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The Top 5 Art Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

(April/May 2016) posted on Tue Apr 19, 2016

Many times, mistakes that show up on press can be traced back to the very first stage of the process: the artwork.


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By Thomas Trimingham

If you are savvy with computer graphic software, recreating or editing the design will give you the most options in printing the job. Providing such a service also gives you added credibility with your client. Just be aware of the time that you will need to invest to make these changes. Many shops aren’t, leading to cost estimates that can be all over the map.

Most clients get nervous paying for art time on a printing job and some will go to a competitor if you intend on recouping art fees to recreate their files. Often, it’s easier to estimate the time and then bury the cost in your quote rather than itemize it and risk sticker shock that will stall the process or possibly cancel the sale. This also applies if you are sending the artwork out to be recreated by a service. Make sure the order size and value justifies the cost of preparing the artwork so that it doesn’t have you upside down just to finish the job.



Refusing a job may sound like a terrible idea, but it can be one of the most profitable things a company can do. Setting clear boundaries for your clients and insisting on a certain profit margin will encourage your customers to value your service. It will also help to create trust and loyalty over time by avoiding situations that would cause you to bump your valued clients for last-minute “bargain” orders. Passing on jobs with too much art cost/time and not enough order value (margin on the printed goods) allows you to focus your energy on profitable work instead. That time would be better spent marketing to new customers that will pay a decent margin.

#2 Not Having a Backup Art Resource
Screen-printing businesses tend to be fiercely competitive. They’re rarely inclined to share resources, methods, and services with other shops. A byproduct of this competitive nature is that many companies become isolated and will try to solve any and all problems in house, no matter what the issues may be.


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