Dictating vs Partnerships

A great relationship can change quickly and its more important to have the difficult conversations than ignoring it.

One of our longterm clients has a particularly challenging orange for their brand color. CMYK print processes have proven to be a challenge for achieving this particular orange. Over the years, we built a good relationship with our print supplier. The printer used their expertise to tweak the color profile on the press; they were willing to work with us when many other printers would not.

For three years, including business stationery, we printed offset with a PMS color. Now the client hires a new marketing director. The customer demands that the business cards be digitally printed; the assumptions being digital printing was cost-effective. They also wanted to switch the paper. Changing one element has it’s own risk, changing two doubles it. Sadly, the client did not believe these changes were significant and even felt no one would notice or care.

The new batch of business cards arrives at their headquarters. Immediately, the president calls me grumbling about the card quality. I explain the changes and express my understanding of value and quality. Instead of directing, we began collaborating again.

With some experimentation, we successfully idenitfied a printer that included digital technology that could produce the cards on the thicker, higher quality paper, and achieve the brand’s unique orange.

The lesson, drive a dialogue even if its an awkward conversation. Also, suppliers are partners, and the right supplier welcomes a challange and collaborates with the agency to enable the right technology to solve the problem.

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