Obsessive. Compulsive. Designer.

By Carl Opinion No Comments on Obsessive. Compulsive. Designer.

I’m an obsessive, compulsive person.

But, just so you know, I don’t have OCD.

As a graphic designer/brand designer, part of my job is to understand and get to know our clients. To help them formulate a brief. Then I have to come up with ideas, concepts, designs. Then refine those ideas into a final solution. And create final, production ready artwork.

Whether that be artwork for a brochure or a folder. Or the brand identity. Could be for a website. Or a banner stand.

Is the kerning looking correct on that logotype. Does the symbol line up with the typography? Does the space between the symbol and typography look perfect? Does the strapline ‘lockup’ to the logotype in a symmetrical manner? And is the logo for use in a single colour? Or on a four-colour brochure? (Don’t ever ask me to do something ‘in full-colour’, that’ll get me irritated!). Is the file to be used on screen?

So everything needs to be created in CMYK (that’s four colour process), Pantone colours (that’s single, spot colour), and in RGB for on screen use. Oh, and your web developers will also require the HEX codes and quite possibly the LAB references. Not forgetting the sign writers who’ll probably ask you for a RAL reference, a Dulux swatch, or these days the closest match in Farrow & Ball paint..! And your client won’t understand why the colours look different on their laptop, but on their smartphone it looks fine, but on their colleague’s desktop PC the colours are too dark..! Valium, please.

Phew. And that’s just the logo files.

We then get to artwork for things like brochures, folders, leaflets. Packaging boxes. Labels. Everything has to line up to the nnntthhhh of a fraction of a millimetre. Or a point. Or a pixel. I’m a millimetre fan, myself. Has every outer edge got a minimum of 3mm bleed (preferably 6mm bleed)? Make sure your image boxes aren’t filled with colour. Ideally if sending the artwork as a high resolution PDF, convert all fonts to outline. But make sure you keep the original file in case of any further changes. And check all the line breaks – do they look symmetrical and do they flow properly? Any widows or orphans in there? And what about any ligatures? Do they look ok? And please don’t get me started on ‘Overprint fill’… Or ‘grid systems’…

That’s just some of what creating artwork and production-ready files entails.

And everything has to be checked. Checked. Checked. And checked again and again. And that’s all before the files are sent out, before we receive a printer’s proof – which again has to be checked. Checked. And checked.

So what if I have to lock my front door three times, check to see if my phone, keys and wallet are in the correct pocket. Again three times. Or pressing the remote lock on my car key three times. And, yes, everything in my life has to line up at 90º or 180º angles.

Just remember, I don’t have OCD. I’m just doing my job.

I’m an obsessive, compulsive designer.

PS. I don’t mean to offend anyone with OCD or anyone with any other kind of compulsive trait to their personality. Myself included.

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