I do many things.
I’m a speaker, a trainer, a graphic designer, a consultant, and a digital handyman.
It’s gets easier when I explain that all of the things I do stand under one umbrella, and that is graphic design production using computers, with a focus on Adobe software. Something like that, anyway.
Most of my energy, of late, has been working with my partner, the amazing Julia Zieger, to rebuild Digiversity.tv to provide training videos for graphic designers, artists, and illustrators.
This has been a massive project, as we redesigned the website and created all new content, currently sitting at more than a hundred videos.
In addition to the video library, we do a live show, cleverly named Digiversity.tv LIVE, which we do through the site and on Adobe’s Behance
Julia is a regular host and guest on Adobe Live Germany and Adobe Live UK. She put me in contact with the people in charge, and I’ve been able to enjoy being a guest on Adobe Live UK a few times. Fun stuff.
The nice thing about creating a video library, and doing live shows online, is that I get to choose topics that dig a little deeper into the software than I generally can in front of an audience where my time is limited.
One series on Digiversity.tv that is especially fun is “Checkin’ the Mail.” On each show I answer real questions from real customers who write in. My theory is that if one person has the question, many do, so why not answer it in a video so everyone can learn.
I invite you to tune in and watch, when you get a chance.
and have been lucky enough to speak at various design and publishing events in 23 countries.
I started with Photoshop, then added PageMaker and QuarkXPress, then InDesign. After that I started speaking about Illustrator and Acrobat and how the Adobe applications work together, with some Bridge thrown in.
And these days I also speak about Lightroom/Lightroom Mobile and photography workflows that also include Bridge/Adobe Camera Raw and which is the best for what you’re doing.
I have a few “soft topics” I give, as well. I talk about process, workflow, and alternatives to Adobe’s Creative Cloud.
There was a day when speaking was my only business. Now I limit myself to only a few events each year. Drop a line if you need a speaker for your event and we’ll see if the dates work out.
Shortly after I started speaking at various publishing conferences, I was invited to do my first on-site training. I loved it. So different from speaking in that I really had to come up with solutions, not just show how things worked. The training was situational, not general.
I was hired to teach Adobe Photoshop at a printing company in Texas. But that’s not what happened, exactly. After a factory tour, and watching the people work, it was clear they needed Illustrator training more urgently. We focused on the tools they needed to solve immediate problems then moved on. I went back many times over the years to teach various production techniques with the many Adobe tools they were using.
My goal for my on-site training is to find out what the clients really need to learn, then teach that. I don’t want to waste a single minute on topics they will never use. To do this, I like to analyze files the attendees have created.
From looking at the tools and techniques they’ve used, I can create a training plan to bring the users up to the next level of productivity and quality.
My on-site training is as much about workflow as it is teaching the tools. You may think you need InDesign training, but what you really might need is something else. We’ll work together to figure that out before we even start.
On-site training can also be remote these days. In fact, it’s generally better, as we can have multiple sessions spread over time instead of dedicated days. It’s also great for companies with multiple locations. And you save money by not paying my travel expenses.
If you are interested in having me help you improve your productivity, drop a line.
In addition to achieving the look the customer desires, I also build files that are automated, robust, and ready for the next iteration of the project.
This approach really shines in long document creation, such as catalogs, books, directories, and proposals.
My documents are built to adapt, as much as possible, to the changing needs of the client, so last-minute edits and changes are often easy to implement.
Often, I’ll build a project once, then turn the files over to the client and teach them how they can build the next one themselves, faster and easier than ever.
There are real problems that are costing real money. Sadly, most people don’t even know they are sick until it’s too late. I see it all of the time.
I just received templates from a publisher that are a mess. I implored him to let me show them how they could work twice as fast if I fixed them. He insisted they are working just fine the way they were and the templates aren’t the problem. Okay.
Sometimes I have customers (patients) who realize they are sick and need my help.
We start with a workflow analysis to see where the bottlenecks are. Then we find solutions, starting with the low-hanging fruit and worst areas. This may be as simple as training, but sometimes it’s hardware, workflow, or personnel. We look at the situation as a whole and find the quickest, least expensive solution.
I was once hired to train an ad department of eight people to work faster. Soon after I arrived, I realized that all of their computers crashed regularly, and they lost ten minutes each time. I stopped the training to check it out. The solution was literally as simple as adding more RAM to each machine. For the cost of eight RAM chips we gained eight hours per day in productivity. AND I trained them on how to use the software quicker. Sometimes it’s not this simple.
I always start my consulting sessions with “You realize I may not find anything? I may report to you at the end that you’re doing just great.” Well, in 25 years of doing this, I’ve never been able to say that.
So what’s keeping your operation from being as streamlined as possible?
It’s when I get a phone call from a panicked client needing urgent help meeting a deadline because there is a problem.
The first time I did this was with a client who had a catalog that would crash the RIP every time they sent it to print. They were desperate.
I hopped in my car and drove over there as the files were too big to send. I quickly diagnosed the problem, then fixed it for them, so they were able to meet the deadline.
I fix stuff all of the time. It’s fun. I never guarantee I can fix it, but I haven’t failed yet.
It’s a combination of all of the above working with teams of people to create documents that end up being thousands of pages.
My part of helping a team create a proposal, usually in a very short window of time, is to set up a workflow for authors to feed content into the design quickly. This includes graphics, by setting up a graphics process, as well as pages by having the text get from author to final page as quickly, and easily, as possible.
This may be InDesign and InCopy for pagination, but not exclusively. There are many options and I like to create a workflow that is optimized for the specific project, based on location, tools available, and the people involved
Within a proposal, each volume can have unique needs, and I have extensive experience in each, dating back to my first proposal in 2007.
If you think your production team is doing things the hard way, they probably are. I like to automate as much as possible to not only reach the finish line faster, and easier, but also to reduce risk of failure.
Bottom line: I can narrow your window between pens down and delivery.