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Meet Jan Miller of 21-13 Impact Graphics in Orange County

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jan Miller.

Jan, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I have been an artist since I can remember growing up in Downey, CA. In high school, I was very active in art but almost failed my computer class. After high school, I spent several years in retail management and mostly for the Music Industry.

In 1996, I decided to go back to school as I was making no money and working ungodly hours. So, I went to a tech school which was more like 4 years of college crammed into 2 years. Sleep was non-existent as I worked full time as well as college. I was recruited before I even graduated from a company in Lake Forest, CA. I got my feet wet in design there but in 2000 I found a company in Burbank that was doing DVD Animation and programming so I went to work for them. Got to work with and meet interesting people like Anthony Michael Hall and others. And got to work on great projects like Unlocking the Da Vinci Code, The Puppet Master Series and more.

After about 5 years there I decided it was time to go out on my own and most of my clients at the time were in the entertainment industry doing DVD wraps, movie posters, key art etc. for a lot of independent film companies. I worked on projects like The World Magic Awards and The Hollywood Christmas Parade. So, I formed 2113 Graphics but I wanted it to be 21 13 and the way it was being read was 2113. So, in 2010 I made the change to our new name 21-13 Impact Graphics.

When the crash happened in 2007 – 2008 the industry dried up in the independent film markets so I wound up switching over to more branding and identity for companies. Now my business is about 30% entertainment and the rest is small to midsize businesses handling their branding and marketing needs.

That brings us to this year. In 2018. I incorporated the business and expanded services into Printing, Web, and Marketing. The last year has been a huge jump for my company going forward. in 2017 we won 3 design awards did a Magazine interview and were on a couple podcast about marketing and design.

Has it been a smooth road?
(Laughing) No. Not at all. In the design world, it’s always feast or famine so it’s always a roller coaster. The major struggle is always trying to pull in new business. There are a million apps and programs and software that all promise they will bring millions to your doorstep. Your friends and family are always telling you about the best apps ever that changed their lives. And then when you network, like me, you run into so many financial people and SEO and IT people that tell you everything you have been doing is wrong and their way is the right way.

Well, I’m here to tell you that there is no right or wrong way. It’s finding where you are in the world and what works best for you and your company. You may try out things that don’t work and you may try the thing that do. But don’t be afraid to fail. How else do you achieve or get to where you want or need to be. There have been weeks I was sick to my stomach and not sleeping wondering how am I going to keep this going? What do I do next? Then I get up each day and I figure it out. Good or bad you work through it.

Without the struggles, there are no achievements so ask yourself from time to time, “What are you going to do”.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the 21-13 Impact Graphics, Inc. story. Tell us more about the business.
21-13 Impact Graphics, Inc. was founded back in 2005 with the belief that a lower budget should not mean poor or less quality when it comes to your branding and marketing. No matter what the project or budget, the designs should be as high-end and professional as possible. My company is committed to providing value to our customers, with high-quality, professional Graphics Designs, Printing, Web Design and Development, Unique Promotional Products and Marketing Services at cost-effective pricing.

My specialty, I would have to say is in the re-designing of previously branded projects and marketing materials for companies. We give them a new look or Identity or just upgraded marketing materials and it gives these companies a new life and can energies their sales force. It can also drive traffic to their websites. It literally can give lifeblood to a company.

I am most proud of where I am and where I am going with 21-13 Impact Graphics, Inc.

It’s been a long road and I learned somethings along the way and through the struggles, I am still here and growing the company to offer more and more services to our clients.

Who knows maybe one day we can rival some of LA’s top design firms. That would be the dream. So that’s where I am heading.

What sets me apart from others is that we really listen to our clients. After meeting with them and asking some specific questions it helps me form ideas of what the client isn’t just asking for but what it is that maybe they need. I first research a client’s competition to see what they are doing and what’s out in their marketplace so I can get my clients something to make them stand out in their fields.

Next, I start sketching out ideas on paper and can come up with 10 to 20 to who knows how many concepts, then I scan them all in and send them off to the clients. After feedback on what works and what doesn’t then I go to the computer mockups. When I am done, clients are more than happy with what I have come up with for them. But it’s this process that seems like a lost art that really sets me apart and my clients will tell you it’s because I listened to them.

Where do you see your industry going over the next 5-10 years?  Any big shifts, changes, trends, etc?
Trends Change Year to year and old designs become new again. I think a future push with Video Marketing will be the new norm going forward as Facebook and some older social programs start to be overtaken by new ones. In the entertainment filed I predict the death of DVD in the next 5 years as far as a buying trend.

It will all become online as well as music CDs. Almost surprised CD is still around. I think Marketing will continue to change as retail dies out and more and more of our world becomes online. There will be work for designers but think the print industry parts are dying out.

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