Thing-a-Day 12: Sketch for ETP Instruction Sheet

Fast ETP Instruction Sheet Sketch

T’was a very busy day today, and I wasn’t sure if I could squeeze out something for the day. So first, I lowered the bar. Second, I chose to start a project that I’d held off from doing because it was expensive: the production of 10,000 sheets of full-color offset printed instructions for the various Emergent Task Planner products. This will run around $800-$900 just for printing the instructions. 10,000 sheets is about the economical minimum for offset printing locally, last I checked.

Details follow.

Cost of Printing

Currently, there are only two Emergent Task Planner products that have printed instructions included:

  • The 4X6 StickyPad, which has them printed on the back of each sticky pad (it’s included in the production cost).
  • The shrink-wrapped 50-sheet ETP pad, with extra-stiff cardboard backer and a black-and-white instruction sheet. They are the least expensive of all the product I have on Amazon, but they are actually the most expensive to produce due to the thick cardboard and extra cost of printing instructions on a separate sheet using print-on-demand. I sell these close to cost on Amazon, because I figure they are good for people to try out.

The print-on-demand instructions are black-and-white because that’s the cheapest option. Print-on-demand in color is kind of expensive. If I go with offset printing, the initial cost is pretty high, but the cost per-page is much lower. I’m at the point where I think that even if I printed 10,000 instruction sheets, they would all eventually be used.

The Design

A second barrier to producing these instruction sheets, other than cost, is the design itself. I’ve finally been making these ETP products long enough that I am feeling comfortable describing how they work; before, I considered the Emergent Task Planner design in a continual state of testing. I knew why I designed it the way it was, but I wasn’t sure how OTHER people were using it. I think I’m finally ready to write some instructions that I think will convey “best practices”.

As I was short on time today, I just took two pieces of paper and wrote down, very roughly, what I wanted to say. This took only 15 minutes, which surprised me given how many years I have avoided this task. Perhaps it’s just a sign that I know what the ETP is now, and because of that certainty it was relatively easy to just write down the understanding that is in my head. I’m not sure I could have done this even a year ago without second-guessing myself, because I had built-up the task in my head as being much more complicated than it actually had to be. Doing it the simple way seemed to be a good way to get this project unstuck! Making progress the goal for the day, as opposed to completion, also helped get the project started because I wasn’t fretting. Boom! 15 minutes! Draft!

Over the next few days, I’ll find the time to start designing the actual layout. For today, though, this quickie draft is meaty enough to serve as today’s THING OF THE DAY.

About this Article Series

I'm challenging myself to create something new every day for the month of November 2014! The November Challenge Page lists everything in one place...check it out!


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I believe we all benefit when we respectfully share our perspectives on common experiences. My house rules are "please be respectful of divergent views" and "enjoy the flow of ideas!"

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