I'm mostly doing webdesign and front-end developement, but would like to do some print design too and am learning InDesign right now, but I have kind of a stupid question :
When I see all this pretty stationery stuff on design websites, I'm wondering how does this work ? If I design some pretty letter paper and invoices for say, a plumber or a gardener or any small business, what kind of deliverable am I supposed to hand my client over ? Because in the end they will use Word or Open Office... Obviously I can't give them an InDesign template. So do I just go with a .pdf file and let them print it on their crappy office printer ? Or must I ask a company to print everything and then charge the client ?
Enlighten me please.
Usually printing is part of the print designer's job, which sounds obvious phrased like that, but no you usually don't expect the client to print it on a home laser printer from Word. They will either already have a print method and in-house ppl to handle that, and so you hand over files, or you will coordinate that and will be helping them order the goods or billing them for the goods yourself.
For example, a basic set of printed matter: business cards, quarterly mailers, envelopes, invoices, and price tags. You design all of it including ink colour, dimension, paper stock, the actual digital design (.indd etc), confirm these choices with the client, place an order with a printer you like or you both agreed on, and send that printer the files they use. Some use pdf only, most take inDesign packages which is an export option that gives you control over whether or not the fonts are embedded or outlined, if the receiver can edit it, etc, and preserves all your CMYK/pantone/spot colour/printer's marks/etc. You add the printer's bill to your invoice along with your own fees and they get the product, and usually the design too if that was part of the deal.
For clients I usually give them .eps, indesign package, .svg, and .pdf as it's what most people are comfortable with. I'm also not opposed to giving them the .indd/.ai but it's usually included in the contract that they cannot alter it significantly. Of course, they will, which creates problems for me, so I limit it to clients who are obviously not stupid or cheap and would just prefer to export however they need to in future.
As you work with companies instead of individuals, they will usually already have relationships with printers they like or will ask you to work with. I have several in my town I like otherwise.
Thanks for this detailed answer. So the best way to go is to agree on a printer and either let the client pay for the goods themselves or include it with my fees.
I guess big companies handle the printing in-house as you said, and you just have to hand over the files.
>For clients I usually give them .eps, indesign package, .svg
But I'm talking about small businesses with people that are clearly not tech-savvy. They'll have no idea what to do with these files !
For example I have some friends that want to launch a carpentry business, and they don't have Illustrator or InDesign or anything like that on their computer.
If they order invoices (for example) from a printer, that I designed with neatly aligned type set on a grid in InDesign, how will they set up their Open Office or Word file to print on these pretty invoices ? I'm a bit lost here :)
Anyway, time for me to learn about color management and paper stocks.
in that case you can give them those files so they can pass them along to printers or future designers, but what they want to print themselves is probably a pdf. It's a simple file they can't fuck up but retains vectors/scalability for nice printing.