Author Topic: Small victories  (Read 4194 times)

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Small victories
« Reply #25 on: October 07, 2020, 04:15:24 pm »
I believe everyone in the publishing world has made the same mistake previously, mostly because you expect computers to figure that shit out and really they're just reporting back to their AI overlords and then having a big laugh at our expense. Stupid humans.

Admittedly, things are a lot less pedantic these days. I remember when typesetters would get sniffy about everything and anything. The downside is that occasionally get interesting output and they shrug. We printed what you sent, boss. But everyone is green!

If I recall there's an option in the standard InDesign preflight to set a custom max ink coverage (as some printers get iffy, and no one wants soggy paper gumming up their rollers).
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citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: Small victories
« Reply #26 on: October 07, 2020, 04:32:21 pm »
I believe everyone in the publishing world has made the same mistake previously, mostly because you expect computers to figure that shit out and really they're just reporting back to their AI overlords and then having a big laugh at our expense. Stupid humans.

In my defence, it's not really my job to know this kind of shit, but whenever I ask the production manager or art director about this, they just shrug...  :facepalm:

Quote
If I recall there's an option in the standard InDesign preflight to set a custom max ink coverage

There may have been once, but not now. I expect they removed it because it was too useful. That seems to be the way they work - every new release of Indesign seems to have [that feature I liked] taken out.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Small victories
« Reply #27 on: October 07, 2020, 04:54:48 pm »
Since a freak incident with the mothership's main drive plasma torus incinerated our design team and the command deck decided to outsource everything (but didn't provide a budget), I'm a one-man and a two-cat shop, so I don't have to use InDesign anymore, I use Affinity Publisher (which is nicer, but if you're tied into a particular production workflow, then your hands are tied).

Technically, I shouldn't be doing any of this. As I was everyone's favoured Thought Leader, senior management decided to capitalize on this by 'promoting' me from the job they said I was good at to one that I'm demonstrably not good at (Product Strategy, ha). The theory is that I send stuff to marketing, but everything they do involves Powerpoint and fucked-up picture aspect ratios. And documents where the text isn't aligned to baseline grids, columns aren't balanced, nothing is placed right, and oh god, it makes me cry. So I redo it and everything says 'gosh, that's so much better than marketing do.'

It also means my inbox fills up with requests to update documents, presentations, and infographics from years ago and requests that I do presentations and talks and not send the dull people. Alas, no more Ninja Cat, Bad Alice or Taylor Swift vs Hitler. Say hello to the relentless rat-a-tat-tat of bullet points.

This might, of course, explain why I'm in banished to the product gulag. I'm hoping to be demoted.
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citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: Small victories
« Reply #28 on: October 07, 2020, 05:42:42 pm »
Your marketing department sounds scarily similar to ours.

- No appreciation that design is a skilled job.
- No appreciation that our designer is employed to produce our content, and excuse me but there are implications if you're giving her extra jobs to do, especially when she barely has time to do the stuff she is actually paid for out of our budget. But if she says no, she's deemed to be being 'difficult'. >:(
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Small victories
« Reply #29 on: October 07, 2020, 06:09:55 pm »
I think, alas, that's all marketing departments. No one values design, they just assume that web 'designers' can do it (no, knowing CSS isn't design). UX isn't design. Being able to open Powerpoint isn't a design skill. Pages in print and online should look good. They should be balanced, have white space and not be too dense, direct the readers' attention, they should flow, have a narrative structure. Merely using the right colours and fonts is not design.

It doesn't help that the person who does a lot of our presentations sounds like she's just run 10 city blocks, necked an industrial canister of Red Bull, and taken a lungful of helium before she starts. Her first two dozen words come out simultaneously and the rest then flutter around like startled birds.
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Re: Small victories
« Reply #30 on: October 07, 2020, 06:18:49 pm »
It doesn't help that the person who does a lot of our presentations sounds like she's just run 10 city blocks, necked an industrial canister of Red Bull, and taken a lungful of helium before she starts. Her first two dozen words come out simultaneously and the rest then flutter around like startled birds.
Wonderful image!  :D
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ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: Small victories
« Reply #31 on: October 07, 2020, 10:38:30 pm »
Your marketing department sounds scarily similar to ours.

- No appreciation that design is a skilled job.
- No appreciation that our designer is employed to produce our content, and excuse me but there are implications if you're giving her extra jobs to do, especially when she barely has time to do the stuff she is actually paid for out of our budget. But if she says no, she's deemed to be being 'difficult'. >:(

I am technical, in that people come to me and ask how do I do XXX which is normally some kind of specific calculation method buried in the library of my head, or an esoteric interpretation of regulations (last night it was regulatory aspects of pet cremation!)

I produce a number, or numbers or an opinion, i can write the right stuff, with a narrative that flows, but I don't do visual appeal (ask my wife)

I have no illusion that I can present why and how those numbers appear, other than to fellow engineers. That's  where I bring in our design team or junior  consultants who are in the main of the snowflake generation to make my number look swanky.
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Small victories
« Reply #32 on: October 08, 2020, 09:43:14 am »
The problem is that in many large businesses, anything that can't be tied to revenue is seen as a cost. And we know what happens to costs.

I like pictures because I'm simple so have some empathy with other simples, but to be fair taking complex ideas and turning them into something that someone can just look at and say 'ah!' is a skill. Equally so is making it interesting and approachable.

Honestly, just turning this shit into bullet points and spraying them over slides like they were caught in the middle of a relationship spat between Bonnie and Clyde doesn't help. But it's a lot cheaper. The irony of my career is that the worse I am at a job, the more they pay me.
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citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: Small victories
« Reply #33 on: October 08, 2020, 10:03:54 am »
That’s not the Peter principle, is it? I think that’s something slightly different.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

Re: Small victories
« Reply #34 on: October 08, 2020, 10:39:49 am »
I have a very low opinion of graphical designers, based on experience. Every company that I've worked for where they had a designer for layouts and documents made a complete pig's ear of setting standards.
Give them a single document and they could make it look pretty.

Ask them to set standards and they were a complete Dido (as in Dido Harding). Digression; we should flood the net with content using that term; "He made a complete and utter Dido of it." "Less useful than a Dido." etc

Screw ups like writing a layout standard document that specified a colour palette for graphics - then producing graphics not using that palette. Exporting their graphics and not noticing the export had converted a monobloc RGB fill to something completely different. Setting a 'company standard font' that isn't available on Windows PCs.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Small victories
« Reply #35 on: October 08, 2020, 10:57:52 am »
Well, like any job, the people doing it aren't equal. I'd suggest that if they can't follow their own guidelines, they're just crap.

We used to have a great team then they got replaced with a shit team. Well, they were mostly new graduates from one of those courses that keep minor higher education institutions in business. No experience or eye for design, and like all people that age they wanted to be working on exciting publications and the web and not dull business documents. Of course, everyone thinking they were shit made the business decision to outsource design all the easier*, no one was going to fight to keep them.

There's also the tyranny of web designers who aren't designers, they just know about web pages, CMS, document models, and CSS etc. Which are useful skills, but aren't design. Five minutes on the internet should remind anyone of this.

*this is how it works, isn't it? Downsize or remove the team of good, experienced people, replace them with someone cheaper who does a crap job, and declare a fait accompli.
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Mr Larrington

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Re: Small victories
« Reply #36 on: October 08, 2020, 11:09:31 am »
Ask them to set standards and they were a complete Dido (as in Dido Harding). Digression; we should flood the net with content using that term; "He made a complete and utter Dido of it." "Less useful than a Dido." etc

El Reg has taken to calling La Harding Queen Of Carnage.
External Transparent Wall Inspection Operative & Mayor of Mortagne-au-Perche
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Re: Small victories
« Reply #37 on: October 08, 2020, 11:12:11 am »
Well, like any job, the people doing it aren't equal. I'd suggest that if they can't follow their own guidelines, they're just crap.

We used to have a great team then they got replaced with a shit team. Well, they were mostly new graduates from one of those courses that keep minor higher education institutions in business. No experience or eye for design, and like all people that age they wanted to be working on exciting publications and the web and not dull business documents. Of course, everyone thinking they were shit made the business decision to outsource design all the easier*, no one was going to fight to keep them.

There's also the tyranny of web designers who aren't designers, they just know about web pages, CMS, document models, and CSS etc. Which are useful skills, but aren't design. Five minutes on the internet should remind anyone of this.

*this is how it works, isn't it? Downsize or remove the team of good, experienced people, replace them with someone cheaper who does a crap job, and declare a fait accompli.

I have no design skills. Ask me to draw something or think of a creative, attractive layout and I will stare at you, blank faced, blank mind.

However even I know that light blue text on a darker blue background is a shite design. That's what the graphical designer specified for my only help documentation. Took me 1 minute to get approval to completely ignore the 'company design office'.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Small victories
« Reply #38 on: October 08, 2020, 12:33:12 pm »
Our former leader hated our colour palette very much (sensibly, it stretched even a definition of lurid, you'd wish you were colour blind if you'd seen it). But even she couldn't change it. They've at least jettisoned the bright green now so it's bit less like the afterimages you get after staring at the sun for a while. We still have the vaginal red-pink, though.

Anyway, she resolved her colour palette issues by leaving. I feel sure the group's favourite newspaper won't be getting a bright purple and green overhaul any time soon.
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citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: Small victories
« Reply #39 on: October 08, 2020, 08:19:53 pm »
Setting a 'company standard font' that isn't available on Windows PCs.

Eh? Do you mean not included in the default windows set? This is easily overcome by purchasing a licence to use the fonts in question.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Small victories
« Reply #40 on: October 08, 2020, 08:33:26 pm »
Our bunch got a custom font but not a company-wide licence to use it. The secret service has an elite who are licensed to kill. The mothership has an elite who are licensed to use our weird jaggy corporate font.

The rest of us have Calibri Bland and it's forever unreconciled ligatures.
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citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: Small victories
« Reply #41 on: October 08, 2020, 09:23:02 pm »
I may be missing something here, but what's the scenario where everyone in the whole company needs a licence to use the corporate font?
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Small victories
« Reply #42 on: October 08, 2020, 09:50:29 pm »
To be fair, they don't, but they put it in all the templates, so unless you have an abiding love for Courier, well. Since fixed with every kind of Calibri.

But use is so restrictive, I've never got a licence, not even when I was supposed to have one. It's quite possible the limited number of licences was brand police bullshit. They were the same people who gave us the after-image purple and green colour scheme. It didn't keep me awake at night, but really, if you want people to use a font as your brand identity, making it possible would be a start. When they insisted on it, I sent my stuff to them to change the heading font, which they didn't do because they were 'too busy.' Presumably changing the font of headings. I spent a year being told I was using the 'wrong font.'
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citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: Small victories
« Reply #43 on: October 08, 2020, 09:55:02 pm »
every kind of Calibri

The worst kind.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Small victories
« Reply #44 on: October 08, 2020, 09:56:40 pm »
We used to use Source Sans Pro which was a lot nicer. And the ligatures work.
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Re: Small victories
« Reply #45 on: October 09, 2020, 08:36:04 am »
Setting a 'company standard font' that isn't available on Windows PCs.

Eh? Do you mean not included in the default windows set? This is easily overcome by purchasing a licence to use the fonts in question.

They specified a specific version of Helvetica; at that time only available via licensing and special drivers.

Helvetica is not very different to Arial (yes I am aware of differences). So this designer decided it would be a sensible use of corporate funds to force purchasing fonts for every single computer and printer in the company (thousands of computers) rather than choose a font that was available for free.

This was in a time when all designers used Macs and resolutely ignored the foibles of Windows PCs.
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citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: Small victories
« Reply #46 on: October 09, 2020, 09:58:35 am »
They specified a specific version of Helvetica; at that time only available via licensing and special drivers.

Special drivers? How odd. Is this a truetype vs opentype thing?

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Helvetica is not very different to Arial (yes I am aware of differences).

Indeed. Neither different enough nor interesting enough. Just a clueless choice.

Quote
So this designer decided it would be a sensible use of corporate funds to force purchasing fonts for every single computer and printer in the company (thousands of computers) rather than choose a font that was available for free.

Again, I'm probably missing something but why would the whole company need the corporate font? What were you using it for?

Anyway, sounds like you were very wise to override the designer.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Small victories
« Reply #47 on: October 09, 2020, 10:22:28 am »
Big blocks of Helvetica (or it's amateur sibling, Arial) scare me. It's a nice heading font, but please not columns of the stuff. There was a while when all organizations thought putting everything in Helvetica made them look edgily contemporary. An outbreak of Helvetica and cappuchino machine in reception. It just gave everyone eyestrain and a need to visit the loo halfway through every meeting.

In ancient times, Helvetica would have been a Adobe Type 1 font, which required wrangling to work on Windows (was it Adobe Type Kit, or somesuch, there's nothing Adobe couldn't make more complicated). These days opentype and ttf work across OS.

Properly thought out style guides will have a standard, readily available font, given that you can't guarantee to have a font available elsewhere, so that great Powerpoint presentation looks even worse (you can embed a font, if the licence allows, and if you remember the technical incantations to make it happen, it's never the bloody default).
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citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: Small victories
« Reply #48 on: October 09, 2020, 10:46:22 am »
In ancient times, Helvetica would have been a Adobe Type 1 font, which required wrangling to work on Windows (was it Adobe Type Kit, or somesuch, there's nothing Adobe couldn't make more complicated).

That does sound familiar now you mention it. Not sure I've ever had to deal with Adobe Type 1 in real life - TrueType has been the default for at least as long as I've been a grown-up.

Quote
Properly thought out style guides will have a standard, readily available font, given that you can't guarantee to have a font available elsewhere, so that great Powerpoint presentation looks even worse (you can embed a font, if the licence allows, and if you remember the technical incantations to make it happen, it's never the bloody default).

Oh! Powerpoint. Now the penny drops.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Small victories
« Reply #49 on: October 09, 2020, 10:56:08 am »
Type 1 (and 3) were Postscript fonts, so could be sent directly to Postscript RIPs (and Macs could process them for screen display natively – as vector outlines, they have to be rasterized and anti-aliased, Windows initially couldn't without appropriate software). But they were proprietary tech for Adobe, so you (and Apple/Microsoft) had to pay them for the tools. Apple created the initial TTF spec to get around this, and that gain cross-platform support, but licensing deals meant that for a long time, some key fonts were only available as type 1/3.

There you go, publishing nerddom.
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