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Accelerate Your Art Department

(July 2007) posted on Fri Jul 06, 2007

Establishing best practices in the art department can save time and boost quality. Trimingham describes some methods you can use to initiate such improvements.


By Thomas Trimingham

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If you ask a garment screen printer how many shirts he can print in an hour, the odds are good that he’ll be able to give you a rough number. He’ll also likely be able to share with you a variety of statistics that he uses to track production tasks, such as the number of screens exposed per day, the average amount of scrap or bad shirts per week, and possibly even press downtime per day. Printers commonly have at least a good grasp of their efficiency in production, but it’s far less likely to see this same diligence in tracking the art department. In fact, for many companies, the art department is monitored by a far cruder system than any used in production. 

“Is it done yet?” That’s among the most popular tracking systems for art departments. Management asks the question and receives an answer of yes, no, or somewhat. The most common answer given defines the art department’s efficiency and productivity. Unfortunately, as you might have guessed, this is not the ideal situation. A better method for boosting productivity is to establish standard best practices for a variety of tasks and then keep track of them to find the most functional and efficient way to handle the challenges. The way to establish standards is to first evaluate your art department, then review, refine, and replace methods of creation/ separation with best practices for art tasks. Ultimately, the goal is to establish a functional tracking system based on these new ideals.

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