As April showers bring May flowers and we march from spring into summer, it is heartening to know that one thing, at least, never changes, and that is the shocked reaction to a barely legible, terrible piece of printing. As readers will know, there have been a number of print awards held in the past month, and so the pride in a job well done is certainly there, making it all the more of a gut shot when one is confronted by an awful print job.
A glass industry expert recently made the point that the consumer is the first person to actually handle a bottle or jar in the life cycle of glass packaging, and so they have to be extra careful about inspection to ensure that this is a positive experience. Print goes the other way. Indeed, there are so many checks and systems in place to ensure accuracy that it seems inconceivable that a bad job can make it through. Yet, human error will always find a way. When combined with the ever decreasing amounts of time available for print runs, the increasing number of products being printed and the sheer breadth of print contacts on packaging, it is no surprise that mistakes are made, but it is interesting that, in spite of all the checks in place to help cope, it is still not enough.
The issue goes beyond aesthetics. If print fails, then apart from not being able to read the information, a company might fail compliance to legal requirements or lose track of the product in their supply chain. A retailer may aim to sell the product anyway but need to decide if they will offer a discount even though nothing is wrong with the product. The consumer may associate the brand with the print error and simply not purchase from them again, and the government might get involved if the misprint ends up causing harm or diverting a product. The list of possible consequences goes on.
Fortunately, this edition of Converting Today is covering all areas of print, pre-press and labels, and I hope that the answers to the above puzzles and more will become apparent. As always, I welcome any questions or feedback, and wish you happy reading.