Sign & Digital Graphics

November '17

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38 • November 2017 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S DIGITAL PRINTING AND FINISHING DIGITAL GRAPHICS Breaking Murphy's Law Anticipating problems in your workflow can save you time and money Stephen Romaniello is and artist and educator teaching digital art at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona, for more than 25 years. He is a certified instruc- tor in Adobe Photoshop and the author of numerous books and articles on the cre- ative use of digital graphics software. Steve is the founder of GlobalEye systems, a company that offers training and consulting in digital graphics software and creative imaging. B Y S T E P H E N R O M A N I E L L O The Digital Eye Nugget of Negativity So how does this nugget of negativity affect the computer graphics and print environment? The answer to this question is that print production is a sequence of steps that requires a systematic workflow, parts of which demand the operator's undivided attention. Whenever choices are available to produce a specific outcome, inevitably human error will prevail. The more choices there are, the more likely Mr. Murphy is likely to gum up the works. These errors ultimately require rework that wastes material, reduces profit and increases stress. The good news is that if we can become mindful of the minor details that derail the graphics workflow beforehand, many of these barriers to success can be avoided. Defensive Design First of all, we should get down to the basics of good "defen- sive design." This principle anticipates the mistakes that can potentially sabotage a job by integrating "idiot proof" features into the design of components. An ink cartridge, for example has a system of plugs and sensors that only allow the cartridge to be inserted one way into its proper location. Many defensive design components are asymmetrical and can only fit into the system using a single orientation, (see Figure 2). A less idiot-proof example of defensive design, and common in everyday printing are one-sided paper sheets that are marked on the non-printable side with the manufacturer's logo or are slightly duller on the printable side, (see Figure 3). The printer's paper carriage may have an embossed marking that indicates whether the paper should be inserted face up or face down (as in Whatever Can Go Wrong, Will Go Wrong The wisdom of Murphy applies to pretty much any activity or job, but you might be surprised to know that the origins of this bit of pessimistic philosophy comes from a rocket engineer. Edward A. Murphy, Jr. was working for the United States Air Force in 1949 testing human acceleration tolerances with rocket-sled experiments. One of the experiments required that 16 accelerometers be attached to various locations on a human subject. There were two possibilities for attaching the sen- sors to their mounting platforms, and someone methodically installed all 16 bass-ackwards. Murphy then made the original form of his pronouncement: "If there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways can result in a catastrophe, then someone will do it." The test subject (Major John Paul Stapp) quoted this bit of worldly insight to the press a few days later. Within a short time "Murphy's Law" went viral and had morphed into new variants. It finally emerged in popular cul- ture, as "Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong," (see Figure 1). Figure 1: Murphy's Law: "Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong."

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