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Designers’ !@#$ Rolls Downhill Too

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We’ve all heard that expression, though likely the uncensored version, throughout our careers. What happens to one person ends up affecting every person on down the chain until it finally runs it’s course.

Here’s the situation from a Designer’s perspective; you’re given a project to design. Once it’s approved by the client, you’re done with it, right? You can wash your hands of it and call it good?

Not if you’re a designer worth his or her salt, you can’t.

Back in the day of paste-ups and physical mock-ups, designers had to figure out how to make their designs work, both 2 dimensionally and 3 dimensionally, before they could call it a successful design. In today’s digital world of 2D and 3D design, we can get a touch lazy. How so? Have you ever worked in a low resolution environment, then required a production artist to recreate your low-res design for print? Or God forbid, you don’t take gravity into account with your 3D design? Don’t laugh, I’ve seen both situations happen.

Let’s take a look at a fairly typical job-flow, from the Designer’s point of entry, using a 2D example:

  1. Graphic Designer completes project
  2. Project gets passed to Production Artist or Prepress for prep
  3. Color Testing is completed
  4. Final print files are generated, then sent to the Printer of your choice
  5. Completed prints are then sent to be finished according to the final product
  6. Final Project is packed and shipped to Client.

Category Icon Test6 very simplified steps from you, the designer, to the completion of the project. How many of those steps do you think you need to be aware of, and have knowledge of, to be a successful designer? Let me give you a hint. If you say less than 6, you’re wrong. I could build a brand-new, solid oak Soap Box, and preach for days on this subject, but I’ll boil it down to one simple statement for the sake of time.

Ignore the Production of Your Design, at Your Own Peril

Any one of us can come up with a cool looking concept that looks great on paper. Where we can fail as designers though, is when we expect someone else to make it a reality without first having some knowledge of how it will be done in the real world. Your decisions as a creative professional affect everything from whether the colors you choose are physically attainable with the final print process, to whether the structure you concept will fall on someone’s head or not.

This is where I get to step up and say that I’ve had that production, color management and even some finishing experience. In fact, Optima’s entire Design Staff has “come up through the ranks”, so-to-speak, and has intimate knowledge of not just how to be creative, but how to get that creativity into reality.

It tends to help that we have access to every single one of the 6 steps above, all under one roof here at Optima, too. If I don’t know if something I’ve come up with will work or not, I have an entire pool of professionals to pull from to find out.

Tim Toolen
Graphic Designer
Optima Graphics

Categories: Creative
  1. May 9, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Thanks for pointing out that there’s more to good design than what meets the eye 😉

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