Screen printing artwork
August 8, 2009 9:53 AM   Subscribe

I did artwork for a customer, and now he is harassing me to give him his money back. I need advice how to resolve this.

I run a small screen printing shop, and a guy came wanting to get artwork done for his car racing team. He provided me with this shirt to use as an example, along with photos of his car from various angles.

After the typical back-and-fourth with the customer, I came up with this and this for him and he was happy with it, and paid. I charged him $160.

He took the artwork to another shop, and they said they couldn't print it.

For those who aren't familiar with screen printing: You can print anything. You just need to separate the artwork into the colors you would like to print. Each shop (as far as I am aware) does this as part of the setup for the job, since "artwork separations" depend on variables in the shop (screens, inks, the press, etc.).

He came back to me complaining that the other shop couldn't print it, so I offered to help with the film separations (I asked how many colors they can print, and what type of ink they use), and told him the contact information for a film-separation guy that could do it for $150 (I don't actually know how to do it, I outsource my jobs to him). At this point I was genuinely trying to help, but he saw it as me trying to take advantage of him.

Fast forward to an e-mail I got today:

No. i brought the photoshop file to the other places and they all said the same thing. what we have can't be used because it's just pictures laid on top of pictures and no artwork was actually done. We have started over from scratch with a new company and now we know not to ever use you or refer anyone to you. It's not just the artwork. It's the fact that it took a month and a half as well to do approximately 3 hours or 3.5 hours of work. The company has a very poor work ethic and quality of product.

Like I said before, We are done with you and your reputation precedes you and the only way to resolve this with the BBB is to give us a refund on the $160.00 we paid for artwork in which no art was done. If this is not resolved the nest step is to buy a one page article in the Olympian and call consumer reports on Kiro 7. We are not the couple to take advantage of. I will not let this go.. I am extremely disappointed and upset about the way you have conducted yourself over this whole endeavor.

I need advice how to go about this. I would feel cheated if I had to give him a full refund. The artwork is good for screen printing, I can print it in my shop no problem. I do art like this all the time. Especially the back print, it's just a 2-color red and black.

And what about the threat to take out an article in the newspaper and call cable news? Can he even do that? I've never run into something like this before.
posted by Jsn7821 to Work & Money (48 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
could you go youself to the shops he visited and talk to them about what the difficulty is? i wouldn't take this guy's word for anything. he could just be trying to rip you off.
posted by klanawa at 9:59 AM on August 8, 2009 [5 favorites]

I hate to say it, but it might come down to your pride vs. your business. Which is worth $160 to you? This guy sounds like he won't back off.
posted by desjardins at 10:01 AM on August 8, 2009 [2 favorites]

I think a newspaper would be extremely reluctant to run any ad like that. Libel laws might even make a countersuit on your part possible, with a hell of a lot more money coming back to you.

Did you have a contract with the client? If not, you've gotta get contracts in the future so as to avoid these kinds of situations, contracts that denote EXACTLY what the work is, what the outcome will be, etc.

Looking back at your question: Don't worry about the news; I'd be surprised anyone cares about this (it's only $160). I'd ignore the guy.
posted by mixer at 10:06 AM on August 8, 2009

Just give him the money back. $160 is not that much, and when you consider the time and headache you are going thru, it seems the best course. There's some misunderstanding about screen-printing - either on his end or yours, but fact is both sides are unhappy. Be done with it and move on.
posted by ecorrocio at 10:07 AM on August 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

If this dude's bent about $160, he can't afford a one-page attack ad in the Olympian. Also, they wouldn't run it.
posted by EatTheWeek at 10:07 AM on August 8, 2009 [5 favorites]

Why did he not just have you print it, if you were doing the artwork? I feel like there's a piece missing here, somewhere.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:10 AM on August 8, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Second talking to another print shop to find out what the difficulty is.

Don't worry too much about the BBB--if they complain, you can file a rebuttal with them that'll defuse a complaint. And if they do get Kiro 7 involved, Kiro 7 will want to talk to you as well, at which time you can explain your side calmly and tell them how the customer is cracked.

But your whole defense here rests on the fact that the customer/other print shops are being weird, so you need to find out why they think they can't print it so you can appear to be the knowledgeable one.

I wouldn't give them back $160, but I would be willing to effectively refund them the money by working further to make sure it gets printed properly.
posted by fatbird at 10:11 AM on August 8, 2009

Response by poster: Another thing is, I can't imagine any other shop doing the same thing (but "from scratch", whatever that means) for as little as $160... I would imagine that they are just taking the artwork I did, and separating it to print. I am not sure about this though.
posted by Jsn7821 at 10:12 AM on August 8, 2009

Response by poster: @restless_nomad - I am not sure, I think our quote even came in lower than the other shops. It has been really difficult to communicate with this guy. Before I even knew there was a problem at all, I got a letter from the BBB. I think at this point he is holding a grudge just to hold one, since this route is very likely to cost him more money.
posted by Jsn7821 at 10:14 AM on August 8, 2009

Did you say to him "I'd be happy to talk to your printer for you to see what the problem is."?
posted by fatbird at 10:15 AM on August 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: It sounds to me like the other shop is trying to hose him--they want to be able to charge him to do the artwork.

I would ask him what the other shop was charging for the printing and offer to print the shirt for lower what they're charging. His interaction with the two shops already indicates that he's a bargain hunter (or, probably more accurately, cheapskate). Tell him that you'd be happy to print the shirt for him at a lower price, but that otherwise, you can't refund the money because of what you've told us here: "The artwork is good for screen printing, I can print it in my shop no problem. I do art like this all the time."

I've just recently started doing freelance art stuff, so this may be something you already know, but you should always always have a contract for every freelance piece that explains exactly why you're charging what you're charging (say, $40/hr) and when customers can get a refund (IE, before you deliver the final results) and not.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:17 AM on August 8, 2009

Well, on the one hand you delivered what he asked for, an d he was happy with it.

On the other hand he waited a long time and, right or wrong the company he is going to for printing claims it can't be done. And, although technically it CAN be done, the design is not particularly screen-print friendly.

Cable news would not take his story - you delivered and he or you just misunderstood what he wanted. There's no screwing going on, just circumstantial screwups. He isn't taking out any ad, and if he did I think it would reflect more poorly on him than you. Still it's better for everybody if he goes away happy, or less unhappy, anyway.

I say give him his money and be more explicit with people who don't know what they need or want.
posted by dirtdirt at 10:21 AM on August 8, 2009

Can't you make a one-off T-shirt print to shut the guy up?
posted by @troy at 10:21 AM on August 8, 2009

Best answer: 1. Make sure you have clear contracts in the future.

2. Don't worry about the news/ad - most news stations won't care about this, and most newspapers won't run such an ad (in most states the publisher can be sued for libel as well as the ad purchaser). If they do, you may have a case for libel (but would depend on your state laws, the wording of the ad, etc).

3. If you were to give him his money back, you would need to get back your work product. Since it's digital, it would be hard to be assured that he hasn't made a copy of it and is continuing to use it. If he keeps the artwork, then he owes you, at the very least, for the labor you put into it.
posted by melissasaurus at 10:22 AM on August 8, 2009

what we have can't be used because it's just pictures laid on top of pictures

Did you make him a flattened version?
posted by interrobang at 10:29 AM on August 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Can't you make a one-off T-shirt print to shut the guy up?

I like this idea.
posted by gsteff at 10:30 AM on August 8, 2009

Best answer: I wouldn't give him a penny until I contacted the other print shops. Someone who immediately resorts to bluster and threats is usually not being entirely honest; it sounds to me like he's trying to steamroll you into doing the work (the art design) for free.

Find out if those shops really can't print your design and if not, why not, and then go from there. In my experience as a freelance writer, people are almost never as influential as they claim to be. Don't even worry about him trashing your reputation; chances are excellent he's completely full of shit.
posted by balls at 10:31 AM on August 8, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If you give this customer his money back, it's not going to buy you anything. That's for reasonable customers and honest misunderstandings. He's still going to tell his friends you suck - why let him be all proud of being a dick and making you give him a refund?

Sounds like he's just a nutbag. Send him a polite letter saying you're sorry he's not satisfied and that you would be happy to discuss the problems with the print shop he's working with, but that you have provided the service that he paid for.

Or, give him his $160 back, then tell him to return the materials you gave him and that he no longer has rights to print the artwork at another shop. That should spin him up.
posted by ctmf at 10:32 AM on August 8, 2009 [4 favorites]

Prove that your artwork can be used - make a one-off shirt and that should shut him up.
posted by jkaczor at 10:33 AM on August 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: @Interrobang - this is an interesting point. I was out of the shop when the customer came in, and I just found out that the printer who works here here loaded up the 100+MB Photoshop file instead of the 2MB file "FINAL_front.psd" for him.

But - anyone with Photoshop can flatten the file... I wonder if I should bring this up with him? I feel like it would just confuse things at this point.
posted by Jsn7821 at 10:33 AM on August 8, 2009

Response by poster: About doing the one-off, I like the idea, but a job like this involves quite a bit of prep work - and I already have a bunch of prints done using the exact same method. We have even done stuff from low quality .jpeg images, and they still turn out pretty nice - the 300dpi image I made for him would look sharp.
posted by Jsn7821 at 10:56 AM on August 8, 2009

A. He's bluffing, even KIRO and The Daily Zero have some standards.

B. Are you positive the issue is with the artwork format and not the fact that it appears you traced the car from the original shirt? It's hard to tell from his rant.

C. If you decide to do a one off for him to prove the art works this excellent tutorial will help you do the separations yourself.
posted by ecurtz at 10:59 AM on August 8, 2009

Someone who immediately resorts to bluster and threats is usually not being entirely honest


I'm betting this guy went to one other printer, and only one other, where he had a problem. I do not believe he has been all other town and seen similar problems.

Further, have you ever had this problem before? If you were doing something wrong, surely other people would have had similar issues in the past.

Call the guy's bluff. Say this:

1.) I do not respond to threats against my livelihood, just as you wouldn't.

2.) I have tried in good faith to help you.

3.) I am happy to work with whatever printer you're having problems with to resolve the issue. Forward their contact info, and I will call them.

4.) If I were to refund the $160, which I'm not inclined to do, despite your childish threats, you would have to return the materials, and not be able to use them at anytime in the future.

Blowhards like this are always full of shit. The fact that he is threatening to take out some ad, when no paper would sell such an ad to him, just proves that he's a sorry ass shitbag.

In the future don't do business with redneck hick businesses. These people take everything personally, everything is a conspiracy to rip them off, etc.
posted by wfrgms at 11:00 AM on August 8, 2009 [12 favorites]

Best answer: From what I understood, Jsn7821 can't just print a one-off shirt for proof, without investing $150 for the film separation work.

Never mind the design on the back, that's so simple that anyone could create/print that. As for the front, did you draw that car? If so, it's art work. Simply have your film separation guy take a look at it and give you some kind of written statement that "Yes, I could separate this for screen printing." Send that to the customer, along with a letter similar to what ctmf said.

If you've worked with local auto racing teams before, you know that funds are always tight. The kind of people that end up being successful owners and/or drivers are not the most laid-back people around - they will fight and claw for every bit of ground on or off the track. It looks like he drives a dirt track modified, and from what I googled, is down at #11 in the point standings right now. Dude is not having the best season, and he's probably frustrated.

Send him something like this:

"Dear Mr. X

I understand your frustration with this process. I designed these pieces to your specifications, hand-drawing the modified on the front. As you can see from the attached letter, these pieces can be separated out for screen printing. You approved the work itself before any payment was made.

Since it did take a longer time than usual to complete this work, I am sending a check for $80, and I consider the matter closed."

Send copies to the BBB and the other shops involved. You may not have as much work in the future from all his buddies at the track, but there's plenty of other areas to focus on, I'd think. For example, softball teams don't care about what race car drivers think of your work.
posted by HopperFan at 11:04 AM on August 8, 2009

It's very easy for someone who's not technologically savvy to feel ripped off and humiliated, looks like that's what's happening here. Especially if you tried to charge him again.

I would own up to your mistake (and if someone put the wrong file on the CD it is your mistake) and print him a free shirt or two, give him another CD with the correct file, and maybe a coupon or gift certificate for further work.
posted by kathrineg at 11:07 AM on August 8, 2009

And another thing - some of the other shops might not be as experienced with Photoshop. I know it sounds crazy, but some are still using old versions of CorelDraw.
posted by HopperFan at 11:09 AM on August 8, 2009

If the shop can't work with the full Photoshop file, katherineg, it's highly doubtful they'd do any better with the flattened/optimized psd.
posted by HopperFan at 11:11 AM on August 8, 2009

Response by poster: @ecurtz - The plan was that I would scan the shirt, trace it and replace all the colors / decals / etc. with his car's stuff, and customize the background and such. That's the reason it only cost $160. I imagine doing something like this from scratch (which evidently someone else is doing now) would cost upwards of $500 at a minimum, although to be honest I'm not entirely sure what stuff like this is priced as. I usually just do little touch-up work in photoshop for $35/hour.

I have seen that tutorial before (and I used to do my own separations), but outsourcing them has been so consistent that I just stick with that to get the best results. Here are some pictures my work. The two that I outsourced were the Bone Fishing and Bandha Room prints.
posted by Jsn7821 at 11:13 AM on August 8, 2009

That's true, I know how easy it is to flatten it, but I think that there is a chance that the people he took it to said something along the lines of "this is the wrong kind of file" or "why is this file so big" and then told him they would need time/money to print it, thereby making him feel foolish or ripped-off by the OP.

Ridiculous to someone who knows what's going on, but if he's someone who doesn't even know what photoshop is, I would consider whether it's a misunderstanding put through a filter of humiliation and anger, instead of a purposefully manipulative threat. I would try to resolve the situation with that in mind.
posted by kathrineg at 11:16 AM on August 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

and upon reading hopperfan's post marked best answer, he is totally right and you should do that.
posted by kathrineg at 11:18 AM on August 8, 2009

It's a lot of work for $160, but I would invite him to your shop to mediate this.

When he gets there, have his file open in PhotoShop. Show him the layers. Explain what you mean by color separation. Explain that the other office did not understand layers (!) and then print a one-off for him while he's there.

He's probably angry because he doesn't understand what's going on, and is getting different information from different people, with no full explanation from anyone. So he's confused, and assumes that you pulled a fast one on him. When he understands what's really going on -- when he can see it all with his own eyes -- surely he'll back down.
posted by Houstonian at 11:28 AM on August 8, 2009 [2 favorites]

Agree with all advice so far.

But I would suggest you are wasting too much energy on this guy. Everyone who's been in business for more than a little bit of time will encounter unreasonable customers. The customer is NOT always right. Just ignore him politely.
posted by randomstriker at 11:51 AM on August 8, 2009

What's all this about separations? Why not just print a full color transfer? I've done it for dozens of different events. (Laser, not ink-jet) or sublimation print?
posted by Gungho at 1:01 PM on August 8, 2009

It sounds to me like he took the art to a printer that doesn't know what the hell they're doing. If you run a screen printing shop and don't know what to do with a layered Photoshop file, then you should either quickly learn, or sell the business. Photoshop & Illustrator are the lifeblood of color separation, especially for spot color. I'm often very glad to have a file still in layers, as it provides me with the ability to make layer-based selections.

I have seen occasions on which an RGB file was way out of gamut for CMYK and that's presented problems when I was doing a process print, but as far as getting spot channels, you can pull whatever color you'd like out. Select by Color Range... is your friend. This is nuts-and-bolts type stuff.

I've also been ripped off for art. I'm willing to bet that after all this, your design shows up oh his shirt, even if you refund the guy. I say stand your ground -- he's not going to ruin your reputation. If you'd been in the wrong, I'd say refund him immediately, as that's an important key of good customer relations, but I don't see how you were. He chose an ignorant printer, who gave him bad info, and is now refusing to listen to you. Tell him to take a hike.
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:41 PM on August 8, 2009

Speaking as a graphic designer who has worked with a legit and technologically savvy silkscreen business, I can tell you that there are some instances where a silkscreen company cannot work with rasterized files. Yes, it sounds crazy but it does happen.

What I'm thinking is that when your client asked you to make artwork for his t-shirts, he was expecting you to create it in vector format; in our shop if someone said they needed artwork for silkscreen it was without question to be done in vector format with separations on separate layers, with proper chokes and bleeds if requested.

Quality-wise, while a rasterized art file could be used to create a silkscreen end product, it is never as precise and clean as a truce vector art file with proper separations done. Lots of silkscreen companies stay away from doing any kind of "CMYK" silkscreening as well which may be the problem in this instance; their setup just can't handle that kind of printing.

Your client is obviously not well-versed in digital art making and like others have mentioned is probably feeling taken advantage of. While I don't have any advice on how to settle this matter, in the future be sure to make sure if the art is to be done in vector or raster format and charge accordingly.
posted by wiretap at 3:38 PM on August 8, 2009 [3 favorites]

*truce=true, doh.
posted by wiretap at 3:40 PM on August 8, 2009

Response by poster: @wiretap - The thing is, this customer came in saying he wanted ~50 or so of shirts that resembled the one he brought in. He brought in a 12 color spot color design.

Creating this art in vector format would have been considerably more expensive than $160, and then printing it with 8 or more colors would have been out of the question for 50 shirts. In my mind I knew I would save him hundreds of dollars by doing the art the quick way, and then running it as a simulated process. I wouldn't do it any different a second time around (however I would be much more clear what he was getting, with a contract, etc. as per all the suggestions here). I am starting to get really curious what the other shop is doing for him "starting from scratch" and how much they're charging.

Also, for my setup (I use waterbased inks on an auto press), I wouldn't have printed it as CMYK - I would have done yellow, red, purple and black (and blue would be optional). Other shops would probably do it quite a bit differently depending on their inks, etc.
posted by Jsn7821 at 4:20 PM on August 8, 2009

I would own up to your mistake (and if someone put the wrong file on the CD it is your mistake) and print him a free shirt or two, give him another CD with the correct file, and maybe a coupon or gift certificate for further work.
posted by kathrineg

You're spending way too much time on this guy. A gift certificate and a free shirt? Are you kidding me? The guy is full of shit, as others have said. Don't waste time on him, and don't reward his being an asshole.

I've known several 'racing teams', and not all are like this (don't believe wfrgms' bigotry). Just be fair, you'll still get business from that group.
posted by justgary at 4:41 PM on August 8, 2009

It just seems really strange, since you are a screen printer, that he would take the artwork you've created and go to another screen printer for the work. Did he think your prices to print the shirts were too high? That should have been a red flag right there.

Did you explain to him that the file you gave him may not be separated? (Or was it? I'm just confused about that... did you set it up in Photoshop and separate each color on its own layer? Or did you just set it up to look pretty without regards to seps?) I would disagree with your assertion that "you can print anything" because your client couldn't print the design without spending the money to do seps or recreate the artwork. Did you tell that to the client ahead of time?

I can completely relate to the situation you're in, because my design firm has stopped doing shirt design for our clients because it's too labor intensive and then people freak out when they see the bill, especially for a low quantity like 50 shirts. They expect imprinted shirts to cost the same or cheaper than the ones they buy at Wal-mart without realizing that Wal-mart bought a million of them from a Chinese vendor.

However, we also wouldn't hand off a file that wasn't production-ready, either.
posted by MegoSteve at 4:54 PM on August 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

He won't take out the ad to hurt you. He's a cheapskate. He might go to the news but no journalist would take this story. This story is not newsworthy. I agree with the other people who think you should have a "beer summit". Invite him over, show him how Photoshop works, and how 4-color printing works, how 4 colors can create every color through the magic of blended dots. A lot of people don't understand that 4-colors means every color. Get the contact of the people at the other printing place and walk them through it. He's definitely responding from pride. Defuse it. But no matter what you do, don't refund the money. You did it in good faith. For me to take an item, redraw it in a new design, I would have charged 250 easy. Good luck.
posted by Sully at 5:29 PM on August 8, 2009

In my mind I knew I would save him hundreds of dollars by doing the art the quick way, and then running it as a simulated process.

I've learned this the hard way; don't worry about trying to save them money if they don't ask for you to. Give them exactly what they ask for and don't worry about the rest. It's happened a million times in our shop; someone wants something ridiculous like 5 spot colors for a business card that can be done in cmyk - it's not up to you to choose the thriftiest method.
posted by wiretap at 7:12 PM on August 8, 2009

Don't listen to the people who are telling you to concede to this guy.

Do not give in to bullies.
posted by univac at 8:47 PM on August 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Essentially you did a "comprehensive layout" for him. The layout was unusable for printing, but he had thought that the file(s) you provided (for $160.00) would be everything he needed to get the job printed. It was poor communication on your part. The customer had no idea what he needed from you and he looked to you for the answers. He didn't even know what questions to ask.

You took a long time to do the job and then he couldn't get the shirts printed with what you did provide. Poor communication aside, it is not necessarily your job to know precisely what every customer is dreaming about. It is unfortunate that you each had different ideas about what the job was. Certainly it is pretty unusual for him to start the process with you and then go elsewhere for the printing. If a mediator were to look at the situation they would probably assign 50% of the fault to you and 50% to the customer. That is a likely outcome because both of you weren't good at being clear about expectations.

You should tell this guy that your company policy is no refunds...however, you are willing to make an exception in this case, accepting 50% of the responsibility and giving him $80.00 back. Make it clear that you are not saying that you did anything really "wrong" and emphasize that you would like to make this offer in order to show him your willingness to resolve the dispute.

The way you have described him it is doubtful that he will go for compromise--but it is more than reasonable and the offer is business-like. He, on the other hand will appear petty if he keeps yammering on for the balance. It would be best if you could write him a well drafted letter that regurgitates simple facts and include the $80.00 check with it. Write at the end, "We at (xyz company) now consider this matter closed".
posted by naplesyellow at 10:25 PM on August 8, 2009

Response by poster: Here is my final response:

I understand your frustration with this process. I designed these pieces to your specifications, hand-drawing the modified on the front, and recreating the logos for the customized back. When you came in, you specified that you had plans to use the artwork for posters and fliers as well as t-shirts. I gave you a design that will work for all of these mediums. As you have pointed out yourself, the artwork can be separated out for screen printing. I have explained that each screen print shop has different requirements for separations, so it would not have been feasible to separate the artwork unless working directly with the screen printing shop. Lastly, you approved the work itself before any payment was made.

I have offered to talk with any shops that are having difficulty printing it, I have recommended a film separation service to help them, and I have even offered to match their price for printing the shirts.

Our company has a no refunds policy for digital artwork services. Since it did take a longer time than usual to complete this work, and to show my willingness to resolve this dispute, I am sending a check for $80, and I consider the matter closed.
posted by Jsn7821 at 11:37 AM on August 9, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks naplesyellow and Hoperfan for providing me a template to follow for the response, I am not very experienced writing "professional" letters like this.

Also I appreciate the people who chimed in saying not to concede, etc. That made me feel better about the situation. Ultimately, I don't want to lose sleep over worrying about what this guy might pull so that alone is worth $80 to me.

I agree with naplesyellow that a mediator would see me partially at fault, because that's their job (hah) - and objectively looking at the situation I didn't communicate this well enough. I know better now.
posted by Jsn7821 at 11:42 AM on August 9, 2009

Response by poster: Also, just to clarify - the reason it took so long was because there was a lot of "back and fourth" about minor changes. While I only had Photoshop open for 4.5 hours, I probably spent 10+ on this project. I worked on it quickly and never took more than a day to get back to him. I didn't feel like arguing this point with him though, it's another thing that I have learned to be clear about before hand.
posted by Jsn7821 at 11:44 AM on August 9, 2009

Essentially you did a "comprehensive layout" for him. The layout was unusable for printing, but he had thought that the file(s) you provided (for $160.00) would be everything he needed to get the job printed. It was poor communication on your part. The customer had no idea what he needed from you and he looked to you for the answers. He didn't even know what questions to ask.

This, this, this, this a million times this!

People come to you because they know what they want but they don't know the ins and outs of everything.

I work in the infrastructure side of web hosting. I get people who don't know what they need every day and I help them figure it out. The golden rule is that if you ever have even a hint of doubt of what the customer is after go back to step #1 and ask the question:

"What is it exactly that you're trying to accomplish?"

Until you ask that question I'll put a trillion dollars down that you're working under at least one incorrect assumption. Sometimes it'll come back to bite you in the ass, sometimes it won't. They'll explain what they want and you figure out exactly what they need, what each step will roughly cost, why they need it and translate that into plain English for them.

If the guy wanted artwork to put on a shirt you need to let him know exactly what processes are involved (layout, film separation, screen printing) and at least a ballpark figure of what they should cost and why he needs them. If you don't know you need to find out. Don't use disclaimers, don't make them sign bits of paper that basically say "I do this and then it's your problem". Work with them rather than for them and I guarantee they'll come back to you time and time again without any issues whatsoever.

Think it sucks that you have to do a bit of extra work and hold a bit of extra knowledge? Tough. You're the first guy in the chain so you're always going to be the "where do I go from here? You've made sure all of this will work right?" guy. If you don't like it either get a spot further down the creative chain or resign yourself to the fact that you don't go the extra mile for your customers and you will get stuff like this coming back to you from time to time.
posted by Talez at 8:57 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh and also, if any third party ever has any problem whatsoever with using your work for any further work, the absolute first thing you should do is ask for said third party's contact details and work it out with them directly.

Nothing pisses a customer off more than being made into a football between two people that say the other is wrong. If you take ownership of the issue and see it through you come out smelling like roses as they guy who fixed it all, regardless of who was at fault and who actually discovered and fixed the specific issue.
posted by Talez at 9:01 PM on August 10, 2009

« Older Email me about my lawn!   |   Breakfast In Corvallis Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.