While talking to a friend in the print room of the LMC, we started talking about a paper posted on the wall with information about fraction and decimal conversion. I had seen the poster many times but never paid much attention to it. As we were talking about it, he said, “You know, that would be a perfect card for the idea passport. In fact, it’s already shaped like one.” After the conversation, the idea stuck with me.
I decided to move forward with replicating the image for a new idea passport card. I didn't know if people would actually use the card, but I hoped that it would at least get people to start thinking about measurements in their projects. Way too often, people come to me with projects without any clue how to start sizing or formatting their projects. Most people have a tendency to open a new document and start designing without any thought about the end goal or product. Ideally, people would format the document before they start designing, which would make printing or cutting easier when it comes time.
When working with the cutting plotter specifically, it's helpful to make sure the cut lines and the print media are lined up perfectly. When I work with someone I always emphasize this handy toolbar in Adobe Illustrator that appears when you click on an object:
Using this bar to size and position everything ahead of time makes printing and cutting easier later on. I also try and remind people to add bleeds to their designs when cutting something out or trimming it. Maybe people will use this card to calculate how much bleed is needed.
In an effort to make it slightly more practical for paper projects, I added a tiny ruler at the bottom of the card as another way to visualize the conversions. I don’t expect the card to solve all of the issues mentioned above once and for all, but hopefully it’s the first step in getting designers to think about formatting their document and calculating dimensions before they start their project.