Customer art. It can be a godsend and it can be a nightmare. Sometimes we get a medium or large sized business that has an art department ready with high resolution logos, print ready artwork and actually know what the PMS colors of their logo are. Other times, not so much.
Back when I first started in this business, color copiers were just beginning. One copy had a retail cost of $3 and took about 1 minute to finish. Not a very economical option for full color printing yet. If you wanted full color printing then, you had to get color separations made, film shot and plates made. This process took a while and wasn’t cheap. You usually sent out for the separations and film, but could make the plates in-house.
So in comes this guy from a small business. He wants to get a full color brochure, 11″ x 17″ with full bleeds, folded in half, quantity of 1000. He hands me a disk with the artwork on it, beaming proudly that his daughter, who is going to school to be a designer, created it for him. Even back then I was jaded and just shook my head. I head off to my designer where we put in the disk to see what mess awaits us. Inside was this beautifully laid out full color brochure, even had extra print for the bleeds. BUT! yes, there is a but. She created it in POWERPOINT! Now for those of you who don’t know, Powerpoint is a presentation software program. It is very good at creating slides and handouts. NOT full color brochures. It also does NOT allow you to color separate. And since this was also pre-Acrobat, there were no options left.
I go back out and inform him that the piece looks wonderful, but that I have only 2 options to get this printed for him. One would be to run color copies, and 2 sided 11″ x 17″ (back then) would have ran him about $15 per SHEET. The other option would be to pay to have us redesign the brochure here at a cost of about $400, plus printing costs. Needless to say he thought we were trying to rip him off, didn’t know what we were talking about, etc. We tried explaining the situation to him, but ears were closed. So I sent him off to my biggest competitor and suggested he try there.
He came back to me a week later saying that they laughed at him after saying the same things I did but with a lot less tact and could I please work with him to get this fixed. I sooooo wanted to say that it was now $600 to recreate it…