Just As I Thought

A well-rounded designer

I have found that I am a rare breed: a creative guy who also knows how to use the various tools of the trade, an artist who also knows the technical side. I can not only design something in Photoshop, but I can troubleshoot the computer when it crashes.
I’ve discovered that this is rare because of my daily work dealing with projects from other designers. Here are some examples.
This weekend, I worked on getting all the films for our film festival ready for exhibition by compiling them into one DVD for screening. A few of the films had been dubbed by seemingly professional dubbing houses, but exhibited such weird cadences in their film-to-video pulldown that they stuttered and jumped their way around. A few were PAL-format video on NTSC media. In the end I managed to get most of them working fine. The films themselves are great, little masterpieces of storytelling. But the technical side was overlooked.
Today I’ve been getting ads ready to run in one of the magazines I produce. Here are two examples of the weirdness I run across.
One ad was 1/3 square. The designer put a bleed on the ad along with crop marks. I’m not sure he understands what bleed is… for those of you who are similarly ignorant, bleed is the artwork that extends off the edge of the page, most often the background. You create your art slightly bigger than the page it’s printed on. That is, when you’re taking up the entire page with your art. If your ad is only 4 inches wide, why would you give it a bleed?
Then I received a full page ad. I immediately got suspicious when the files took up a whopping 380MB. It turns out that the designer made his full page background image 29 inches by 36 inches instead of the 8-1/8 x 10-7/8 specified.
Did he think this would be printed on the side of a bus?
Just about every day I notice these things, then I sit and fume, thinking that I am much more talented than I give myself credit for, and wondering why i don’t have a better job?

2 comments

  • Most (not all) of the professional designers I work with are actually quite knowlegeable. They know how to use Quark, they understand DPI, they are not daunted by the concept of ‘proportions’ (something most people have a suprising inability to grasp) and they can even collect for output so all the images and fonts are there.

    It’s the secretaries with their powerpoint files and the random associates trying to lay out a complex document in Word and then expect to have the color of their logo match some offset annual report that drive me batty.

    And don’t get me started on Microsoft Publisher (we call it ‘Punisher’)

  • And furthermore, there are way too many little “ad agencies” out there with the production knowledge of a high school yearbook editor. It’s amazing how many sizeable companies rely on novices to produce their national (read: expensive) advertising. We have a whole department that does nothing but fix bad ad files. As far as getting ads the right size? Hell, even our advertising department doesn’t care what size ad shows up as long as the client pays the bill.

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