On a recent trip to Chicago for the Fp3 Conference (more on that in my next post), I stopped in the Bass Pro Shop for some “product research”. My wife might argue the point, though I really did want to see our Trevista decoration on the new Mercury engines. (See a nice video of the launch earlier this year at the Miami Boat Show). Peter, a helpful BPS associate, walked me around. He raved about the performance of the new Mercury 4 Stroke and it looked beautiful in the showroom. I caught his attention when I reflexively started picking at the graphic. Insider tip – it's an easy way to spot a graphics geek.

Peter's a fishing nut. Like most people passionate about hobbies, he cares what the product looks like. Actually it applies to most everything we buy. If it didn't, we would all be driving around in black cars. Peter admired the decoration and confessed he knew a thing or two about engineering. But he had never given much thought as to how it was made. Which puts him in the 99.99% of the population.

It's natural. How many of us walk into an Apple Store and inquire about how the outside case of an iPhone was molded? We make a value selection based on price, functionality and our "connection" to it. We want it to work, to last, and look nice. Some might give a passing thought to the awesome technology that went into making it, but it matters little to the purchase decision. 

Our clients want the same thing. Certainly there's interest in how our graphics are made. They want assurances our process consistently produces what we say it does. Some have knowledge about our little world, though most understandably don't. After a walk through our production facility we often hear, "I had no idea it was this complicated". When we ask what they envisioned, a common response is, "I thought it popped out of something like a copy machine!"

It's the beauty of manufacturing- taking complex parts, applying knowledge and creativity, and turning it into something functional, simple and elegant for the customer. 

Next time you throw some popcorn in the microwave, take a look at the front panel. There are thousands of people out there dreaming up ways to make it easier and better. But don't pick at it, lest you'll be confused as one of them. Graphic geeks, unite!