The other day I had the opportunity to chat with one of my customers a couple times. The first time I learned that she had someone else help her with her rebranding (boo!), but the cost of printing business cards with them was outrageous so I was getting the print order (yea!).
She had the designer send me the print files so I did what I always do… I looked them over carefully to be sure I could print them. While the layouts had some questionable issues they were printable. And this is where I get in trouble with the other designer – I actually talked to the client about it.
In my second call I brought up the most urgent of the problems I found… Her portrait. The image was not really high enough resolution for printing the business card and would never work should she want to do something bigger, like a postcard, let alone a banner. She then sent me the original file of that photo and I was able to tell her that it simply was not big enough for printing.
By discussing her photo quality she was open to discussing some of the other issues I saw with the files. The biggest one, for this branding guru, was that while she was getting a new logo, it wasn’t even consistent from the front to the back of her card. How was it going to be used everywhere else? Big branding problem! We actually talked for quite a while about what she wants and how she intends to use that new logo.
In the end she agreed to go have new photos taken and she now has some really high-quality images to use in all her marketing materials. She also got back with the designer and asked for quite a bit of changes, including the logo.
The whole subject gave me the chance to talk about the difference between print specialists (me) and web specialists (most other designers – they don’t teach print in school anymore). I honestly keep coming up against the image problem. Images for the internet are created at 72 dpi (dots per inch). However, to print images we need them to be 350 dpi. That’s 5 times bigger! While you can make big pictures smaller you cannot make small pictures bigger because the data for the detail simply isn’t there. So starting with web quality doesn’t work once you choose to move to printed material.
When I design I’m always thinking about other places we might use the artwork… Shirts, banners, the side of a bus! So I design with size in mind.
Web designers also think about other places they’re going to use their graphics… Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. But they are all going to be about the same size, so it’s not a big deal.
The good news is that the client not only got the new photos but she also got a redesign that addressed the issues I spoke about as well as some others she came up. Perhaps the best thing I did for her was to give her permission to have a voice and get what she wanted.