So you play with a document until you get it to the point where you think it is absolutely perfect. You’ve put the pictures exactly where you want them, they’re edited perfectly, the type style that you chose fits the style of the document and you breathe a sigh of relief. That is until you take it to your printer or graphic designer and they tell you how much it is going to cost you to re-design the whole thing so it can actually be printed.
Honest, we are not the enemy and although we are working to make money, we don’t arbitrarily try to find ways to milk our customers and clients out of their hard earned money. There are just some files that we cannot use regardless of how they are presented to us. Your best bet before you go to a whole lot of work is to talk to your designer/printer first. That way you won’t get quite as frustrated and you won’t lash out at an innocent bystander. So what questions should you ask? I’m so glad you asked!
First, talk to a designer/printer that you trust or ask around for some advice from other people. It’s always easier to talk to someone that you are comfortable with and know their reputation. Once you find someone, chances are they will know the questions that need to be asked before you even ask them. At the very least, they will be able to tell you what they need to put your project together.
Let’s say that you have already started to work on a brochure or a rack card and you didn’t read this post in time. Hope is not lost, just take a deep breath and relax. Sometimes having an idea of what you want from a design stand point isn’t a bad thing. It gives the designer/printer a map to follow and it will probably cut down on the proofing back and forth that sometimes can happen with a totally clean slate. Just know that if you do have a design completed, you are probably going to have to have all the pieces that you used to create your project ready to hand over so it can be re-created if necessary. What pieces am I talking about?
- Any photos or graphics that you placed in the document.
- A list of fonts that you used. (copying the fonts probably may not work if you are on a PC and your designer/printer uses a MAC – I could go into font issues, but something tells me that is a topic for a whole other post)
- A text file of the document with just the type. (this will save time and reduce the risk of errors that occur when entire documents are re-typed)
- A hard copy as well as an electronic file of your document (the hard copy is just in case there are any formatting issues and just in case your designer/printer doesn’t have the program that you originally created your document in.)
Why do we need all this stuff if you give me the document file? I like to tell people that when you create your document, your computer knows exactly where to look for all the bits and pieces. When I open that same document up on my computer, it doesn’t know where to look and if it isn’t there, it’s just going to ignore it and either mess up the picture, font or graphic or leave it out totally.
Honest, we don’t just make these things up. I send jobs to several different companies to have things printed, and most of the submission requirements are exactly the same. I want to make your final printed product look as good as you want it to. If I think that there is going to be even the slightest bit of a problem with your original file, I’m going to let you know how it needs to be fixed and the bottom line as to cost. Chances are, me re-designing a document is going to cost a customer a whole lot less than having a job re-printed because that same customer wasn’t happy with the quality of the finished piece.
Hope this helps with your next printing project. If anyone needs any help or advice, I’d be glad to give you my opinion and share my experience. By the way, I was going to title this post “Why Designers Hate Microsoft Publisher” but I didn’t want to receive any hate mail. 🙂