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Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by Pat Whatley, Nov 2, 2020.

  1. Pat Whatley

    Pat Whatley Major Contributor

    Sep 29, 2003
    Wetumpka, AL
    I have an art file that I was send by a franchisee. This is a simple, three color, printed and cut graphics job on a van. Shouldn't be a big deal, adjust to artwork for the van, print, cut, apply, collect a check. They sent me a pdf, looks easy enough, bring the van in next week, I'll knock the artwork out this afternoon. Simple enough, right?

    Hell no. Big assed international 100 employee branding firm created the artwork. I get a link to a protected file that I have to call in for a password to get to (so they can bill the client). I download the 2gb art file....for vector graphics. Why? Because instead of using a template they used a 72 dpi jpeg of the van...that they then resized to full size so they could overlay the graphics.

    But that's not even the good part. Apparently every time they made a change they did some weird assed thing where they used a clipping mask to hide what they were changing, stuck in the new art, then clipped all of it again.

    But wait, there's more! They did all of this on the same layer.....IT'S 500-700 ITEMS DEEP. I'm not making this up. Each individual letter...on each individual revision...is on it's own layer. Nothing is labeled. Some of it is randomly grouped. If I want to select the phone number and I grab a number 7 on the driver's door it also grabs a letter P off the back. Could that be the end of it? Nope.

    There's a simple pattern in the background...think square boxes. Each box is FOUR PIECES for no reason at all. And there are layers and layers and layers of them. And they are a solid color but instead of just making a square in that color they made a bigger square of that color then used a clipping mask to make it the right size. Then there is a layer on top of that with the same art but with no fill and no stroke. Then another layer of the same thing on top of that. It's the craziest **** I've ever seen.

    Moving on....there's lettering with an outline, and then another outline....but the outlines aren't centered so the whole thing looks jacked up.

    Now let's talk about the rest of the downloaded folder....created by an international design firm for a national franchise. Every element in the wrap is there, in it's own file, so I should be able to just reproduce this sucker pretty quick, right? Nope. Because NONE of the individual files are what is actually on the pdf. They are all some of those previous revision, some stuff off a completely different van, a bunch of icons that have nothing to do with this job, but hey, no big deal, they included the fonts!

    But wait, the fonts are all locked.

    This entire file should be four simple layers, should have taken 10 minutes to set up, and should have been a no brainer.

    I'm not going into details of my conversation with the SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER from an international design agency who didn't know how to undo a clipping mask in Illustrator while she was telling me that it wasn't really her job to create my artwork for me. It apparently wasn't her job to spell check her own damn name on their company website, either.

    A simple google search for "franchise name van" and it pulls up 15 pictures of vans done by sign shops across the country. There aren't two matching pictures in the bunch...a couple of them it's obvious that they took the supplied pdf for a Sprinter van and just printed the whole thing as a wrap....for a Transit van.

    That's it. That's my rant for the day. Peace to y'all.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2020
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  2. shoresigns

    shoresigns Very Active Member

    Nov 1, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    Haha don't even get me started. Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only designer in the world that knows how to set up a file properly. Even the official logo files for corporate giants virtually always have stupidly obvious problems.

    It barely bothers me anymore. I'd be doing nothing but posting here all day if I wanted to vent every time.
  3. SignosaurusRex

    SignosaurusRex Major Contributor

    Mar 7, 2007
    Washington State
    I feel your pain, Pat! :rolleyes:
  4. Johnny Best

    Johnny Best Very Active Member

    Dec 9, 2015
    buffalo ny
    I got confused just reading your post. Been there, done that.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. signage

    signage Major Contributor

    Oct 5, 2005
    Welcome to the 20th century of college educated designers!
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  6. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

    Oct 21, 2016
    Frisco, TX
    Sometimes I get those 500 layered files.. each letter paired with another random object. How on Earth does someone do that?
  7. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

    Dec 27, 2005
    Guam USA
    I got a single 4.5 gig ai file from a customer this weekend that had just a few 5"x6" shelf talker layouts in it.
    When I unmasked there was scratch artwork all over the place outside the artboard. Looks like instead of deleting the unused stuff they just masked it out.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. visual800

    visual800 Very Active Member

    Aug 4, 2010
    montgomery, alabama
    maybe all graphic companies should use flexi to do their designs with and they would cut all that nonsense of masking out! I dont know what they teaching in college classes but someone needs some simplifying
  9. Brett Groves

    Brett Groves New Member

    Dec 5, 2019
    Syracuse, NY
    This was so good I read it out loud at our morning meeting. Cheers man. We feel your pain.
    • Hilarious! Hilarious! x 1
  10. John Miller

    John Miller Member

    Dec 10, 2005
    Branford, Connecticut
    Here's one for you. I was doing sign packages for a nationwide insurance franchise. The blue they spec'd was a 3M translucent color. Anytime that color appeared on signage it had to be that 3M vinyl. If you were doing a 4'x20' sign they expected you to wrap the sign with vinyl. I have a Matthews mixing station and can match any color I choose. I mixed the color and applied some on a piece of the 3M vinyl, you couldn't see a difference. I mailed it to my "project coordinator", his response was nope, if I let you do that then everybody will want to.
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  11. Boudica

    Boudica I'm here for educational purposes.

    Dec 21, 2018
    WA State
    I think it as to do with how they are saving the file - generally a pdf. Even saving as an illustrator file, if you don't know what your doing, you could choose a setting that does that. I used to bang my head against the wall from artwork summited by "professional designers".

    ...Then ONE time I accidentally did it to myself - saving a pdf, then when I opened it in illustrator to make some edits I was faced with the nightmare of a jillion layers.
  12. Eforcer

    Eforcer Sign Up!

    Jul 12, 2019
    Throggs Neck, NY
    These individual designers most likely fudged their resumes. Me personally I started in the copy & print industry. I have personally created 6K + resumes for others. 2 out of 10 knew how they wanted entries. Those other 8 would ask me, what I should edit into their resumes. Well, lying to get a job. I disregarded any individual's resumes that came into where I managed or now in my own business. I want to see what you can do live. This is a classic case of a BS designer. I bet you priced it accordingly to a file that will be simple to do in 10-15 minutes. Best part is going back to client and telling them the file is improperly created for production. And that designer will say YOU don't know what you're doing. I get that a lot. But I have only been in this graphics business since '76. What do I know.

    Sorry for your pain PAT!

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  13. Adam Vreeke

    Adam Vreeke Member

    Nov 12, 2020
    I will come at it from the other way, from the designer standpoint. My background is a 4 year degree with a BFA and a concentration in Graphic Design.

    In a 4 year school they generally do have you take printing classes, but that is normally limited to lithography plate creation in simply doing color separations.

    In a 2 year school, you don't touch on this at all (I have many friends and co-workers that come from a 2 year background). Absolutely everything is digital.

    The big problem with coming from graphic design school is that it does not matter how a logo or layout is created, as long as it is designed well. The school project consists of the Prof. giving you a problem and you have to solve said problem with a design. You work on it, you have a few critiques on it, and then when it comes to present, you print it out on some photopaper, mount it to some foamboard, have your critique, and then either throw it away or save it for your portfolio. Never have I once encountered a design class where the Prof. looks through your file and says well this is setup like a money with a wrench did it.

    I remember my Senior Project having to actually deal with printers and being like WTF are you talking about?! Why would I need color overlapping my 2" sticker, how do I even specify bleed?

    School never teaches designers how to properly clean up a file for printing, contour cutting or anything, because the only thing that matters is how the PDF prints off at the end, which generally gets students to fudge it just enough to finally work. And it was truly eye opening once I got my first print job as a graphic designer to fully realize the huge gap between printing and designing.

    In my belief everyone's lives would be made so much easier if all design students were required to work in a print shop for at least a semester in order to graduate. Unfortunately, in a world of digital that will probably never happen as all that matters is how it looks on screen.
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  14. KatePhillips

    KatePhillips Member

    Jan 22, 2019
    Halifax NS
    Yeah I also graduated with a BFA with a focus in print, specifically - and there was absolutely no design involved whatever. Never touched a computer for my degree except for essays or research, or occassionally printing transparencies to shoot silkscreens. It was very old school (intaglio, litho, woodcut, setting lead type!). However, I taught myself design outside of this space, had years of experience before taking the course.

    So I can totally understand where people leaving school would not have knowledge they need. There are so so many aspects of print/prepress/production/art and an employer wouldn't catch those differences. And I also understand applying above your experience level - I didn't have a design degree when I applied for this job but I still outperformed other "more qualified" candidates and had equal or more knowledge to our student placements from print specific programs - just from teaching myself.

    I think there are so many aspects of design/prepress/print/production that it's difficult to be a jack of all trades, especially the larger the company.
  15. eahicks

    eahicks Magna Cum Laude - School of Hard Knocks

    Apr 17, 2012
    We hired a "designer" some time ago, and I would go over his files after he saved them and proofs were sent. I would find this exact thing in the files.....stray elements, mostly off of the artboard, copy left in behind other elements, oddly grouped objects, clipping on parts that a simple node edit would have taken care of.....I think it's crap these 'design' schools are teaching them when they work in Illustrator. That and various other design problems lead me to letting him go, after 3 days. It was obvious he BS'd us.
  16. Eforcer

    Eforcer Sign Up!

    Jul 12, 2019
    Throggs Neck, NY
    WOW! Now that you posted about art board I just remembered when I did an illustrator file that took forever to save. It was over 2½ Gigs. Turned out I left a copy of the image way down on art board. ALwyas check before saving now.
  17. KatePhillips

    KatePhillips Member

    Jan 22, 2019
    Halifax NS
    I wonder if he knew he was BSing you? Or if he genuinely thought he had the skills?
    I've heard that the person I replaced was just unable to do the work, but I don't think they knew it.
  18. ewded

    ewded Active Member

    Aug 28, 2017
    Probably they just save it as pdf without checking illustrator compatibility, ask for .eps
  19. ColorCrest

    ColorCrest Active Member

    Dec 11, 2017
    So Cal
    Does anyone care to explain their understanding between a graphic artist versus a production artist along with expectations of each?
  20. Adam Vreeke

    Adam Vreeke Member

    Nov 12, 2020
    Graphic Artist:
    - General design ideas
    - Creativity
    - Logo creation
    - Taking customers ideas and getting them into the computer

    Production Artist:
    - Printing / layout knowledge
    - Software / machine knowledge
    - Taking the artists ideas that they got from the customer and turns it into something tangable.

    Basically I view it like this with no hurtful intentions to anyone. Graphic Artists do the fluffy design, putting the rainbows and sparkles onto the design template of lets say a shoe box. While the Production artist goes in and makes sure that the dieline of said shoebox is going to assemble correctly, and utilize the graphic artists design to the fullest extent (make sure those rainbows lineup correctly on the fold).

    That is how I view them.
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