WCS Brochure

Brochure front and back exterior (top), and interior
spread (bottom). Click for larger image.

I used to a lot of print design in the 90's - brochures and booklets, full stationery systems (letterhead, envelope, and business card), ads for newspapers and magazines, book covers, DVD and CD packaging, flyers, posters and more. However, over the past ten years, that work has declined significantly - and the print pieces I do create these days are often handed over to the client for production.

I guess you can owe this decline to a couple factors. First, I trust you may have heard of the Internet. Many of the business I develop logos for these days are almost completely web-based - they still need business cards (I always use VistaPrint these days), but it's rarely worth their time to create offset-printed envelopes (if anything, they print their own labels) or letterhead (a Word template almost always suffices). Aside from those essentials, and some more straightforward business forms and documents (estimates, invoices, even fax cover pages!), these clients don't need much in terms of printing in the 2000's. For more specialty pieces, like display materials (large posters, banners, table tents) they're more than likely to hand the project over to a vendor who may have an in-house design department (or even a single designer) who can put together a design - and then it gets printed or produced under the same room. Who can argue with that kind of convenience? Not I. And small businesses are much more likely to advertise online than in more expensive print publications with longer lead times, less focused audiences and increased fees. What I said in 1993 still holds true: "The Internet is Good." (I never really said that in '93 - '96, maybe, but not '95).

The other factor is home-based printing. Up until the early 90's, consumer-grade printers either really sucked, or they were really expensive - sometimes both. But nowadays, you can get a more than decent inkjet, LED or laser printer for your home business for a reasonable amount of money, and produce your own printed materials in quantities too small for a commercial printer. Even brochures, booklets, and other material requiring specialty finishing (like folding, trimming, or binding) is achievable. If I were a teenager now, I'd have a publishing empire going full speed.

Detail from interior spread. Do you wish the text was larger, so
you could read it? If so, then you are a nerd.

Where am I going with this? The piece here, for a water consulting firm named WCS, was created about four or five years ago, when I was still getting a decent trickle of print work. As is often the case, the client did not have an unlimited budget, so they asked for a two-color piece. I designed the piece in Adobe InDesign, selecting a fairly straight blue spot color, which I used along with black. Initially I tried making the photos into duotones, which means they're created using a percentage of black and the spot blue - but (from what I remember) I was reminded of the crappy, cheap textbook photos of my youth, and so I went with all-blue photos - which are called "monotones", by the way - as if you couldn't have guessed that.

I didn't assist with the printing of the final piece - the client went through a few rounds of text changes (quite a few, as I recall), but once it was finalized, I handed over my InDesign files, as well as a .pdf, and they - I assume - took it from there. This was another of those nebulous projects where I never hear from the client again after my role is complete - I can only assume the client, or one of their vendors, went off and printed the final brochures. I hope they didn't get nutty with my source files and switch the photos back to duotones - that would hurt my feelings.

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