I was recently asked to design an in-store display for a client’s product. It was meant to coincide with an upcoming deal so there was a time crunch to get the project done.
The display was a piece of cardboard that was built using a complicated combination of folds, cuts, and inserts. I’d never designed for that particular type of display before. Luckily, the client had done another not long ago and wanted this new design to closely match the layout of their old one.
Me: Great, that will be a real time saver. I assume you used a template for your previous design?
Client: Yes, we did.
Me: Ok, just send me the template and I can get started immediately.
Client: We’ll get it to you right away!
“Right away” turned out to be about a week later, but eventually the client sends over an Illustrator file. It’s just a blank page covered in lines – no indications for size, crop, bleed, folds, or any labels of any kind. Just a bunch of nonsensical lines.
Me: I’m sure this will be a big help, thank you, but without any labels, I’m afraid I can’t really parse this template. Can you send over your previous design so I can see how it all worked?
Client: Sure thing!
A few days later I get a .pdf with a design that doesn’t appear the match the display I was meant to work on or fit into my blank template in any way shape or form.
Me: This doesn’t seem to fit the display you have me doing.
Client: Yes, that was for a different display.
Me: Ok, well it’s good to get an idea of how you use your branding, but I need to see the design that fits the display I’m currently working on. The one with the layout you want me to match.
Client: Ok, you got it.
After a few more days, the client sends me a PowerPoint slide from one of their corporate presentations. In one corner of the slide is an image of a 3D mockup of their previous store display showing how it looked when it was all put together.
Me: Thanks, I understand what the final product needs to look like, but I don’t know how the design fits in this template. What would work best is if you sent me the print file for the previous design.
Client: Of course, here.
I’m delighted by the quicker response this time, until I see why – they just took the image of that 3D mockup off of the Powerpoint slide and sent it by itself.
Me: No, I get that. I do. What I need is the file that you sent to your printer to make that display. I need to see the design underneath the template so I can understand how everything lines up. Then I can take that file and build my design on top of it so the layouts match perfectly. The same file you sent to your printer, send me that. That’s all I need.
Client: Oh, I understand now, I’m sorry. It’s on its way.
A day later, they send it. It’s a cell phone photo of their computer screen with the file I need to be opened on the screen.
Client: By the way, can we have this done by tomorrow?