As the owner of a design-to-print firm, I have worked on many projects from packaging to marketing materials, identity design to signage. I have been involved in any and all things that an organization might need to identify its services and products. I learned many things you need to know to achieve success on press, and much of that begins with design. I’m not talking about good design—I’m talking about constructing the design.
Some design decisions dramatically increase cost. Other design decisions are so difficult to execute that only a handful of printers may have the capability to actualize your vision. Countless designers and their clients have been frustrated after paper dummies, ink drawdowns, and estimates have been approved, and the printer gets the files and determines that the design cannot be produced or needs to be revised. This happens to seasoned professionals with decades of print work under their belt and students fresh out of college.
A common cause of problems is pushing the envelope (pun intended). If you want to create something that you have never seen before, odds are: it could not be done up until now (technology barrier); it still can’t be done (mechanical barrier); or you haven’t worked with someone who can make it happen (expertise barrier).
You need to know the “why” to produce your vision successfully. I wrote “Designing for Print, the Art & Science” to help designers become experts faster. I describe the most common techniques and equipment choices and divided the book into four parts. The beginning of the book serves as a kind of cheat sheet if you are just starting out; and if you have more experience and require more in-depth knowledge, you can move directly to the parts that interest you. The parts will help you decide how to: approach and get started on a project, work with printers, and understand the materials used in print.
The first part of the book, Decision Aide, contains several flowcharts to help you decide how to begin a print project. This part includes information on which printing process to use and speccing paper. The charts will help you make quick decisions on a live job.
Jump Start gives you a comprehensive overview of everyday design projects and explains how design affects the printing of identity systems, digital printing, bindery, and direct mail. Information on software practices, color systems, image quality, specialty printing and finishing, and common headache-makers wraps up this section.
The third section, Working with Printers, delves into planning, budgeting, choosing a printer, getting an estimate, teamwork, proofing, and handling a press check. The final chapter explains how print affects the environment and how you can be environmentally conscientious.
The final part of the book, Wiki, covers paper grades and sizes, envelopes, folds, and binding and finishing. An Appendix contains a guide to setting up a studio, website resources, magazines and journals, detailed information about Printing Trade Customs, and a chart of book sizes. A glossary finishes the book.
It was my hope that today’s designers, armed with the knowledge in this book, will experience the profound satisfaction of seeing their designs executed as envisioned. I kept the tone of the book deliberately friendly and only as technical as necessary. There’s a line between making the book a handbook for designers or a handbook for production personnel. I definitely wanted to keep this designers friendly! Although funny enough, many printers are finding this book to be a terrific training tool for CSR and other employees with direct customer contact.
It was important for me that the book printed on a Heidelberg press. My shop was 100% Heidelberg from prepress to bindery because of the quality of their equipment, commitment to the business of printing, and the pride my employees had from knowing that they were working with the finest tools available to get their jobs done.
Thank goodness for designers with their crazy ideas! They have made printers try harder, create masterpieces that win international awards, and make us proud to do what we do!
If you would like more information or would like to purchase the book, click here. If you’re purchasing the book, make sure to put in the discount code HEIDELBERG for $20.00 off the retail price!