We made a couple text edits and sent the client a new proof of the mailer. Through the beauty of technology, we watched as they opened the email, clicked on the proof, glanced over the last round of edit requests, and snap – off to press!

But something was bothering me. It was negligible, almost like a shadow that I could see out of the corner of my eye but never quite catch.

quality print design spoke communications

Deadlines. Because of deadlines, I sent the approved art off to press anyway. That was Friday. Today, only a few days later, we’re re-ordering the print run.

In an industry of ever-increasing speed and productivity, time has shrunk. Some things just need to be looked at closer and that takes time. But that’s something many clients don’t have a lot of these days. It’s not budget. It’s not carelessness. It’s just time.

In years past, we had teams with layers upon layers of eyes looking over creative, copywriting, digital proofs, hard copy proofs, edits, re-proofing, press checks, and more. Those stages are still all there, but now, more often than not, the layers are managed by a few or even just one person. It creates a great connection between us small to medium sized agencies and our clients, but with tighter deadlines and fewer eyes on the project, the chances of an error (or something just being “off,”) increases exponentially.

That’s what happened Friday. Sure, the client saw every proof. They even made copy edits, saw 3-4 rounds of PDF proofs, and approved a final to go to press. But I was seeing something the client didn’t. In the heat of the moment, I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I knew it was there. When the final mailers came back, we opened the box and it slapped me right upside the head.

There it was, an ever-so-slight greenish cast in the shadow details of the product shot. I saw it. I knew it. It just didn’t register. I’d improperly color corrected the photo for press. Digitally, viewed in RGB, the color profile was perfect – smooth tone, beautiful detail, lights, darks, everything. But when converted to CMYK for press, a slight cyan-to-yellow shift happened and, because we were proofing everything digitally, it was never caught.

Even with deadlines being what they are, I decided not to let the mailers go out today. Instead, I re-color corrected the photo and re-proofed the mailer using the CMYK profile.

While the client approved the proof and many would wash their hands of the project from there, that’s just not how we choose to do business. It was my responsibility to quality check at all levels before sending the project out for printing. If we were to deliver the mailers to the client with the green cast, they may or may not have noticed. But I’d know.

We re-ordered the print run, added a RUSH to the delivery, and will hit the deadline with a day to spare. Costs and crow eaten.

Time may have shrunk, but attention to quality shouldn’t.

For over two decades, the SPOKE Communications team has been providing clients with marketing communications strategies, quality print graphics, video production, website design, and more. With an endless commitment to quality and a focus on the details that make businesses stand out in the marketplace, SPOKE can be your partner in business communications.

Please contact us today to get started on your next strategic communications program.

Keep Cooking!
Andrew B. Clark
The Brand Chef

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