The second essential ingredient is clear and focused communication, which may be ensured by putting all decisions and suggestions made along the way in writing, as well as all staff involved in the project taking responsibility for communicating among themselves as often as necessary.
The third factor involves avoiding playing "Visual Ping-Pong"--as Renick sees it, a situation where the designer is constantly revising and re-revising a design concept due to lack of knowledge of the product's purpose and target audience.
"Our designers will not proceed on any design without a clearly written document which reflects the goals for that design," he says.
At University of California Press, this document is called the "design memo." It is usually written by the acquisitions editor and passed through the marketing department before it reaches the designer. This way, Renick explains, if there is a "difference in focus" between acquisitions and marketing departments, matters can be clarified before designers even become aware of it. He feels it's not the designer's job to solve such problems.
Renick dispenses the following advice to book designers who must deal with deadlines, other departments in house, unexpected production issues and so on
--Don't say yes to everything.
--Be realistic about what deadlines really encompass as far as the work you must perform is concerned.
--Define what the "real" emergencies are ("A crisis to one person may not be that to another") and create extra time to solve them.
Finally, in an effort to keep up with the emerging technologies, Renick says he always waits until a new technology has been tested by someone else.
"Let the technology become a proven commodity before investing in it," he suggests. "I always ask vendors and other book and general graphic designers what they know and use to help me sort out what works and what does not as applied to my needs.