20/20 Hindsight

crop-marks-colour-bar-trim-marksAmong the many hats I wear is graphic artist for a local non profit garden. Last year I redesigned their logo and later, I was asked to design a new rack card. I finished the design in October and was instructed to take it to Costco for printing. My co-worker pointed out the pages of the pricing guide where the quantity we needed was circled.

Slowly, the information made its way to the bottom of my inbox, that dark netherlands where decisions need to be made.

Every month I had a new reason not to take the next step. First it was that I didn’t know how to submit the artwork. I didn’t see the pages with explicit instructions and so I dreaded making the phone call to find out. Then, when the same co-worker pointed out the list of exact steps necessary, I fretted about how to convert the colors to CYMK,  add crop marks, bleeds and registration circles.

December raced by with its usual seasonal overload and I justified inactivity on the rack cards with promises to myself that January would be fine. But January was over the top busy with year end taxes to be filed, W-2’s and 1099’s and sales tax.

Pressure was building. The administrator would return from her three month layoff on February 3rd and she would be ready to roll on rack card distribution.

At our first weekly staff meeting together, I announced that I had a problem converting the document to the printer’s format. Possibly, some new software would facilitate the process.

Oh. I have failed to mention my complete anxiety about all of this. I wasn’t just mosying through the months merrily. Every day I thought about the problem. And the problem was always outside of me, beyond my control. Then, when I got permission to purchase that new software, my gig was up. I could procrastinate no more.

That’s when I found the magic menu item on my original software: Pack and Go > Take to a Commercial Printer. Dialog boxes appeared with all of the right questions which I answered confidently. I printed out a proof and was pleased with the results, though I was missing the registration marks.

In a miraculous burst of momentum, I called Costco and they assured me that what I had was fine. So I traveled the hour and a half to personally deliver the file and get a proof from their printer. It was more stunning than I had imagined: full color, glossy and DONE!

As I drove home, in that euphoria that comes from dragon slaying, I realized, with 20/20 hindsight, why I had waited so long: 5,000 copies of my work were about to be distributed widely. What if there was a typo? Or an omission? Or, even worse, what if my design wasn’t quite good enough?

The dragon I slayed had nothing to do with printing processes and everything to do with internal dialogue. Now that’s sobering.

6 Thoughts

  1. I hate when I am controlled by all of those feelings. It is so much easier living life without those monkey’s on your back. Ahhh, liberation!

  2. Ahhhh, the anxiety of technology. I know it well. I once had my computer guy utter, “Now calm down, Carol. We can fix this.” Those sobering words have saved my blood pressure many times over. Your feeling of relief must be awesome. Can’t wait to see that finished product!

    1. Yes, it’s the agony and the ecstasy of technology! I’m thinking that I should put your words “we can fix this” on a post it note on my computer screen as a reminder. Thanks for sharing… I like hearing that I am not alone in this.

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