A matter of communication

Print isn’t dead by any means.

Integrated really means integrated.

You cannot call yourself an integrated agency if all you do is web or email work. You need to know about ‘traditional’ media too.

And all methods of communication have conventions. You learn and understand those basics, so that everyone knows what’s expected and nothing goes wrong.

Let me give you a short but what I thought was rather telling example.

Client asks if I can do a quick ad for them and forwards the details for the ad from the publication it is due to go in.

The dimensions are 130 x 200mm and come from the ad sales department. But something doesn’t seem quite right about them, because the client has sent me an ad from the previous year and the proportions are the opposite way round.

The opposite way round from what you ask?

Well, anything to do with print was and is always spec’d in the same format. It’s always depth first, then width. So the ad from the previous year is 200 deep by 130 wide but the spec for this year is (allegedly) 130 deep by 200 wide.

Perhaps the format has changed?

So I email the publication with the following:

Could I just check that this is landscape – Dimensions: 130mm x 200mm?

And to be completely sure I add:

Convention dictates depth first, then width…

“Yes that’s correct,” they reply.

Yup, I’m finicky sometimes so just to be sure I send them last year’s ad and say – like this then? Yes, they say.

“But that’s portrait, not landscape,” I reply. “Your technical specifications tell me to supply it the other way round!”

“Oh, does it? Sorry,” is the response.

Knowing how a design document is set up is as important as knowing about CMYK versus RGB colour specs. And it certainly saves an awful lot of time if you have got that experience – and know what questions to ask.

Now I don’t want to appear like advertising’s Ed Reardon (well only a teensy bit if you insist) but it does illustrate a point that everyone needs to know and understand the basics of whatever language they are being asked to communicate in.

In the end, there’s a vast difference between how a printer wants to receive your beautifully crafted files and how a media owner expects them.

Only then are you truly ‘integrated’.

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3 Responses to “A matter of communication”

  1. Rob P says:

    Oh how true.

    Now you well know how much I loathe anything from the domain of Apple, but am I not right in thinking that sizes on the Mac are W x D or is my Ed Reardon-like memory failing me?

  2. Rob – it may well be – to be honest I cannot answer that question… but the point remains that if you are spec’ing something for Language A don’t do it in Language B ;>)

  3. Ed says:

    Interesting. In my head, from a web perspective, and also from a “general” perspective, I would read 130 x 200 to be 130 wide, and 200 high (ie depth).

    Probably goes back to learning to map read – eastings, then northings.