Printing Images

real people, good printing, happy clients

Printing Images

06.12.15

I know we like to protect our clients from all of the complicated mess that goes into printing a job, but we're doing them a huge disservice by failing to share what we do.

Prepress Needs to Talk to Designers

Ok Sales people, listen up. We need to stop hording our clients. I know we like to protect our clients from all of the complicated mess that goes into printing a job, but we're doing them a huge disservice when they're not directly involved in helping their job run smoothly. I know what you're gonna say, I can hear it now, "But those guys in prepress are animals, they'll tear my client apart over the crappy files they send us."

Well, number one: no, they won't do that (really, they're pussycats). And number two: quite frankly, we helped create this situation. Not letting prepress speak to the client about their job, or worse, not communicating prepress's concerns that continually arise time after time for a particular customer builds resentment. No wonder Prepress is ready to chew someone's head off. They're thinking that the client either just doesn't care, or that they're just clueless about what's been explained but refuse to reach out. When the truth of the matter is, the client has never been told anything to begin with, and so Prepress' anger is misdirected, it's OUR neck that they really want to break, not the client. The client has no idea that anything is wrong. My point here: no one's communicating.

Prepress: remember these are YOUR PATRONS, too! Let's face it, aside from these designers, there really isn't anyone else whose as interested in this file preparation stuff as you are. You were made for each other! The more you educate designers about what it is you do and what you need from them to help make their job run smoothly, the easier YOUR life will be (and they'll thank you for it!) So don't be so uptight, start making some new friends.

Remember that famous tagline from Syms Clothing Store (shameless plug, you guys owe me) "…An educated consumer is our best customer." Well, imagine a scenario where the designer is giving you exactly what you need, practically every time. No missing fonts or graphics, no useless file formats, no low res images, eh? More importantly, they're calling you in advance for advice on setting up some crazy layout that uses wacky filters, transparencies and spot colors. Can you imagine the time, energy and frustration that would save EVERYONE? Well, 'that's what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown', …err, I mean that's what communication is all about. Help them help you.

So sales people, let's stop being control freaks. Prepress, lighten up will ya! and get on the phone. Designers, it's ok to ask these guys questions (they just look scary.)

All together now,
"WE NEED TO TALK TO EACH OTHER."

Ok, I'm done here.

04.21.15

Though (I'm told) the event was rather low key compared to others, I got to meet some incredible people from all over the area doing some amazing things.

company article photo

My First Expo Experience

Over the weekend (March 22nd) I was invited to participate in the 15th Annual Maryland Women's Expo with members of our sales team, and it was such an amazing experience for me. The last couple of weeks leading up to the event were a mad frenzy, trying to get those last-minute details into place - and no matter how much you plan, nothing works the way it's supposed to, and you find yourself scrambling about looking for workarounds, and pulling your hair out! I was exhausted, but my colleagues were actually abuzz with excitement and insisted that I stay for the event. I hemmed and hawed about it, but then I thought, why not? I mean, I was at a Women's Expo surrounded by lots of beautiful women (co-workers included.) ;) Not a bad way to spend an afternoon. Though (I'm told) the event was rather low key compared to others, I got to meet some incredible people from all over the area doing some amazing things. Our company was a major sponsor of the event and the exhibitors who participated were full of energy. There were speakers who talked about the importance of community and local patronage, self image and communicating the right message, spiritual and physical well-being, nutrition and diet, and most of all believing in yourself and what you can accomplish. What I was most effected by was the opportunity to see how hard our sales team works to make us (as a company) look good.

I'm telling you, there's nothing like them. From what I witnessed, our sales people are truly extraordinary. I had no idea how much time and energy they give to make such networking events a success. Our spread looked amazing: we had signage, tablecloths, balloons, and an incredible array of printed and promotional material. We were ready! And the thing that I marveled at the most was how they worked the room - our team was genuinely in their element. They were out there sincerely trying to connect and bring real value to people through the services we offer, and it showed. To see people respond to Bridget, Bill, Siobhan and Nicole is a sight to behold. They're Naturals, and they shine at these social events. They mingle and greet as if they're catching up with old friends, remembering good times and sharing what's new. It's like a beautiful waltz, to see them glide from one attendee to another with such grace and informal eloquence. (I'm not in sales, so please forgive me if I misrepresent this delicate exchange.) They often will tell us how great a networking event was, but it's nothing like being there and seeing it for yourself. It concluded with Nicole leading the crowd of attendees in a Zumba choreographed free-for-all, dancing to unwind from a packed filled day.

I was inspired. And I came away from the whole event changed. I love and respect our sales team. I love how well they connect with people. I love how well they represent us, and I love how they show that we're more than just ink on paper.

Go team, go!

01.06.15

2015 is here!! The holidays are over, and the year is afresh with huge opportunities. This year belongs to us, let's take it!

Something Wonderful Is Happening Here...
and it's YOU.

I can hardly believe it myself, another year has gone by and we're still rockin' this shop like nobody's business. We've had so many wonderful triumphs over the past year, but we've also had some personal setbacks, more than any shop desrves. It consoles me to know how supportive we've been to each other. We've stuck together, grieved together, fallen down and gotten up, wiped ourselves off, and gotten back in the game more times than I can count. We keep moving. Nothing will deter us or keep us from reaching our goals and reaping the good fortune we so desparately deserve. You all have done the hard part: you've made the sacrifices, and you've kept your spirits high despite enduring unending challenges and disappointments. So much sacrifice cannot go unrewarded. You all are amazing, and no one outside of this shop can possibly understand what you do day-in and day-out to make that magic work. Thankfully, we as a company are starting to turn a corner. We're briging on new staff and new energy, and Bob and Bill (our fearless leaders) are filled with new vision and a greater resolve. Bill talked about changes in a blog post several months ago, and those changes continue not only with products and personnel, but departmentally as well. Many things are starting to come together and fall in line, so hang in there. We have definitely made it people, and things are only getting better. I reallly feel like this is going to be our year, and it's all because of you.

2015, we're ready for you. Bring it on!

09.30.14

Sample checking could mean the difference between pulling a few bad copies, and reprinting the whole job. Yet, it's importance is so under-valued.

Sample Check: A Little Job With A Huge Impact

We're moving into our busiest part of the season, and all of us are feeling the pressure. With all of the things we have to keep track of, let's remember to keep vigilant on the little things we do that ultimately make the job a success — like 'Sample checking'. Now I can hear all of you moaning and groaning, but this is a big deal. It brings all of our hard work to bare, and it has a tremendous impact on our clients, trust me. The review process is not complicated (duh, just look at it and make sure it looks ok, right?), but it needs to be taken seriously. Pulled samples are evaluated for quality, client concerns, and order fulfillment. How did we do? Does it reflect the level of quality that our clients have come to expect? Is it something that we would feel proud of and put our name on? How well we've accomplished these tasks can mean the difference between a satisfied customer, and the job being rejected. Who wants to reprint a job over something that could've been easily avoided? Sample checks afford us the opportunity to catch something NOW, in the shop, while there's still time to do something about it, rather than disappointing the customer.

We're not perfect, mistakes *do* happen, and occasionally something slips through the cracks. Items get put into the wrong box, they get cut-and-folded wrong, stitched out of order, backed up wrong, or even offsets. You name it, it's happened. But it's okay *as long as it doesn't go out the door*! That's quality control 101, and that's the whole point of sample checking. If there's any procedure we have in place which nets the most impact on the quality of our service, it's this one. So let's keep an eye out for the little things, people — like sample checking — and continue to bring our A-game. We work too hard to miss out on the rewards they bring.

08.27.14

We lost Kevin Kanke last weekend in an auto accident. I don't know if this is the proper place for such things, but I felt something should be said in his honor.

He Was One Of Us

We lost one of our fellow employees over the weekend. His name was Kevin Kanke. He worked in the Bindery Department and he could fix just about anything, no matter how sophisticated it was. He always gave you that sly look of confidence when he worked, often scratching his head as he went along. He loved the challenge of it all, especially when there was a real need to get the job up and running again. He would never admit it, but he cared about this little company (grumbling the whole way, of course.)

Kevin wasn't always the nicest person to work with. He could be abrasive, stubborn, and downright ornery at times, but then turnaround and help out with some huge rush job working late into the evening. Kevin knew his stuff well, and he could often perform miracles when it mattered most. I didn't know him as well as others in the shop, but the conversations we did have made it clear to me that he genuinely cared about his craftsmanship, and he was committed to the success of whatever he touched.

His death was so sudden, and words can't begin to express our deepest sympathies to his family and loved ones. We were lucky to have him here at Printing Images, and we wanted you to know what he meant to us. He had a presence about him that you couldn't miss, and he helped to pull us through some tough times. Now that he's gone, we can't help but notice……one of us is missing.

06.02.14

What makes this world such a beautiful place? Having people like Linda Carberry around.

Linda, I Love You.

I can't tell you how many times I've come to work only to be inundated with more than I can possibly handle in one day, and yet I'm always told, 'WE GOTTA HAVE IT!' But then to my great surprise, I discover some incredible dish or dessert that has graced the lunch room, attached with a simple note: "Enjoy." Some sweet food fairy has stopped by to give us something to melt away all that frustration and remind us that we're not alone. We've all seen her, and in spite of everything she's got going on, she manages to find time to bring us something home-made. This has happened on numerous occasions, and it never ceases to amaze me.

Where does that come from, the wherewithal to conjure up something so sweet, heartwarming and personal — in your spare time, even — just to be enjoyed by someone else?

To do all of that, just because...

I don't know, but I can tell you what it does to me. It fills me with so much hope and faith (not to mention my belly) in people. It humbles me. It makes feel appreciated, makes me feel loved, and consequently, it keeps me from strangling my boss for the next 24-hours.

To Linda, and all the other sweet Lindas out there, the world is so much the better, and so much the sweeter because of you.

Thank you, truly.

05.26.14

NIcole is the newest addition to our Sales force, and having a huge impact! Read why we're so excited to have her with us!

Welcome Aboard, Nicole Pearlman!

I'm quite sure you've all noticed a mysterious new face walking around the Sales office (and no, we're not being audited.) Her name is Nicole Pearlman, and she's our new Sales and Marketing rep. Though she's constantly scurrying between meetings, I got a chance to ask her about joining the PI family:

So, where are you from?

I am originally from Philly, home of the cheesesteak! Born and raised in Philadelphia, but I flocked to Maryland for my career path. I come with all the flavor and finesse of the North but have developed a great love for Maryland and all the opportunity in this area. I guess it doesn’t hurt they seem to have the crab thing down here, extra foodie points on that!

Why did you decide to come work for Printing Images?

I was referred by a good friend who had thought it would be the perfect match for my sales experience and my constant need to be creative! Also, the people I’ve met here seem to be very passionate about the happiness of both their clients and fellow employees, which is exactly why I was drawn to joining the team!

How's it going so far?

Absolutely fabulous! I am so excited to be entering a fun and creative industry and am super excited for my future here. I can’t believe just how intricate the world of print and design really is! There’s so much you take for granted as a consumer and I am absolutely fascinated to learn more every day!

How would you rate your first day /week/ month? (having fun, yet?)

I am having so much fun and imagine it is going to get even better down the road. I would rate it very high in nearly every category. It’s exciting, interesting, intimidating, confusing, fun and challenging. All of which are essential to success and exactly why I think this is a perfect fit!

What's the most challenging part of your day?

The most challenging part of my day? Any extended time I have to spend sitting down. I naturally need to be going, going, going all the time! This is a challenge for me at any job though, right? I love being active and moving about. I’m thankful though because I do have the luxury of engaging clients and making connections out and about as well and there’s nothing I enjoy more than this! Sitting at a desk, running out into the city, work and play, it all takes dedication and focus, and is always a balancing act!

What do you like to do when you're not working?

I like to keep busy! I am a balloon artist in my spare time. I help bring life to all kinds of events. I have been an entertainer and decorator for a few years now and I absolutely love it! I do a lot of birthdays, festivals, and corporate events — making events memorable and special. I’m also a certified Zumba Instructor as well, which allows me time to have fun, stay fit and help others!

Is there anything you'd like us to know about you?

I love being able to fuel my creative side in nearly everything I do, at my job and in my personal life. I encourage others to do the same, express yourself and follow your passion!

Wow! I'll take 2 of whatever she's having! Nicole recently hosted the company's Memorial Day Cookout, and it was a huge hit. We all had a great time. Check out pics of the event on our facebook page! Thank you Nicole for spending a few moments to let us to get aquainted.

03.26.14

Big-Ups to everyone for letting us take your picture for the new website. It just wouldn't be the same without you.

Thanks To Everyone For The Website Pics

We're finally coming down to the wire, and I know that a lot of you were like 'enough already with the camera!!' While my fellow photogs and I were relentless, we do appreciate all of your (eventual) cooperation. ;)

To me, the site just wouldn't be the same without your warm smiling faces on every single page to remind me why I love coming to work — (ahem), okay I can see you're not buying it. Well, first let me say…My GOSH! Taking these pictures was like pulling teeth! I had no idea going into this that it would be so painfully difficult to take a snapshot! I expected a few no-shows, maybe a little camera shyness, but the whole shop having stage fright?!? Oh, C'MON!! But I digress …

The biggest reason for the pictures was to show our clients that there is someone behind the work and the orders they receive from us and that the products don't just make themselves. Human hands played a big part in creating that brochure, business card, or whatever they happen to be holding, be it printed or digital. That's something WE CARE about (no matter how small).

We make this company what it is, we give it life, and we dictate our own success. We are the reason that there is a Printing Images upon which our customers can rely. So when it came to the site, I wanted them to see us, not some stock photo actor(s) in an artificial setting pretending to represent us. We know what it is to live and breathe this stuff, and we do it everyday, with great resolve.

Hopefully, the site will be going up soon (if I can just get the molasses out of my 'you-know-what') and you will have a better sense of what we were hoping to accomplish. So, again I thank you. Thank you for allowing me to show you off.

02.26.14

I'm being short-sighted about this, I know, but I need to vent. I have a lot of work to do, and my machine just stalled, *again.* ugh!

My Job Would Be So Much Easier, if...
(aka, Just Fix the Dang Thing!)

Imagine how much easier your job would be, how much quicker you could accomplish those tasks if the danged equipment you used was working like it's supposed to? Ahh, the time it would save, and all the stress it would alleviate. Your job is challenging enough without having to worry over your equipment malfunctioning. But the reality is, you're forced to make due with what you've got, and just like some syndicated episode of Star Trek, the managers are shouting:

Scotty, I need more power!

It's very frustrating (as an employee) to know that you're expected to do something — and do it well — but can't because your equipment is in such disrepair. With your talent and skills, you can accomplish almost anything given the right tools; you can render a job quickly and efficiently, every time. I'll say that again, "EVERY TIME." Deadlines wouldn't seem like such a nightmare or unattainable if we could get some of these nagging repairs off the to-do list. How many times do we have to say:

I'm givin' her all she's got, Captain!

Just because employees are able to pull-off miracles in spite of subpar performing equipment doesn't mean it should become the norm. It's a credit to our ingenuity, but it is not to be mistaken for a permanent solution. Some companies think that they are saving money by delaying that much-needed service call for as long as possible, when in fact, they are just creating a bigger problem down the road, making more work and stress for their employee(s) and ultimately shifting more cost to their bottom line. So bite the bullet, let's get somebody in here that knows what they're doing because:

Damn it, Jim. I'm a Doctor, not a mechanic.

The thing that sticks in my craw is when superiors complain about the quality of the work not matching previous samples — ie. samples that were produced when things were working correctly. It's never going to happen, and it's unfair to place that kind of pressure on employees. Before you know it, you'll have a bunch of fed up and frustrated workers who just don't care anymore. Employees need to know that someone is listening to their concerns about the work they're responsible for. Help us help you:

Live long and prosper.

I'll conclude by saying, when you're in the trenches, you live in the here and now, and you just want to do your job. You come to work everyday, and prepare to push out the best possible work you can for the next 8-10 hrs. And for many of us who take pride in our work, it's personal. So, it bothers us when we can't produce at the level that we know we're capable of because the equipment is shotty. So please do something:

boldy go where no man has gone before.

We all want the same thing, we're all on the same team. So, place the service call. Let's get someone in here to fix these things, so we can do what we do best: make great stuff.

Kirk, out.

01.06.14

With all the stress that last-minute fulfillments can bring, thank goodness for company holiday get-togethers.

Year-End Party Comes Just In Time

The Holiday Party was a low-key affair this year, but warm and greatly appreciated just the same. Sometimes upper-management can seem aloof and completely out of touch with the things we're asked to do — (y'know?) — so it's nice when they come through with something that shows they really do care.

The food was great, and being able to 'come up for air' for a change really helped curb the stress we were all definitely feeling this month. Because of an electrical problem at the press, all of the schedules got screwed up, and everything was falling behind. Many of us had to sacrifice weekends to make up for it, but we got it done. I don't think I remember December being THIS busy (not that I'm complaining, . . well maybe I am but I shouldn't be), despite the fact that our clients usually rush to get EVERYTHING in before the holidays (bless their hearts.)

I love the whole crazy mess (not always, but …), the service we provide and the service principles which guide us, this is what I signed on for. But it does take a toll, and you need to take time out to recharge and recommit. So the Holiday Party was right on time.

The funny thing is despite all of the stress — and there's LOTS to go around — we always find ourselves wanting to make it happen for them. It's like what Bill Leishear said in our last meeting: 'imagine [the client is] like your best friend, and you don't want to let your best friend down.' So you do what you gotta do, you go the extra mile and, God willing, you pull it off and become their hero for all of 10 minutes (or at least until the next job comes in.) Ah well, but we live for those 10 minutes, don't we. Happy holidays, all.

christmas party pic

10.15.13

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The Chili CookOff Is Here!

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