Sunday, 27 November 2016

Just the tip: Printing

So, this worked quite well last time—so I'll give you just the tip again; you saucy buggers. 

This time, it's printing, the make and break of a good project. Bad printing is the printers fault, but ultimately in the clients eyes it'll be your fault. On top of that, if you haven't got your process right it will be your fault anyway. It's very unlikely when using a good printer, that you'll get anything back other than what you asked for—they are specialists just like yourself, but they can only work with what you've given them.

I once heard the saying "Every good president has an even better woman behind him" in reference to Obama's term in office, and I feel the same can be said for a designer. Every good designer will have a good printer behind them and in the same vane, every printer has good files behind them. So hopefully these tips will help you make sure that you can keep your printer happy.

Tip 1: Start your day right.
Not with a bowl of horribly sweet cereal but in-fact making sure to set up your documents correctly. Are you working with something that will be printed? Make sure it's CMYK, make sure it's 300 DPI and make sure you've got the right dimensions. If possible try creating the work as flexible as possible, using vectors and high quality scans where possible—because if you are making an A5 flyer, it's very possible that could easily become an A2 poster.

Tip 2: Always expect your printer to be busy.
Taught to me by my tutor, he explained that you should always plan for your printer to be busy. You'll never really know how busy they are, but if you give them no time to produce lots of work; you'll either get rubbish work and nothing at all.

Tip 3: Know your onions.
Shallots are the small ones. Understand?
Try your best to understand what you are asking for, as it'll help your printer understand what you need. Things to keep in mind are which process it might need, what type of printing are you asking for, what paper stock would you like to use and even what type of printer will be printing the work. Are you using pantones, can they print pantones? It's impossible for anyone to understand exactly what you need, if you don't know that yourself.

Tip 4: Treat as you would want to be treated.
The printer is providing a service to you, just as you are to someone else—so don't be a prick.
They are quite literally in the same industry boat as yourself, so if you start rocking that boat, shouting uneducated profanity at them because you weren't aware of what you actually needed, then you will also sink with them; getting very damp shins in the process.

Tip 5: Get a copy of the print handbook.
For a steal of under £10, I've found this little booklet stupidly helpful. From being able to quickly reference a large variety of paper sizes to having visual representations and test prints of various processes and pit-falls. It's always on my desk and it's just that lovely little cue I need to make sure I'm doing it correctly.

See you next time sexy pants; love Vincent x

Friday, 18 November 2016

Just the tip: Relationships

'Just the Tip' is a new idea of mine, to give tips on various things with slightly sexual undertones—this should work right?

un-related but mildly fascinating 
For every person out there that feels either slightly scorned that their skills haven't bloomed into what they desired or they have blindly bummed their way into a position because of their choice of drinking hole, the term 'It's not what you know, but who you know' always seems to be strongly factual. For me, though it's in the right ethos it's not quite spot on—it's about relationships, good or bad, in conjunction to your knowledge.

As far as I can tell, you have three types of relationships; Good, Bad and Neutral. These can move around, shift and alter with almost anything you do. Clearly it's not that easy to figure out how these could change, because with all these relationships depend on people and people are bastards. Sexy Bastards! (sometimes) I told you it would get a little sexy.

Good relationships get you good work, well paid work, lots of work or a mix all. Bad relationships get you bad moods, rubbish pay or poor projects. Neutral relationships are those you've either not fully developed, cut off from or are yet to start. If you can figure out which category your clients fit in, you can likely deal with them better and hopefully follow this months 5 tips much greater.

Tip 1: Don't burn your bridges. The client you just said goodbye to could be the worst person on earth, of whom you spit towards, each evening before you sleep, but it's likely his contacts might not be. The woman you just swore at when the email came in could be design's answer to Margret Thatcher but just like ol' Maggie; she'll know other humans and other humans mean other possible clients. (duh)

Tip 2: If you want lots of relationships, make lots of relationships. Trump didn't win the election by staying at home and calling an entire religion rapists on his own! No, he went to find other xenophobes who also believed practically everything that is fed to them.
Meet anyone you can, attend everything you can get to and speak to everyone. I know it's scary, but if you look around the room of that small print event you've attended; I'm pretty sure there aren't any imposing dictators in attendance. Though I hear Kim Jong-Un loves a good Riso show, so watch out.

Tip 3: Loosing a relationship isn't always a bad thing. Don't take a 2-foot stinker on their desk, but if they are driving you to madness, perhaps financially unfollowing them would be the best point of action. Saying goodbye can be just as pleasant as when you said hello.
Once said by a wise, loud, talented and slightly unstable friend of mine"Nothing is more important than your mental health!"

Tip 4: Business relationships and personal relationships are separate things. These two binaries need to be managed, and if you risk to mix them, then understand what you are doing. Your mother will always be your biggest fan, but likely not your best agent. Your friend will always like your work, but might not 'actually' like it at all. Try your best not have sex with Mr. Billpayer or orally-pleasure Mrs. Invoice-Sender. These tips can be totally ignored and still work, but make sure you know the rules before you break them.

Tip 5: Email is alright, phone is better, coffee is best. To have a strong relationship with anyone, you need to actually know who that person is—meeting in person is the champion of all for this, but not always accessible. So if it is the unachievable, emulating a cuppa, in whichever form that takes is the next best thing you can do.
Knock on doors, ring doorbells and be a ruddy bother for the people you want to meet, because whether they like it or not, you'll eventually meet them and that's the only way you'll progress from the stalemate of anonymity.

Assuming I can think of anything else helpful to give tips on next month, and that this isn't sent into the depths of blindly ignored blog posts; you'll likely see another one of these soon!
I hope this was some-what helpful, love Vin x

Saturday, 12 November 2016

A creative conscience—when is work wrong?

For most creatives, they live by a set of rules – no tobacco, no oil, no drugs, no offence to others – but where do we draw that line, of when work becomes wrong?

If you own a company that's otherwise deemed bad by society, you can pretty much count on that most creatives won't take on your work; and even if you find one that might, you'll likely not get anything portfolio worthy. This seems fair enough right? Surely no creative would want to attach their name to making drugs look more desirable—but where do you draw the line between acceptable and evil?

If you open up google maps, you can see a very clear wiggly line, viewable from all digital celestial crafts, defining where Russia starts and Finland finnishes (geddit?) That's fair enough, there is a clear line to show the divide between two binaries – in this case two countries – but who drew that line and if you were down at ground level, could you really identify that line so clearly?

It's all well and good saying that making tobacco desirable would be a disaster for your conscience, but do people really feel the same way about doing the same for alcohol? I'm not convinced they do.
I mean, they both hold roughly the same health benefits as each other; that benefits being less-than-zero.

I couldn't think of a studio in existence that would happily brand a strain of heroin but it's often a dream project to brand some new artisan high-caffine coffee brand, both are technically drugs but one is more acceptable because society views it differently. Heroin isn't a pleasant opiate and certainly hasn't aided many lives in it's time around this planet; but our coffee trade supports poverty exploitation, global warming and a lot of tax dodging so it's not really a saint either—looking at you Starbucks.

If we take Kalashnikov for example, they are the creator of the worlds most famous portable death machine, the AK47. Now like any business on earth they'll have branding and with a global trade to append to, they'll likely want strong, military grade branding at that. Someone has to do it, but that someone is creating the stamp of a murder weapon. Should they see the job as money to pay their bills or should they associate themselves all deaths produced by said items, due to being part of the process of purchase. Is the weapon any less grotesque to brand when seen as an item of liberation or freedom fighting than it does when an item of torture and horror?

The real question I'm asking is, do your morals actually matter? Surely they will to you, but if society saw certain things differently would your morals change, or should you just perceive yourself as a problem solver and make a disconnection between yourself and your final production?

For myself, I'd struggle to work with anything that stood against my morals, just as I think anyone else might—but lets not forget that what we perceive as evil right now, may be a lot more innocent in days to come. Remember cigarettes were once healthy and being gay was previously a choice.

The point I'm posing is, whether it's a pharmaceutical drug or the spoon-heated kind—why is one more acceptable than the other? It's a matter of perspective being upheld in an industry built upon objectivity; it seems just as bizarre as it does common sense.
I'm asking when is work wrong, or even if we should be the ones to judge what is wrong and what is not—are we to provide a service and cut ties with it or should we see ourselves responsible for the sale of every product embellished by our work?

I mean, I can imagine feeling very proud if my work helped a small cereal brand increase it's market share by 15% but I can't say I'd feel the same if it was firearms in the hands of dictators; but realistically would my design be the prime factor for this increase or would it just be part of it, or could I disassociate myself from being part at all? I did help, but I didn't create the product. Is that just pleading ignorance or perhaps a personal mindset—I didn't kill anyone, but I didn't stop it either.

Am I complicate to death, or just the bi-product of a global misjustice? Did I help the liberation front, or did I fill the eyes of someones last snapshot on earth? I only did the logo, right? I'm not sure really.

The question is when is work wrong? Do we hold ourselves accountable for creating desire in an object that would not desire ourselves or should we draw a line to allow the consumer of a product make their own mind up and create a distinction that you are creating the visuals for a person or company rather than desire for it's consumer. I personally stand by my own morals, but it's still a question whether in the world of work, that my morals really matter at all.
Copyright © Vincent Walden Sucks