B is for Blueline…

I once delivered a blueline to a client and he mentioned upon my arrival that he smelled Amaretto. I was mortified. Was he insinuating that I smelled like liquor? He put his nose to the proof I had just presented to him  and said “ahhh, it’s that blueline paper.” Well thank goodness I thought. Many clients over the years have mentioned the odd smell of the blueline, but only this one had likened it to liquor.

I smile when I still see that technical word used in a request for proposal. I don’t know a print shop around Dallas that still uses camera equipment and utilizes exposures of light to “burn a blueline.” That technology was replaced when film was replaced with direct-to-plate technology.

Are we better off with the current replacement…the low rez digital proof? It serves the same purpose as the blueline which is to show placement of images, type & line breaks, and the general overall placement of everything on the page. It’s a final guide for a client to check that the printer, while imposing the job for press has not made an error, and that the client and/or designer has not made an error along the way.  That proof should also represent the way the final piece is to be finished out. What I mean is… if it is to 3-hole drill, is the proof drilled? And, if it is, are you checking that the holes are not disrupting the copy in any way? You’d be amazed at how many printed pieces get to the bindery only to show that there is live copy being punched out by the holes. Nobody will be happy with that…not the printer, the client or the ultimate reader. The low-rez proof, like the blueline of the past should incorporate all the finishing processes. If it can’t be duplicated then an FPO should at least be in position to represent the process to come.

Getting back to basics after the maddening speed of the past few years requires us to slow down a little, process what we are looking at and be mindful of the ultimate goal; to provide the client with an accurately printed piece. Well, and to get paid too.

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2 thoughts on “B is for Blueline…

  1. Well said! Take that a little further and what would happen if you showed art boards with acetate overlays!

    Anyone new to graphics should be introduced to the beginning technologies to better appreciate and utilize the new technologies.

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