Part 23 – 1990s Keeping up with Demand

Print buying moves on

By the late 90s, something new was happening in the way clients bought their print.

No longer leaving it to the designers to handle, the clients started to use print management companies to handle the process – the outsourcing revolution had started.

Services were now being sought primarily on price, and it signalled a further diminution of the designer’s earning potential, as well as adversely affecting their relationship with the client.

Sold on the idea that they were buying print at a more competitive rate, clients were simply introducing a middle-man into the process who was keen to maximise margins.

Keeping up with demand

When we started producing the monthly book club magazines for Time Warner in the early 90s, from design through to printer’s film, the largest MAC hard-drive capacity was 80 Meg, with just 40 Meg for removable drives.

The management and logistics of this mammoth job was masterfully handled by Kate Burns and her team.

The technology we were using at the time was being pushed to its limits and we relied on the excellent support of our subcontractors and MAC suppliers.

It was something of an arms race, with our client demanding more and more from us each year.

This in turn meant we were constantly upgrading our systems, something that we could not have sensibly done without increasing our fees.

This simple two-colour book club magazine was surprisingly successful; the design and layout appealed to serious book readers seeking quality publications at a good price.
The New Spirit book club magazine took a different approach, colourful, a more generous format and much more information on specific topics as in the example here – Healing Remedies.
The Books for Children magazine was the most fun to work on with no shortage of good material to work with. Our book club team produced 60 publications a year which made a substantial contribution to our bottom line.

My journey as a graphic designer, an introduction

Part 01 – 1960s In the Beginning: Undergraduate work

Part 02 – 1970s The Royal College of Art & The Advent of Colour

Part 03 – 1970s Starting Out in the Real World

Part 04 – 1970s My First Major Client

Part 05 – 1970s More Than One Man

Part 06 – 1970s Striking It Lucky

Part 07 – 1970s Embracing Ground-breaking Techniques

Part 08 – 1980s Changing Roles for Designers

Part 09 – 1980s Our First Technology Client

Part 10 – 1980s Growing Through Recommendation

Part 11 – 1980s The Dream Client

Part 12 – 1980s Moving into Corporate Design

Part 13 – 1990s Ramping Up the Workload

Part 14 – 1990s Graphic Design goes Global

Part 15 – 1990s A Steep Learning Curve

Part 16 – 1990s Working for The Nation’s Favourite

Part 17 – 1990s The Challenge of the Future

Part 18 – 1990s Picking up the Crumbs

Part 19 – 1990s Vested Interest

Part 20 – 1990s Setting the Standard

Part 21 – 1990s Still Growing after All These Years

Part 22 – 1990s New Business from Old

Part 23 – 1990s Keeping up with Demand

Part 24 – 1990s A Full-Service Consultancy

Part 25 – 1990s Into the Unknown

Part 26 – 2000s Learning New Tricks

Part 27 – 2000s Lifestyle Publishing Moves on

Part 28 – 2010s and Now…