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To Board or not to Board?

You finally finished designing the most beautiful concept of Graphic Design ever known to mankind and now you have to show it to the client. What do you do? Print it, mount it, fedex it? PDF it? HTML it? Flash it?

It used to be that you printed your logo, brochure, whatever and mount it on a nice blackboard with two inches all around and present it to the client. Now there is no time, everybody’s runnin’ and struttin’ and bitchin’ and realistically the last thing you want to do is spend hours cutting up boards and inhaling the Spray Mount fumes. But an electronic presentation? What about the beautiful colors you spent hours selecting? Regardless of the method (PDF, HTML, Flash) you employ, you know they are getting all screwed in your client’s PC and their inadequate lighting conditions. And forget about trying to explain low resolution and RGB colors to anybody. It’s a lost cause.

What do you do?

thanks to anthony for the topic.

Maintained through our ADV @ UnderConsideration Program
PUBLISHED ON May.08.2003 BY Armin
Jesse’s comment is:

Inhale the Spray Mount fumes anyway. It helps.

On May.08.2003 at 09:16 AM
Sam’s comment is:

If I have time I make a wire-o bound book with some nice heavy Gmund paper for the covers. The problem is, I print the stuff on my trusty (4 years old and still dead-on) Epson 1200 and the colors are just so damn bright and purty that the clients get all worked up over the rich reds and vibrant oranges.

A few months ago I did a logo for a restaurant in France and the only way to handle it was putting GIFs on the web . Under the circumstances it was incredibly easy, better than FedEx, but I have no idea what the colors looked like over there. Damn French people! Try getting paid by the Société Generale! Damn them!! Oops...

Regardless of format, it's like 500% better to be there in person to show comps to the client. E-mailing PDFs is convenient but cripples your ability to be convincing.

On May.08.2003 at 09:38 AM
steven’s comment is:

You spend the time to board it. I'd never send a printed piece electronically. It needs to be printed out and presented, then later in the process it needs to be mocked up. Part of the process.

If you just throw it out there electronically, either you or the client is bound to miss something because you are trying to move too fast.

If there is no time to board it then you need to start looking at the time organization, who is setting your deadlines and their involvement. We used to have a terrible time getting things done on a deadline and we finally pinpointed it on the ad exec and her knowledge of the process. We required her to stay with us through a couple of projects and the late nights and she finally got it. She was able to stop agreeing to unreasonable deadlines.

Whether that is your case or not, not taking the time to make a proper presentation means to me that you don't care enough about the project. That's what a client would say too. Heck, I don't even like sending boards off without being there in person. But, I do. I'm not that anal. All the time...

On May.08.2003 at 09:44 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

I think it depends on your relationship to the client.

It's been a LONG time since I put presentations on boards. At the time, it was being done for a large design firm. And we were presenting web sites. *Sigh*.

For the most part, I just send PDF files and then do a conference call with the client. If a personal presentation is needed, a quick trip to the color laser printer and some simple binding materials seems to more than suffice.

Like all students, I used to walk around with a behemoth porfolio full of giant black matte board. I finally realized that was silly and now just print my portfolio on 8.5 x 11 bright white paper with a cover. Much handier and easier to present with.

On May.08.2003 at 09:53 AM
Su’s comment is:

What medium is the design for? That should dictate the format. But maybe I'm just bitter about having to repeatedly print entire web sites to show to a client rather than having them sit at a damn PC for a few minutes.

But even more amazingly: Yesterday, I was asked to generate a screenshot of the print version of a web page to send a client. I felt so meta.

On May.08.2003 at 09:58 AM
griff’s comment is:

in this economy, few clients can afford the cost of a mounting board.

i often use sock puppets to convey my design concepts.

seriously, we may board only 1 of 20 jobs, but we are web designers and 72 dpi is not very impressive.

On May.08.2003 at 10:05 AM
jonsel’s comment is:

E-mailing PDFs is convenient but cripples your ability to be convincing.

Don't I know that story. A few years back, the client asked that I email a PDF since the two decision makers couldn't be in the room together when I presented the work. I naively asked that they not look through the PDF until I was able to present it to them via conference call. Of course they looked through it and had made their decision long before I got there. Salvaging that one was very difficult. I won't make that mistake again.

How I put a presentation together depends on the type of client and my relationship with them. Larger companies often want a more buttoned up show, so I'll go the mounting distance. Normally, I try to bind stuff into a nice book. At the least, I present loose 11x17 color prints.

On May.08.2003 at 10:22 AM
Kevin Lo’s comment is:

I felt so meta

that's great :)

On May.08.2003 at 10:35 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

But maybe I'm just bitter about having to repeatedly print entire web sites to show to a client rather than having them sit at a damn PC for a few minutes.

Ha! I have fond memories of the AE requesting 'can you print out the web site, we need to send it over to the client'.


On May.08.2003 at 11:19 AM
Briar’s comment is:

These are a couple of rules that I set up and that I just wish I had the wisdom to follow:

1. When presenting something always close it so that the client has to open it in some way to view the work. Usually it is just a cover sheet, round paper clip or a piece of vellum wrap with my name printed on it. For me it shows that you did not just run in right from the printer. I think that it also makes sure that the client is paying attention, they have to physically open it, and in so doing may focus more on what they are about to see.

2. Always have a copy for everyone in the meeting plus 2. Someone always misses the meeting, usually the person who is needed to make the decision. Also, people should have a copy that they can look at and show others in the halls or just have sitting on their desk. I post review copies online too, but people loose emails, URLs, passwords....they loose the paper too, but at least I get nice notes from the janitor.

3. Present the work in a way that is nice enough that they do not feel that they can write on it. It is ok if they write notes in the margin, but they should not feel the freedom to sketch over the logo or design...."how about a circle here?"...it will happen anyway, but they should at least have a flash of hesitation.

On May.08.2003 at 03:56 PM
Rebecca’s comment is:

Wow, everyone's clients are so hard core! I haven't boarded anything since I mounted my own prints in high school.

Anyway, I usually want the client (or editor, or author) to look at the thing on their own for a while before letting me know what they think. In my experience people respond badly to the pressure of having me stare at them in anticipation while they try to honestly evaluate the work. I think giving people space is respectful, and since I've been doing it I've had far fewer cases where I feel I have to "sell" the piece.

[Yeah, I'm posting at 11:30 p.m. Come on! I'm at my parents house! It's this or Trading Spaces.]

On May.08.2003 at 11:28 PM
armin’s comment is:

How about overlays for the boards? Does anybody do this? It definitely adds to the Tah-Daaaaaah! effect of a presentation, but what a pain the ass.

On May.15.2003 at 09:47 AM
jonsel’s comment is:

overlays for the boards

I haven't done this since PC taught me how to do it first quarter.

On May.15.2003 at 10:12 AM
Tan’s comment is:

We present most everything on boards, as well as post it online. Print, interactive, logos, naming projects, everything a client hires us to do. (maybe except video)

Surprisingly, our interactive clients love them. Of course, we prototype websites once the design has been approved, but the initial presentation is always just a flat jpg printed and mounted on a board.

I've never met a client that didn't appreciate boards. Makes it feel more "real" and tangible for them. They pay thousands, so they want something substantial to take back to the office to show off.

But when we present annual report designs, we actually mock a comp up for the entire book. I feel that it's necessary for clients to be able to interact with the publication instead of just seeing individual spreads on boards.

And we used to use overlays, but you know what -- I felt that it prompted clients to make notes on top of the comps, and in some instances (yikes!) make sketches of what they'd like to change. So I decided to nix the overlays. If you want drama, then just flip the boards around before you show it.

On May.15.2003 at 02:05 PM
armin’s comment is:

>If you want drama, then just flip the boards around before you show it.

TNT knows drama

On May.15.2003 at 02:31 PM