November '14

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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20 1 4 N ov e m b e r Printwear | 93 RecReating existing designs Recreating customer logos from low-quality art is a major time waster. For a good result, request a high-quality bitmap or a vector file. Smaller companies, however, rarely have these sources. Here are some shortcuts and cheats you can use in a pinch: 1. Ask the client for a better file and search for it online. Many times customers are unaware that better-quality versions of their own logo are buried on their web- site. 2. Adjust and squeeze the image if it's a bit- map and resample the resolution. This shortcut sometimes saves hours on com- plex designs that don't require much en- larging. Use Photoshop to resample the resolution, and then increase the contrast using levels or curves to sharpen the edg- es (see Figure 2). 3. If the quality of the adjusted bitmap is acceptable, use a tracing program to con- vert it to a vector graphic. On a full-size design, a resampled graphic may not be adequate, but a trace at a smaller size can capture details and add enough edge quality to dramatically shorten recreation time (see Figure 3). 4. Don't be afraid to outsource. Establish a good relationship with a company that creates complex vector files from poor-quality images. On some designs, the cost is a flat fee, even for intricate de- tails. A $25 art charge may free you from hours of work on a design that has many little pieces. appRoving aRt If there's a single job-delaying roadblock in the order process, it's the final approval of artwork and order details. Create a system that defines client expectations during the order-entry process to encourage a faster ap- proval and push the responsibility onto the client. Some simple methods to refine an art-approval process include: 1. Develop templates for art-approval emails, so everything is prepped and ready to add the necessary pieces. Larg- er companies might consider creating a push system to automate art approvals and automatically move orders into pro- duction when approvals are confirmed. 2. Implement an easy-to-use approval sys- tem for the client. The system should allow clients to view the approval on a mobile device and easily respond with a clear "Approved" or "Revisions Needed" without dictating more than necessary (Figure 4). 3. Approvals should show a digital review of the designs on the products in the right colors as well as the approximate print sizes. Proper visuals in approv- al layouts save multiple questions and calm most client concerns. designing fast logos If you've produced screen-printed artwork for a while, it's likely that you've created dozens of quick logos for teams, busi- nesses, and organizations. Clients com- monly submit an order, and then, as an afterthought, mention that they also need a logo. When dealing with a last-minute logo request, follow a three-step approach to design. First, search online for the name to see what font styles are used for this logo function and name. After you're clear on what font styles make sense, lay out the necessary type and start designing with the three-step approach. 1. The three-step approach is useful for fast logos because it covers the basics and ap- peals to customers. Determine what the first, second, and third pieces are in or- der of visual importance, and then create each piece in order of a left to right visual layout (see Figure 5). 2. The primary logo piece is designed first, and then the secondary is created as an accent to the first piece. At this point, it's typically easier to create a logo using a grayscale palette (see Figure 6). 3. The final part of the logo is the third piece. It should complement the prima- ry and secondary elements and is usually smaller and placed below. Pop in some color studies with simple layouts to show the client (see figure 7). Using this quick approach isn't always best for designing creative solutions, but it's great for customers who don't want to spend a logo budget and need a fast, im- pactful layout that reads properly. These refinements can save hours of time each month if they're used consistently. Not only will you see time reductions but you'll also have a much happier and relaxed artist. Figure 4: An easy-to-use approval method en- courages a faster reply. For example, a simple "Approved" or "Not Approved" digital system is not only convenient but straight forward enough to keep complications at bay.

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