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FLEXO Magazine : July 2012
Technologies & Techniques FIRST Design Guide: Driving Creative Freedom By Frank grimaldi Inmy more than 20 years of guiding creative teams, I have had a number of designers start projects without a clear understanding of expectations and end goals. Not in the sense of “brand vision,” but rather in the printed product—the physical package. These designers—while experienced and talented—still had to learn and make adjustments to meet the print specifications. The creative process is most successful when design direc- tors help reframe the artists’ thinking about sticking to guide- lines. Designing with the print specs in mind is not stifling imagination. In fact, the best way to match the creative vision to the final product is by understanding press tolerances and the requirements for getting the best from each partner in the production cycle. It may seem counterintuitive, but these boundaries actually drive more creative freedom because designers have confidence that the design will print the way it was envisioned. Needless to say, client satisfaction is expo- nentially increased as expectations are met or exceeded. INTELLIGENCE IN DESIGN The FIRST 4.0 (Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifi- cations & Tolerances) Design Guide equips creative teams with enabling information. Using the FIRST guidelines in the creative process allows you to deliver on the brand promise, maintaining the vitality of images and the consistent quality of logos and branding graphics. FIRST was created to trigger communications across all participants involved in the design, preparation and printing of flexographic materials. The Design Guide underscores the fact that the better the designer understands the flexographic process, the easier it will be to create attractive, impactful designs while optimizing production efficiency and reducing the time-to-market. A primary objective is to provide guidance on how to create electronic files that will enhance quality and speed manufac- turing while minimizing cost—all while the designer maintains creative control of the project. This can be achieved when all production partners have a clear understanding of the requirements of flexography and these specifications are ad- dressed at the very beginning—during the design phase. FROM THE START FIRST recommends creating best practices and standard operating procedures before designing flexographic pack- ages. Because of the complex- ity of the graphics, print issues, and converting equipment considerations, it’s important for all production partners to begin communicating upfront. The FIRST Design Guide details all the areas impact- ing the creative process From confirming who’s responsible FIRST THINGS FIRST • FIRST was created to trigger communications across all participants involved in the design, preparation and printing of flexographic materials • The best way to match the creative vision to the final product is by understanding press tolerances and the requirements for getting the best from each partner in the production cycle • Using FIRST guidelines in the creative process allows you to deliver on the brand promise, maintaining the vitality of images and the consistent quality of logos and branding graphics • Following the FIRST Design Guide allows creative teams the freedom to design with confidence that the package will be produced predictively 62 FLeXO july 2012 www.flexography.org Design Guide An SPI Project Manipulation Creation Mass produCtion William Fox Munroe EFI M. Beuscher/C-P Flexible Packaging