Insights   |  Best Practices   |  Time allocation

Allowing ample
time to get it done

Not everything can be
done faster or at the
push of a button!.

It's not just about being punctual in the old sense...

Father time

One of my first jobs, the company I worked for had a clocking in machine (which really highlights my age).
An antiquated piece of machinery which was used as a method of making sure staff were in the building performing their roles on time.

Fortunately, things seem to have progressed slightly during my working career, now staff are less & less likely to be treated like children & are trusted to be professional in their working activities. However, time stands still for no man & timings are as important today as they were back when I started out. No more so than when it comes to producing artwork with strict deadlines, complicated print & finishing requirements & more
demanding clientele.


One thing that has changed over the years is the understanding or lack of when it comes to deadlines.
Clients, Designers, Account Managers / Handlers & Production Managers alike all seem to forget that
even though technology has made artworking much much quicker, there will always be a set time that things
generally take. For instance, I always quote an hour per page for design & an hour per page for artwork plus an additional time per image (if they are required) for retouching & resizing. Now it does not always take an hour
per page, it can be quicker or longer, but on average I have found this estimate to work well.

Supply chain timeline

Another area that seems to be forgotten is the timeline itself. A printer will require a certain time to produce your final piece of work. Whether that be Litho Printing or Digital printing or large format etc. All processes have a defined time that the process itself needs, for instance, inks need to dry,  glue needs to dry, cutting, perforating, numbering, collating etc all take time to do.

When managing a project you need to understand from your end supplier (normally your printer) how long they need to complete your job, THEN you move backwards from your end date delivery to your next supplier in line the Artworker, & you ask them how long they need to complete their part in the process. Then what time you have left to your start date is how much time the design team & client have to design, tinker & sign off everything in order to hit the final deadline.

What tends to happen is everyone forgets about the last two suppliers in the chain who's timings generally are static due to process & allow the design time to over run considerably. This is bad practice & should be avoided at all costs as when you attempt to push artwork & print through faster than physically possible what happens is mistakes occur, money & time is lost, tempers are frayed & relationships are tarnished. It is far more beneficial to have a good understanding of who is doing what & when then sticking to the plan.

Be a Hero, always allocate more time than is needed.

Try to give your suppliers more time than is actually required, if you can give false deadlines to problem clients so you can manage expectations easier you will relieve stress on the whole process when things start to go astray.
It is always better to get a job done right & on time than late or incorrect. Everyone would rather be the hero than the villain so manage your time wisely, keep tabs on the timeline, make sure you keep on top of your client & design teams enthusiasm for experimentation & above all remember its never as quick as pushing just a button.


If you are in need of a little extra help in achieving your creative goals,
need some advice or simply need to offload a project you have no
internal resource for then get in contact today.