Monday, June 30, 2014

The Pressure of One

There's something different about our large format projects than our regular sized printed projects.
Many of these large projects are exhibits custom created for the space in which they'll be displayed. Although many of our printing projects are in quantities in the tens of thousands, and require exacting quality control, most of our displays are for just one. Seems ironic somehow that there is more pressure in getting one right, than 1,000's.

7-panel donor exhibit at Boston Children's Hospital
There are a couple of different challenges with exhibits; each daunting but very different from each other.

The first is the physical. The physical challenge of these exhibits lies in the uncertainty of the installations and the size. It's very difficult to test fit a 20' x 16' wall when you don't have one just hanging around. Also we've discovered that there is really no such thing as a smooth wall, level floors or even surfaces when it comes to installing exhibits. So, we measure twice, cut once, and bring a few extra pieces of stuff for the 'just in case' we need this.

Rashi School Library - Core Values project
The other challenge lies in environmental transformation that these projects entail. These exhibits literally change the space in which they exist. When our work becomes part of the environment that people see regularly the impact is even larger than the size of of the exhibit.

The ultimate challenge, I think, is having one shot to get it right. After all the proofing and measuring, the real test is how it fits. Like any other visual project we do, at the end of the day, does the design and execution 'fit' the space? Reflect our client's voice? When it does…it becomes an enduring impression.
Simmons College Natatorium Records Board

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

When our work is a Blessing

In our world of deadlines and production it is easy to lose sight of the importance of the products we create. Mixed into the rush of direct mail, business cards and brochures is the fact that our work has significance and meaning for its intended audience. An invitation to an event becomes the way a community connects. A program book becomes the one common element that an entire group of people follow and rely on for information; and the souvenir that someone will keep. In context, these pieces are no longer ‘ink on paper’. They transform into much more. 

I’ve been able to witness this transformation throughout my career. An easy example is just having finished printing diplomas for several of our academic clients. To the recipient the piece of paper they received is much more than 100# natural white stock digitally printed. It represents accomplishment and achievement and will likely be kept in a prominent place for the remainder of their lives.

I had the privilege last Friday night of participating in a prayer service to welcome the Sabbath using a prayerbook that we had spent the past 6 months designing, revising and printing. The Jewish Friday night service which welcomes the Sabbath is a beautiful and meaningful series of prayers and psalms that date back centuries. The goal of this version was to give everyone access to those prayers and psalms not only by offering Hebrew, English and transliteration but also in a bounty of graphic elements and additional readings interspersed throughout the pages.

Although the ritual is old, the prayerbook is very new and a reflection of our client, Temple Beth Zion in Brookline, Mass. The congregation has two beautiful faith quilts that were created by the community that adorn the sanctuary. We used elements of those quilt tiles on the pages of their new prayerbook. Additional readings from both its rabbis, Reb Moshe Waldoks and Rav Claudia Kreiman, along with writings of Abraham Joshua Heschel, Art Green, Rami Shapiro and others all represent the special spirit that exists at ‘TBZ’.

Friday night was very special indeed. To see a community coming together to celebrate the Sabbath using a book that we helped to create was deeply impactful and emotion filled. For me, the book was no longer an InDesign file nor ink on paper. It had transformed, as if by magic, by its very use and meaning — the profane had transformed to the sacred. 

Pages from Siddur (prayerbook)