Promotion has to be done!

An important part of preparing for an exhibition is to tell people about it so promotion needs to be added to the artist/curator’s skill set. This can feel like just additional burden at an already stressful time, but if you don’t want to find that its just you and the whippet staring at work that you’ve already seen in a space that you’ve gone to a lot of effort to access, then it’s got to be done.

As I’ve mentioned, the show at the Pie Factory is a collaboration with another student, so the burden is shared and each of us has a sounding board to work with. In our arrangement, Sarah is dealing with the local press as she lives closer to the venue and I’m dealing with online, design/production of flyers etc. At each stage we ‘ping’ what we’re doing over to the other person for amendment/agreement (the internet makes this quick and effortless). Along side this we are both doing the stuff that relates only to ourselves, such as business cards, personal invites etc.

For me, there was a learning curve that I had to follow in the preparation of the flyer. The basic layout was done using MS Publisher and then I used the print company’s online tools to proof the design (ensuring that all the space is used and that no text is lost around the edges). My big concern was print quality – it might look great on screen, but I know that doesn’t always translate into print. I wanted the reproduction quality of our images to be as high as possible and the text to be likewise, clear and sharp; I also had to work within the specification constraints laid down by the printer

I researched the various formats, took advice from experts and experimented with printing proofs off on my home quality printer. I had used high resolution images and MS Publisher to lay it out, as I mentioned. Saving the finished document as a jpeg file turns the whole thing into an image (also compressing the file so that detail/quality is lost) which causes distortion of text when the job is scaled (stretched/shrunk) to fit the print template. I found that the solution is to save from Publisher as a pdf, selecting the highest quality option. To prove the effectiveness of this I saved two versions, the first in Publisher as a jpeg then inserted into the proofing tool and saving the result as a pdf, the second straight to pdf in the method set out above. Placed side by side on the screen at 50% there was no obvious difference however magnified to 200% and there was a significant distortion of the text and the image colours were degraded in the version that went through jpeg. At 400% magnification, the different was even more apparent.

The other important questions were gloss or matt surface (I chose gloss) and paper thickness (170grm in this case).

The finished flyers came back the next working day and they look fabulous. The extra work on the format really paid off. Now to get them out there!

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