Today everyone can be a designer. No longer do you need to go to design school and purchase expensive equipment. Today you can purchase software for your personal computer. Whether using Word, PageMaker, InDesign, Publisher or one of the other software options, everyone can design their own forms or brochures.
I reviewed one of these brochures the other day, and the design principles I learned from Rochester Institute of Technology [RIT] School of Printing came to mind. Design should be prepared in a way that allows readers to receive the message of the author or the purpose of the advertisement. The design should create an atmosphere that enhances the message, not distract the reader nor should it dominate the message.
There are many ways to distract the reader from the message. Images are used many times in a design, for good reason. We all have read the quote by Napoleon Bonaparte “A picture is worth a thousand words“. When images are sized, however, some designers distort their images to make them fit the design. I believe this shouldn’t be done, for example, if an image is the correct height but not the width. When a designer elongates the image to fit the space, people in the image will look short and exceptionally fat. This distortion will distract the reader from the author’s message. Whether reading a book or sales flyer the design/images are to support the author’s message not distract from it.
If you purchase energy this is a good article to read. The following are good quotes from the article, “Don’t accept being treated as a standard customer if you are not.” “get them to adapt”.
Demand more from energy contracts and suppliers, buyers urged | Official CIPS Magazine – Supply Management.
Color is everywhere we look today. Whether you are watching television, on your computer, you are outside, or reading printing, color is everywhere. Those in the printing industry know the importance of good color reproduction and the obstacles or limitations faced in that reproduction and the viewing of that reproduction.
“Color or colour (see spelling differences) is the visual perceptual property corresponding in humans to the categories called red, blue, yellow, green and others. Color derives from the spectrum of light (distribution of light power versus wavelength) interacting in the eye with the spectral sensitivities of the light receptors. Color categories and physical specifications of color are also associated with objects, materials, light sources, etc., based on their physical properties such as light absorption, reflection, or emission spectra. By defining a color space, colors can be identified numerically by their coordinates.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color
Some of the obstacles or limitations faced in color reproduction or viewing are:
– Physical limitations
- Color Blindness
- Stray light
- Light reflections
- Ambient Light
- Fluctuation in room Lighting
- Color temperature
– Equipment or process capabilities
- LED, LCD
- Color temperature
- Lithography, digital printers, etc.
If there are color issues, hopefully the physical limitations of those reviewing color have been tested and reviewed. The following web links illustrate what color-challenged individuals see.
Have you taken a color test? Try one or all of the following tests to see if there are any challenges you have seeing color.
The Ishihara Color Test for Color Blindness
FM100 Hue Test by X-Rite [Farnsworth Munsell]
Color Arrangement Test
The Daltonien Test
Have you ever been on a trip and got lost? If you have, maybe it’s because there was no trip ticket, map or Garmin showing which roads and exits to take. With a printing project there also must be directions to layout, print, and finish the printing project. This direction is provided via the job layout [map]. For every printed component included in the Job Bag there is a layout for each component. Each layout can have one or multiple components.
Layouts have many components. The following are several main or key components:
- Substrate size
- Side guide
- Reverse images
- Take-off bars
- Grain direction
- How the sheet is backed up
- Form number[s]
- Head direction
- Items keyed to job bag listing
- Job number
The information provided on the layout should provide production workers with all the necessary information to produce each component of the customer’s project successfully. Calls or questions concerning a form are usually the result of incomplete or inaccurate instructions.
Within the last year, I was in a print shop and they had printed a poster. I didn’t review the layout. However, it was clearly apparent that there was no layout for the project. How can pre-press accept a project without a layout? Without a layout how will the Mac operator know if the image files provide adequate image for bleeds? How will imposition know where and in what direction to place the images in the plate file, or If there are images missing or where to place the crop marks? How will quality assurance verify a press rule-up if there is no layout? The odds are there is no quality assurance in this print shop, or knowledgeable print professionals!
If the layout isn’t complete it is up to the pre-press manager to stop the job or be provided a correct layout. If the pre-press manager is allowing incorrect or incomplete layouts to enter into production, corrective action should be taken. The old adage is true, “you can pay me now or pay me later” [YouTube video Link http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=aq3wL8ZXjBU] and later is always more expensive.
Print buyers, when touring a printing company, should look for a project’s corresponding layout. If you have a project being worked on, ask to see a job bag, and then review it for completeness and accuracy of information. As a print buyer, if at all possible, provide all the information concerning the project when the print order is placed with the print sales representative. During my years in printing, one of the best ways to minimize cost was to insure the layout answered all questions which will minimize added work or extra steps for production.
Have you been somewhere and the print shop was neat but something was missing? I have. I need to take you back to a previous visit of that print shop. During this visit the shop floor was a mess and un-kept. Rags were lying around instead of put away neatly. The folder was used as a shelf instead of folding printing. A glue brush, still with glue, lay on a bunched up rag on a table. A mobile rack had rags in numerous areas, as well as an inked plate, and a kinked plate lying on another shelf.
Would you give printing to a print shop like that? You would be probably thinking, “will they be able to produce my job correctly, or will it be a mess like their shop?” I mentioned to key individuals associated with the print shop, how messy the shop floor was, along with other matters of concern. Fast forward in time to a meeting which a senior manager, from the messy shop, and I attended. We talked for a few minutes and the shops appearance came up in the discussion. The senior manager enthusiastically mentioned how the shop had been transformed and offered a tour.
I took the manager’s offer to tour the print shop. During the tour I could see that the shop looked much neater, however it was more of a white wash. A white wash per TheFreeDictionary is:” Concealment or palliation of flaws or failures.” The following are the reasons for my statement:
o No list of materials
o No location identifiers such as isles, shelving etc.
2. Press Room
o Crinkled plate was lying on a shelf
o Stacks of a previously completed job not thrown out
o Used ink knife was lying around, un-cleaned
o Rags were laying around
Do you believe I am being too harsh? Please tell me what your opinion is. Would you send your work there? Hopefully the manager has taken my comments and is the process of improving their facility. I look forward to seeing the improved transformation.
Do you know any printers studying the feasibility of adding 3D printing to their capabilities? The following is an interesting article on 3D. Will your company integrate the new technology ?
The future of 3D printing looks a lot like Kinkos | VentureBeat.