10 Things Printers Can Teach Designers

By: Marina Poropat Joyce

Designers are visual people and the best way to teach a visual person is to show them. Graphic designers are also curious people who generally like to see how things work. We all walk around with our cameras all day, lauding their efficiency for email, Slack, twitter and more. But it is the instant transmission of images and videos that make showing as easy-as-pie.

Here are 10 ways you can use your smartphone to reach out to your designer clients, add value to your company website and make life easier for yourself. (Sales managers, appoint one person to collect this kind of knowledge and disseminate to the whole sales team.)

1. Coated Versus Uncoated. Sit down with a designer and have two paper swatchbooks in front of you and explain coated paper versus uncoated paper. You will have saved yourself countless hours of "it looks like postcard paper" descriptions, and the like.

2. Bleeds. Take a video of your guillotine cutter in action, preferably a job with a bleed. Zoom in on the crop marks, text it to your designer client. (Put it on your website too!)

3. Grain. Look in your sample room for something with a nice black solid. Pull two samples. Fold one sample with the grain. Fold the other sample against the grain. Put them side-by-side folds-up and photograph with your phone. Open the image and crop to relevant image area and mark as a favorite in your phone for quick retrieval.

4. Waste=Cost. Show your client an illustration of paper waste for various page sizes. Here are some examples you can use: (Put it on your website too!)

Example #1 | Credit:  Designing for Print  by Designing for Print

Example #1 | Credit: Designing for Print by Designing for Print

Example #2 | Credit:  Designing for Print  by Designing for Print

Example #2 | Credit: Designing for Print by Designing for Print

5. Quantity matters. Walk into your pressroom and film a sheetfed press at the delivery end while it is running for 30 seconds. Confirm run speed with the pressman. Text video to client explaining that’s how long it takes for (insert quantity here) brochures/posters, etc. to run through the press and why they should opt for digital printing on this short run. (At 15,000 iph 30 seconds is 125 sheets, 8-up that’s 1,000 pieces!)

6. Printing is green. Calculate how many pounds of trim, corrugated and electronics you recycle each year (if your trim is picked up and weighed by a recycler they have this info). Next time your vendor picks up a container run out to the parking lot and take a pic. Put the photo on your website with an infographic of the tonnage you recycle annually. Explain that the trim and corrugated goes into future recycled paper products.

7. Ink can change color. Show your client this photo. Explain that the ink formulas with a high percentage of opaque white (basically all pastels) will shift within a year (swatch on left was two years old, on right six months, when photographed). Share that pastel colors are great for a short-lived item like an invitation and not so great for an identity system.

8. Paper makes a difference. Next time you’ve got an attractive job with photos that’s going to run on white paper, order some extra sheets of ivory, canary and grey uncoated paper. Add those colored sheets to the job and photograph the same detail area of all four colors. Make a montage (easy with the Layout app for iphone). Send this montage to a client who is wondering about running a job on colored stock and put it on your website too.

9. How to read a swatchbook. Oh boy, if I had a penny for every time a customer found the “perfect paper” in a swatch book and placed an order specifying that sheet only to find out there wasn’t enough, or it wasn’t stocking or that the chosen color had been discontinued ... this is a great topic to discuss at a quick lunch with a new customer. Text her an image showing how to look up the date of a swatchbook. Then bring her some lunch and a few swatchbooks and show her how to “read” it.

10. Art takes time. Text your idea of a rudimentary schedule to your client as a pdf graphic that they can print out and pin to their idea wall. Next time they are working with a client to develop a timeline, they won’t guess and it saves both them and you a call/email.

I know that some will think that answering questions and fielding problems bring value to a client, and they do. But do they bring value to a business owner?

If staff is reacting/interacting at the 100-ft. level, how are they going to interact at the 30,000-ft. level with intention?

Focus on the little things with intention and planning and then the 30,000-ft. questions aren’t as scary. What are your clients’ plans for next year? Are you discussing budgets internally? Are they planning on launching any new products or services within the next six months? These conversations are really easy when “what do I need a bleed for” is taken care of.

Author: Marina Poropat Joyce

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Time To Fight Back Against the Prejudice of 'Printism'

By: James Wildman

The industry needs to remind itself that print has unique benefits and remains hugely influential, says Trinity Mirror Solutions' James Wildman.

Ageism, fascism, racism – all crass prejudices that, incredibly, remain in many quarters. Disappointingly, I have a new "ism" for you that is rife within our industry.

Printism can be defined as: "The preconceived opinion not based on reason or actual experience of the print medium; bias, partiality, unreasoned dislike, hostility or antagonism towards, or discrimination against, print – accelerated by those closest to it being too afraid to properly defend it for fear of being tarred with the career-stunting ‘dinosaur’ label."

This thesis is born out of recent research – including interviews and qualitative groups – that Trinity Mirror Solutions conducted with media agencies, which highlighted some of the prejudices that print faces today. It has forced us to ask: what have we done individually and collectively to fight the current maelstrom of print discrimination? And the honest answer is: not enough.

During our research, we were told that agencies don’t feel print is "sexy"; that press teams were moving into digital, where the emphasis is on demonstrating their programmatic or social marketing skills; and that you’re unlikely to win an award or earn a promotion off the back of print activity.  

The existence of printism is truly remarkable in an industry that prides itself on super-smart thinking and effective communication.

It flies in the face of all reason and evidence as, without doubt, the unique role of print is as valid now as it was a generation ago.

In my previous role at Yahoo, I would have given my right arm for a physical offline extension to the digital campaigns we delivered.

Having arrived at a leading news brand, I can’t believe our product is so seemingly undervalued by the market.

Clearly, the media landscape has fragmented and, alongside the decline in print sales, TV, cinema and radio have all felt the strain as audiences move online. 

But TV in particular stands out as a channel that has maintained its premium position and, in turn, has avoided the dip in advertising revenues seen by others.

When we should have been taking a leaf out of TV’s book by championing print media and all its unique benefits, keen to be seen as serious players in a new space, we have instead focused on talking the digital game.

But now that news brands have proven themselves with huge digital scale that can’t be argued with, it is right that we stand up proudly for a channel that has perhaps been the runt of the media planning litter for the past few years.

It is time to remind agencies and clients that print is still hugely influential to consumers, influencers and society as a whole.

After all, let’s not forget that there are few – if any – media that can command the solus attention of their audience in a trusted brand environment, provide a space and context where commercial messages are actively enjoyed and genuinely influence the way people think and behave.

Our readers know it is special, and it is time we reminded ourselves of that too. With 36 million people reading a physical newspaper every month in the UK, my message to the media industry is: don’t be a printist pariah.

Author: James Wildman

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