How those extraordinary print masters learnt from their mistakes - The Noel D'Cunha Sunday Column

MN Pandey of Avantika and Khushru Patel of Jak, both print specialists, share stories about early life mistakes. The lesson they learnt, if you follow the process and are attentive to the little things, it yields results, even when things go horribly wrong.

23 Sep 2023 | By Noel D'Cunha

MN Pandey of Avantika Printers

It was one of those tricky jobs which Avantika received.
One single copy of a coffee table book concept copy which had to be designed and printed and delivered in six days time.
Team Avantika needed three days for digital print production and post-press work.

But we got only one working day.

When we received the print ready file to start printing, I remember the printing machine had an unfortunate breakdown.

All hell broke loose. We got the service team in. The machine is readied by 11.00 am next day.

Meanwhile we have printed. Also the laminated and creasing has been rendered.

The team is on standby.

Now we are ready for seamless binding.

By which time, the case-making machine breaks down.

There is an emergency meeting. Where do we do the back-to-back pasting?
We have done manual pasting.

The book block is ready for casing in.
Leather bound case ready.

In-casing is in process. Both the ends are fully pasted which was not supposed to be.

When books came to me, I noticed this. And it is wrong

Another meeting. We realise this cannot be repaired.
Immediately we started to print again.
By this time, the case-maker is ready.
We bind and deliver the book.

We deliver the job at the proverbial last minute.

Mix of technology, process and post-press hands-on experience.

God Gutenberg saved me that day. Normally I leave the office before time. But on that day, I was present. Otherwise all the efforts would have gone down the drain.

The size of the book was 11-inch x 14-inch (oblong book-block). 250 gsm back-to-back pasted. 88 pp book. Leather bound with a special leather box.

It was an interesting topic: 40 ways to praise your CEO.
A gift for the CEO on his 40th birthday.

Avantika made the birthday special.

Khushru Patel's encounter with print - How you learn from your mistakes

Khushru Patel of Jak Printers

It was a big brand. One of the largest premium hotel chains in India.

I was a rookie. My first bigshot meeting. Everything went well. "Our side" convinced the premium hotel team to do the job with us

The premium hotel boss was impressed and gave us "a small job of Rs 3,500"

In those days, Rs 3,500 was a huge amount.

The job was to produce 2000 letterheads with a bit of advertising material on that. In those days, the norm was to produce color-proofs, progressive-proofs and get approval from the customers.

I recall going to show it to them. The job was produced on FM Madoli in 1986 and they were very very impressed. It was Alabaster paper. Nowadays, pure Alabaster is rarely found.

Later on, the job was delivered to him. I was very proud about the first "super duper hit job with such a big brand".

I was summoned.

He said, please come over. I went to his office and their team said, your job is rejected.

Why, I asked.

Look at your proof and what you have done. Quality of printing was fine. In those days, I used to hand-paste the positive. I realised the goof up. After the proof, in the final printing, one of the lines has overstepped the design grid by 3 mm.

A mere 3 mm in design grid.

At that time I understood the importance of the design grid.

They said to me, this has gone outside my design grid and we cannot accept it.

I froze.

I had two options, one to say sorry and jump into the Arabian Sea and lose the client for life.

What I did was: even though I was scared, I said, I will re-print.

This is what made Jak Printers.

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