Monday, June 8, 2009


This morning a good friend of mine, who owns a bath and body company, called me for advice regarding an issue with the production of the labels for her products. When she first approached her vendor for an estimate, she provided physical samples of her product (other labels, printed by a different vendor) that were the exact size and material she wanted quoted. Her labels have a rounded corner, which the vendor failed to notice was a different size than the die (shaping tool/machinery) they use. Today, in the midst of proofing her labels, her vendor told her the die size they use for rounded corners (.125”) is the “industry standard“ and if she wants to maintain the size on the rounded corners she submitted, she’ll have to pay an additional $400 to have a new die created. What? Ugh. She already paid a designer to adjust the size of the corners and now, she ‘s stuck in a tough spot. Is it the vendor’s fault for not noticing and not mentioning the difference to her during the estimating process? Is there anything she could have done to prevent this?

CONSIDER THIS… when estimating projects that require die cuts (or rounded corners). An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure in these situations. The following suggestions also help to keep the costs down:

Ask your vendor if they handle die cutting and conversion in-house or if they outsource it. If they handle it in-house:
1) Request a full-sized, digital die line file from your vendor.
2) Measure it.
3) Transfer the die line to your design file and use as your guide for design.
4) Print it.
5) Create a mock up.
6) Test it.

If they are outsourcing the die cutting or conversion:
1) Ask them to double check their vendor’s current library of dies and ask them to send you the most recent version of that die line.
2) Then, follow steps 1-6 above.

We ran into a similar issue with our envelopes during the Murphy’s Law project. Our print vendor provided us with the last die he was given by their envelope converter. When we went to print the envelope, the converter had updated their dies. The new file was slightly different than the file we received. Ultimately, we had to adjust the design to fit the new die. A luxury we had but one my friend does not.

Something as simple as the size of a rounded corner, or the angle of an envelope flap, can have a big impact on the final outcome of the image. For every element and every design decision that’s made, pay close attention, ask questions of your vendor, and go into every job filled with as much knowledge as possible. Hopefully, by doing so, you can avoid extra costs and the pitfalls of missed details.

No comments:

Post a Comment