June Lincoln, graphic designer at Nippa member Massey University says the arrival of Adobe CS5 with its digital communication tools will mean more, not less, opportunity for print
Online, device driven, animated, interactive - all hot topics in our modern creative/design industry especially with the release of Adobe’s new Creative Suite 5.
Adobe has already road-showed its new suite, which it says has been rebuilt from the ground up, after two years of global consultation and arduous development, it features 13 products all with major upgrades and some 250 new features overall. We are promised bigger, faster and stronger ... design without boundaries. It is all very exciting, but...
As a graphic designer working in the print industry, I have to ask myself ‘what will this mean for me as a designer in the print industry?’ And ‘how will these new developments effect design for print?’
After sitting inside a dim conference room through a fair few hours of presentation and jotting down many illegible notes the answer came. Fundamentally it is not going to change a lot. Notably though, it will give a designer / creative the ability to work smarter. Many of the CS5 features will make the technical aspects of a design solution more achievable and much less time consuming. We all like that. Ultimately designing for print morphs as print technology develops, the history of print is testament to this, and print remains one of the most enduring forms of static visual communication.
If asked to define my role of graphic designer within our sector of the industry - being a university in-house printery - I would use two words: ‘problem solver’. no job ever seems to be straightforward and often the same problem doesn’t always have the same solution.
We get an array of design requests ranging from ‘the extensive and very well organised design brief’ to the extremely loose, ‘I need a flier – I’ve got no text or images, not sure what size or how many I’ll need.’ Call in the Printery CATTT’s Communicator, Advisor, Translator, Tutor/teacher and Troubleshooter. As communicators we act as go-betweens (or piggies in the middle) between client and printer. We advise clients on print boundaries, constraints and the production process. We translate ideas to design and design to print. We tutor our clients how to properly prepare their own files for print, and finally we act as troubleshooter s if it turns to custard.
Generally designing can be defined as “The process of originating and developing a plan for a product with intention”, in our case, printed material. The designer needs to consider the aesthetic / functional aspects of the product and also the production process - this usually requires considerable thought, research, modelling, adjustment, and re-design, and re-design, and re-design...
Design can also be described as ‘the management of constraints”, there being two types of constraint: negotiable and non-negotiable. In our experience we find the negotiable constraints usually located at the initial stages of the process, but not always. They can be aspects such as design, layout, colour, style, stock and binding. we advise the best solution to suit the clients needs and liaise with the production team. These negotiable constraints transform into non-negotiable constraints once the hard decisions have been made.
The non-negotiable constraints are things such as the approved / final design, budget, time-lines, the printing and production process. As the designer we liaise closely with the production team to see the clients expectations realised.
Design involves problem-solving and creativity. In contrast, production involves a routine or pre-planned process.
The relationship between design and production is one of planning and executing. The plan should anticipate and compensate for potential problems in the execution process.
A design may also be just a plan that does not include the production process, although a working knowledge of such processes is usually expected of such designers. Design and production are intertwined.
Stages of the pre-production design process can include: the design brief, beginning statement of design goals; specification, specifying requirements of a design solution; research, investigating similar design solutions; problem solving, conceptualising and documenting design solutions; presentation, of design solutions as proofs and mock-ups; modification, amendment of design until approval or sign off; pre-press, preparation of approved design for print.
The print preparation of an approved design is dictated by the method of production, stationery items produced by Silvermaster / offset, for example, rarely require more than a good quality black and white hardcopy of the separations handed directly to the printer. At another end of the spectrum, a billboard / hoarding or wide format presentation visual, for example. may call for a vectored eps or high res pdf file to be uploaded to an ftp.
Print design is a creative process combining art and technology to communicate ideas. Graphic designers create solutions to design problems working with a variety of communication tools to convey a message from client to audience.
Whether you’re skinning for a hand-held device; designing the device packaging or poster promo; part of every design solution includes the understanding of how to get the job done technically - the process.
Technology, production and design are intertwined. May there always be challenges and issues, development and innovation to keep our industry interesting, exciting and alive. We have come a long way since the duplication of images in Mesopotamia more than 5000 years ago.