Jobs Not Designed for Inkjet: You Only Have Yourself to Blame
Working in printing plants as much as I do, I see a growing communication gap between creatives and production. And it’s your own fault.
Technology is moving forward, and production is integrating new processes and equipment into the workflow. More often than not, though, creative departments are not being properly trained about these new processes that they must design for.
OK, let me be more clear—this entails “training” a designer along side a press operator so they fully understand the equipment, ink and paper characteristics—not just a cursory introduction.
“They don’t design for the printing process,” is a complaint I hear frequently. Yes, creatives should “design” for the process upon which the job is being printed. But, if they don’t understand the differences, then how can they make the changes that will enable their jobs to run seamlessly though production.
With the introduction of high-speed aqueous inkjet, it has never been more important. If a job is not designed for the process, ink, paper and finishing requirements, the entire job will need to be slowed down or changed—which, in turn, adds cost to the piece that the printer may not recover.
Traditionally, many issues with color or finishing could be tweaked or fixed in production. But now, with the use of inkjet printers and aqueous inks, the color alterations and any ink limiting/saturation must be “designed” into the art. Do you see now why it is important for the designer to understand the equipment?
Whether you have in-house designers or accept work from companies or agencies, the first step to hassle-free production is to receive artwork properly prepared for the specific printing process. Consequently, creating a curriculum based on understanding process differences, ink and paper, is a great way to achieve this.
If you are unsure how to approach this, your inkjet OEM is a good place to start. But make sure that whoever conducts the training clearly understands the creative audience. Creative designers are a different breed; they require a trainer who understands their processes, as well as software. Engineers or technicians should not be doing the training. It requires a different approach than training production people. Telling a designer they can’t do something creates a negative environment, as well as the potential for them to reject the technology and avoid it all together. Well-planned solutions or alternatives need to be defined and presented as suggestions. A designer’s expectations and the machine’s output limitations should be clearly understood by all.
If you have in-house designers, have they been fully trained on how to design for your new high-speed inkjet equipment? Likewise, what approach have you taken to train outside creatives who are submitting work into your production stream?