Plan Ahead for PerfectionMarch 1, 2011
You know your pressroom equipment like the back of your hand, and a graphic designer knows his or her project just as well. You both want everything to run smoothly. It can, if you work together.
Andrea Alstad, manager of strategic markets, print and color for the paper segment of Wausau Paper, offers these tips to help in-plants achieve desired results while avoiding potential road-bumps:
• Open the Dialogue. From the start, talk to designers about their expectations and how they envision the final product. Create a list of questions to ask upfront rather than waiting until the closing stages. (e.g. Are any special substrates needed? Will it be folded/trimmed/die cut?) Determining these details early on will help ensure success at the end. Also, be sure to add sheet size to the list of items you cover. Never assume the designer is aware of your machine’s standard.
• Plan for Personalization. If the designer plans to personalize the piece, explain which software is supported for personalization so he or she can design accordingly. If the piece includes variable data fields, be sure they allow enough space to accommodate the longest possible text length.
• Make it Easy on the Eyes. Help your customer identify problem color areas by providing proofs early and often. Reiterate that only a printed proof provides an exact match; monitor proofs are not a perfect representation of the final product. Also, if your customer experiences banding or blending issues, suggest using photos, graphics and text as a great way to avoid flat areas of color.
• Discuss Color Conversion. Advise your customer about optimal color translation and how you are able to achieve the desired color. Explain that if an exact match is needed (i.e. for a logo), the designer may need to consider offset printing. Or request color chips along with the file to ensure you achieve the closest possible match.
The ability to save hours of time while increasing customer satisfaction ultimately comes down to communication and understood expectations.