VERY IMPORTANT Production Update
almost 3 years ago
– Thu, Oct 24, 2019 at 02:49:07 AM
Hello one and all,
First off, thank you for the incredible patience. I want to acknowledge that this is taking longer than all of us had hoped, but I have been assured that we are almost out of the woods. I'm going to use this update to vent a little, and to explain exactly what has been going on, and why this is taking longer than anyone expected. Before I get too into this, I want to assure everyone that the deck will look and feel absolutely amazing when complete. I have total confidence in this print shop's ability to produce a high quality product. What I am losing confidence in, however, is their ability to manage a project with so many moving pieces as this one. The information below gets a bit salty, but it is the truth and I need to get it off my chest.
I approached this printing company several months back with test copies of the Sigil Arcanum tarot. I got these test copies printed at a different shop, who seemed to have no problem printing what I asked for.
Every single step of the way with this new printer has been a headache because they have never printed a deck of Tarot cards before, AND because my contact happens to be a new hire at this print shop. The print shop I'm working with is very large and handles billions of dollars worth of business every year, my project is small potatoes compared to what they normally do. That said, I am shocked at how they have been handling the Sigil Arcanum project.
I went in with very specific instructions, I said I needed a deck 2.75" x 4.75", with rounded corners, on such and such a stock, and to have them look like this (and literally handed them two copies of test decks). I was met with very excited agreement and assurance. Then they came back to me with stuff that was slightly different from what I asked for. I got the impression that they weren't listening to me.
I have tried to stress over and over again how important to me it is that this project be done right. I am a bit of a perfectionist, which is partly why I'm the only person working on this deck, but I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for someone to listen to what you're saying and take notes. I recently got hired at a print shop making signs, I work customer service, so I'm doing a lot of the listening when it comes to these types of projects. Mostly small projects. It isn't hard to take notes, so it stresses me out that I've had to repeat myself so many times.
When we finally got everything squared away with paperwork, I gave all of the files to the shop in the same format which I had given to the other shop (who did the test decks). This was a PDF wherein every card was its own page. The print shop eventually came back and asked me to arrange them on a cut sheet that was a specific size. I did the math and figured out it would take two sheets, but did it anyway and sent it over. Then they came back with another issue, asking me to remove cut lines. Anybody who knows anything about Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop knows that it is very easy to hide layers. This is something that they could have done in about 20 seconds if they took the time to do it. Instead, it took me 20 seconds to do, AFTER 5pm when I got off of work, which means the new file was not seen until the next day.
This is the problem I have encountered over and over again. A tiny little change that any graphic designer could do - changes that in no way affect the integrity of the art, and only have anything to do with the set up of documents - and I am being asked to make these changes over and over again. It's not like they came to me at first with a list of specifications on what kinds of files I needed to present them with, in fact, even through this process it has been one change at a time. One little thing after another little thing, and it is wearing down my patience. I expressed as much to my contact at this print shop, and he agreed with me that the vendors they are working with to print the deck (peek behind the curtain, there are 4 companies involved in this) do not seem to be well prepared.
Then came a crucial issue. I noticed that in transferring all of the cards from the multipage PDF into a single page cut sheet, a tiny little line from the Strength card was overlapping onto the Hanged Man card. If this got printed, every single Hanged Man card (color or black) would have a tiny line on the left side, and that would drive me up a wall. I wrote a very long email - though not as long as this update - explaining the issue and stressing how important it was that they get rid of those files and instead use these new files I provided.
Then they printed proofs.
And they used the wrong files.
I just about lost it standing in the back room of Magus Books (my weekend job) after working for 8 hours, staring at these printed proofs that were made after I sent the updated files, and were made with the wrong files.
This is why this project is taking so long: because I refuse to rush this. I refuse to let incompetence ruin my hard work, and I demand a product that looks like I designed it to look. My print shop understands this, and they are being as thorough as they can be, but because of the nature of this project (a very abstract Tarot deck) nobody who's printing it has any idea what the cards are supposed to look like, so they don't know to catch things like that...
Except that I already gave them test decks that look like I want them to look.
Hopefully now you all understand what's been going on, and why there have been delays.
The truth is, I have no idea when the decks will be done. My contact keeps telling me it's just about done, and it will only take a few more days, and then everything will be peachy, but it's been "just a few more days" since the middle of August, and I know for a fact I'm not the only one anxious to get my hands on these cards.
All of that said, thank you all for sticking with me through this, thank you for your patience, and for understanding that this is something I'm doing for the first time. We will make it through, and soon - though I don't know exactly when - we will all have amazing tarot decks in our hands.
I bid you all a farewell for now, my next update will happen as soon as the cards are done printing.