“Old School Screen Printing in the Digital Age” (SGIA Journal, Winter, 2014) reflects what we have never disregarded – that traditional, manual screen printing remains a mainstay in the art and reproduction world despite the onset of the digital age. For those rediscovering or just discerning its potential, the simplicity and relative affordability of setting up a home-based or storefront studio and the dynamics of creating/selling beautiful, handcrafted pieces has kicked up a firestorm of brilliance.
DIY ART IS SCREEN PRINTING
As mentioned in the SGIA Journal feature, Etsy (on-line), art festivals and even Thunder on the Bay (a Sarasota, FL, biker festival of music, crafts, art and food) represent the face-to-face business that is building as manual screen printing churns out vivid creations in wearable and print arts. Various venues in 2014 will continue to host specialty, handmade items in small batches. Check out Art Expo in NYC. Watch for music festivals in Seattle, Barcelona, Chicago, Austin and Hamburg, Germany via Flatstock poster shows. The Renegade Craft Fairs in London, Chicago, Brooklyn, Austin, LA and San Francisco will also be favorite exhibits sites to be awed as will be other arts/crafts fairs throughout U.S. cities and around the nation.
COMMERCIAL ART IS SCREEN PRINTING
And, for the artists who are venturing into printed art/fabric design that appeals to commercial enterprise, the resurgence of manually screen printed items remain big ticket items. Gregory Markus, president of RhinoTech was interviewed after his attendance at a fine art show in the Park Avenue Armory in NYC that is a grand, towering exhibit space in itself. He noted the multi-dimensional screen printed art on display, the bold graphics and sharp, expressive designs. His zealous enthusiasm was infectious regarding the artists whose multi-layered original art prints represented a new wave of “traditionalists” creating limited-edition posters, lithographs and more.
The reemergence of this manually screen printed work, whether displayed in private or commercial arenas, signals an energized marketplace and excitement for a vastly creative, hands-on method in which to design and create. And, importantly, it helps to dispel the myth of manual screen printing’s downturn in favor of a solely digitally printed world. With a 30+ year background in fine art, screen, graphics and digital printing, Mr. Markus has been witness to bold changes and a new facination in producing art with manual screen printing!
NEW DIGITAL PRINTING TECHNIQUES VIA RhinoTech
RhinoTech is an example of a company that has remained true to its roots, firmly immersed in all things screen printing; yet, has recognized the value of digital printing and its highly creative genius. The company’s ability to blend these two types of printing practices helps all printers learn how to merge these processes under one roof to meet their own creative outlets and the needs of their customers. For example, though highly simple and refined software like Smart Designer Creative Assistant X6(that blends with CorelDRAW X6), this art production software tool offers value to both digital and manual screen printers. By tracking the pulse of these art-in-all-forms producing industries, RhinoTech offers value to its customers through providing software, screen cleaning equipment, earth-friendly screen frame cleaning chemicals, adhesives, manual screen printing accessories AND digital heat transfer equipment, the latest specialty transfer papers for use with both laser and inkjet printers.
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How to handle the irate customer? Check out How to Talk so Kids will Listen & Listen so Kids will Talk by Adel Farber and Elaine Mazlish (the teen version is equally excellent). This bible of child rearing is one of the best non-business books that makes perfect sense in the business world. Read it and you will believe.
One of the best take-aways from the book was how to use the following expressions Uh-huh, Oh, Interesting, Really? I See and Mmm, along with sympathetic silence, during a customer rant. It was astonishing at how powerful these simple little words made it possible to diffuse/resolve a situation with the irate, unreasonable, emotionally charged, often loud, unhappy-and-wanting-justice customer in the calmest, most peaceful way possible. Speaking from experience, these practical tactics (and some appropriately interjected humor) help to restore sanity and harmony in a tough customer/workplace situation. Though we might fantasize about strongly articulating, why you gotta be so mean?, logically, we know that a defensive posture will just be a lose-lose situation. In the end, what we really want is to retain a customer who will remember that we tried hard to solve a problem to his/her satisfaction.
Here is an excerpt from a summary of the book …..The more I move through life and the business world, however, I am struck how the same techniques enhance communication between adults in all aspects of life. This book should also be listed in the Business/Management section. It says all the same things the high-priced consultants say — treat people with respect, do not deny their emotions, state the facts (only) and shut up and listen. This book also talks about giving praise and recognition, which makes it another reason to use it in real life, inside the family AND outside in the “real” world.
Some tips with tactics from the book:
Apologize and Listen. Immediately respond to the customer problem with, You do sound unhappy, my apologies. Let me help you. (or) I’m so sorry, I want to try and turn this around (or) if all else fails, It sounds like we owe you an apology.
Then…let the customer talk and respond at intervals with, Oh (or) Interesting (or) Uh huh (or) Really? (or) Mmm (or) I See (non-judgmental words) so that the customer knows you are listening.
Treat people with respect: actively listen, acknowledge with short bursts of Oh (or) Interesting (or) Uh huh (or) Really? (or) Mmm (or) I See. If appropriate, throw in a that does sound frustrating. As the customer is able to air the complaint, he/she should start to calm down.
On the other hand, if the customer is just becoming increasingly angry and/or abusive, try to retain integrity and calm and say something like, I understand that you’re very unhappy and I want to help you, but at this point I need to put the president of the company on the phone (or) I need to ask for your name and number so that the president of the company can call you back.
State the facts back: Ask yes or no questions, only, to get the full details of the complaint. And to reach a resolution. Once you think you have it, remain sympathetic. State back the problem and resolution. Gain agreement that the resolution you’ve discussed is understood by the customer. Say something like: So that we’re both comfortable (another good word from the book), we’ve decided that our company will fix the equipment and you will pay to have it shipped to our location (or) Just to confirm, you understand the step-by-step set-up instructions and you are now comfortable in completing the set-up?
Thank the person for calling; document the conversation point by point.
And be awed at the huge impact of Oh (or) Interesting (or) Uh huh (or) Really? (or) Mmm (or) I See!
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Wanted to share this blog by Jonathan at Catspit Productions. It’s well done and answers the question for many of us who are often frustrated with the process. The Catspit Forum is a great place for Q and A.
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