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Typefaces & clients' choices

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  • lisa rappoport
    ... I try too! But it s not always a successful try. And with designers, I don t even try, because they have already chosen the typeface(s) and everything else
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 5, 2007
      Julie wrote:
      >I agree with Gerald, I tend to steer my clients in the directions of
      >my tried and true typefaces. I have in my early days, tried
      >different faces because it was what they liked. Often to my dismay.
      >They liked the end result, but I fussed through the entire print

      I try too! But it's not always a successful try. And with designers, I don't even try, because they have already chosen the typeface(s) and everything else (with the exception of the paper) by the time I see them. It's funny how much harder it is to print something I don't personally like--harder psychologically, I mean.

      Gerald wrote:
      >>And, I would think, if they are coming to you (generic you), they are coming for a specific
      >> reason, your taste, your expertise, skill, what uniquely you have to
      >> offer, etc. Yes? No?

      Yes AND no. No if they're designers; to them I think it's a bonus if we're on the same wavelength in terms of taste, getting the concept, or anything else. But really the letterpress printer is just a means to implement their design, and input is rarely welcome.

      Then there's the question of how many clients can tell the difference between good and bad printing. Unless there's something really egregious going on, like atrocious inking or broken letters, I don't think many people know how good the results are. So for most, I'm guessing location and pricing are more important factors than the printer's expertise or unique approach. Of course they would seek out another printer if they didn't like your samples, or if they didn't hit it off with you to some extent.

      But yes for my favorite clients, the ones whose sensibility and mine have something in common. Many of these are referrals from prior clients, so presumably they liked my printing/design/what they heard about working with me/or maybe just my low prices. Apart from work for designers, which is like following a blueprint, all my commercial jobs are pretty collaborative. That is, rather than offering a choice of five fonts and four formats and six ink colors, I start each design from scratch and try to pick up on what the client wants, whether it's my personal taste or not. (Of course I try to steer them away from anything *really* inappropriate or "wrong.") It takes longer but is more satisfying and interesting than a more formulaic approach. I'd be interested to hear how other printers manage this process.

      For most clients, getting something printed letterpress is a one-time event, so I lean more toward tuning the design to what they want than what I like.

      If it's designing a poetry broadside or a book, I lean way the other direction. Usually I get very little input from the client and start by presenting them with my design or ideas, then adapt slightly to their preference, if any. And generally these clients have less interest in offering their own ideas than somebody doing something like a wedding invitation, where it's one of the components in expressing themselves and the mood of the event.

      Littoral Press
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