Terrifying Tales of Petrifying Print Jobs

As a manufacturer of custom designed and printed products, I’d like to tell you that every job we produce is completed on time, flawlessly, and without any stress. I’d be lying, but I’d still like to tell you that. Not all jobs go as planned, and yes, sometimes they are due to our own mistakes. Not always, but sometimes. And sometimes, I am a firm believer that no matter what quality controls are in place, gremlins do exist and do play a role in our mishaps.

 So in honor of Halloween, we wanted to re-visit some of our scarier print jobs:

 The Re-Brand That Wasn’t

A client was undergoing a major re-branding campaign — new logo, stationery, the works — that HAD to launch on a specific date. To us, that meant that no fewer than 50 different orders of business cards had to be delivered prior to that time. Gremlins prevented us from creating the cards in the automated fashion we desired, so each card had to be typeset, proof-read, corrected, and revised in a more manual fashion. Time was bearing down upon us, the rebranding launch was near. Proofs were being bandied about like candy-corn on Halloween. Finally, approval was received, and the day before the due date, the job was in the queue for print processing. Whew!

Sadly, someone forgot to inform our client that their legal department hadn’t received permission for the new brand.  All orders were cancelled.  Still, we counted that as an on-time delivery!

  

A Not-So-Uplifting Effort

Plastic surgery is fairly common. Printing for plastic surgeons on our end is not. This was an exciting project: brochures, presentation folders, DVDs, business cards – all to be beautifully presented in un-retouched living color. In theory, anyway. Our plastic surgeon took the scalpel to our pieces on numerous occasions. The colors didn’t match, the faces weren’t adequately portrayed, the paper didn’t feel just right. And in a bizarre occurrence, the DVD we duplicated put a phantom video unrelated to plastic surgery in the middle of the video. After multiple efforts, and multiple reprints, the job was delivered and accepted by our client. I am currently in consultation with the plastic surgeon about the worry lines added to my face during that project.

  

The Job That Didn’t Print

As a manufacturer, we always fret over the details: ink color, typographical errors, shading, toning, etc. These are the areas that typically cause us to botch a job. Over the years, we’ve included automated tools that enable us to better ensure quality control and improve overall efficiencies in our operations. And that’s great for the jobs we print. But what about the ones we forget to print?! Yep, my worst nightmare job occurred with one that we never did print. We forgot. We missed it. It slipped through the proverbial crack. A client had intended to send out notices of a dues increase to its members. The dues increase occurred automatically the following month. Members weren’t notified of the increase, and members were peeved. So guess who had to cover the cost of the dues increase when members complained? It was the first time I had ever used our Errors and Omissions Policy on our insurance coverage. (Didn’t even know we had it…but thanked my agent profusely afterward.)

 So our most costly printing error ever? The job we didn’t print! Boo.
 
Happy Halloween…and feel free to share some of your job-related horror stories.

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Paul Strack, CustomXM

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