|"It looks fine on my monitor."|
"It looks fine on my monitor" are the favorite words of monitor lizards. Our Publishing Word of the Day describes designers hired for their digital-media chops who find themselves creating work for an unfamiliar medium, print.
These reptiles don't understand that what appears on their screens is a somewhat idealized version of what will happen in print. They don't realize that, without a few simple precautions, that beautiful page they created could turn to disaster.
I'm sure the infographic excerpted here from a section front of The Wall Street Journal, with a blurry "France" and nearly illegible "Germany," looked stunning on the designer's Mac. But the mess that resulted should have been no surprise: Small "knockout" (white) type atop a multi-color background is a recipe for disaster.
|Blurry "knockout" type in The Wall Street Journal|
You can eventually get them to understand that, because the printing and trimming of pages are somewhat imprecise, there are industry standards and a few basic tricks they have to keep in mind.
But now the monitor lizards have invaded the advertising business. These poisonous reptiles seem to have taken over the entire design and production functions at some small and even medium-sized ad agencies. Clients are paying these agencies good money to do something they have no clue how to do -- create magazine ads.
I find myself increasingly having to reject ads for the most basic of problems -- like PMS colors in what's supposed to be a four-color ad, lack of bleed, and failure to include crop marks. Sometimes it's just carelessness, but often I have to explain some real Print 101 concepts to the agency personnel so that they can fix the ad.
And sometimes we just say, "Screw it. We'll add the crop marks ourselves."
Other articles in which Mr. Tree has gotten his print geek on include:
- Here's Why We Avoid Four-Color Body Type: Once again, The Wall Street Journal, which tries to do magazine-style design with an inferior printing process on cheap paper, serves as a poster child for the dangers of ignoring industry standards.
- Metallics and Foil and Emblossing, Oh My!: In which Mr. Tree gets a bad case of PMS envy, another entry in our Publishing Word of the Day series.
- 12 Telltale Signs That You Are A Printing Geek