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


That printer's dog shit. Get a new printer.

     Today starts a 3 part series on getting your printing to look quality w/out spending a lot of money. If you're like me, you constantly editing your content & need a good, quick solution to check your print media.
     The most important thing I can stress is to get a good printer - and stick with it. I've seen people spend money on cheap printers that produce what amounts to zero results. I've seen people spend a ridiculous amount of money on specialized printers and then get killed when they need to refill the ink. I've also seen the, 'printer shop.' Which is when someone buys a decent printer they know nothing about, abuse it then try to return it & start the process over. All this results in is inconsistent printing - also known as a waste of money.
     Here's the biggest tip I can give you regarding efficient, quality printing. Do research. I started by examining my needs. I do NOT need a fax/printer/scanner combo capable of producing high quality prints at 10 pages per second. I DO need - quality scanning, quality printing and also importantly - a recognized brand I can get supplies for easily. Simple enough eh? That's only half of it though - here comes the research part.

     I pulled up a review of the best printers on the market - saved their specs to a temp. text file so I could refer back later. It doesn't matter so much that I know what those specs translate into - I found the top notch on the market for my needs - and saw what it had inside. Then I simply went to the big 3 in quality printing - Epson, Canon & HP. Personally I find Epson ink jets are top notch, yet ink jet cartridges are not only more expensive, but run out quicker. HP - I'm more impressed by their commercial large scale stuff than their average printer. I eventually settled on a Canon scanner/printer combo. By focusing on it's specs and eliminating unecessary (for my purpose) functions I was able to find a model that shared scanning & print quality specs w/ the top machine on the market -at a fraction of the price. And yes - it was still a bit more expensive than a plain ol' printer - but for my purposes it was worth every penny.
     So that's part one - Solid, Consistent, Accessible printing is the key to saving time, resources AND trees. Identify your needs, do some research, and happy printing.

Frank M. Bua
Design Consultant



i've been a fan of lowercase typography for a long time now. i remember back some years we were discussing fonts one night in the studio. someone provided (courtesy an architectrural hero) that lowercase was the purest representation of a letter. that letters, like people, should have no hierarchy. what make one letter more important than the next? now i don't know if that was true, but i fell in love with it's romantic notion. however - any theory must eventually butt heads with practical application. re: this whole paragraph. but yet i do find that lowercase fonts for logo's and other appropriate applications can add a warm playfulness to many tastes, my favorite contrast is in elegant applications.  the below images are recent workings of mine.

Frank M. Bua
Design Consultant



Concept:execute. is my latest venture.  It's not so much something new, as it is more a redefinition of what my capabilities are.  As a Project Architect/Project Manager working in a firm my job covers a lot of ground.  From developing initial design concepts, to dealing/negotiating with clients, overseeing and coordinating in & out of house teams, budget planning, expediting, negotiating contracts on behalf of the client and the firm and being overall responsible for the execution of all services leading to the final product.

In a firm I'd be a Project Manager.  Working for a development company I'd be an Owner's Rep.  On my own - my ability, education, talent & years of experience make me a Design Consultant.  Concept:execute. A re-focusing of myself.  Check out my site - let's talk link-trade, cross-promotional material.  www.conceptexecute.com

mission statement:
We are a team of young entrepeneurs from varying yet overlapping disciplines.  Concept:execute is the brainchild of necessity, a, 'one-stop-shop,' for businesses, homeowners & the common individual looking to grow.  We offer a wide range of services but our biggest strength is our expertise.  Over the years one thing constantly confounds us.  That has been watching our clients & associates mindlessly waste money, time & resources.  Let us help you.  With our combined network of contacts, our years of performance in real world scenarios, combined with our education & know-how make no job too big or too small.  Concept:execute is simple.  Our concept is to execute.

Frank M. Bua
Design Consultant