PrintHustlers Guide To: Growing a Successful Screen Printing Business, Chapter 14: Artwork

Business Lessons

One of the best parts of running a business is working with so many different types of people. Ironically, this is a very challenging part as well. In our shop, it always seemed like the art proof and approval process brought out the most frustration. The back-and-forth discussions, constant miscommunications and unclear expectations created a hotbed of problems preventing us from growing our business. Finding the simplest way to execute approvals became an immediate priority. 

The one guiding principle that we found to be crucial to our success? Thoughtfully create a repeatable process.

The way you attach your quote and send your art proof to the customer – and the verbiage you use to communicate expectations – will set the tone for how positive or negative the complicated art approval process becomes. 

Your process should look something like this:

  1. Initiate artwork request. This can be customer-provided, based on a customer’s inspiration, or a custom design you offer during the quoting process.
    1. If the art is customer provided, make sure you communicate clearly about image quality requirements.
    2. If the art is custom designed, then the customer’s inspiration can be requested during quoting.
  2. Complete artwork
    1. This can be done through a number of programs and depends on the type of job you’re printing. Common programs are CorelDraw or Adobe Illustrator.
  3. Proof sent to the customer via email or quoting software*
  4. Proof approved or denied by customer
  5. Proof finalized or revised (if changes are made, communicate and refine until approved)
  6. Proof attached to order and sent to production. 

Going back and forth with a customer about artwork revisions can be arduous — especially if you have multiple orders in progress at the same time (perhaps with the same customer!) and still need to move the rest of your orders forward. Having a streamlined system in place helps communication and eliminates potential confusion. It also ensures your art approval process doesn’t hold your production line hostage. Create a coherent process for art revisions to reduce wasted time. 

*In Printavo, we’ve created a messaging system that’s accessible on every quote to host all of an order’s details and communications. This reduces confusion about orders.

If you’re looking to take your approval process to the next level of efficiency, we have three words: preset email templates. The approval process is essentially the same for every customer, so preset email templates can save you lots of time. Consider how many of the same emails you send each month. You can store these emails on a living document in your server or inside your quoting program and change them as needed.


Screen printing is a multi-billion dollar industry with customers from every part of the world. Every year, thousands of entrepreneurs discover their passion for screen printing - and they want to claim their cut of the billions and billions of dollars spent on custom printed apparel.

But the majority of new screen printing shops fail before they reach the 5-year mark. They fail because of poor business planning, dull branding, and a lack of ability to scale.

Your shop can be different.

This is an excerpt from our book, The PrintHustlers Guide To: Growing a Successful Screen Printing Business. Written by Printavo's dynamic founder Bruce Ackerman, Campus Ink's enterprising Steven Farag, and Adam Cook. The PrintHustlers Guide To: Growing a Successful Screen Printing Business is the next generation's guide for building your own lucrative print shop.

You can purchase a physical copy of the book on Amazon.

Previous chapter: Chapter 13: Setting Up Your Customer Workflow

Next chapter: Chapter 15: Pre-Production Coming soon!


Next Post: Attention: Increase Your Screen Printing Prices!

About Printavo

Printavo ​​is simple shop management software. Whether your shop works with screen printing, embroidery, signage, digital printing, or awards & engraving–we make your complex workflow simpler to manage and understand. Printavo keeps your shop organized by handling scheduling, estimates, quote approvals, workflow, payments, accounting and more. With Printavo, you’ll work smarter–not harder.

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