Hello retail-minded friends! As promised, today we are going to publish an interview we held with Cindy Alton, founder of Cindy Alton Designs, right here in Chicagoland. Cindy is a graphic designer with years of experience in the field, providing services ranging from logo creation to packaging design. We were lucky enough to catch up with her for a phone interview to gain some insight into the importance packaging, logos, and similar design elements in the retail world.
Primarily I create logos, ads and package design for my customers. Often I am asked to create brochures or sell sheets and power point presentations. Lately I am creating more and more web banners and social media artwork. I have worked for myself for almost 3 years.
2. What inspired you to branch out and start your own packaging design company?
I was Creative Director for Taylor Precision Products for 10+ years and decided I needed a little more variety in my workload. I had designed thousands of packages for them and was looking to work on more than scales and thermometers. Also I really enjoy working with companies that give back and feel better about myself when I do the same. Working for my church and for other not for profits puts a spring in my step.
3. Which of your design services offered today are the most popular with clients? Has this trend changed over the years?
Logo design is always popular. Customers might have something in mind, but they usually want a professional spin on their concept. If you create logos every day, you are bound to get pretty good at it. My goal is to give my customer something that is better than they expected it to be. If a customer is happy with a logo design, they will come back to me for other projects and recommend me to their colleagues and friends.
As you probably guessed, internet and social networking artwork is a larger part of my business than it used to be. Web banners, Facebook banners, Constant Contact art are things that I am happy to create for my customers. Also, clients are regularly asking for PowerPoints that they use as pdf presentations on their tablets. Almost anyone can create a decent looking PowerPoint – but a graphic designer can create custom artwork for each page that wow my customers and their customers.
4. How did you get involved with design, whether it’s designing a logo or retail packaging for a product?
I went to school to learn graphic design. I am well versed in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign. After college, I worked for a graphic design company that had Skil as a customer. They gave me a shot at face panel package design concepts for a power saw. After that I was hooked on package design. That job lead me to Sunbeam and I rose up the ranks there. After being Creative Director at Sunbeam, I was Creative Director for HoMedics and Taylor. For all of those companies, I led the in house graphic design departments creating packaging, ads, logos and anything else these major corporations needed.
5. What role do you think packaging takes for a retail-oriented product manufacturer?
Packaging is key. Whether it is a Cosmetic Packaging Design or food packaging design, good packaging can open doors with retailers. My packaging has gotten a Wal-Mart buyer to say yes to a test of our products. This test lead to our products being placed in Wal-Mart.
When you are meeting with buyers from major retailers they expect to see great packaging. If you don’t have good packaging, your competitors will. Small companies can look larger and more established if their product is packaged well. If you have great packaging you can confidently walk into your retailer meeting because you are ready to knock their socks off.
Also it is common for retailers to want you to change your packaging for their stores. Having the ability to say sure, I can make a change for you while you are in a retailer meeting is an advantage. I have had customers e-mail me their changes while in a meeting, I am often able to make the changes before they leave the meeting and e-mail them back.
6. How did your relationship with Retailbound begin?
I have known Yohan for years. We played tennis together and always talked shop while he was at Sears. We knew a lot of the same people in the industry. He called when one of his customers needed professional looking packaging. Thankfully he continues to call when his clients need a graphic designer.
7. What do you enjoy most about working with Retailbound?
Yohan’s eternal enthusiasm. He knows everyone and anyone that has ever worked with him comes away being better than before. Yohan makes me better because he inspires me to get out there and network. Just because I am good at what I do, doesn’t mean that everyone knows me. I believe Yohan wants the world to hear about Cindy Alton Design.
In addition, Yohan keeps my busy. The nicest thing Yohan has ever done is refer me a second time. To me he is saying, I trusted you with one of my valued customers and you did a great job – so I will trust you again. I am thrilled that Yohan still trusts me to this day.
8. We would love to be able to show a sample of one of your favorite designs on our blog! Could you provide us with one?
There are lots of samples at: www.cindyaltondesign.com, but here I have the one I did for SimplyGlobo, who I know you did an interview with earlier this summer!
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