On January 5th, 2024 CraneDigital turned 29 years old. Holy smokes Batman… time flies. The fact we’re still around doing the same thing that long is a pretty good indicator that we enjoy what we do, and that we’re doing something right. And for the record, elsewhere through out the web site I’ve rounded up to 30, just because.
The market place can be a great crucible. One metric might be longevity; how long a company is able to maintain the proper balance between serving their clients well and staying in business. Adjusting and changing with market trends to remain relevant can be tricky. On the one hand, ‘trending’ can be important. On the other, ‘trendy’ is, well… no one wants to be trendy.
Trying to stay ahead of the curve just a little by investing time and energy in the right places while remaining true to the foundational principles that have shaped success over 28 years – without becoming stodgy or irrelevant.
Another important aspect of creative work is style. Maintaining a consistent style is important from a client perspective. Clients want to know what they’ll get when they hire you. If your style is consistent across projects – and years of creating those projects – it’s pretty easy to understand what to expect when you’re working on their project. We leave the space ships, monsters and video game characters to the other guys, and focus on creating clean, perfect digital twins of real life objects. But we also like to have a little fun and brush up on new techniques to create more custom, stylized work.
Sometimes a project calls for a photo-realistic approach to product rendering. Using the same lighting and photographic principles as traditional product photography, virtual product photography uses 3D rendering to show a product from any angle. This can be a critically important approach to the marketing director to communicate finer points of their products.
Other times a more creative approach allows a artistic interpretation to set the right tone. Color palettes are expanded from specific corporate guidelines allowing a completely different feel to the message.
Style evolves as an artist evolves. New tools and techniques open the door to new ways of creating, providing growth for the artist. Getting locked into a particular style and never deviating just to maintain some sense of consistency can be a frustrating experience for creatives. I once heard an art director say, “consistency is the hob-goblin of small minds.” Offering a select breadth of styles for different projects can be a good solution – both for the client seeking creative input or strict photorealism – and the artist.
Another metric measuring success might be repeat business. Once a client has decided to put their trust in you, will they do it again? How is your repeat business? It’s always easier (for both client and vendor) to continue successful working relationships than to fire up a new relationship from scratch. There are a lot of unknowns, and we totally get that at CraneDigital. That’s why when someone says ‘yes,’ we move heaven and earth to make sure at the end of the project they’re glad they did. When your name is on the door, that’s just what you do.
And finally, because companies tend to come and go, and individuals within organizations come and go, or – move around to different employment situations – it’s sometimes hard to know who will be around in a year, or two or three when you have a follow up project. We’ve occasionally won new business because the shop that created a previous project is no longer in business and our clients don’t know where to turn.
Today, in January of 2024, things are going strong and we’re enjoying our 29th year in this business of creating custom, technically-detailed, creative, specific imaging content for our clients more than ever. Software has become more powerful and efficient. Computers are insanely fast, especially compared to the state of computing when we began in 1995. This makes it even more fun to create and allows more flexibility because it’s faster to visualize, faster to iterate and the end product is that much better because of it.
This is also a thank you to our excellent clients over the years. Without you there is no CraneDigital. To say we’re grateful for your business feels woefully inadequate. But we are, so thank you, sincerely, for the privilege of serving you over these 29 years. We’re still here and can’t wait to work with you again in 2024.
Sincerely, John B. Crane
Founder, CraneDigital LLC