At Pyramid Creative Studios, the end determines the means.
The firm's designers start each job by envisioning the finished product, and base their creative decisions on production and output considerations.
The studio's prioritization of design that's practical (i.e., reproducible), as well as pretty, isn't surprising: Pyramid Creative Studios was spawned from Pyramid Flexible Packaging, a supplier of gravure-based packaging and printing since 1981. La Habra, CA, is home to both companies, known collectively as The Pyramid Group.
"When I came to the company 12 years ago, Pyramid Flexible Packaging was looking for ways to expand its business beyond printing," remembers Blake Hoss, now vice president and creative director of Pyramid Creative Studios. After observing the jobs Pyramid was receiving, Hoss recognized an opportunity related to what he perceived as a weak link in the graphic arts workflow.
"We were doing pre-production, and I saw that many graphic design firms and agencies lacked production knowledge, that they didn't really understand what happens to a design once it goes to press or other output," he asserts. "Once desktop publishing came into play, we'd often have to go back in and fix digital files for offset or gravure or flexo—sometimes changing the files' creative direction to make them work."
Hoss recalls files with images that had been color corrected and retouched with great care; unfortunately, the artist had edited the images in RGB—for a job destined for CMYK printing. Other output-unfriendly activity ranged from supplying an eight-color design for a six-color press to trapping a file incorrectly, to ignoring the production consequences of using certain paper stocks.
Soon, the company realized that it would rather design good files in house than redesign bad ones from outside sources. So, Pyramid began offering creative services that capitalized on the supplier's production savvy.