Consider this fair warning – this is a true rant. Make of it what you will…
We’ve all had this customer. You know…the well-educated, competent professional person who can figure out the basics of how to move around in their desktop publishing software, and then assumes that’s all there is to unleashing the creative genius within, and forever after doing all their own marketing materials. After all…how hard can it be? I’m a (pick one) lawyer, doctor, professor, physicist, composer, engineer, inventor, and on and on. And the obvious…I’m smarter than most people I know, so again…how hard can this be?
I walked in the shop this morning to see a stack of the ugliest brochures that have rolled out our door in a long, long time. Looking through one as it came off the folder, I asked if the customer had approved a hard copy proof , and was assured that she had. (This from the bindery operator who grinned and rolled his eyes as he watched my face.) It was obvious without even asking that the customer had created the file, so I didn’t bother.
The piece was an 8.5 x 11 information piece to explain to patients what a particular certification in the medical field entails, and why the person who attains that certification on top of their years of higher education can be trusted with virtually every aspect of your health care. The highly experienced and well-educated certificant included several photos showing her personal activities in the practice, laid it out herself, and generally had a high old time playing designer in her MS Publisher program.
So what was wrong with it? Well, if you’re in the industry, you can probably tell me without having seen it. Fuzzy photos with funky color, poor color choices with bad contrast, painfully awful typography, clumsy layout, a BLEED, no titles, no subtitles, and to top it all off, this 6-panel brochure was a Z-fold. Let me tell you – a Z-fold brochure with no title is one of the more confusing pieces of communication you’ll ever pick up. You can’t tell the front from the back, and with all the other layout sins in this one, you don’t CARE – because you don’t want to subject yourself to looking at it long enough to figure it out!
For a very reasonable amount of money (a lot less than I have spent on dental work this year…) you could have had a work of art, created by educated, certified professionals. What a concept… Leave the expensive toolz to those who are trained in using them.
Here’s my pledge: I will not operate on your body, extract your tooth, defend you in court, launch your space ship or write your text book. In return, I ask that you refrain from surgically destroying or otherwise circumventing all known rules of design, color, layout and typography. It makes my shop look bad, when all we did was output what you created.
Seems simple enough, don’t you think??
Rant over. For now…