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Gandy Ink: Head of the Class In School Apparel

(February 2007) posted on Thu Feb 01, 2007

Learn how the company grew from a small job shop to a prospering specialty decorator serving elementary, junior high, and high schools.

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By Lori Leaman

The art department houses five artists. They use Apple Macintosh G5 computers equipped with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, as well as other programs for jobs that require unusual design techniques or additional tweaking. The art department is responsible for creating designs for apparel and the promotional brochures that feature the designs. The brochures allow customers to choose a design, which can then be customized according to school name, mascot, and colors.

"All of our designs are original," Phil Gandy says. "We do a lot of artwork ahead of time when we create our brochures, hoping that when we get into the busy season, we have plenty of good designs for the customers to choose from, which helps us speed up the process."

Sean Carter, plant manager and art director, adds, "We put ourselves through the school of hard knocks. We're always trying to reinvent the wheel. We're constantly dealing with high schools and elementary schools—but how many times can you make a basketball exciting for basketball season?"

Customers visit Gandy Ink's Website (, while a sales or customer-service rep speaks with them on the phone and walks them through the ordering process. Once the customer chooses a design and adds the appropriate text, the design is uploaded and sent to a databank housed in a server in Gandy's IT department. The artwork is then passed through a proofing system for verification. A customer-service representative then e-mails a link to the customer, through which the customer can access and view the artwork on a secure site. If the customer makes changes to the artwork, the file automatically returns to the art department for revision. Revised artwork is sent back to the customer, sometimes within a matter of minutes, at which point the customer approves the design. Once approved, the artwork is sent to the order-approvals department, then to the film-output room.

"It's amazing that, in the overall scheme of things, we can be working with a customer in a town hundreds of miles away, and we can completely outdo the printer down the street from our customer—in service and in time," Phil Gandy says. "We can provide a lot better service than most other printers can provide to them."


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