Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Price tag for design without disciplines

When we were at school, our instructors cared less how we finished our projects as long as they are delivered on time. It is also true to the design industry. Disciplines are always mentioned but not emphasized in our classes or at work. I think discipline is one of characters to determine how far a designer can go in his/her career.

Having a good design habit makes everyone's life easier. I have recently received a Photoshop file from a designer who is supposed to send me a print ready file. The file contains 20 layers and groups. They were not properly labelled. Bleed was missing. Unused layers were still in the file. A simple 20M Photoshop file has become 40 M because of these junk and unflattened layers. Another time a designer sent me a PDF for a tabloid spread (4/0). For a design with solid yellow background with a few small photos on it, the file came to be 250M. We later found out that the designer shrank the large photos without resampling them. The most horrendous experience that we have ever had was a designer sending us a series of 6 posters (4" x 6" each. Yes. It was set to such small size though the finish size should be 4ft x 6ft) in AI files with one photo and one clipping path in each poster. It turned out to be 3G in total and he complained that he was not able to upload the files to our FTP. How he managed to "upsize" these small designs is still a mystery.

Many people just jump right to the computer when they receive a new project, dropped everything to the canvas and play around. Size does not matter because their computers are fast enough to handle the job. They finish the job, hand it out and hope tomorrow will be a brand new day. The truth is these incompetent "mutants" that they created will come back to haunt them someday. A few years later when the client comes back for an update, all that have remained is a few files with some layers turned on and some turned off but look familiar and some missing fonts. There was no sketches or written ideas to be traced because they do not have the habit of sketching or writing. Their computer can only tell about the present but not the past. Finally, they have to hire a hypnotist hoping to bring back the memories from a few years ago when the mutant was created...

Please be considerate to yourself and to others who work with you. A few hours design process and good practice won't hurt and it will make your life much easier for the years to come. Good luck.