Clarity is an important quality of an excellent print job. The kind of eye-popping projects that draw people from across a room are the result of the concerted effort of all involved.
Just as the ink must be properly aligned on the substrate to ensure clarity in a given piece, the wants and needs of the manufacturer, distributor and client must also be properly aligned to ensure clarity in the focus and content of a commercial print job. What can distributors do to ensure they act as the best possible conduit for information and help their clients to produce the products exactly as desired?
To help readers better understand the pitfalls of specing commercial print jobs, BFL&S contacted
Terry Drumwright, sales account manager of Memphis Tennessee-based McNeal Graphics. Drumwright has worked at McNeal Graphics for 16 years. Prior to this, she worked as a print buyer, so she has perspective from both sides of the process.
From the project’s onset, it is important for distributors to understand the client’s objectives. Drumwright said she learned to ask early on in the discussion about the purpose of the piece. “What’s the intent of this piece,” she asked rhetorically. “Who is it going to?... What’s the audience? Is it internal? Is it external? Is it [for] your customer out in the field?” This is only the start of the discussion.
From the capabilities of the client to their knowledge of the project and the industry, no two commercial print jobs are the same. Some clients have an in-house creative team and supply the artwork. Other clients have only a vague idea of the project and need guidance in every step of the process, including design.
“Details are important in my job, period,” said Drumwright as she explained the necessity of communication. It is important for distributors to remove any ambiguity from the discussion so all parties are aware of their responsibilities and feel confident about the expected results. Drumwright said this is especially important with new clients. When working with a new buyer, she said distributors must discuss every facet of the project with the client. “Talk to them very thoroughly about the paper; talk to them about the look they want,” Drumwright suggested, giving examples of some of the major areas to be addressed. Clients should be made aware of the full-range of options, and capabilities must be described. For example, “A lot of people don’t realize there are different types of paper,” said Drumwright. “They just assume.”