Let’s talk about measurements. In engineering, manufacturing and scientific applications, measurements deal in thousandths of a millimetre, or smaller. Mechanical engineers use digital Vernier calipers, outside micrometers, pitch gauges and feeler gauges for precise measurements. These can measure up to 1/1000 of a millimetre.
For graphic design that will be printed, we deal in millimetres. For design with a digital outcome, the units are pixels. Printers use outside micrometers to assess the thickness of paper. At the intersection of graphic and product design, microns come into play. The need for precision in our industry is pivotal in ensuring the accuracy and professionalism of our work.
In graphic design, even the slightest deviation from the intended measurements can result in errors in printing and binding, or significant visual discrepancy in online applications. Whether it’s creating a print design, a web layout, or a logo, precision ensures that the final product aligns perfectly with the designer’s vision and adheres to the client’s requirements. Accurate measurements also contribute to the overall consistency and coherence of a design, which are crucial factors in maintaining a strong brand identity.
When briefing projects, clients should provide clear instructions. This may require supplying a specification sheet for both web and print advertising, pop-up banners or promotional items. It may mean delivering a sample of items to the designer or printer to be measured for packaging and point-of-sale. This is then used in the creation of a dieline either by a printing company using a CAD system, or by the designers for simpler projects. The client may be working with architects, engineers, or a signage company. They will have CAD drawings, and these should be supplied to the designers. Consultation is key in all instances.
Occasionally for practical reasons, the client may need to measure a product or point-of-sale display. Our suggestion is this is usually best as a two-person process. Someone should hold the ruler straight against the item and someone else take a photo, clearly showing the edges and where the markings on the ruler line up.