Why It's Time to Put Your Head in the Sand
"Wow. And I mean, wow. Is it statistically possible to get every single fact completely wrong?" The curator of our PaperSpecs Gallery was dumbfounded, and rightfully so.
You see, the mission of this curated online space is to give much-deserved recognition and visibility to the very best in design and printing excellence. To that end, we like to share as many details as possible about each project in order to inspire other creatives to try this technique or that paper, to be able to achieve the same fabulous results. Therefore we list the printing technique used, the paper, the printer...everything.
Occasionally (OK, more than we would like) we get a good chuckle as someone gets an aspect of the printing technique or paper they used wrong. But we are eager to help, and jump in to fix it where we can.
But this time we were more than 10 emails deep with the designer who submitted the piece before we finally decided to pull the plug. We had gone round after round to find out which paper was used for the cover and the inside. Each time the errors were glaring. Nope, this could not be the right paper as the paper used was a coated stock and the paper the designer insisted had been used clearly was an uncoated one. And on and on it went.
In a final attempt to get the facts straight (we are nothing if not persistent) we called the printer, only to find out that they—and we were informed of this very courteously, might I add—had not printed said project.
"Wow. And I mean, wow. Is it statistically possible to get every single fact completely wrong?" Now you understand our curator’s frustration.
While at this stage admittedly I wanted to put my head in the sand and will this project to go away. But, there was a lesson to be learned here. The lesson for all of us on this side of the paper and printing table is that even though we think everyone should know at least the basics (coated versus uncoated), not everyone does.
Full color versus spot printing; digital options; binding techniques...while you and I have been talking about any number of these for decades now, our work is obviously not done.
It is your job, and mine for that matter, to share what we know with creatives. After all, they struggle to stay on top of the latest software updates, new technology, and having to be everything to every client— they can be forgiven for not knowing the facts that we deal with every day.
So just when you want to lean back and think that your work is done and you shared all you know...take a deep breath and start all over again. Because there is always someone (and a great number of someones unfortunately) who is not aware of [fill in the blank].
Let’s take our collective heads out of the sand and face the fact that our work is never done. There are always print jobs to be saved and awarenesses to be raised. It’s our job to leave those creatives saying one thing, and one thing only: "Wow. And I mean, wow."
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.