My first boss and mentor – Frank Schofield  would often mutter ‘monkeys and chainsaws’ – as he tackled clients given access to DTP – desktop publishing – for the benefit of a younger audience. Prior to ‘DTP’ clients would never go near design, they had a pen, or a typewriter, if they worked on a computer they might be able to change the ‘daisy wheel’ if it was a dot-matrix.

I have been known to mutter these words myself over the years. As a graphic designer I have on occasion had to work with a client offering, as a design suggestion, something from a child or grandchild. That’s fine – I can work around that, every idea is valid, and if it is a good idea, and I can make it work, I will. My heart totally sank some months ago when a client, who had fallen on hard times and had their budget slashed, asked for the InDesign files on a recent job. ‘Yes, I have them – are you having a re-print?  [all quiet]  … er… Why do they not just need the PDFs?’ – it transpired that their boss had floated the idea, in a bid to save money – that my client make any changes themselves to my files – can’t be that hard can it?

This raised all sorts of questions – who owns the artwork (I do) – my client can print it. How do get them out of the pickle – do I work for free, (passing thought…) does my client even know how to edit an InDesign file, do they realise they have to buy the programme, the fonts – and if – in a dim moment – I happened to let them make changes, when it goes wrong – the artwork is still associated with me, it’s still my artwork (make note of that all of you who have had your printer make a few changes – you know who you are!). Thank heavens for PDFs, they close off a file, client gets the artwork – they don’t need the source files – although saying that – PDFs can also be tampered with if you know how. Letting a client near artwork  is akin to giving a monkey a chainsaw, so sorry – the answer is no!

 

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