Posted by Floyd Diebel 1 Comment

Pragmatism First, Design Second

I’m working on a pretty elaborate printed design piece for one of our clients, and worried about how they are going to stomach the printing costs. This job involves a lot of trimming and die cuts, so I figured out a plan to use the excess areas on each sheet of paper that runs through the press by placing other smaller designs in that space.

Normally those areas would just be waste; now, instead of getting only one final product per sheet we’ll get the one main design, and 2-4 additional design pieces that will be essentially free to manufacture.

Side view of a 1908 Model T Ford from James Melton's automobile collection. (Photo by Ed Clark//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

So… back to our printing job.  Apparently a crusty old pressman who works at the press shop heard about my plans to revise our designs to make use of all the paper like I mentioned above. He told our account representative “That’s pretty good thinking, for a designer.”

When disassembled, the panels of the crate became the floorboard of the Model T, perfectly built for free to Ford’s specs.

A brief segue: I once heard a story about Henry Ford, probably just a legend but it stuck with me anyhow. The story goes that when he was designing the Model T, the contract bidding war for making a particular part on the car was quite hot.

Ford stated that he would award the contract to whichever factory could make the part and package it for shipping in crates exactly designed to Ford’s guidelines. Finally, a manufacturer was awarded the contract and shipped the product as ordered. When disassembled, the panels of the crate became the floorboard of the Model T, perfectly built for free to Ford’s specs.

Best compliment I’ve had all day!

1 Comment
  • hmm, I wonder how good you are at cooking… just curious with all this resourcefulness are you able to just open the fridge and make whip something up or do you just open it up, and 30 seconds later open it again expecting something new??

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