Help this graphic designer become the best production manager ever
June 18, 2014 1:53 PM   Subscribe

I have been a graphic designer, or in related jobs, for most of my work life. Now I'm moving into a new print production manager position at the marketing agency where I work, and I will be doing a diverse range of stuff, much of which is new to me. Help me kick ass!

My new responsibilities will include requesting quotes, working with vendors, organizing files and print samples, scheduling, providing print specs, and so on. It will be mostly print focused, but I'll be involved in video production and photoshoots too. What I'd like to know is what resources are out there for me that will allow me to do a great job in this new role.

I'm already very organized in my personal life, and I usually rely on Google calendars and phone reminders to get things done, but I'd love to know what, if any, specialized software is useful in an agency environment. And any other thoughts that production managers might have on staying on top of projects, reading suggestions, groups to join, and so on.
posted by TochterAusElysium to Work & Money (3 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You might want to register and ask the people at the B4Print forums.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:42 PM on June 18, 2014

My suggestion for you is to learn your workflow from beginning to end. The best way to do this is to document it like you are going to explain it to someone that is replacing you. I would also create a graphical document that has all this as well. I would put the graphic on your wall so you can internalize it and so people can see the complexity you are dealing with.

Always pay for maintenance on software and hardware. Take the time to do things right. If you have to do something half-assed to get it done circle back and figure out how to do it right next time. Try to automate as much as possible. Avoid custom solutions when an off-the-shelf product will work as well. Always look at total cost of ownership as opposed to how much it costs now. Network (personally). Overbuy your machines. Invest in backups and archives. Eat your veggies.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:00 PM on June 18, 2014

I deal with production managers all day, along with art buyers, creative services managers, et al. If you want to be great at your job, especially when dealing with vendors, know your budgets first. There's nothing worse than spending hour upon hour negotiating with a client, when they never had the budget to do what they wanted in the first place. There's always going to be flexibility in certain places, but especially if you are going to commission any sort of photography or illustration, include the budget in your brief so you can actually have a productive conversation instead of playing chicken and mouse.

Also, from a photography and illustration standpoint, if you can understand, respect, and properly negotiate usage fees and licensing terms, you'll have friends for life. In your role, more than any other - you get what you pay for, and having solid relationships with a small number of vendors will be key. Good luck!

Also, Basecamp.
posted by LongDrive at 4:01 AM on June 19, 2014

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