My friend owned a company that sold bath products, and hired me to redo the labels for their entire line. It was a big job, but she’d always been a great client and friend so I signed on. They had to be up to FDA specifications on placement of ingredients list and other details, and after numerous approvals from her she passed them on to her printer.
The trouble started there. I got a panicked email the night after I sent the final designs.
Client: The printer said that the ingredients list is illegible! They said that no matter how they print it, it’s not coming out right!
Me: Okay, what exactly is illegible about it?
Client: They said it’s printing out blurry.
I was confused, but know a decent bit about printing myself and begin asking more questions to get to the bottom of whatever is going on. Through a bit more back and forth I get an even more confusing story about how every time they print the labels using the files we sent them, only the ingredients list comes out smudged, despite which angle they set it to print, so it “couldn’t be their printer”. It just didn’t make sense.
My client was panicking and not sure what to do. Frustrated, I drag out my own printer, found card stock that’s about the same quality as what they were using, and printed a few out at home to see what the issue is, as the printer she’s using is out of state. I even call my client over, who drives across the city at night to see for herself, and we can’t find any issues with legibility. She reaches back out to her printer.
Client: So we printed a few out and we aren’t seeing any issues with legibility, I can read everything just fine, and so can my designer. Can you send some photos of the issue over?
Printer: Well… No, because I don’t have a camera.
What? Who doesn't have a camera of some kind?
Client: Okay… Well what exactly is the issue? Where are you seeing the smudge? Is it the background causing it, or font color…?
Printer: Well, no, but if they send over their .PSD files, I can fix it real quick I know what’s causing it.
At this point, we were both confused and suspicious. I was getting mad, as it was very late.
Client: No, we're not doing that. I have the designer right here - if you tell us what's happening we can fix it right now.
Printer: Well… I don’t like the font choice, I think it’s bad and I could do better.
We were both shocked. My client informed them that that faking a printing issue because they didn’t like the design they were hired to print wasn’t a part of their job, and that if they couldn’t go through with it they would not be doing the job at all.
They continued to complain, and she fired them. It turns out the printer was a small-time start-up she gave the job to help out, instead of her normal corporate place. The next day she called her regular printer and ordered a rush job, and the labels turned out perfectly. Nobody ever complained about my design, as far as she told me.