www.images-magazine.com 34 images MAY 2018 TIPS & TECHNIQUES What type of printer are you? Marshall Atkinson breaks down the different characters found in print shops and what they bring to a business T -shirts. There they are. Stacked up on that cart. Or maybe you prefer a table. Dozens of them. Hundreds. Thousands, maybe. And there are even more still in the boxes. What’s that beeping sound? It’s the sound of the UPS truck backing up, delivering more boxes of T-shirts. It’s a tidal wave of cotton. Okay, there’s some polyester in there too. But what all of these blank T-shirts have in common is that they need decorating. And what every blank T-shirt also has in common is that it doesn’t care who does the printing. So who prints the T-shirts? T-shirts don’t carewho prints them He can slam through rush orders like a heated knife slicing through butter The veteran printer Will it be Fred, the veteran manual printer? He worked for 16 years in this industry before even printing any T-shirts for your company. Your sales team calls him the maestro, and for good reason. He’s been printing for so long he can do it in his sleep. One of the great things about watching Fred work is that his moves are similar to a dancer. Every action is choreographed and measured. There isn’t any wasted motion. Every tool Fred uses is within an arm’s reach. His feet rarely shift, but when they do it is only a sidestep or two. He can churn through an amazing number of small orders and constantly has to be refreshed with new screens, inks and T-shirts. On most days, he will produce between 25 to 40 orders. He’s a machine. Which is why Fred is the highest paid production worker on the floor. Fred sets up and registers screens with blistering speed, usually about two minutes per screen on average. He has almost zero downtime. Fred has such skill that he rarely makes a mistake. To speed up the process, he can self- approve jobs. Getting the production manager over to review his work before the job is printed just slows him down. He’s earned that with his talent and attention to detail. Rush orders are staged the night before for Fred so in the morning he can slam through them like a heated knife slicing through butter. All the difficult jobs go to Fred. Two-ply nylon jackets that need the jacket clamp? Printing that yoga studio logo on the waistband of some stretchy pants? Your entry into the next Fespa T-shirt print contest? He does them all with a smile on his face. So what makes Fred so much better?