Tear Down Ancient Barriers and Talk to Your Creatives

The student work in front of me was stunning. The typography, the layout, the choice of images—even the papers they picked were, shall I say, refreshing. No all white, all gloss coated all the way for these young designers (no offense to white gloss papers).

“You must talk to your students about paper a lot,” I remarked to the dean. “Not really,” he replied. “I just tell them: do not spec shiny paper.”

Letting this sink in for a minute, I was speechless…and that does not happen easily. While my inner paper geek wanted to yell and scream and jump up and down, I also realized that this, like it or not, explains a lot.

The barriers have been built over time
We expect young designers to have a well-rounded education, meaning being marvelously creative, as well as knowing how to get this creativity on paper. But those days are gone.

“It’s all about education and it starts with basic stuff at [university],” agreed Ian when the discussion came up in one of my online groups. “It is somehow seen by the colleges as the ‘uncreative’ aspect of graphics and therefore not worth teaching—but you wouldn’t allow an architect or engineer to practice without a full understanding of the technical aspects of their profession.”


It has crept up on us over the years. Whether we like it or not, this is the way things are now; we have to find a way to educate young designers about their opportunities. About different paper options, different printing techniques. And with new technologies and paper choices becoming available constantly, this is a never-ending process.

What further complicates the issue is the well-known language barrier.

Different language and different perspectives
Designers trying to communicate with printers are like cats trying to talk to dogs. They both communicate in different languages and with different perspectives.

Designers are trying to convey their creative process and vision, which you, as a print provider, could not care less about.

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