More Print Than Not
In the past, clients were given drawings and sketches, often colored using markers, so it was obvious that they were getting ideas-in-process. Now they were getting output that looked final, and would start nit-picking fine design issues or complaining about text kerning, when it was too early in the process to even consider those items as the final concept had not even been settled yet.
Designers had to be careful. Other designers found that their ability to create near-final mock-ups quickly was actually landing them jobs. As clients were auditioning a parade of designers to work on a new campaign, the ones that showed up with near-final looking mock-ups rather than rough drawings and sketches appeared to be more skillful, thoughtful, and time-efficient. Because pitching a new client was risky, the amount of time and effort to allocate to prepare for a meeting had to be carefully weighed. Clients felt that because the designer took the time and the effort to make the mock-ups was a sign of their potential commitment to the project.
The fact that the desktop published images looked “more final” was a competitive advantage against “traditional” designers. In fact, those desktop-produced mock-ups were produced in far less time. Some designers used the ìextraî time to produced mock-ups of yet more alternative approaches for the prospect client.
Printers and typographers had similar experiences. A typesetter found a simple solution: output work in process on blue paper just to remind clients that what they just received was not final. Clients were used to getting bluelines as proofs in the past, and this was a subtle message that the desktop publishing output at that stage was similar. Just think, however, that a job had to go all the way to film to even have a blueline. Jobs took time, and time was money, and things took twice as long and cost twice as much as expected, too often.