“To be or not to be, that is the … gazoormonplatz” That is the punchline in one my favourite Bob Newhart sketches in which a monitor is tasked with checking the theory that if a monkey is given a typewriter and an infinite amount of time the primate will type something as good as Hamlet.
I was reminded of that the other day when Mole Graphics received one of those files, created in Photoshop by someone who had decided they were a designer. To be honest, the file couldn’t have been much worse if it had been designed in Photoshop by a monkey. It contained all the classic mistakes: the images were too low-res, the colours were obviously going to blend together and muddy the text and the file had been created in blissful ignorance of the concept of bleed. The only thing that was right with the file was that the text contained no typos.
We first began to notice this trend after the last recession. Quite a few customers made the false economy of getting rid of their experienced - for which read expensive - print buyers and handing the task over to younger staff who had little or no training in the subtleties of print. In the past 18 months, the problem has been exacerbated with clients putting staff on furlough and making do with minimal resources.
For people wanting to save money on design, Photoshop is a dangerous tool - it can give them false confidence in their ability. Any potential cost savings are then squandered when the file proves to be unfit for purpose. A few clients even quibble over the price implying that somehow it’s all our fault - we’re not using the file correctly or we should have told them about the spec (which we would have done if we had known they were going to wing it). Mercifully, there are not too many of these morons. Most people realise the error of their ways and rectify it the next time around although, given the turnover in staff, sometimes you can spend hours patiently walking a client through the issues, only for the next order to come in from someone completely new with all the old familiar flaws.
In terms of irritating cases of ‘déjà vu all over again!’ it’s right up there with the England football team losing a penalty shoot-out.