Marketing from the Ground Up – Appreciating the Finer Points of Design Production

Bay Area Design Firm

I’ve logged many hours doing this

A bit of Abra Marketing history, founder Kurt Hoffmann learned graphic design at a St. Louis printing institution, Scholin Brothers Printing.

This experience was an important part of Abra’s foundation.

At Scholin I was fortunate to experience a fascinating time in the printing industry when things were shifting from years of traditional film-oriented production to digital (remember SyQuest disks, anyone?). Those were the days when you’d make a change in Photoshop and then leave to get coffee while you waited for it to process.

Bay Area Print Design

The impressive giant presses.

I helped establish Scholin’s Preflighting department which had a rigorous testing procedure to verify all files were ready for production prior to going to Prepress, saving countless time and headaches for our clients.

Scholin celebrated its 50-year anniversary while I was there, and it was great to be part of that company, learning the printing trade from people who had been there for decades. I learned all about the various presses, from 2-color to the giant 6-color Heidelbergs. There were mixed feelings when got our first digital press. I really enjoyed the hands-on work of the bindery as well. It was also an age when their was heightened expectation of quality.

Bay Area Design Agency

Ah, the Syquest Disk. 44 MB? I receive emails that large now!

Part of my job was quality control. I’d first see all the files and job spec’s when they came in through Preflighting. So, I’d had a very clear understanding of what the client was expecting to receive. This worked perfectly with my second responsibility of checking all jobs before they shipped. These days most people are fine signing off on pdf proof (which could look vastly different from the final printed piece). Scholin had dedicated proofing rooms with special lighting for exact color proofing. People actually came in for press checks.

California Design Agency

This might not be the exact model, but it’s pretty close to what I remember.

While I think a lot of that was overdone and wasteful, there’s something to be said about a heightened commitment to quality production. The carries over to web development even more. What looks okay on the surface can have serious fundamental, unseen flaws that could cause enormous damage to your business – but that’s another article.

I really appreciate the training in graphic design I received at Scholin and am grateful to have learned the various design programs at a time when the technical skills of preparing files had such a high standard. These days, most of the time you can get away with saving to PDF, but there are definitely situations when the higher level of production expertise makes a huge difference. Thank you, Scholin Brothers!