individual who may subsequently refer the matter to a lawyer for further action if the request for relief is denied.

What must also be borne in mind is the mindset of the recipient of a confrontational letter. That is to say, the greatest fear of a recipient of a confrontational letter is that his decision not to grant your request may be overruled by his superiors.

Therefore, if the recipient has received an impressive looking letter that is persuasively written this basic fear of being overruled will weigh very heavily on his mind. He may grant the request out of fear that the letter looks like ‘trouble’ both in appearance and content. He may therefore decide to quickly grant the request and close the file. The recipient will save negative responses for letters who do not appear to be ‘trouble.’ I personally have experienced this situation many times and that is why I place particular emphasis upon the physical appearance of the letter.

A professionally appearing letterhead can be easily created by a word processor. I recommend a border around the page and that the paragraphs be justified on both sides to give the letter a distinctly professional appearance. If you have a degree or some sort of designation include it on your letterhead.

I am not suggesting that if you have a weak argument that an impressive looking letter will in itself be effective. However what I am suggesting is that an impressive letter, in every sense, shall likely ensure that the persuasive argument contained within that letter gets the serious attention and careful treatment it deserves. And that objective is more than half the battle!

2. The letter must be well-researched and well-organized. If there is background and supporting information that must be conveyed to the recipient then that information must be included, accurate and complete. In order to keep the letter itself to a minimum consideration should be given to putting supporting information in an attached appendix to the letter.

The package put in front of the recipient must be total so that the reader does not have to secure other records in order to confirm or understand the situation correctly. This too is the mark of a professional and will have a positive impact upon the recipient. The recipient will feel that he is dealing with a professional who has his act together and that feeling shall increase his concern.

3. The letter must be entirely professional in tone and content and must project a distinct tone of civility and respectfulness. To deviate from this standard gives the recipient an excuse to place the request into the category of an unreasonable request. After a request has been characterized as ‘unreasonable – whether justified or unjustified – it is very difficult to rehabilitate that request.

4. If there are facts that have to be stated make sure that they are stated clearly and in short paragraphs of one or two sentences at the beginning of the letter. Short sentences and paragraphs are easier to read and the information contained is easier to digest. You want to make your factual case very clear and consideration should be given to numbering these paragraphs so that the recipient may easily refer to them by number.

5. State the request as briefly as possible and give justification for why the recipient should grant the request. Make your argument as short and simple as possible. Your letter should be as brief as possible because if you digress and add more detail you may put something in that an unscrupulous recipient may seize upon to unfairly deny your request. The touchstone – make things as clear and simple as possible.

6. End the letter in an up-beat manner. Indicate that you hope that the reader recognizes the merits of your position and invite him to respond if anything is unclear. I find the following sentence particularly effective: ‘If you are unable to agree to my request or if I am in error on any of the facts or, on any other aspect of the case I have outlined, please specifically advise.’

If the recipient gives you a detailed explanation as to why he is refusing your request it shall be your road map to further attempts to persuade him that he should agree to your request. It may also put him on the spot in a close case when his response is inappropriate and may be reviewed by a superior.

If the recipient does not give you a detailed explanation as to why he is refusing your request then that fact can be seized upon to suggest in a subsequent letter that the recipient is not being reasonable in considering your request.

7. Never refer to your ‘request’ as a ‘demand’. It should be respectfully framed as a ‘request’.

8. Always end the letter with ‘Respectfully Yours’.

That ‘respectful’ ending further and emphatically confirms that the letter has been respectfully submitted which is crucial.

If the recipient responds in a disrespectful or less than respectful professional manner then the contrast between his approach and your approach stands in stark contrast. This fact will be to your advantage when the letter and the entire situation is reviewed by someone else… i.e. someone in authority to the first responder, a regulator, another interested third party, etc.

Many of these confrontational situations are won only narrowly and can easily go one way or the other. The fact that your letter(s) is reasonable and respectful may be the crucial difference. I have seldom seen a disrespectful, unreasonable letter secure its objective. It is much more difficult to deny a request in a polite, respectful well-written letter.

9. Do not end the letter with a ‘cc’ to the regulator or any other third party that may stand as an authority to the recipient. It is completely inappropriate, unprofessional and the mark of an amateur.

Reference to a third party may be appropriate at a later stage but the first letter should stand entirely on its own and the recipient should not be made to feel that he has a gun to his head.

The recipient well knows that you may appeal to a higher authority and does not have to be reminded. Most first responders are very sensitive to this issue and so why antagonize him by waving that threat in his face? Do you really want to antagonize the person whom you are trying to convince?

10. A demand in the letter that there be a response within a specific time frame is completely inappropriate and unnecessarily irritating to the recipient and should not be inserted within your first letter.

True professionals fully understood that a timely response should always be provided and some responders take the request for a quick response as an indication of desperation or impatience and a weakness to exploit. For that reason many first responders will purposely delay their response in order to exasperate the writer and perhaps provoke an intemperate letter which is usually always to the recipient’s advantage.

Forget about asking for a quick or timely response – you have no control over that fact so why mention it?

In fact a tardy response can be a plus in your favor at a subsequent stage. A slow response can look bad when reviewed later and will tend to indicate that perhaps the recipient to your letter is being unreasonable, unnecessarily dragging his feet and acting inappropriately.

11. Make sure that there is nothing in your letter that can be criticized. Do not allow your anger to show through. Remember at some point your this letter is very likely to be reviewed by others and it should be completely beyond reproach. An understandable temperate expression of exasperation may be in order to prove a point but not anything more.

12. If you have the luxury of time then sleep on the letter and come back to it when you are fresh.

It is amazing what a fresh set of eyes can see and it also amazing what other points may occur to you as you go about your regular schedule.

Review the letter critically and tweak it so that it is as concise as possible and flows smoothly. Remember the key to good writing is ‘re-writing’.

If possible get a friend who has good judgment and good writing skills to review it. A good second opinion together with constructive criticism can be invaluable.

5 Different Mediums Offered by Online Printers

Online printers make the job of ordering printed stationery easy and convenient. With different paper weights, sizes and finishes there are any number of variations for your printed work. The following shows details of the various printed mediums available by online printers and book printing companies.

Understanding what is accessible before placing your order will ensure the online shopping experience is a simple one.

Paper Weight – Grams per Square Metre (GSM)

  1. 80 gsm
  2. 80 gsm is equivalent to any standard copier paper. This might be ideal for ‘With Compliment’ slips or a one page leaflet where you need a bulk printing run.

  3. 80-130 gsm
  4. 80-130 gsm is mostly used for flyers or any material used as part of the general letterbox distribution or for other high turnover promotional material.

  5. 130-150 gsm
  6. 130-150 gsm paper weighted greater than 140 guarantees the print will not show through on the other side making this weight the best to use in brochures, flyers and newsletters where printing is required on both sides.

  7. 200 plus gsm
  8. 200 plus gsm is a thick high quality paper that does not need to be folded. Posters and calendar printing are a good example for using this weight of paper.

  9. 300 gsm
  10. 300 gsm is the standard thick card used in printing business cards.

Matching the right paper weight with the many different sizes available will result in a satisfactory product finished to your specifications.


Matching the right paper weight with the many different sizes available will result in a satisfactory product finished to your specifications.

Measurements for A6 paper are 105mm X 148mm (A5 folded in half)

Use A6 for labels and cards.

Measurements for A5 paper are 210mm X 148mm (A4 folded in half)

Use A5 for the larger flyer or leaflet.

Measurements for A4 paper are 297mm X 210mm

Use A4 for letterheads as this is the standard letter paper size.

Measurements for A3 paper are 297mm X 420mm (2 times A4)

Use A3 for calendars and smaller posters.

Measurements for A2 paper are 420mm X 594mm (2 times A3)

Use A2 for large posters.

Measurements for A1 paper are 594mm X 841mm (2 times A2)

Use A1 for larger posters.

Measurements for A0 paper are 841mm X 1189mm (2 times A1)

Use A0 for wall banners.

Measurements for DL paper are 99mm X 210mm (A4 folded in 3)

Use DL for the standard flyer or leaflet and ‘With Compliment Slips’


Bond is a flat non-reflective surface for use with general stationery lines.

Silk is slightly reflective with an ultra smooth finish.

Gloss is completely smooth with a shiny surface ideal when you want to make a statement.

Not only is there paper weights, sizes and finishes to consider but the use of colours for your printing needs. Some printers offer colour printing at the same price as black and white for certain lines so be sure and check out all the options available.

The State Of Graphic Design In Jordan

Jordan’s unique geographical position results in its experts choosing self development, which includes graphic design. Experts are also involved with developments taking place in neighbouring countries and the internet was extremely useful in putting interested parties in these two fields in touch with each other and sharing possible development tools. The development of Graphic Design is also assisted by annual exhibitions and specialised conferences held both in Jordan and outside the Arab world.

The academic and professional specialists for the basis in developing graphic design through the formation of local learning institutions. In these institutions academics, programmers and graphic design teachers can meet with professional designers and discuss the way business is moving forward and requirements of the labour market.

Practical training is considered the foundation of Graphic Design, upon which the academic skill of the student and his creativity are built. Working in a design office is considered to be the most important and effective tool in measuring the level of academic learning. It also gives an indication of the effectiveness of teachers in producing a generation of students capable of dealing with the academic ethos and engaging with the requirements of the profession. This training provides the students with opportunities to polish and develop their skills by working along side established practitioners. Today’s graphic design tools rely on information technology for producing visualisations of scientific developments. This visualisation requires an understanding of the scientific theory and the visualisation tools available, which in turn relies on the expertise of graphic designers.

In this paper I will focus on the profession of graphic design and its development by discussing its early development. I will review the positive and negative aspects of that development and how they related to changes in the market and the size of the market and labour force. I will also discuss the academic concepts, and the requirement for graduate graphic designers.

In this paper I draw from my experience of working in Jordan since 1987 at the MIDAS Establishment and my roles in student training at Yarmouk University and the Applied Sciences University, which I had been attached to since 1999. This paper addresses many questions and aims to explore the mechanics of enhancing graphic design in the academic and professional sectors.

The historic and technical initial stages of graphic design in Jordan

Graphic design developed alongside the printing and information technology industries. Printing was brought to Jordan in the 1940s by people who had learnt the trade in other countries. Jordan’s printing evolution was similar to that of other countries. Printing started using wooden moulds, then zinc clichés and letterpress, as well as other printing tools, symbols and shapes. It was the printing technology that restricted the scope for producing new designs. The range of items printed was limited to newspapers, cards and stationary. Printing started mainly in black and white, and was then developed to make photo made clichés through which the printers were able to print in full colour. Typolography, or raised printing was the main method and is still used today. Offset printing enhanced the quality of production, providing improvements in colour and picture reproduction. Around the same time the role of the graphic designer was developed, involving the preparation of makettes and then film montage and plates to be ready for printing (prepress); this relied on the professionalism of the film montage technician for the preparation of backgrounds for the pictures and words. Prepress was considered the most important process in the production of the final printed article. This process was carried out at the prepress service centre which was limited to a single institution until 1987. This centre had the capability and technology to perform a range of techniques where an artistic touch was required.

In the late sixties, design pioneers were not graphic designers, but had learnt the technologies of collage and calligraphy. They were able to imitate designs from abroad and in some instances reproduced them. Their work initially ranged from greetings cards, business cards, social stationary, letterheads and envelopes, then progressed to brochures and folders. The work was mainly limited to newspaper advertising which relied predominantly on the offset printing method. We shouldn’t forget the air brush technology that provided designers with the use of graded colours, achieving three dimensional effects for some designs, although the number of people using this was limited.

From 1980-87 design was performed by specialists in Plastic Arts and Architecture, as well as the first graduates of the college of arts at Yarmuok University and similar institutions. By the end of the eighties, the computer Linotype was used as a publishing tool by newspapers to prepare text for layout and paste it on the required pages next to advertising. Some publishing houses have graphic design offices which also acquired these systems to ensure the production of books and magazines to a similar quality. Linotype was also used to prepare the design of brochures and advertising materials that cannot be hand drawn. With time Linotype was also used for the preparation of other material by this method, including greeting cards, posters and advertisements.

The design and printing sectors found the computer to be an effective way of improving productivity. In 1988 with the arrival of the first design computer by Apple Macintosh, the numbers of workers in the field increased and performance progressed in the pre-printing stages such as film making and separation. However, the expense of computers meant that there use was still limited. The production of personal computers by competitors of Apple Macintosh as well as the ease with which film can be processed through its programs, created a huge increase in the number of professionals interested in graphic design. This became evident by the growth in the number of agencies, design offices, publishing houses and service centres.

Personal computers affected the technical and artistic aspects of production. Some production centres were able to develop their skill base and by recruiting experienced designers and developing them by organising training courses. These highly trained individuals achieved high standards of work within and outside Jordan and were able to compete with others in the Arab regions and captured a share of these markets, producing many publications. Jordanian specialists became serious competitors against other Arab countries which had previously monopolised the fields of design and printing. Jordan has developed so that it can meet the demand for design and printing within the country. Jordan has become a magnet for many publishing houses in the Arab region. Many production and publishing organisations were able to catch up to the levels of the latest technology. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that they will develop further, using modern production tools, and this will ensure there are enough local specialists who can continue to produce work of the highest quality.

The pace of technological development made it necessary for the academic institutions to provide the Jordanian market with the skilled workers who can work to the high standards required. These institutions have to continually adapt to the advancing technology as well as support the academics in their quest to enhance the artistic, scientific and technological aspects of production and publishing. Relationships must also be strengthened by co-operation between business leaders and academic institutions in order to provide the mutual benefit of improve standards, with the ultimate aim of keeping up with both local and international developments.

The easiest way to judge the standard of design and printing in a country is through the newspapers, magazines and books published. Television also provides a showcase for visual communication through locally produced advertisements. The speed of printing development has made impositions on graphic design and the designers themselves. Designers have to continuously update their training to keep abreast of new technology. This enables them to be at the forefront of improving quality and creativity in all aspects of production.

The advantages and disadvantages of sectors allied with graphic design

When discussing the organisations involved in design and production in Jordan it is easy to become overwhelmed by the variety and abundance of them. These organisations saturate the market. One of the reasons for the number of organisations is the variety of production formats, each of which has its own structure. Computerisation has lead to many operators being made unemployed.

Production sources can be divided into;

– Design

– Commercial printing

– Publishing houses

– Pre-press services centres

– Computer software training centres

These are the organisations where people often look for graphic designers, although most of them do not have academically trained staff who specialise in graphic design. Many of the people who own these organisations have chosen to specialise. Some of them specialised because the profession does not require a large capital outlay, others specialised because they had a knowledge of the tools used. Most appear to have specialised because this provides them with status in their community.

Although there are many organisations working in graphic design, the workers and owners in these establishments often lack awareness of the professional graphic design concepts as they have not studied the subject in depth. Employment opportunities for graduates only began to develop after 2000 when some organisations recognised the need for such skilled workers and academic institutions were able to produce professionals of this standard. The impression of graphic design graduates has changed so companies are no longer choosing graduates who studied abroad. Design establishments have noticed the high quality of products which trained graduates can produce with their competence and skills, and their ability to use the full range of design and printing equipment. Without this properly structured training program, experience had been gained through hap-hazard on the job training.

One of the weaknesses of those producing the designs is that they are not always confident about how to use the latest techniques. They often ask advice and prefer to work within their comfort zones, failing to produce designs that would demand a great deal of time, effort or care. Graduates are much more comfortable with change and willing to develop new skills. There are a few professionals, however, who have been invaluable in the development of graphic design by training others and developing their own technical and professional skills. These people have also monitored the pace of development in the fields of printing and graphic design.

Many of the professionals have established themselves thorough the high quality of the work they produce. This is not possible without a capable, aware and educated body of co-workers, who have scientific knowledge and are creative rather than imitating the work of others.

The increasing gap between academic designers and employers, or art directors and creative managers is often due to misunderstanding the role of graphic designers. In industry, the priority of some designers or agency owners is profitability regardless of the quality of the results.

The first problem is that some of the art directors or creative managers are not aware of the importance of their position, and often the employer is equally ignorant of this. Job titles are often arbitrary so artistic or creative managers frequently lack experience and expertise.

There is an absence of a common language between academic designers and managers or employers. This often frustrates designers, creating insecurity and hindering creativity. Such an environment can be an attempt to reduce a designers` status and restricts him from engaging in the creative thinking he would have been taught and university.

Adequacy of the professional reality

Graphic designers are distinguished from other fields by being one of the most creative professions; they work with information technology and visual communication. It also involves dealing with the business world, in which credibility and ability are necessary to achieve the creative work. Qualifications and talent are essential for this.

A graphic designer is not only an artist but also a technician who is able to use software and techniques to tackle the project in hand. His approach should go beyond communication with the audience, to effective promotion and display. His aim is to produce clarity and he should be able to do this from the information using the techniques available to him. The aim is to connect the data and in order to do this must understand the development and design of the software that could be used. He has to understand all the innovations and methods of designing texts.

The design sector requires professionals to have the experience to be able to select and classify information, and to create links between related elements. However, this won’t be enough if they can not interpret this and transform it into definite forms. It is also important to understand the vocabularies of with language, sound and music as they are the most important tools of communication. Added to this, the designer must understand how to use the specialised design software to write texts, prepare drawings, animated cartoons and websites. The designer should know about design, timing, transformation, rhythm and visual presentation.

The potential of the design sector should be realised by knowledge of the necessary theories and techniques to improve communication with the audience, enrich the design proposals and understand the reflective aspect of the design process, studies and research.

There is much variation in the qualifications of staff within the design sector. It is important to differentiate between the craftsman and the academic designer. The graphic designer is a complete cultural and intellectual entity that is noted in the sensational theory, linguistic theory, visual eloquence and the cultural history of art, literature, science, technology, industry and humanity. They cannot isolate themselves from developments in theories of communication, information development, and from management and criticism. Moreover to improve the added value of the final product, all methods and tools used in production and publication should be understood. They must understand the stages before the design, and they must understand the printing process and its implications on the design.

The market is crowded with many people working in graphic design. Due to the wide use of graphic design in many fields of work, the widespread use of computers and availability of basic software packages there is a role for people using graphic design without any prior knowledge. The expression of graphic design is still not adequately understood by some employers in industrial and commercial firms and organisations that need graphic design services.

I do not doubt the potential of the vocational sector but this is the reality of graphic design. It must be remembered that well qualified people now occupy high status positions in the Jordanian market, showing its expertise and its ability to demonstrate the highest levels of graphic design.

The size of the market and people working in graphic design

There are now more than five hundred establishments working in graphic design. There are many who would not classify themselves as an agency, centre or office, as they have found their own market niche. Therefore these classifications can not be meaningfully applied in Jordan.

The sector is large compared to the market. The establishment of new graphic design organisations peaked in 1999. Since then, some have declined while others have expanded. Some have stagnated or changed management, while others have merged.

A quick look at the design sector will show that 85% of those working in the field can be classified as;

– Computer science graduates

– Architecture graduates

– Interior design graduates

– Graduates in ‘Computers and the Fine Arts’ from community colleges

– Fine arts graduates (both graphic design specialists and non-specialists)

– Graduates of design courses run by computer centres

– Unemployed people who are interested in computers

University educated graphic design graduates fulfil an important role because;

– Universities produce Graphic Designers with a different outlook to those mentioned above.

– Organisations run by people who understand graphic design will be better able to develop designers skills and adapt to the future

I am concerned for students who study graphic design at university but do not try to improve his rate of innovation and creativity in order to improve. This will affect whether he is employable.

Academically and scientifically talented students will have few problems because good employers need students who are able to form ideas quickly, use appropriate design programs for his ideas and able to produce those. Other organisations are not useful for the academic designer. These are the push-pull level of the graphic design sector which reflects the levels of awareness of the concepts and functions of graphic design.

The market is capable of absorbing all graduates. This is dependent on the development of visual communication methods through graphic design. Such development requires the presence of skilled workers capable of meeting the needs of the market. This places incentives for educational organisations that deal with design to plan to suit the graphic design market.

The academic reality of graphic design

The emergence of academic institutions that specialised in the arts started at the Yarmouk University where the first arts and music department was established in 1980. This became a faculty in 2001, teaching drama, design (industrial, interior and graphic), plastic arts and music. The university awards bachelor degrees. It started in 2001 at the height of the computer revolution within the design sector in Jordan. In1991 teaching graphic design started as an independent specialisation within the Arts Department at the Applied Sciences University. This was followed by the Ahiya Amman University, the Petra University, Philadelphia University, AlZaytouneh University, the University of Jordan, and later the Israh University.

Apart from universities, during the time when graphic design became popular and a profitable profession, community colleges started teaching graphic design. These included the Al-Quds College, Granada College, Middle University College and Princess Alya College.

The work of the universities that award bachelor degrees is similar to colleges that grant two year diplomas, because both produce students with a certificate in graphic design. But in reality where creativity and technical skills are concerned we find differences. The differences are in the course curricula, and include understanding the production process, product identity, knowledge of software and design innovation.

There is confusion between graphic design and graphic art. These differences affect the student, particularly when he enters employment. He is judged by both his creativity and innovation in producing new ideas and his ability to use technology which now involves the computer, the main graphic design tool.

The reason for these differences becomes clear when we look at the number of workers in the market and where they graduated from. During the time that the largest number of graduates were being produced, the highest quality graduates were produced by well-known institutions and these were recruited by the most successful companies.

A distinction has developed between technicians and designers. This is because some academic institutions concentrate on technology and the practical aspects of design software, whilst others developing the ability to use knowledge and know how to connect ideas to the psychological and social context and include qualitative studies of theories and design curricula.

The reasons for this are;

– The absence of specialised academic experts in graphic design and the poor quality of some of the teachers.

– The absence of appropriate study plans for creating graphic designers

– The absence of a system defining the role of universities and colleges in teaching graphic design

– The absence of entry examinations to graphic design courses, unlike courses in the art specialisations

– The absence links to the outside world, other than through books.

– Some universities and colleges do not understand the concept of graphic design in an industrial context.

– The absence of official government support for finding a way to establish a core curriculum for university courses.

I have taught in the art departments of a number of universities and have assessed many graduation projects. These gave me the opportunity to find out about graphic design teaching, the standards of students, and showed the need for appropriate study plans. There is a lack of competitiveness which would improve educational standards and there is an arbitrary use of teaching methods. Objectives can be clear, but often mistake in not using the appropriate teaching methodology leads to them not being achieved.

In order to develop and improve, the graphic design sector needs skilled and competent workers. The workers will not be able to respond to the changes in technology unless they have a formal academic training. In order to achieve this advancement it is essential that graduate students are used as graphic design specialists.


There is a requirement in the Jordanian arena for the academic and professional sectors to review their experiences and identify their strengths and weaknesses. This is used by them to set a strategy capable of giving graphic design the respected position it deserves.

There is a requirement for government intervention to provide arena where specialists in graphic design may discuss many of the concepts that help them make company owners and managers aware of how to make the best use of graphic designers.

As well as teaching graphic design, universities and community colleges must support the markets needs for designers and artisans within the new specialisations which need to be introduced in order to reduce unemployment.There is a need for a professional body in graphic design to give support to designers, co-ordinate educational and technical preparation and for making contacts with the outside world. It is important to hold workshops and symposiums that enhance the competence of teaching staff, designers and students; these should be held with assistance from international institutions which are respected in this field.

It is also important to hold national and international competitions to encourage creativity and innovation. This will create a competitive atmosphere in which graphic design can flourish.

Finally, it is important to create a national identity in graphic design, which can cement its position in the international arena.

Opt For Professional Printing Firms Online

Promotion and publicity are the two basic components that are essentially required for making people aware of a particular item. With the ever increasing competition, it has become important that a firm comes up with new and innovative strategies to make their mark in the larger world. A firm just cannot take their audience for granted. It is important that they promote products according to their niche audience. Take into consideration the target audience before planning a strategy. Many of the firms hire printing agencies that can help them to promote their business to the large crowd. This is where printing services come into the picture. They are considered as the backbone to promote business and create awareness among the market about their newly launched products.

Being a proprietor of the business, it is important that you take help of advanced technology to promote items. There are a wide number of promotional strategies that help to reach the target audience. A billboard stuck on the road is sure to attract the attention of the users. There is every possibility that another firm might also be selling the same items. This is where the importance of how well a person uses promotion skills comes into the picture. It is believed that early in the six century, China started using various printing methods. However, at that time, these methods were carried out as manuscripts and tapestries. However, as times passed by, there have been introduction of new and innovative features such as banners, billboards, posters and more.

The printing work is available on various resources comprising of canvas, PVC, acrylic, mesh, fabric, vinyl and more. The main aim of these is to create awareness and promote business. There are numerous printing source available online, opt for a reliable and authentic source among all. These firms have a team of experienced and qualified designers. They have good years of experience and are well versed in this field. The banners and signs created by the professionals help a agency to attract attention. They are printed on high quality fabric, and in any pattern, such as pop up banners, mesh, banner stands and more. They are a firm believer of patron satisfaction and offer them accordingly. The cost is affordable and within the budget of a common person.

The different business sectors requires various publicity tricks. These professionals create brochures, letterheads, small flayers, postcards, bookmarks, door hangers, catalogs, business cards, calendars and more. Apart from this, they also offer CD and DVD inserts, tear cards, presentation folders and more. These professionals will guide a firm through the whole process of opting right quality printing option. They will design the brochures, posters to perfection. They will go to any extent to assure the firm gets due recognition. This also helps to print a firm invoices and keep a track of the job from start to finish. Read the testimonials and reviews posted by the patrons to get a clear picture concerning their needs. Take a quick look at the website for more information.

Importing Made Easy

You may have heard that you cannot Import small quantities of products, and that you have to wait many weeks, even months for the goods to arrive. Also, you may have heard of the Customs problems.

Well, this is all wrong! We have been doing this for years! It is so simple that it amazes me. It is all a matter of knowing how to deal with these companies in Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and South Korea. It is very refreshing dealing with them. I have never been ripped off by any of them!

Even the companies that only state in their advertising their minimum quantities, like a container load, will ship small quantities. The trick is calling your request a SAMPLE ORDER! Now, you might not know it, but these companies will accept whatever quantities you request prices for in your Sample Order. Their hope is that you come back and submit a large order. Also, you can get Sample Order shipments over and over.

Some companies are set up to ship small quantities without the Sample Order routine. You can tell by their price lists if they show small quantities. Otherwise, you ask them if they will ship a small Sample Order so that you can introduce their products to your customer base. They have no idea how big your company is.

It is important to have the appearance of a successful firm. Use letterheads, not hand written correspondence. If you do not have a computer, you better get one quick. Join the crowd, or you will not be on the same playing field. Email makes all of this work very well. You can actually email these companies real time, when they are in the office in Hong Kong, or anywhere. Late night here, is morning there.

This means instant communications, and instant action. You can request a Quotation via email, and they will email you everything you need to proceed. They usually send you what is called a Proforma Invoice, which is just an Invoice in advance. You will be expected to wire the funds electronically. This is easily done by your bank.

You can go to their website and see all the products and specs. Very often, if you don’t see what you want, they will give you a price on it. You can never tell, always compare prices. Some firms in the Orient represent other firms in the Orient. You want to buy from the Prime Source, the manufacturer.

If I were to request a price quote, it may look like this:


My firm is in the business of distributing Security & Safety Products throughout the United States. I am very interested in obtaining prices from your most esteemed company.

Your product line is beautiful, and I hope to be offering your quality products in my country.

Please give me prices for a Sample Order of 10 each of the following items.

Thank You for your help.

Very Truly Yours,

Robert Nelson,

Vice President

This is all it takes to get the ball rolling. But, a computer is a must. No company worth a dime does not communicate at least partially with email. Especially when the companies you will be dealing with are overseas. It takes too long for letters to go back and forth. When you learn about a new product, time is of the essence.

These people you will be dealing with are very honorable. They appreciate your showing respect, and they will respond in a kind way. Even if they do not want to ship small quantities, they very often will do so if you suggest that you understand and are willing to pay a little extra for each item. Your costs will still be a fraction of what you are paying now.

Let’s talk about shipping. You can ship very heavy stuff, like Monitors, via Steamship. This is a pain in the ass because you have to use a Freight Forwarder, who will get it through Customs. It usually takes up to 90 days. We found it more cost effective to buy Monitors in this country. We did buy small 5″ B&W Monitors from Taiwan and had them shipped Air Freight because they are small and light enough to make it cost effective.

Normally, you will request shipping via DHL, FedEx, UPS or EMS. EMS is usually the cheapest, and is an extension of the US Postal Service. All of these methods are Air Freight, and will deliver right to your door! No Customs hassles! It is easy to go online and open an account with all of them.

Remember, a Sample Order can be one or 100 or any amount. It is a Sample Order because you are calling it a Sample Order. Don’t be afraid to wire the funds up front. Remember, these countries are not Democracies, plus they rely strongly on foreign trade. If you were to report one of these companies to their government for ripping you off, they could be jailed for life, or worse! Everything they do is scrutinized by their government agencies. We have wired as much as fifteen thousand dollars at a time.

The first time you attempt to Import some stuff. Make it a small sample order just to get your feet wet.

Do It Their Way: Connecting With Clients & Members

Communicators have become lazy and cheap. When a new message is upon them, or when the last message did not attain the desired reach, the modern communicator can, unfortunately, be heard mumbling under their breath “we’ll just put it up on Facebook.” There is so much more to really communicating with your clients or members than just posting another post on social media.

The Pitfall

As electronic communications became reliable a few decades back, the market quickly realized they had found the holy grail. This new medium was, after all, free of charge, requiring only the time to craft a message and maybe throw in a few graphics. As long as we had our own list of email addresses, the cost would be zero, or near zero, considering the investment in application tools to assist. Social media didn’t change this seemingly profound business tactic, but exasperated it. The problem is, and was, it is a fail as it reaches a much smaller target than we care admit.

I, for example, do not generally use Facebook, except for my job; so, if I am that Chamber’s or Association’s member, am I receiving the communication when posted there? If I am a VIP client of that organization, am I getting the message? Obviously not. Replace Facebook in the above with ’email’, ‘Twitter’, ‘YouTube, ‘Parler’, ‘Rumble’ or any other e-communications medium and the same issue exists – not all members use that e-medium. Or, perhaps they do, but not often. We have been doing it wrong!

Do It Their Way

Leaders, members, clients, staff… all people, really, have preferences. They do things the way they want to do them, not the way we want them to do things. This is especially true in communications. We need to go to where they are, not try to force them to where we want them to be. Does a particular VIP prefer email? Text? A phone call at 11pm after the family goes to bed? We need to meet them where they want to be.

With mass communication to clients or members, we need to be more fluid and comprehensive. We need to blanket the mediums, not just choose one and call it done. So, whichever is their favorite, we are there. The problem is, as we move from the macro to the micro, more specifically, to the individual, we do not know which is their favorite. And, time and funds are not unlimited. Most of us cannot afford to hire a full-time compliment of employees just to post on all of the relevant socials while still communicating via tradition means.

The Secret Sauce

So, if we must be where our members and clients are, but we do not know where they are, how do we select the right mix of mediums? The answer lies, as with most recipes, in selecting the best ingredients for the desired reaction and determining their blend. In our case, we must blend electronic mediums with physical mediums.

Electronic mediums are email, e-newsletters (of which we often fool ourselves by saying they are different than email), our website, and social media. The best combination for the small, nimble staff is to use a monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly e-newsletter with scarce and sparse separate additional emails, reserved only for the most important of the annual communications. This should be supported strongly with three to five social media platforms onto which we can copy and paste the same message then make minor platform customization tweaks. The experts in social would argue that every platform is different, with a unique language, tempo, and vernacular; thus, such an approach is careless and unsophisticated. Though I agree when debating the finer details of comparing and contrasting platforms, this is simply not realistic for the small organization. Stick to the cut-and-paste for the biggest bang in the shortest time.

If we stop communication at the electronic door, we will miss upwards of 30% of our members and clients. Some will never see it as it will be buried in their e-piles of junk. Others will unsubscribe. Still others will change jobs, which changes their email or social address, without informing us. And, yet others will commit us to junk, spam, or e-file 13. Thus, the tried and true hard copy mediums must be part of our plan as well. Post cards, magazines, fold-out brochures, enveloped letters on letterhead, flyers, and tri-fold pamphlets are all options. As are text messaging, voice calls, and even robocalls, if done right. The communications art is in the blend, portions, and touches with each medium. Of course, most of the physical mediums have an exorbitant price tag as compared to electronic which is why most chambers, businesses, and associations have fled these mediums altogether. But, that is also why the physical mediums are so much more effective than they were for our parents and grandparents – they are just not being used much anymore, so when used properly, they make a splash.

Communication is about style, substance, writing the perfect copy, the best timing, and having something worth saying. More importantly, however, it is about being where the receiver is so they can receive that magnificence that is your hard work. If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? If a message is sent on a medium on which your client is not monitoring, do you make the sale? Keep the client or member? Survive as an entity? The medium mix, doing it their way, might even be more important than style, copy, substance, or timing. At lease you break through.

If you found this article insightful and useful, you may similarly appreciate the other three articles from this four-part series on communications: Break Through the Noise with Your Communication, The Goldilocks Zone of Communication, and Anatomy of a Communication Message.

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