Paper Mills and the Swatchbook Tease
"Congratulations: Permission to access the [XYZ] Website has been granted!"
No, this message is not from a special members-only top 100 speakeasy; this is what my designer friend Tiffany received when trying to get swatchbooks from a paper mill. And no, this was not some European fancy boutique mill, either.
Tiffany had heard that the mill had a new swatchbook and meandered over to their Website. But she did not get very far before she was asked to register (we are talking username and password here) to view the mill’s offerings.
Not seeing any harm in this, Tiffany registered...and waited. And waited. And waited. It took the mill 48 hours to approve her registration and invite her to order samples...
In an age where we all expect instant access and overnight delivery, 48 hours is a medium-size eternity. But wait, it gets better...
More than 10 days later, Tiffany received two of the four swatchbooks she requested. Adding insult to injury, she had to contact the mill again to find out that the remaining two books were on back order. “We will ship as soon as stock replenishes.”
Now I know that most mills do an amazing job. They happily send out their swatchbooks and promotions in a timely manner, but...as we all know, it is the few bad apples that give any industry a crummy reputation.
You simply cannot do a decent job if you do not have the right tools. Printing an eight-color job on a two-color press—sure it can be done, but it is cumbersome. Yet, here we are asking creatives to print without the right tools (read: swatchbook). How are they supposed to make their paper choice?
I am realistic enough to know that no paper mill can visit every designer in the nation. Perfectly reasonable, but at least give them a chance to see what you have on offer without asking them to jump through numerous hoops and wait, and wait, and...
P.S. Maybe I am overreacting. Maybe this was a singular case...Let me know. Prove me wrong, mills. Prove me wrong.