...and frankly, I'm in mind of a piss-poor mood, if you'll pardon the expression.
Why am I in such a bad mood? Probably a bit of a carry-over from yesterday. Today at work, I felt even more unappreciated than I had the day before. Why? I don't know... I can't point to any thing in particular... maybe it's just that the day was full of our customers asking for the stupidest changes on their ads...
...like sending a proof back saying, "Make text left justified, not right justified!" -- naturally, the previous proof explicity instructed us to make the text right justified. If only people would stop using terms like "left justified" or "right justified" when they just plain mean JUSTIFIED!
...or the half-dozen or so customers who sent proofs back today telling us they wanted to make changes on their ad... which would've been one thing if we had built their ad, and could make edits easily... but these customers had all sent in PDF files (which are a pain in the butt to edit, especially when it's a text edit, and it (a) causes a reflow of text that we have to manually correct and/or (b) the customer subset the fonts in their PDF file, so I have to manually embed a complete version of the font in order to make the text edits. Of course, I'd imagine nobody reading this has any idea at all what I'm talking about here.
So... since I'm in a crappy mood anyway, I may as well throw this out here, where nobody will care but me:
Jon's Really, Really Important Advice for Businesses Who Want to Place An Advertisement in a Newspaper or Other Publication:
Part One: Someone in our company, such as yourself, is creating the ad and emailing, FTPing or burning it onto a disc
1. If you're creating your ad in Microsoft Publisher or Word or pretty much anything but InDesign, PageMaker, Quark, Illustrator, or Photoshop, don't bother sending your file to the sales rep (or whoever your contact at the publication is) in that native format. At best, the people at the publication will have to try to pull pieces out of the file and rebuild the advertisement from scratch anyway. At worst, the people who are handed your file to work on will either A. Laugh at your peurile efforts to create an electronic file, or B. Send it back saying, "We can't accept this file format."
2. If you still insist on creating your own ad in one of these other programs other than InDesign, PageMaker, Quark, Illustrator, or Photoshop, I'm guessing you're using a Windows computer, and therefore need to find some way of creating a PDF file from your document. I think there's a free download from Adobe that you can use as a virtual printer, that will "print" to a PDF file.
3. Make sure that all photos and graphics that are not vector graphics are at least 300 dots per inch... and don't enlarge them on your layout! If the publication is a magazine, you may need up to 600 dpi. Don't worry about the size of the file you'll create -- the people who have to handle your file can shrink it if they need to.
4. Don't use RGB colors. ONLY use CMYK colors or Pantone colors.
5. Don't surf the web for photos or other graphics to include in your ad, unless you're going to a web page that is providing this stuff either free or for a fee. That photo of a chimpanzee reading a book while drinking a beer may be just what you want for your ad, but if that photo belongs to someone, and you use it without their permission, that's stealing.
6. Keep the fonts you use to a minimum... and don't make any text smaller than 6 point unless you don't want anyone to read it.
7. Make ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY CERTAIN BEFORE YOU SEND YOUR AD that it is 100% the way you want it to look, so nothing has to be changed (this usually would mean an extra charge if you ask for it).
8. (this is the most important thing) Before you create an ad on your own, talk to your contact at the publication and ask them about ad sizes and formats. If you pay for a space that's 3.764 by 4 inches, you may as well create your ad at that size... otherwise it may well get morphed to fit the space... and if you create an ad that's 3 inches by 6 inches for that aforementioned space, your ad will just look freaking weird.
Part the Second: Hiring someone else to create your ad:
1. Make sure that the person you're hiring actually is a professional designer. Does that sound way too obvious? Well, there are a lot of people out there who think they're graphic designers that, in my not-so-humble opinion, have no business calling themself that. They should mention using some of that preferred software I mentioned above.
2. Don't wait until the day before you need your ad sent to the printer before you have the designer start on it. No matter how long you think it will need, it will probably take longer. My advice? The sooner you can get it started, the better... and then you'll have all the time in the world to make all the changes that won't occur to you until you've seen the next proof (and the one after that, and the one after that).
(is anyone still reading this at this point?)
3. Again, make sure that all the specs have been confirmed with the printer, and that you pass that along to the designer.
4. Never send your only copy of a file to the printer. If you're sending in a disc, make sure your designer gives you two copies.
5. Whenever possible, have the designer provide a PDF file to send to the printer.
6. I should've mentioned this in part one, too -- before you send a PDF file to the printer, LOOK AT IT!!!!! Zoom in on the pictures, print it out, do whatever you have to do to make sure that it's correct. We have one customer that, every quarter, sends in their parks and rec brochure (a different one than the one I build -- different parks and rec group) as a PDF, and every time, we have to contact them after we look at it and have them re-do the PDF file because their graphics are all 72 DPI.
OK, that's enough ranting for now... next time I'm on this kick, I'll talk about dealing with ads that are being built at the publisher of the magazine or newspaper... assuming I feel like talking about it again!
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