Thursday, October 30, 2014

Taking personalised balloons to a whole new level.

Owning a machine that can cut vinyl and other materials has transformed the way that I think and work, because now everything is possible!

About a year ago I was contacted by a customer who had been referred to me by another balloon company. Their request was for something that was not available or achievable within the given time frame, and even then I am not sure that it would have been possible, so I had to choose, do I tell the customer that their request is not possible or do I tell the customer that although we cannot provide exactly what they were requesting we can certainly make something that I believe would work well!

The client had a deadline, it was less than a week away and therefore they were happy to listen to my ideas and suggestions.

I started out by creating an 'artists impression' of my idea. I like to do this as it means that I can quickly make a graphic of a design on my computer to show the customer what my idea's are without spending time making up a design that they could easily reject.

I don't use any fancy program to do this I simply use a basic draw facility in word or pages depending on whether you use a PC or a MAC, although I have recently purchased Deco Builder which is a very comprehensive design package specifically for the balloon industry, that allows me to create even more sophisticated designs to share with my clients, but I still use my basic version too especially when I am playing around with ideas and colours!

Here is a short clip that I have made that will show you some very basic designing skills simply working with shapes! There are many different programs that you can use, I find that for simple designs like columns this works very well.

Below is the 'artist impression' that I made and sent to my customer, as you can see if you recognise the shapes on the ribbon, my customer was working on behalf of King the owners of Candy Crush Saga looking for 'Candy Crush' balloons! 

Once I had the approval and payment from the client, I then invested in the one piece of equipment that I knew would allow me to create this balloon and that was a Silhouette Cameo.

the Very Best Balloon Blog
Candy Crush Saga 1 Year Anniversary - Design Idea by Sue Bowler CBA

I chose the Silhouette Cameo as it had be recommended to me by some 'ballooning' friends and after several very long conversations with the company that supplied it to me, I knew that it would be perfect for the job!
the Very Best Balloon Blog
Silhouette Cameo
I had two jobs to complete for my order using my 'Cameo', the first was to create the unique hand-made Candy Crush Ribbon using the 'Candy Crush' images supplied to me by my client and then I had to personalise each balloon using the Candy Crush font that I found by doing a little research on Google... what would we do without 'Google'!

*Fonts are protected by copyright laws make sure that you can legally use your chosen font for your personalisation.

The Very Best Balloon Blog
Candy Crush Bubble Balloons designed by Sue Bowler CBA

Making these bespoke balloons was extremely satisfying albeit a huge learning curve in a very short time plus the client was delighted!
The Very Best Balloon Blog
Bespoke Candy Crush Bubble Balloons created by Sue Bowler CBA

I don't know if you have picked up on some of the words that I have used to describe the balloons, such as 'bespoke' and 'hand-made', using descriptive and creative words when 'selling' our ideas to a client is very important as it will help to emphasis to the client that you are making something really very special to meet their needs.

Only a matter of a few weeks later I had the opportunity to use my Cameo again, this time to personalise 75 centrepieces for a Christmas party that I was decorating for a corporate client, now my machine had paid for it's self at least 3 times over in just 2 jobs and without this machine I would not have even thought to offer the personalisation!

My Cameo's next outing was for the Spring Fair earlier this year when I personalised some of the balloons that I put in my displays on the Qualatex stand, these proved to be very popular!

These lovely 9" Qualatex Microfoil Hearts have been attached to Premium Balloon Accessories Candy Bouquet Weight that I filled with candy/sweets, these make the perfect 'treat' for the party guests to take home! 

Candy Bouquet Weight by Premium Balloon Accessories

I also use my cutter to make facial features for some of my designs, once again this makes my designs look so much more professional. The eye's on the little girl and the heart on her dress are cut from vinyl. 

The Very Best Balloon Blog
Little girl design by Sue Bowler CBA

To keep this Hello Kitty sculpture as accurate as possible it was important to get the facial features correct, so creating the shapes and then cutting them out was perfect!

*Remember that to re-create licensed designs requires permission from the license holder otherwise you can in breach of copyright laws. Hello Kitty below had been given permission to be re-created out of latex balloons for a display at Spring Fair.

The Very Best Balloon Blog
Hello Kitty by Sue Bowler CBA

I know that I can achieve so much more with my Cameo and if I had a shop or store I would be selling personalised balloons on a daily basis!

Here are a few more idea's for personalising Qualatex balloons, we can add names, special dates and even messages to Microfoil® and Bubble Balloons... anything is possible!

Qualatex Celebrate Bubbly Wine Bottle with a personalisation idea!

Qualatex Welcome Baby Bottle with a personalisation idea.

There are other cutters available such as the Cricut, and there are even more sophisticated machines that can print on vinyl too, which would be great for making detailed company logo's, but of course these machine are a bigger investment.

Both Silhouette Cameo and Cricut have Facebook Business Pages which you might want to visit to find out more about each of these machines plus there are other Facebook Groups such as Silhouette for Beginners where members offer help and support to each other. I also did a Google search and found that there are quite a few Silhouette Cameo V's Cricut discussions on various sites, these are worth looking at too!

Here's one more picture of a personalised balloon that I made...

'With Love' from Sue

There are many different ways that we can add value to our work, beautiful ribbons, gift wrapping and personalisation to name just a few. To grow our business's we need to look at different ways stand out against our competition and make our balloon business the very best!

Final note, I have already mentioned in my blog about copyright laws when re-creating characters and fonts. This is a pretty hot topic and there are many companies and individuals from other industries that are being sued for selling products such as themed cakes and hand-made items using well known characters. So if you are in doubt I would strong recommend that you avoid making anything that could be considered copyright infringement.

Happy Ballooning!


Unknown said...

What material are the letters on the balloon?

Anonymous said...

Hi Sue . Want to use use it on deco bubbles but im afraid it might weigh them down ? have you come across such an issue?

Unknown said...

Hi! Can you tell me please where can I buy that bubbles balloons

Unknown said...

How can I customized the words? What printing u using?

Unknown said...

Thank you for the post! Does the Silhouette Cameo cut personal logos that you have as a JPEG or does this require a more advanced machine? I was hoping I could upload a logo and it would be cut? Many thanks!

Buy Personalised Helium Balloons said...

I am planning to buy personalized balloons and came across your article during online search. It was enlightening to read how you design such attractive and innovative balloons.