Revisiting the 5 Lessons from a Print Sales Rep Blog
Note from Bill Farquharson:
The June 28 “Print Confessions” blog written by a Graphic Designer received quite a number of comments both here and on the various LinkedIn groups where it was posted. The following is an interesting email I received from Colin Burnell, an estimator/planner at Graphics Plus in New South Wales, Australia. I have received his permission to share his interesting feedback. Thanks, Colin!
Regarding the “5 Things I Wish a Print Sales Rep Had Taught Me” blog:
1) How to handle a press check with confidence.
Comparing a newbie with an oldbie at a press check can be interesting. Although the graphic designer newbie is entering a new part of the production ladder he/she quickly learns that a visual goal (whether its color or sharpness) has many obstacles to pass to attain satisfaction. Stock options produce many different results each being printed with the same ink image density.
Many times have I seen the pressman’s first attempt (which I’d mark as No.1) ends up closer to the final No. 5 (client signed sheet) than No. 2 and No. 3. In other words, we have travelled around the circle and arrived at the starting point again. It is also good when a client understands that some expectations can only be achieved by revisiting design or prepress to achieve certain results.
An example is the dark photos that are filling in on the uncoated stock and that more effort at the design stage should have been made to “open” the highlights on the image. It’s an expensive lesson, but one that could be avoided if the “well-versed” and “print-educated” sales person could be involved at the design stage.
2) Involve the printer from the get-go.
If designers understood that the print shop could make or break their idea, then they would realize it’s a team effort to achieve that ideal print result. Many printers offer great “show and tell” pieces that explain a story of achievement. Designers should get some early information about what could happen in the pressroom by being shown a similar printed piece and how it started and achieved its final look.
3) The whole wide world of paper.
I remember years ago seeing a printed sample supplied by a well-known paper merchant that printed the same “green” image on 20 different stock options—producing such a variety of results. It confirmed to me that all white stocks do not have the same “whiteness.”
Changing the color (on the press) to match a proof—whether it be a background CMYK tint, person’s skin tone or, more importantly, that logo that needs to match the PMS book color—can be so difficult without prepress intervention. The additional knowledge of minor color changes of a printed image drying on uncoated vs. coated stocks and if the coated stock is a “warm” or “cold” white can be a valuable lesson to learn. Sometimes adding (and isolating) a PMS color to a CMYK process job can be an effective way to maintain the desired color result on multiple images.
4) The many production options.
I imagine the customer’s budget often leads to the choice of, if any, embellishments that can be afforded. It’s at the early stage of acquiring the printer’s estimates that a variety of options could be discussed.
I am currently spending more of my time estimating these days, and I do try and advise some additional “more economical” options to achieve similar results. An example would be to consider adding “clear foil” to an image rather than a spot gloss UV varnish, or saddle stitching rather than perfect binding. Just as printers keep many print samples for “show and tell,” designers should keep printer’s samples to “keep and remember.”
5) How to write a schedule that involves adequate production time.
I have gladly produced a “critical timeline” for my customer and discussed the need to justify the amount of time required for print production. I explain why most times the sheets need to cure and dry overnight before a celloglaze laminate is applied, and why the stitching machine can only gather and stitch the booklets after all the sections are folded, not just the first section.
My explanation thus emphasizes why the printing processes need to have additional working days to complete a job without sacrificing the quality. The best quality that we all want and all try to achieve.