L is for learning curve

It was inevitable that computers would eventually replace all conventional layout and design on art boards. The learning curves we endured as an industry were astounding. Was there…is there, another industry that had to adapt so completely and so quickly? I can’t think of any. Besides the desktop publishing software and hardware, there were also a baffling amount of printers, storage units and other ancillary items that designers and printers had to invest in to keep up with the growth.

I recall loosing work from a designer after I couldn’t make our proofs look like the printed sample his desktop printer produced. He had gotten approval from his client based on mock-ups printed from his desktop printer. Once he completed his work and passed the files onto me, I couldn’t replicate the same color and look from his files in our color controlled and calibrated environment. I imagine this same scenario has happened to more than one designer, client and printer.

Occasionally I still see signs of frustration, finger-pointing and angst over color inconsistencies from one computer system to another. Now, not only do we deal with multiple computers and platforms,  but the increasing use of digital technology has provided us with additional challenges to maintain color consistencies. This has not always been successful and most clients have allowed for the differences.

The newest item in our shop requiring training is our brand new HP Indigo digital offset press. Oh, did you notice the word offset included in the same sentence with digital? Our new HP Indigo actually utilizes plates and blankets. We’re told the learning curve for this press is minimal due to its color replication when comparing to offset. We’re running comparisons now and from what I’ve seen so far…this “offset girl” is impressed.

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