4.30.2010

ABP - Always Be Printing

     Welcome to part 2 of my 3 part 'economic' printing series. As a Design Consultant, I've been hired to produce in multi-media applications. Large format prints, t-shirts, web, photography prints, presentations in all forms... Regardless of the format - test printing the design is not only bound to happen - but also useful and often overlooked.
      So, now you have your project & a decent printer tailored to your needs. One thing I see common among current designers is actually their lack of design. As computer programs become more and more useful - many upcoming designers are getting away designing on a computer screen. For one this limits you - I always feel even a napkin sketch before jumping on the cpu let's your ideas expand. Not only are you not confined by the limits of your screen - but you can spend more time designing - saving the little details (paddings/margins/exact colors) for the actual execution of your project as opposed to trying to nail it all at once. The computer is a tool - a means to an end, and should be treated as such.
     Where does printing come in to this? Like any fine product - it needs to be aged and nurtured - but not at the expense of executing. You can spend days on a job, be behind the 8 ball w/ still a good chance of meeting deadline - but guess what - it's the 11th hour, you need to print 300 pages. Happens all the time. All of a sudden printers jamming, paper needs to be changed, ink's out, and there's this weird little line that popped up on 50 of the 300 pages... All the while you're doing as many little tweaks as you can, sweating like a maniac & taking inches off your hairline.
     Here's the tip - scrap paper. Yes - sounds ghetto, but it will save you money! Save your scrap prints as long as they are able to be passed through a machine again. Technically, w/ heat printers it's not too good to run a print w/ ink on the other side - it can dirty the bed of the printer. But if you got a 300 pg job that needs to be out by the end of the week - and you're pushing the time envelope - dirty printer beds are the least of your problem - if any at all. (it's also useful for quick sketches, notes, lunch orders for the team, etc.)
    Tomorrow we'll talk about print set ups - that will coincide w/ this. But assuming for now you know a little bit about that - you know you can have halftone/grayscale/halfsize/quick print one click page set up. At the end of let's say every 2 days - I print one of those copies on my scrap paper. Then when I'm at home, sipping coffee b/w office hours - I can review them and mark up IMPORTANT changes instead of getting caught up zoomed into the lower 1x1 inch of the media. Often times - I can identify quite a few pages that are at say, 95% complete - and final print those and efficitently worry about the pages that are 50-60%. Now comes the day before deadline, I have 50-75 pages already printed, and the rest only need little tweaks because I was able to identify the large scale problems of A PRINT (which is all the clients see). Which is not so easy (yet we're all guilty) to do panning & zooming inchxinch.
       Also what happens: the closer the deadline comes the more your boss may want to throw someone on your team - now you have a stack of markups that are ready to hand over and let someone execute. Time saving practices - none of them are home runs - but they're all singles. When you do swing for the fences - it will be a grand slam, not a single run scored.
     OH - if I didn't print a lot of finals before the deadline - I run a quick nozzle & bed clean on the printer - good printers should have this utility. It takes 10 minutes - but saves trees, time, money & headaches when there is NO smudges on my prints.
     So save your scrap prints, focus on the final media - not little details, don't be afraid to test print early & keep your printer in good shape. Now get to work. Be relentless.

10 scrap prints - cost= nothing b/c they would be thrown away
10 final prints w/ smudges, ghost lines,etc. - cost= time, money, resources, credibility. you make the decision.

Frank M. Bua
Design Consultant

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