“Okay. So, I’m at the Advertising Production Club of New York City event and there’s a setup here and hashtag blessed, and I’ve never said that, but Doris Brown-McNally walks up to me to have a conversation. Now, if you don’t know who Doris Brown-McNally is, I want you to think personalized Diet Coca-Cola bottles, the Diet Coke campaign – You did the Budweiser campaign, too?” The Budweiser. The Oreo campaign.
“Okay. And, everybody brace yourselves, Doris was involved in the Pantone Jubilee Queen swatch book. So, I can barely contain myself, but Doris has agreed to talk to me for a few minutes so I don’t want to squander my time with this introduction. So, I just want to have a conversation with you, but I’d like to know, what did you want to be when you grow up?” I actually wanted to be an artist. When I was back in Farmingdale, Long Island, I was an artist and I was a pretty good one. I used to hand cut screens for t-shirts and things like this, but I realized early on I wasn’t going to be able to make money doing that. So, I started to become friends with the printer – the teacher in school has a printer, and learn how to print other people’s artwork, and that’s how I got involved in it. So, I’ve always wanted to be an artist and loved being around creatives and over the years, I’ve learned how creation needs also to take on strategy, and especially with the emergence of and the evolution of digital, especially data. A lot of creatives and designers don’t know how to integrate to/for strategy. They go out and they offer a pretty design but today, it’s not just about the pretty design. It’s having that design do something personally for the consumer that interacts the brand with them. So, I’m kind of blessed. I feel like I’m blessed. If I die tomorrow, I’m the happiest camper in the world.
“You mean, you’re the coolest camper in the world. Let’s just face it, like cool. If you look at cool in the print reference guide, your picture is there. Now, you just told me you used to work at Pantone. How important are colors in the strategy? Let’s go there.” Well, colors in the strategy of marketing in general is the universal language. I mean, when you think about it, you don’t need to speak English, German, Spanish or French. Red could convey an emotion from you immediately. Brown will convey an emotion from you. So, I think color is a very important asset. I mean, let’s turn the question. If you would ask somebody from Tiffany, how important Tiffany blue is to them it’s priceless. In fact, here’s a little bit of trivia. For the longest time on eBay, you could go online and buy an empty Tiffany box for $300. An empty Tiffany box. There’s been studies that have shown that when you put a box of that color with a white ribbon on it in front of a woman, their heart rate and blood pressure will go up. So, you tell me, how important is color in the eyes of branding? I think it’s – I mean, not only because my last name happens to be a color and I was indoctrinated in the best world of colors there could be and working for Pantone was a dream come true. It was like a coloring Crayon box every single morning. So, color is very important. Connecting it back to digital print, one that is a lot of people don’t know is that if you try to reproduce the Pantone fan deck – I think it 1,114 colors, using CMYK, you can only reproduce 50 percent of the colors. But, if you try to reproduce Pantone deck using HP Indigo technology, you can reproduce 98 percent of the colors. And, just in the mind of the brand that eliminates spot colors. So, the color gamut of digital printing and the newer technology out there offers a lot of advantages when it relates to color.
“Right. So, this is actually a very good point that you bring up because the biggest point of contention when you’re trying to get someone off of digital is, ‘Can you reproduce my Pantone color logos?’ So, since you’re working with some of the biggest brands out there, make a case for the designers and the print buyers to how they could perhaps show the brand or clients that you can reproduce their color.” Well, it’s very easy. The first thing is, every single company that manufactures digital printing equipment including HP, for the most cart, if they have anybody of quality have a relationship with Pantone where they license the Pantone values into their equipment. So, when you go to a printer who has HP equipment, they are able to print down Pantone swatches for you.
“Wait. Really?” Yes. If you go out to a client, and say, ‘Listen. I understand your color is Pantone 200C. We want to reproduce this.’ You can go back to your printer who has HP equipment and they can print a plaque of that color for you and you can match it up against what you currently are using. Now, there are other situations too where the digital print you can also dose by color. That doesn’t mean you can’t dose by color. We can do them especially mixed inks for those unique colors. In the case of Coca-Cola, let’s talk about red. It’s probably more than most unique colors out there or red colors out there. We actually ran into a year project with them to reformulate their red. Why? Because they were going to produce those labels using conventional print and digital print together. So, we developed a red that would look good in traditional, look good in digital HP Indigo inks and that when they are laid down next to each other or on top of each other, they would look seamless to the consumer. So, we have a lot of things to offer in that matter.
“It even goes beyond that. If you look at the displays – the displays of the right red, the bottles of the right red, the labels. I mean, everything. I used to work in the Coca-Cola account.” If you’re a designer – Look at me, I’m telling you something really important here. Buy yourself a monitor calibration device. They are available from a company called Datacolor. I used to work with them too. Disclosure. And they also come from X-Rite, who I also work for. These devices range anywhere from $100 to $400. You put them on your monitor, it calibrates your monitor so that when you’re looking at your monitor, doing your color work on it, it’s more accurate with reflecting the color that you ultimately want to see on press. It’s a very, very important part of design and a lot of designers don’t do it. It’s an investment in tools.
“That actually brings up a good point. Let’s talk about proofing. Used tube, preform match prints, people don’t really do that anymore. So, what is your advice on proofing color?” Well, I think the easiest answer is, there is no proofing when you think about digital print. You’re going right off press. When you go to a manufacturer, a print service provider, who has a digital press of Indigo, what they’ll do is run a job on press for you and that material is your proof. You’re actually getting a piece of work that you normally get for production right off the press and that becomes your proof. So, even proofing in the world of digital has evolved. So, I still think proofing is an important process, but with digital you can actually sidestep intermediate process. You can get it right off the horse’s mouth, which happens to be the digital press.
“Last question because I know you have to get ready for your presentation. What is your advice to students, graphic art students graduating now, as far as understanding both digital and especially have design for print.” Okay. This is going to be painful. Creatives work from one side of the brain not the other side of the brain. You got to beef up the other side of the brain. You got to take a course in databases. Learn what the database is. Feel comfortable with working with data. Go buy some lunch for a video guy or web guy and have him teach you about data. Build your knowledge up there. The other thing is, take some business courses. Understand strategy. Understand how you’re going to be offering a solution that isn’t just a pretty picture but is actually an ongoing business model that the consumer and the client can use going forward. I think that there’s some wonderful education schools around here, for design, but I think all of them are a little weak in their business process and also their data. You have to take control of your difference. Let me make another clear point here. It means a difference in hundreds of thousands of dollars in your salary going forward. You actually can bring more to the table when you understand data and when you understand strategy than if you’re just doing typical design work. And, if you want to make a living doing this, a healthy living where you can buy cars and buy homes, you have to educate yourself. So, that would be my words of wisdom. Make friends, talk to people, get off Skype, talk, interact, have conversations. It’s so important.
“Thank you so much. I mean, obviously, everyone’s getting ready around us. We’re sitting on some people’s tables here. Thank you so much. I’m so looking forward to your presentation. And, everybody – What is your Twitter? Do you tweet a lot?” I tweet okay. I’m @DorisBrown4. I’m out there.
“Is there a way for people to follow what you’re doing? Should they go to Indigo website? Do they talk about stuff there?” I have a site called hp.com/go/discoverdigital which has a lot of case studies out there. Always visit the YouTube channel for HP Graphic Arts and there’s a whole thing in there for creatives and designers. You can watch videos. You will see a lot of videos I’m giving tonight and talks about this. And once again, the easiest way to get ahold of me is Doris.Brown@hp.com.
“Wow. Her email address people. That is a nugget of gold. Thank you so much. You’re amazing.” No problem. Enjoy the night.