Many times, mistakes that show up on press can be traced back to the very first stage of the process: the artwork.
Having access to a backup art resource can be a cavalry for your business. If a client comes in with artwork needs that you can’t handle (complicated illustration work, highly detailed art, photo manipulation requirements, etc.), you may not just be passing on that order – you risk losing all future business from that client. That might actually be a good business decision for companies that are just starting out if they cannot handle new processes or highly detailed art reproduction on press. But if your company can handle the work on the production side and you’re just uncertain about working with a complicated art file, having access to an experienced artist can be an important advantage. It gives you access to the skills you need to earn and keep the business.
Having an artist or design service on reserve can also be a big advantage when considering large orders or difficult, demanding customers. With an experienced outside contractor, you can avoid the expense of hiring higher end art talent yet still land bigger jobs that might otherwise be difficult to fulfill with current staff.
The challenge is that these relationships are hard to cultivate “in the moment,” on deadline and only when you’re presented with a difficult job. Contract artists and design services work best when they have a clear understanding of the shop’s needs and a level of ongoing business. An initial order or two can help get to that point by breaking the ice and establishing a good working relationship. Look for artists in online forums, art-related websites, and even your local college programs. Try them out on non-critical jobs. Consider having them design a logo shirt for your company. This will allow youu to judge their skills, turnaround, and pricing, while giving you something you can use to market your business. It might take a few tries to find an artist or service that works well with you, but when you find one, it will be a relationship worth maintaining.
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