Blowing off steam

Disclaimer: This is a long and conceivably boring rant, but I just have to get it off my chest.

When it comes to my design business, some jobs are great. They take very little time and the client loves them immediately. Other jobs are not so great. They start out simple (so I quote accordingly) but they end up long, drawn out and stressful. That’s the case with the branding job I’m currently embroiled in.

It is for a kitchen designer. I should have known that designing for another designer was never going to be much fun. His brief was almost non-existent, which surprised me. I kinda thought that he’d know how frustrating that is.

Anyway… with the brand nailed down we moved on to business cards. That dragged out for over a month. We finally settled on a design and I got it ready for print. He decided to use his own printer so I sent him print ready files. He signed off the proof and when the cards came back he asked me if a 3mm bleed was standard on print files. Huh? He shouldn’t see bleed on his finished cards. Turns out he thought that the noise and pixelation around the text was bleed. It wasn’t. It was a screw up. He sent me a card sample. The printing was abysmal.

I told him to contact his printer to ask for a reprint. They emailed me saying that the files were dodgy. I rechecked and resent. There was nothing wrong with the files. They came back with some email that went around in circles saying that they were only 72 dpi. What a load of crap. When I confronted them I got a call from the branch manager. He told me that when he blows the file up to twice the size of a business card that the text isn’t clean. So? Even if that was true (which it isn’t), we don’t want business cards that are twice the size. They know they have screwed up but they just won’t admit it.

Their final ridiculous call is that they don’t accept pdfs that are compressed from Photoshop. They only accept InDesign files. It is the first I have heard (after several conversations and numerous emails) and it seems rather strange considering the fact that the pdfs I created were done off a spec sheet that was provided to me by them!

So last night I went home and opened InDesign for the first time. I spent my entire evening learning it on the fly and recreating the file. Seems to have worked reasonably well and they are happy with it, but it is the hardest couple of grand I have ever earned.



3 thoughts on “Blowing off steam

  1. They definitely sound like a dodgy printing firm. Nine times out of ten business cards are designed in Illustrator or Photoshop. Indesign is a great program and while it is capable of doing cards it is not what it is designed for. Its a document publishing prog and I’ve never heard of anyone designing a business card in it. It’s more likely you are right and they screwed up and were trying to make excuses for it.

    Over the years I’ve found it best to contact printers directly even if they are the clients choice and confirm first hand what printing resolution they plan to use and what file types they support. Getting clients to ask these questions can lead to problems as most of the time they have no idea what you are talking about.

  2. “They start out simple (so I quote accordingly)”

    When I started my own business, someone once advised me: “Think of what the contract is worth then double it.” This was because simple jobs never stay simple and you get loads of manoeuvring room before you start to feel dumped on.

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