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Author Topic: Quietly destroy prints with small issues rather than discount... right?  (Read 1670 times)
darlingm
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« on: May 05, 2013, 09:01:47 PM »
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Looking for a sanity check.

Obviously if something's really wrong with a print, it needs to get scrapped.  But, what about those situations where I'm horrified by what's wrong with it, my wife is saying no one will notice that but you, and I know I'm more picky about perfection than anyone else I know.

I reproduce artwork for artists who sell their work primarily at art fairs.  I've been operating with the idea that the print is either pretty much flawless (material-wise and damage-wise) and gets sold and given to the customer, or it's scrapped without discussion of it.  I'm talking about an unusual pattern in the canvas - like a raised horizontal line across the width of the roll - a screwed up spot on the canvas that didn't accept the ink well.  (With a client who already hand-embelishes the prints they get from me, they could probably fix a screwed up spot with "little" effort.)  Stuff that I know some other printers wouldn't think twice about, but I have a severe perfectionism trait - which is good and bad.  If it was a blank spot by dust, I've gotten pretty good at fixing that.

The inner hoarder in me would love to instead of quietly destroying it, to offer it to a client at around a 15% discount, since that's around the cost of the canvas if reprinted.  (Cost of just canvas material, not the coating, stretcher bars, and time.)  But, I think a client is going to say it's no good to you in the garbage, why not offer it to me at 50-75% off?  If I do, it's shooting myself in the foot because I would have been better off eating the 15% and reprinting it, and avoiding the whole "your cost of the canvas is only 15%?" question.

But, then, part of me thinks some clients would love the idea of 15% off if they're less picky to me, or can "easily" repair the damage, etc.

If something minor went wrong in the coating or stretching process, then a greater discount could be offered, but that's not really happening.  Me wanting to destroy a print is almost always when it's fresh out of the printer.
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Mark Lindquist
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2013, 10:07:32 PM »
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I learned a hard lesson about this many years ago.  I fixed a piece and sold it for a little less, never discussing the fact that it was "repaired", because it looked pretty good.  Eventually that piece made its way into a museum and I had to stare at the thing knowing I knew where the "glitch" was.  Other artists saw it too, but the museum curator never gave it a thought or anything.  No doubt, neither did the majority of the public who it was on display for.

But man oh man, I knew it, and it bothered the heck out of me and I couldn't do anything about it.  Of all the pieces to make its way into a museum collection, it had to be that one, of course.  Now, I'm careful to destroy the ones that aren't up to my standards.  It's tough to think this way, but it depends on what you are aiming for.

No doubt, many will say just sell it cheap and get rid of it.  In my case it came back to bite me, and I never do anything like that now.  Hard lesson learned.

Unquestionably there is room for the discounted price approach, and it may be fine for many.  But if your conscience is telling you otherwise, best to listen to that small voice within, if that's the standard to which you hold yourself.

FWIW / YMMV of course....
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Colorwave
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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2013, 10:34:32 PM »
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LOL  I emailed the text of the original post to my wife to read.  Here is a transcript of our discussion that followed:

Wife:  So what did they say?
Me:  Who?
Wife:  The people that answered your post.
Me:  I didn't write it.
Wife:  Get out of here!  Seriously?

Yes, I have found a kindred spirit.  I too, wrestle with these issues, and have a reputation as an extreme perfectionist.  I occasionally have clients tell me that I'm silly to be so picky, but by and large, I take their comments about my overly discriminating eye as a complement.  I think it is rare that a reputation for high quality will bite you on the ass. 

If the blemish is something that seems to be a defect from the printing process, such as a random drop of ink or a noticeable white speck, I am almost certain to trash the print.  Very small white specs from dust that I can touch up with a watercolor pencil and not be able to spot at all on a canvas print that is then coated, I will let slide, but only if I'm unable to spot the touch up when I know where to look for it.  I don't touch up paper prints at all.  Canvas prints that have a prominent canvas imperfection from a slug that does not blend in or is in a prominent spot, I will occasionally reprint and offer to the client for free, with the stipulation that it becomes an artist's proof destined for friend or family.  Quite often the client will laugh at me for rejecting the print and offer to pay for it.  If they are adamant, I will sometimes accept half price for it.  All in all, though, these situations are the minority when it comes to imperfect prints.  I consider most of the reject prints, which thankfully are not that common, to be a part of the cost of doing business.  Like Mark, I would be horrified to see something of mine on display somewhere that was less than perfect.
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David Sutton
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2013, 10:40:31 PM »
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  I think it is rare that a reputation for high quality will bite you on the ass. 


+1
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bill t.
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2013, 10:42:11 PM »
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Use the following very simple criteria...if it's bad enough that you feel a discount should be offered, then roll it up, bend in a couple mighty creases, and toss it.

Whereas defects in publicly displayed art come back to haunt you, so does discounting come back to rob your wallet.  My most basic rule is...never discount.  Discounts have a way of mutating into the new, lower price.  If you just keep saying NO to discounts, people will stop asking.

I toss about 10% of canvas prints-for-sale for defects as they come off the printer.  Almost exclusively for substrate BS, since I can now fix most emulsion problems rather quickly, except for craters.  Part of doing business.  Just started using a new canvas chosen for exceptionally low defects, there's one approach.  Unfortunately, low defect canvases are a moving target, and the latest substrates under some otherwise excellent canvas emulsions have made them unusable in the real world.  Just say no to canvas substrates thicker than 18 mils, or with super-massive, curvilicious gsm's, or with the texture of Mr. Natural's burlap robe.  I hope BC and Epson are listening.  Sorry, my hot-buttons got pushed.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2013, 10:47:28 PM by bill t. » Logged
wolfnowl
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« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2013, 12:35:29 AM »
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Use the following very simple criteria...if it's bad enough that you feel a discount should be offered, then roll it up, bend in a couple mighty creases, and toss it.

Exactly.  Never offer less than your best or that's what people will come to expect from you.

Mike.
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K P
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« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2013, 12:49:30 AM »
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Just started using a new canvas chosen for exceptionally low defects, there's one approach.  Unfortunately, low defect canvases are a moving target, and the latest substrates under some otherwise excellent canvas emulsions have made them unusable in the real world.  Just say no to canvas substrates thicker than 18 mils, or with super-massive, curvilicious gsm's, or with the texture of Mr. Natural's burlap robe.  I hope BC and Epson are listening.  Sorry, my hot-buttons got pushed.

Love reading your posts Bill... both for content and humor.  So care to name this new canvas?  I used to use a Canon canvas which was really... well... crap.  Now I use Epson Exhibition Canvas, and quite like it.  It has a nice stretch to it, doesn't crack, but occasionally I get a glop of the coating across a gradient sky which bugs me to no end, but figure I can get away with saying that its just the natural, random effect of the canvas.  Is this new one you are using practically defect free?
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bill t.
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« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2013, 01:04:52 AM »
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^ Nope that's not the one.  Will tell all when I've got a few rolls under the bridge.  I remember that I sorta liked the Epson Exhibition Matte I tried a while back, nice substantial looking tonality, but my particular role had a problem with isolated varicose-vein weave errors.  And the burlappy surface of the new Epson Natural Gloss is highly couter-productive IMHO, is the matte version like that?

PS I haven't stretched a canvas in quite a while, so nobody who stretches canvas should listen to me.
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neile
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« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2013, 08:27:20 AM »
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If it's got a flaw, it becomes part of my personal collection. Until I've amassed enough "personal collection" copies to file them away in the garbage. Smiley

Customers should always see your best prints.

Neil
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2013, 09:45:47 AM »
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 My most basic rule is...never discount.  

Absolutely.  A couple of times in my freelance career, I succumbed to the "Do this one job cheaper and there's tons more work just around the corner" ploy.  Both times, the "tons more work" mysteriously never arrived.

The same thing is true for flawed work.  It never leaves the studio.  Not even as a gift.
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Justan
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« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2013, 10:02:12 AM »
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For me it depends on the kind of print and the size. I sometimes add a larger print with a minor defect to my personal home display collection. If I can flawlessly fix a minor issue on a canvas work I don’t have a problem selling the work. The operative word here is “flawlessly.” The majority of defective larger prints end in the recycling or occasionally goes to a friend if the defect is so small only I’d notice it.

Sometimes I gift my print bin destined prints which have a very minor defect to my partner’s co-workers. She (my partner) works at a hospital and I’ve found this to be a great place to send works of this type. To me this is way better than tossing them in the recycling. Plus this practice has brought a number of her co-workers to my shows, where they buy prints. I trash any print bin sized work with an obvious flaw.

Sometimes I give print bin sized pre-production study prints as gifts to customers who order larger prints. Pre-production works are works that are not on yet on exhibit. I gift the works when I deliver ordered works. I ask for the customer’s detailed feedback on the pre-production work. I’ve found this to be a *fabulous* way to not only get useful feedback on a new work, but in as many cases as not, clients ask me to make bigger editions for them, once the work is ready. Heh. I got this idea from another artist at a recent show.

As far as selling at a discount, I would not sell a defective work at a discount or at all, but I routinely have “show specials” on production works when I do arts and crafts shows. People are hard wired to love a bargain and I’m hard wired to increasing sales, so it’s a win-win.
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K P
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« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2013, 04:08:30 PM »
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^ Nope that's not the one.  Will tell all when I've got a few rolls under the bridge.  I remember that I sorta liked the Epson Exhibition Matte I tried a while back, nice substantial looking tonality, but my particular role had a problem with isolated varicose-vein weave errors.  And the burlappy surface of the new Epson Natural Gloss is highly couter-productive IMHO, is the matte version like that?

PS I haven't stretched a canvas in quite a while, so nobody who stretches canvas should listen to me.

Oh the suspense is killing me!!!  I have no idea about the Natural line of Epson Canvas.  I only use the matte one because I don't like the light reflections.  Sure I'm not getting the huge punch of the gloss surface, but I do think the matte surface just looks a little more pro.  Truth be told, I do mix Breathing Color Timeless in a ratio of 20% gloss and 80% matte, so its more of a dull satin really. 

As for stretching, I can't imagine any canvas being any better.  Its like when you buy a pair of boxer shorts that have 3% lycra in them versus just being 100% cotton.  They are a dream to put on and fit so nice and snug without feeling tight! LOL...  When stretching, you can really control how tight you want this canvas, and if you don't want it so tight, it still doesn't appear that is would sag.  A canvas that has no stretch I find starts to sag quite badly if not super tight.  And when it is super tight, then it cracks.  If the coating on the canvas had zero imperfections it would be a dream, but I still say its somewhat acceptable.  If every picture I printed had a gradient sky in it then perhaps I would see more imperfections, but fortunately this isn't the case.
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iluvmycam
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« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2013, 05:32:46 PM »
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I keep my rejects to clean out the printer or test text prints for registration. Then I give them to an artist that cuts them up for collage. But I only do my own stuff. If I was a paid to print, I may keep a few near perfect rejects for myself. But would not give them out to the artist.
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namartinnz
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« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2013, 06:19:44 PM »
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I use Breathing Color Chromata, and nearly all the time I have defect free canvas. However, if I see a defect that can't be fixed quickly the print is binned. Luckily my supplier gives me a credit for defects if send in photo proof of it. As most of my work is for artists and professional photographers, my work is backing up their work so it has to be top notch.

Neal
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jferrari
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« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2013, 10:04:15 PM »
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I keep my rejects to clean out the printer or test text prints for registration. Then I give them to an artist that cuts them up for collage. But I only do my own stuff. If I was a paid to print, I may keep a few near perfect rejects for myself. But would not give them out to the artist.

You don't own the rights to the artist's images. I believe that keeping copies for yourself is infringing on the artist's copyright and is morally wrong. Plain and simple - if the product is not of sufficient quality to deliver to your client for full price - it must be destroyed.
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framah
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« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2013, 11:09:37 AM »
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You don't own the rights to the artist's images. I believe that keeping copies for yourself is infringing on the artist's copyright and is morally wrong. Plain and simple - if the product is not of sufficient quality to deliver to your client for full price - it must be destroyed.

While I agree with your comment about rights to works you print for other artists, I do believe this guy is printing his own work and gives the junked up ones to an artists he knows so the artist can cut them up for collages.

Your comment is spot on about not keeping copies of someone else's work that you have printed for your own use as that is theft.
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« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2013, 04:02:03 PM »
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Quietly destroy prints with flaws? No, I rather loudly destroy any flawed print I make with great gusto.
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Colorwave
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« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2013, 04:04:59 PM »
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Quietly destroy prints with flaws? No, I rather loudly destroy any flawed print I make with great gusto.
LOL  Yet another kindred spirit.
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