Arts and Health, Sisters is devoted to exploring creative problem solving and coping strategies in our world, especially the links between artistic expression and personal and spiritual growth. It is also dedicated to honoring the value and power of women.

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Perils of Desk-Top Publishing: Consider Using a Professional

I had the gall to print my own graduation announcements "for" my son. Really it was for me, as every mention of this project has led to outright smirks on his part, if not protests of how idiotic graduation announcements are. He has tolerated the process since it has involved no effort on his part and out of affection for me.

I enjoyed the design aspect of the cards, although my photo editing skills leave quite a bit to be desired. I ended up with 2 designs, both of which use some professional senior pictures. One which has a montage I created with his assistance (he was walking towards me). I did some hand lettering and overall I like the design.

My "mass" card making efforts of the past have been less ambitious, using only black and white and a copying machine at the copy shop, with slightly above average quality paper. This time I used real card stock. I was going to use an Avery template, but the whole thing was geared towards people who wanted a more set motif, or who have much better computer graphics formatting skills than myself. (No slur against Avery intended, I've happily used their templates for business cards in the past.) Eventually I gave up and did an old-fashioned lay out with painters tape to hold pictures in place. I used my very simple all in one HP printer. The results are fine by my folksy standards, but I know some of the intended recipients expect a more typical graduation card... oh well. They will just have to smirk a bit, like my son, although for completely different reasons.

If you should decide to embark on such a process I have a few pieces of advice:

1. Have a copy shop or real printer type person with better equipment do this.

If you still insist on doing this yourself...

2. Keep everything very clean and have a microfiber cloth at hand to constantly wipe down the glass and every other area of your printer.

3. Get new color ink in a LARGE size, get brand name, new cartridges and if you are printing any quantity, get several cartridges. I did not do this. The cartridge was running low by the end of the run (and I only printed 15 cards). This led to variation in the depth of color and changes in the color even at the start of the run. Also the refurbished cartridge leaked ink on one card. I adjusted the cartridge, made sure the tape was firmly affixed, blotted the bottom of the cartridge and the rest  of the run did not have this problem.

By now you may be suspecting that the "outrageous" price for color printing at the copy shop or printers is not so outrageous.

4. Watch the whole printing process so that you can catch any problems right away, cancel the job, adjust anything that's awry, and restart the job.

So this was a learning process. One that I won't repeat unless I have a very desperate situation, or an expensive, fancy laser printer and loads more experience.

The inside of one card may sum up the situation nicely!

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