It’s 4/20 tomorrow. The first 4/20 since Colorado legalized the Herb. Celebrate with one of my flavorful stickers!
I sometimes post snippets of projects I’m working on, so people can see what I’m up to and give me feedback (nothing complete is posted until the project is released into the wild, of course). Mostly these are conceptual ideas, and things I’m doing for myself. have a look and let me know what you think!
25 ways a print job can get f*cked up
I’ve compiled a semi-serious list* that illustrates what a miracle it is that any print project gets printed correctly, ever. Even though printing technology has been around for hundreds of years, each year it gets more complex, with more potential variables, and each variable introduces a potential breaking point. So when a client gets a job from the printer, and calls to tell me how great it looks, I say a little silent thank you to the ghosts of Gutenberg, Lord Stanhope, and Barclay.
25 ways a print job can get f*cked up:
- The designer submits the wrong version of the file.
- The designer forgets to separate spot colors to process on a CMYK job.
- The designer mistakenly uses process colors on a spot job.
- Prepress uses spot color assignments in the layout file as process separations.
- The client approves a layout with errors/wrong images/misspellings/etc.etc.etc.
- The printer orders the wrong weight/finish/color paper.
- The paper mill no longer makes the paper you specified and forgot to tell the paper rep.
- Prepress overrides your trapping, resulting in on-press chaos.
- Prepress fails to override your trapping, resulting in on-press chaos.
- Your dot-on-dot varnish was overridden by the RIP, and now the varnish dot is 15 degrees off from the ink dot.
- Prepress used their in-house Helvetica instead of the modded Helvetica you sent with the job file.
- The pressman hangs the magenta plate on the cyan unit.
- The printer’s devil dents a plate prior to hanging and doesn’t tell anyone.
- The printer’s devil mixes your spot ink with a quarter unit of extra white. And doesn’t tell anyone.
- The designer forgets to set their alarm for the 3am press check.
- The printer’s rep forgets to call the designer to remind them about the 3am press check.
- Someone from the client’s office other than the person who signed off on the proof attends the press check and finds something objectionable.
- The press form accidentally prints top to bottom instead of top to top.
- Bindery perfect-binds your saddle-stitched job.
- Bindery slips their trimmer alignment by a sixteenth of an inch on one side, resulting in a parallelogram rather than a rectangle.
- Bindery trims and stitches your job on the wrong side.
- The delivery truck runs out of gas.
- The job is delivered to the wrong address.
- The job is shipped to a different client. In another state.
- The printer went bankrupt in the middle of your project.
*Not that I’ve done any of these things, or that they’ve ever happened to me. For the record, all my pressmen are saints and my print reps are the angels that flutter by their side.
Working in design is more than a job. As designers we get to be explorers or psychologists and it’s amazing!
I know that he’s too nice a guy to do this, but sometimes I wish that whenever someone set a line of type in bold and italics at the same time, Robert Bringhurst would put on a mask and cape and beat the hell out of them with a bag of oranges.
Great day yesterday: Had a great meeting with a client in The Desk’s conference room, followed by a drive to beautiful Boulder for a press check at D&K Printing, and a view of the Flatirons at lunch. And Nick from Studio Shed put the finishing touches on our new studio—just the stairway’s left to do before we move in!
The consistent thread throughout the day was that we were collaborating with people who knew their stuff, were passionate about it, and were willing to share their knowledge and experience. It’s nice to have partners in our design practice—as consultants, as clients, and as vendors—who understand the value of open communication, trust, and honesty. Thanks, guys!
Printers love to make sure they are doing their best for the planet, but I have yet to meet one that has told me FSC Certification was more fun than a box full of hammers dropped on their head. Check out this satirical look at it all from Sappi-Warren.