What JV Host Stands For
We Do This On Purpose
At JV Host, we do more than stack pixels and throw around colour, we help owners grow their business by creating a deliberate and intentional visual identity based on an assessment of the business and where it wants to go, it’s customers and its culture, etc. Only after the analysis and strategizing does something creative emerge. Any creative piece of quality, be it a logo, business cards, rack cards or a website is like an iceberg. The part you see: the colors, fonts and shapes are just the tip. The bulk of the iceberg is assessment, strategy, market research, font studies, sketches, contemplation and sometimes an incalculable amount of tea and other caffeinated beverages, outbursts of curse words over misbehaving fonts or code (mostly code) and designers and programmers questioning their career choice. The logic and thought process behind the scenes are never seen. Any person can create a logo or a website in the same way any person can drive a car by getting in the driver’s seat and slamming the pedal to the floor. The difference is that we take the time to understand the business, its future, its past, its challenges and most importantly, its customers and its message. Only by understanding all of this, can you create something that will be truly effective and meaningful for customers.
Client Success Comes First
Our success comes only after the success of our clients. Businesses hire us because they take themselves seriously and they have plans and goals to succeed and grow their business. We are honoured to be a part of that process; to provide those valuable tools that will play a role in achieving those goals. Businesses invest in themselves through us, and we take this trust very seriously. We’re not here to build our portfolio, we’re here to help business owners take their business to the next level.
It’s Not About Popularity…
We always try to do what is in the best interest of our customers and sometimes this means our philosophies stray from the norm. The debate over the ownership of creative work and output files is one of these philosophies and it has strong arguments on both sides. This is becoming a real hot topic in the creative industry—whether ownership resides with the firm who created it or the businesses who requested and paid for the work. Many firms, large and small, retain the rights to creative work done on behalf of a business, effectively chaining businesses to that particular firm for the life of that brand. While we understand the logic behind it, this is not a philosophy we practice, which will probably make us very unpopular with other firms as we grow. For work that is commissioned by a client, we bill for time and materials. The output of that work is the clients to do whichever they please. Can they take those business cards elsewhere to have them printed for their next run? Can a business hire somebody else to do their website maintenance? Absolutely. Do we want them to? Of course not. However, we believe that by taking away that freedom of choice and forcing customers to return to us, it could cause friction between non-complimentary ideals. That’s not good for the client, and that’s not good for us. We believe our policy on this ensures quality work for a fair price, and we rely on our customer service and quality of work to draw our clients back again and again.
We want our clients and potential clients to have a good understanding of what it is we’re proposing to them. Sometimes this involves giving them a crash course on something to give them the context they need to see that value. For example, everybody has their perception of how a website should work, and sometimes this conflicts with how a website might work in reality for their business. If a business orders a website and they’re expecting a Facebook-like functionality because they just assume this is what a “website” has, you can see how there may be disappointment at the end if that functionality isn’t there. We have to ferret out these expectations, which can be tricky, because frequently these aren’t conscious thoughts but foregone conclusions ingrained from what they’ve seen on other sites. We want customers to be overjoyed at the end, so managing those expectations is key, and involves the sharing of knowledge (and a well-defined document of scope.)
Not Just Our Clients
While we love clients and see the value in educating them, it’s not just about the clients. We believe in general education for all and we publish articles on the JV Host website for the benefit of all consumers seeking creative solutions for their businesses or organizations. Some of the articles teach people how to fish so to speak, so website owners can become more self-reliant and not be forced to hire talent for every little task. Some articles provide a basic foundation of knowledge so when people interview designers/firms for their project, be it in the Comox Valley, Vancouver, Phoenix or Hong Kong, they have some basic understanding and a few questions that will yield real answers they can use to make a more informed decision. While we think our articles are great, so does Small Business BC as they’ve published four of our articles. We are so honoured to have had articles published with such an organization.
The Greater Good
Like any industry, there are well-intentioned people who try but just can’t deliver on their promises, as well as businesses who take advantage confused, uneducated clients. At JV Host, we are particularly sensitive to this as in our industry, there is no regulatory body to confirm competency or monitor stands. Any person can buy software and call themselves a graphic designer or a web developer. We feel it’s our duty and the duty of all professional creative businesses to provide a certain amount education to arm people with knowledge, so they can identify who a reputable business and avoid the pitfalls of the well-intentioned but incompetent and the flat out, not-so-well-intentioned. By giving business owners the tools to protect themselves, we are also contributing to the refinement of our industry.