Bringing Back Quality in 2010

Jul 19, 2010

einstein11.gif I like smart clients. Love ‘em, really. They realize the extent of their own skills and experience, and that’s the reason they arrange skilled contractors to help with their projects. It saves them lots of time and can save big headaches learning things the hard way, and can avoid disappointing their own client (which can also be expensive when they go away). On top of that, smart clients know they can save money, too, having things done right the first time, and can even add a markup if they want. Smart clients get to make it home for dinner.

A professional graphic designer might look at a printed piece and see right away when there are things wrong with it. Other folks, too, know it right away; it might not be conscious, and they might not know why, but he or she just knows: this piece doesn’t look so great. The average person seeing the printed piece may just want to move on after a quick glance.

I also see the same thing in my own line of work. I prepare supplied images in Photoshop, getting them ready to look their best on press. I admit I see plenty of beautiful print work out these days, usually those high-end female-oriented catalogs on uncoated paper. At the same time, much of the work I see now looks like it’s been done by unskilled, inexperienced folks, not that they didn’t probably spend an awful lot of time and sweat over much of it, and in a lot of cases, they were probably charging their client a higher hourly rate than a real pro would have. It’s even worse when you look at what they probably got done (and didn’t get done) in a given hour. These offending images may have been prepared for press by either a photographer, a graphic designer, or at the printing company.

“An engineer is someone who can do for a dime, what any fool can do for a dollar”

Maryland photographer Larry Sherer at High Impact Photography sees the same trend in his product photography business, too. (see highimpactphoto.blogspot…)
He notes more and more poorly designed print work, also mentioning that many people are now shooting their own “conference table” product shots. And it shows. All due to cost-cutting attempts and new easy-to-use design software and digital cameras.

Why spend lots of valuable time trying to learn something that you may not even use very often, when you could be using that same time for marketing and other things that are not getting done on your to-do list? Don’t get me wrong; I’m sort of a D.I.Y. person myself (as you might note looking at my Colorprep site) but only when the stakes are low. I wouldn’t represent myself in a court case or start felling that big old maple tree next to my house.

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Now that I think about it, I guess we can’t really complain too much about rampant poor quality because it’s that awful stuff that makes a pro’s work, and those smart clients, really stand out.