While I’m writing this post 700 miles away Domus Grappa is having its celebration. The team has been offered a chance to exhibit their product during the Grappa Experience trade show in Milan. And of course to tell the story properly, I would’t dare not to mention how hectic the last week or so was. The news that Domus will be showing in Milan came (or dropped rather loudly) on Thursday just before the long weekend. Knowing I will have three days off I planned to pack to my camera and take a train to any hikeable place within 100 mile radius, because the weather was supposed to be (and was indeed) splendid! But rather than that I stayed at home and opened a production line spitting one promotional merchandise design a minute.
On Saturday morning I created a rather long to-do list including things like: coasters, self-standing banners, lanyards, die cast pins, a postcard for each product in two languages, tote bags, stickers and so on. I have to say getting quotes, double checking turnaround times (very different from what is often labeled as ‘express delivery’) and downloading (level easy), digging out (medium), and guessing (hardcore) any sort of print requirements (including but not limited to templates — if existent, bleeds, destination colour profiles etc.) is the hardest or maybe the most tedious chunk of any design work labeled ‘for print’. And not only all this information varies from one supplier to another, but also getting any sort of customised quotes on the weekend is de facto impossible. Fortunately enough, I remembered a company (pixartprinting.co.uk) that does virtually everything and coincidentally is located in Italy and does not observe UK bank holidays, meaning my long weekend in the UK is a regular length weekend in Italy.
I realised whenever I had found myself using Pixartprinting I was pushed against the wall with 5 days till deadline but they never disappointed. Of course if you’re a designer who has a lot of time to actually print your work (a dream!) I would choose a company where you can follow the process more closely and refuse any prints that do not meet your standards. Fast turnaround means exactly what it says. It’s fast. And it means that quality might be compromised. And sometimes that’s fine, but every so often you are after some good old quality.
An interesting fact for anyone ever racking their brains trying to understand why for instance colour of your postcards might differ even within one lot? Yes.. printer calibration is a prime suspect. During the day commercial printers produce thousands of prints which means their colour profile accuracy deteriorates. At some point during the day or night, the printers are recalibrated so the colours can go back to ‘normal’. Hence using smaller or specialised printers is often recommended when quality is our priority.
Coming back to Domus, after spending good 4 hours eliminating items that couldn’t be printed and delivered within 4 working days (like multicolour tote bags, lanyards and pins) I got on with the design. The production line was full on. The work you can see below is a result of 1.5 days of work and infinite number of corrections and translation issues. The banners due to their size where ordered straight to an Italian address, whereas postcards – all 4000 of them – ended up on my desk at work on a sunny Wednesday afternoon.
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