A project manager’s handy 6-point checklist to streamline the process
Anyone who has worked on a custom bezel design project would tell you this: if they’d known then what they know now, a little advance planning could have streamlined the process.
As a project manager I oversee customers’ new server bezel projects, and it’s my job to help keep them on schedule. So I know a thing or two about the obstacles that can derail the workflow. That’s why I created this 6-point checklist to streamline the process for you.
Armed with certain information and answers to a few questions, you can jump start your bezel design project (and any other cool server branding you’re interested in) and knock your new year’s branding resolution out of the park.
To prepare for that ever-important first branding call, here’s what you can do ahead of time to stay the course, plus a final tip to fast-track your new branding project.
#1 Engage with your marketing team right from the start. Marketing are the stalwarts who enforce logo and product identity rules. They are the keepers of brand guidelines that we need to adhere to. Give us the guidelines and also ask Marketing if any brand updates are planned for 2017. You don’t want an obsolete design sending your new bezels to the recycler.
#2 What are the non-negotiable features your bezel must accommodate? Does it need:
- Server access to swap out drives? We will design either a drop down or pop off style.
- Buttons for power or indicators? We will design cut outs for LCD buttons.
- Access control? We will design it to be removable but with a locking mechanism.
- Access prohibited? We’ll create a tamper-proof bezel along with port blockers.
#3 What other variables need to be accommodated? For example, if you have multiple product SKU will a model badge be enough differentiation or does each SKU need it’s own unique bezel design?
#4 Find design ideas to inspire you. Inspiration can start with the interactive MBX Brand Builder. Here, you can play with different styles and create many permutations of colors, venting and other finishing touches. Not only does this give our designers a starting point, but these are templates we’ve already created, which has two major advantages: as a base design they are more economical than completely custom, and the design timeline is compressed because we’re not designing from scratch. From your inspiration we will create a custom look that adheres to your brand standards.
#5 Understand the potential bottlenecks that can affect the timeline. Making decisions upfront allows things to be built into the workflow and, conversely, decisions made on the fly add time to the project. For example, a one-of-a-kind venting pattern or unusual backlighting takes time to develop and thermal test, and planning for it can allow disparate steps to happen concurrently. Also, deciding upfront if you want MBX to shoot professional photographs of your new platforms for marketing enables us make sure the chassis are on hand to affix the bezel to.
#6 Know what options are sleek but drive up the bezel cost, then decide if it’s worth the investment. For example, Pantone colors are ink colors, not a paint colors, and it may take a few trials and errors to get a match for your logo; if you select a standard shade in a color of your choice rather than an exact Pantone match, you’ll save time and money. The same can be said for texture. Glossy paint shows every little impurity in the metal, while textured paint is more forgiving and hides minor flaws. Choose textured paint and QC standards are easier to meet.Final Tips: If you’ve read this far, you’re probably wondering how to turn the odds in your favor for a best case scenario: a bezel design project that gets the biggest bang for your buck and compresses the timeline.
Final Tips: If you’ve read this far, you’re probably wondering how to turn the odds in your favor for a best case scenario: a bezel design project that gets the biggest bang for your buck and compresses the timeline.
- Start with one of the more standard chassis form factors for your platform. No special mechanicals or fit testing will be required, and we likely stock these for photo shoots.
- Choose a one-piece bezel in a standard color from the MBX Design website. The venting won’t need thermal testing and matching paint color won’t be an issue.
- Graphics on the bezel such as logos and brands should be applied via silkscreen with model badges to identify different SKUs. It’s quicker to print, color match, and produce silkscreen with consistent quality – and still give you a custom look for major rack appeal.
I’m ready when you are for your bezel refresh project!