Creating new approaches and new business ventures is Matt Shaw's forte.
By Anya Rao
Praise from the Print World: “The proprietary doming process Matt helped develop not only led to a spin-off direct-to-consumer company (Glyphix Icons), but also provides a unique and sought-after service for CR Graphics’ existing customers,” says Marc Malkin, Roland.
Matt Shaw joined the 30-year-old family business after graduating from Utah Valley University, where he studied graphic design with an emphasis on visual communication. CR Graphics started as a screen printing shop and evolved to offer banners and displays, vehicle graphics, decals, emblems, and polyurethane doming. Shaw worked his way up from designer to account manager to his current role as production manager. Through trial and error, Shaw and his father developed a proprietary process for doming digitally printed graphics to create textured designs. The graphics have been popular with clients, including archery companies, the neighboring city of Moab, plus national parks like Yellowstone, Arches, and Canyonlands as well as at other natural wonders like Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon. That connection with the natural beauty that surrounds their Utah shop also inspired the creation of a second company, Glyphix Icons, selling raised graphics directly to outdoor enthusiasts.
How did you get your start in specialty printing and what has your journey in the industry looked like?
I started at the bottom by helping my father with whatever decals needed to be weeded that he brought home during my preteen years. I remember an old roll-to-roll plotter that was used to cut out decals. I was eventually taught how to use it but, like everything in the industry, things change so quickly. I’ve seen many printers and plotters come through our shop over the years just to keep up with technology. I was taught how to screen print and then introduced to polyurethane doming. From there, I learned what digital printing was in the form of thermal-transfer foil, solvent, UV, and eco-solvent. Most recently, I’ve been trained in CAD/CAM to make and manufacture molds used in our processes today.
Did you always plan to go into the family business?
Creating things has always been a passion of mine. I asked my dad to help me make a decal that I drew on a piece of paper. The “help” he offered was to direct me to Adobe Illustrator 8.0 – he told me to design it in Illustrator and then I would be able to make my drawing into a decal. I spent all summer following tutorials from the paper manual and teaching myself how to use Illustrator, and later I would find out how useful the pen tool was. I couldn’t tell you today what the drawing was or even if it ever made it off that piece of paper, but since then, I knew I wanted to create things. I like to tell people that I get to create something different every day and that’s what keeps my job fun and entertaining. So, yeah, in the back of my brain, I always wanted to go into the family business.
What kind of changes/impact have you had on CR Graphics since you started there?
I was able to learn so much through my college experience that has become beneficial to my everyday workflow. I became a better designer and learned how to use typography to help design. I brought that experience to CR Graphics and am able to help a client rebrand their products with a new typeface and new graphics that help set them apart from their competition.
Tell us about a favorite project or one that presented some challenges but turned out well in the end.
A challenging project that I helped with was the creation of our own retail line of dimensional emblems that we launched on Kickstarter a few years back that focused on the outdoor activity industry and everything it has to offer. Later, we created our own website, glyphix-icons.com. The design process was excruciatingly painful because we knew we had to get it right the first time so people would buy the emblems and we wouldn’t lose a ton of money. Some of the emblems aren’t so successful, but some sell really well and look fantastic.
Read more about Screen Printing's 2018 Rising Stars Award winners.
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