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FLEXO Magazine : July 2010
Design in Principle An Inside Look at the Process of Updating FP&P By Tom Newmaster As with all industries, the packaging world is changing fast and often. Many of the terms used today may not have existed 10 years ago, and some of the terms from decades past are simply no longer relevant. It seems long over due, then, that Flexography: Principles and Practices (FP&P), FTA’s official textbook on the process and the industry, be revised for its sixth edition. With outdated graphics and a lack of information on recent advancements, it was definitely time for an update. When I was asked to head up the team that was going to revise the Design Section of FP&P, I immediately said, “ Yes. ” A great opportunity to collaborate with some of the best in the business, this revision was a chance to really do some- thing good that would have a lasting impact on our industry. My first task was to put together a design team of top pro- fessionals in the industry, and I knew just who to ask. Being in the industry for 20 years, I have worked with some of the best and collaborated with them on other projects before. There was no question, I had to get John McDonald of Brandimage. A great guy who is easy to work with, John and I have known each other for over 10 years. His experience at Brandimage, an internationally renowned and respected brand consultant agency, would prove to be more than beneficial for this proj- ect. Alan Jeffcoat of Pen & Inc. has worked with me for several years as a judge with the FTA Design Awards. He has a real passion for this stuff, and his vast knowledge of prepress and flexography are necessary assets for this project. Greg La’Fond, Matthews International, and Kevin Lanigan, Phototype, both of whom I recently met through the FTA come from highly regarded companies in the industry. Hailing from firms with international esteem and longevity, respectively, these two are integral to this project. While some of us may be competitors on any given day, for this, we knew we were the best people to revitalize this new section. The first thing our team struggled with was getting our head around the overall scope and reason for FP&P. When review- ing the fifth edition, we found a lot of overlap and redundancy between FP&P and Flexographic Image Reproduction Speci- fications and Tolerances (FIRST). During the design team’s first conference call, we kept coming back to questions about the scope and reason for FP&P versus FIRST. So, we looked at what we already knew about each docu- ment. We know that FP&P is a teaching tool that gives an over- view of the flexographic industry, process, and techniques. Used as a textbook in most colleges that teach flexography, FP&P is written as a reference tool for someone new to the in- dustry. In conjunction with in-course instruction, FP&P lays out the history of flexography, how the industry has progressed, the equipment used, the advances that have been made, and the techniques that should be used. FIRST, on the other hand, is a more advanced document for someone already in the industry. It would be used by a printer, supervisor, or plant manager as a reference guide to create a consistent and repeatable product. Given that FIRST is designed for professionals already in the industry and FP&P is a sort-of beginners’ guide to the industry, we decided to keep this section about the principles of design, rather than provide technical specifications and tolerances. Leaving these specifics to FIRST, the design sec- tion of FP&P will give special reference to FIRST when more technical understanding and detailed information is called for. With all that in mind, we began updating the content and terminology to reflect current digital advancements. Once the design team had a clear understanding of direc- tion, the next task was obvious: Clean up and reorganize the current design section outline! We felt the fifth edition touched on all the right topics, but just didn’t flow naturally together. We wanted to adjust and simplify the content in such a way that a newcomer to the industry could get a grasp of the concepts clearly. We moved parts around, combined sections, renamed categories, and revamped the overall flow. After several conference calls and numerous drafts outlines, we settled on the following: 1. Introduction 2. Definition of Design 3. Design Psychology and Functional Aesthetics: a. Performance, psychology, aesthetics, functional characteristics, and design purpose 4. Graphics and Communication/Information: a. Visual impact, branded products and identification, graphics objectives, and product information 5. Merchandising Considerations: a. The point of purchase 6. Research - Online and traditional 7. Understanding the Consumer/Buyer: a. The intended consumer, needs and preferences, buying habits, motivations, economic situations, the act of buying, end-use conditions, advertising recall, and repeat purchases 8. The Designer - The Problem Solver: a. Visual communications specialist, graphically profi- cient, client oriented, and consumer knowledge 9. The Design Process for Flexography: a. Sketches and design concepts, presentation and managing client expectations, electronic workflow, and digital graphics 10. Production Art for Flexography: a. Typography, overprints, tapping, die-lines, illustra- tions, vector art, photography, scanning, bar codes, and file formats FTA TODAY FP&P Design Section Update • Written as a textbook for students and those new to the industry, as opposed to FIRST, which offers tech- nical specifications for experienced operators. • Reorganize chapters for better flow of information. • Divide into two sub-teams focused on design concep- tion and production processes respectively. PhotocourtesyEskoArtwork 6 FLEXO jULY 2010 www.flexography.org FLXO_July10_v2.indd 6 7/16/10 9:35 AM
Sustainable Summer 2010