As inventors we need to understand there is a huge demand for the graphical communication of the ideas and concepts we are presenting to the world – a world who may not share our ability to visualize those ideas in their mind.
When it comes to product graphics, just because it’s available doesn’t mean we need them or that when we do, they are telling the right story.
So what’s an inventor to do? Educate yourself on where you are in the inventing process and then figure out what the graphic needs are for that particular place on your journey. Don’t just run off and get graphics because they make you feel good, or because they are cool looking. Make sure they’re what you need. For the vast majority of inventors graphic needs will fall into two main groups of need. Licensing and manufacturing.
All I really want to do is license my invention to a manufacturer, what kind of graphics will I need?
You need a Manufacturer’s Sell Sheet. This simple one sided 8X10 sheet contains a basic illustration of your idea along with some benefit claims and contact information. This form of sell sheet isn’t fancy. It can be printed on your home computer and the illustration can be anything from a simple sketch to a full color rendering, or in some cases even a photograph of your prototype. I recommend you have a template for your sell sheet created by a professional graphics person and then simply cut and paste for each of your inventions.
I want to build a company around my idea and present it to retailer. What are the different types of graphics I’ll need in that process?
Product Illustrations: Early in the process you can use these renderings of your idea in its final form to find investors, or to see how the final product will look, but make sure if you invest in these drawings that they show enough detail to be able to explain the manufacturing processes to a factory.
Glamour Shots: Once your product is retail ready you will need good product photography. We call these glamour shots and use them in the retail sell sheet. It’s a good idea to have a graphics person “place” your image graphically into a retail setting to give the buyer an idea of how it would look in thier store.
Identity Graphics: In communicating with a retailer it’s very important to look professional. Take some time to build an identity for your new company that includes a nice logo, a basic website, and even a professional sounding name.
Retailer Sell Sheets: Nothing like the sell sheet used to present an idea to a manufacturer. A retail product sell sheet is traditionally 8.5×11 inches, double sided, glossy. It includes the “Glam Shot” showing your product on the front page. The “Use Shot” showing your product in a store environment on the back page, and of course product information such as display, sizes, and variations.
Product Price Sheets: Most inventors think you put your pricing on the sell sheet, but you don’t. You see prices change and printing high quality sell sheets is expensive. For that reason we use seperate pricing sheets that can be printed on an office printer. They include information such as – the number of units in a case, the number of cases on a pallet, the UPC code, and of course the unit, case, and pallet pricing.
Product Order Form: You want the retailer to place an order, so you have to give them a way to place the order. This form includes the contact information for both the retailer and the fulfillment company. It also included the payment terms, references, and order volume. You should understand that in 2015 paper order forms are used primarily by small retailers. Most larger retailers use an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) system to place orders. However, you don’t want to lose a sale, so have a good old fashioned paper order form ready for the smaller companies.
As with most things in this business there are always more than one way to do things – but when it comes to graphics don’t scrimp. Use a professional who knows what they are doing and make sure you do your homework so you can guide them on the proper information needed to make sure the entire story gets told – not just the pretty pictures.