Step Aside and Let a Real Printer Do the Job
I am never quite comfortable when a client wants to buy his own printing, yet in this day and age it’s something most designers have to live with.
So before my client ventured out into the world of getting estimates—and as this was not your run-of-the-mill project—I made certain that I had spelled out the project’s specs for his production manager, who admittedly had bought print before: "This portion of the cover should be blind debossed and that one was a registered emboss"—you get the picture.
And off she went with her "we can get the printing organized ourselves" attitude.
A week later she was back. The good news: She had estimates from two different printers. The even better news (or so she thought): One of the estimates was a third cheaper than the other. She was very proud of herself and had already decided to go with the cheaper printer, but something kept nagging at her.
So I took a look. Even though both estimates called out the emboss and deboss options, something just did not feel right. You know, gut feeling and all that. So I decided to investigate.
Long story short, the less expensive printer, after realizing I knew my emboss from my deboss, admitted that they had based their quote on a multi-level emboss.
Aha! That did explain the dramatic difference in cost. This could be done in one run through the press as opposed to two. Did they REALLY think no one would notice? After all, an emboss is raised above and a deboss lower than the paper surface.
I admit that after talking to my client for a few minutes, it was easy for anyone to determine that she was no printing authority, but come on.
We all at some point have been in situations where we were no experts and had to trust the people we worked with. And if the printer wanted to build a long-lasting relationship (and this client buys print frequently), lying to the production manager—even lies of omission—was probably not the best start to their potential partnership.
Sabine Lenz is the founder of PaperSpecs.com, the first online paper database and community specifically designed for paper specifiers.
Growing up in Germany, Sabine started her design career in Frankfurt, before moving to Australia and then the United States. She has worked on design projects ranging from corporate identities to major road shows and product launches. From start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, her list of clients included Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Deutsche Bank, IBM and KPMG.
Seeing designers struggle worldwide to stay current with new papers and paper trends inspired Sabine to create PaperSpecs, an independent and comprehensive Web-based paper database and weekly e-newsletter. She is also a speaker on paper issues and the paper industry. Some refer to her lovingly as the "paper queen" who combines her passion for this wonderful substrate called paper with a hands-on approach to sharing her knowledge.