Cyber Corner

Computer Programs

By Libby Kyer

Originally appeared in The Botanical Artist – Volume 17, Issue 3

 

How about a little update on computer programs that help your business of art? What is really important when promoting your artworks? To most gallery owners the important things are for you to be professional, knowledgeable, organized, talented and that they like you well enough to do business with you. To most clients, the important things are that you produce quality art and they like you! To most artists, the most important thing after satisfying one’s muse is to please clients and galleries. Good planning and good business systems will smooth the path so that the “they like you” part becomes a lot more probable. 

I find I need 3 things to keep my business life in line; first, a great 5-year plan, then a great inventory system to locate my artworks and galleries and clients easily, and finally programs to produce the usual business forms – use specific portfolios, invoices, inventory sheets, graphic design production and print support, and image management. So recently, I spent an afternoon looking at the basic computer programs that might help, using Google search.  

Looking for help with developing a business plan, I entered “business plan template + art.” I selected this site: www.artindustrylaw.com/content/artilaw-business-planguide-artists. Basically a PowerPoint presentation with great ideas on setting up your business plan, this is a very detailed guide. You may not do everything it says exactly as it says, but it’s got great bones to hang your thoughts on. It’s free. 

Looking for help with managing my art inventory and sales, I entered “art inventory software.” From the listing, I selected two programs to look at. First, www.my-artcollection.com/ took me to My Art Collection. This seems like a comprehensive data base program, suitable for Mac or PC, allowing good visual representations of your artwork, methods for managing artwork with galleries and clients, able to search on a variety of parameters. Learning curve is acceptable, although I did not see the support documents. Price is $199. 

So, I selected a second site that looked promising, www.xanadugallery.com/arttracker, to take a look at their program, ArtTracker. This program was designed for artists. People who would rather be painting, or traveling to paint, or delivering paintings. People who would not like to spend time learning a new program. To that end, there is no instruction manual! It loads and runs with virtually computer-idiot proof certainty. Suitable for Mac or PC, it is easy to navigate, easy to use, good visual images of your artwork, has search capabilities, invoice capabilities, mail label capabilities. It is the closest to a stone-axe simple feeling, with modern data base management skills program, that I found. It’s $45. 

On to business print needs. I entered “creating business cards” in Google, and went to this site first for background: www.entrepreneur.com/marketing/marketingbasics/marketingmaterials/article71900. This is a nice little discussion about what a business card should do for you, what it should contain, and some card styles to consider. I found more services than I can recount that can create business cards for you, or allow you to upload your own designs for printing. To print, I like VistaPrint at vistaprint.com. I’ve used them for a number of years now, and get what I want with very little hassle. However, there are many choices.  

For letterheads, reports, business cards or brochures on your computer, Word for Windows will do all these things, with a little thoughtful manipulation and your design sense. Go to  support.microsoft.com/kb/170130 for the word on Word and business card design. There’s more where that came from, so search on “Word + brochure” or “Word + letterhead” etc. to get more insider clues.  

Find the programs that fit your business, and pleasing your galleries, your clients, and yourself gets a lot easier, more organized, and more assured.