DIY Wedding Program Fans, Part 1

I don't know where I first saw a picture of a wedding program that doubled as a fan, but I loved the idea immediately.  I knew I'd be making some for our wedding eventually.  When I started to work on a design recently, I wasn't happy with any of my drafts.  I originally tried to use the "monogram" I wrote about a while back.  I didn't like the results. I kept wishing that our program fans could look like our guest book poster.

By AmpersandInk Designs (with minor edits on names)

I decided to reach out to Tasha Montgomery, the artist behind AmpersandInk Designs and our beautiful poster.  We loved the illustration that Tasha created for our poster and were thrilled when she gave us permission to use it on our program fans.

Now that I had permission to use the illustration, I had to change the text to work for our program.  While I consider myself pretty tech savvy, I had always been intimidated by the software programs I'd need to use to make the edits (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, etc.).  I spent a few frustrating nights at the computer before things finally "clicked" for me while using Illustrator.  Suddenly, I was tweaking layout and using glyphs (pretty characters that come with a font that you can't use in simpler word processing programs).

I was so proud of the final product.  I had wanted to print the programs at home, but my Epson Artisan can't handle the nice, linen card stock that I bought from Cards & Pockets for this project.  A colleague suggested I take the files and paper to our copy center at work.  They were happy to do personal jobs. Their prices seemed reasonable and the brochures they did for our office always looked great.  I dropped everything off and almost sprinted to pick them up two days later when I got the call that they job was done.

They did it all wrong.

I opened the box and my heart sank.  They had resized my image to fit the entire page.  Perhaps I missed a setting that would prevent that in Illustrator, but every time I test printed the files, the size was exactly as I designed it.  I couldn't really have 8.5" x 11" fans!  They'd look ridiculous!

What's more, the quality of the printing varied dramatically throughout the stack.  Some pieces were just fine, others were faded out, as if the machine that printed them was low on ink.  They also told me that they lost about 30 pieces of my beautiful card stock to a printer jam.  I was kind of puzzled by that, but there was nothing I could do about it.

To their credit, they offered to reprint the job and not change the size, but they didn't have any paper that was nearly as nice as the card stock I gave them.  I didn't even have enough card stock left for that and I didn't feel like there was any guarantee that the quality of the color would be better.

I quickly emailed T&N Printing, the people who printed my guest book poster.  I asked if they'd be willing to print on the back of the paper I had and they told me to come right over. Within minutes of walking in the door, they handed me the product of a test print.  I think I heard birds singing.

As I waited, I looked around the shop and saw about half a dozen jobs that were being done for other offices where I work, including the President's office.  That was telling!

The staff at the shop was nice enough to do all the cutting for me, too.  I had anticipated spending some time with my office's paper cutter after hours, but a big, paper cutting machine took care of that task pretty quickly.

The print shop at work didn't charge me for the job when they saw my reaction to the finished product and acknowledged that they had resized my images.  I know how much they would have charged me, though, and expect to pay more at the independent printer.  In the end, T&N charged me half what the print shop at work would have charged.  I was stunned and very grateful.

I'm so happy with the final product.  The size is perfect, the colors are strong, and the text (which I can't really show) looks fantastic.  I'm so excited to move to the next part of this project, putting the fans together.

The first job vs. the second

Did you have any vendor mishaps?  How did you resolve them?


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