Elections often go hand in hand with a ton of design work. In the run-up to 26 May, several Belgian political parties called on our graphic intervention teams, CD&V being one of them. 5 days, 127 magazines to layout: DTP A Love Story.
Wednesday 17 April - 9 a.m. Three of our graphic designers set out for the headquarters of CD&V in Brussels. The assignment: Create a layout for 5 magazines, 1 for each Flemish province, to inform the Flemish people about the electoral list for the upcoming elections. During the on site briefing, the assignment turns out to be substantially bigger than expected. 5 magazines suddenly become 127. Our team not only has to create a magazine for every province, but also for every region in those provinces. Moreover, a unique item about the local mayor has to be included for each municipality of each region. The deadline? Next Wednesday. Not all of the input is available yet. Our graphic team will receive a number of spreadsheets containing the information about the CD&V members and the design of the magazine. Wednesday 17 April - 10.30 a.m. Spreadsheets and layout received, that means it is almost time to merge data! Our graphic designers contact the headquarters. As manager of our Adobe Authorised Training Centre I am the technical backup for our people in the field. They want to know how to merge images, in this case head shots of the CD&V members. To solve this problem, I ask them to send me the layout of the magazine and the spreadsheets. Wednesday 17 April - 11:30 a.m. As soon as I grasp the scope of the project, I know exactly who to call. This is a job for ‘The Amazing Automator’, Jensie De Gheest. Jensie eats big data for lunch; he is our top EasyCatalog specialist. After a quick meeting, it's time to get organised. We set up a Creative Cloud shared folder and a Google Chat group for the team.
We have our first video consultation this afternoon. Our three colleagues on site get started with technically fine-tuning the layout file and optimising the spreadsheets. Jensie is in his element when he gets to flex his EasyCatalog muscles. After four hours of InDesign work, he comes up with a complex structure of folders, files and linked files, ready for our on-site graphic designers to assemble everything correctly in the magazines.
Thursday 18 April - 9 a.m. Video team meeting. I talk our people on site through the complex structure. They get to work with the files and place all of the elements that are ready. They also process a lot of spreadsheets and images. Jensie is with a client today for a different EasyCatalog assignment. He is missed around here. Friday 19 April - 9:30 am I have a day off but I can't ignore the 99+ messages in our Google Chat group. Everyone is busy at work and having fun. This is a pleasure that I don't want to deprive my people of. Since Jensie won’t be available next week, I decide to take over his training so that he can fully immerse himself in EasyCatalog. Friday 19 April - 1 p.m. Team meeting through Google Meet. Everybody is happy. Santa seems to have come early and has dropped 127 magazines in the workplace. Teamwork, when it works, is awesome.
Tuesday 23 April - 9 a.m.
After the long Easter weekend it takes a while before everyone is back at full speed. As mentioned before, I took over a training from Jensie and he got to dedicate himself completely to the project. Jensie fully commits to the magazine project and starts the automation phase. Spreadsheet after spreadsheet is processed, devoured even. Jensie’s laptop processor is working overtime and it’s barely half past nine. The temperature in our office is 7 degrees warmer than the rest of the building. Hundreds of InDesign files will be finished this Tuesday. To be continued.
Wednesday 24 April - 9 a.m.
Another beautiful day on the job. Today Jensie pays a visit to the customer. Time for a gallon of coffee and off we go. A first version needs to be delivered to the customer today. Jensie digs into his EasyCatalog skills, with the whole team wholeheartedly supporting him. Can you tell how focussed he is? 24/7 dedication, that’s Jensie’s credo.
Wednesday 24 April - 12:30 p.m. During lunch, the vibe shifts a bit and it’s time to unwind. The team have found a great lunch spot, and it’s surprisingly cheap. Wednesday 24 April - 1:30 p.m. Lunch hour is over. But Jensie’s appetite can’t be satisfied. He wants more and that is exactly what he gets. In the next few days the people from CD&V bombard our team with spreadsheets. Jensie crunches the data like a true analyst. Faster than his own shadow, he counters every data error and generates new layout files. The team continues to work diligently on assembling the magazines. Thursday 25 April - 9 a.m. The bulk data is being processed. The team is eternally grateful to our Amazing Automator. They now have a wealth of layout files at their disposal, which they will finish based on the customer’s input. Rigorous correction rounds ensure that all of the information is correct down to the last detail. Our team delivers a nice package to the printer, who then ensures that the magazines roll off the press. We are sure that the voter will be extensively informed about this party. Let’s get voting!