AIGA Jacksonville introduces the creative community to highlighted members through the Membership Spotlight. This month, we invite you to meet our Treasurer, Brian Holcomb of Print Resources Jacksonville (PrintJax).
Brian, originally from Indiana, has made a few stops along the way to Jacksonville and learned first-hand the production-end of printing, as well as the business-side. An “advocate for the print buyer,” Brian focuses on providing an enjoyable printing experience for his clients, while also following through to meet their needs.
Since becoming Treasurer of AIGA Jacksonville in 2006, Brian has made a lasting impression on the Board and continues to contribute to the design community as a whole.
Give us a little bit of a background on yourself. Where have you lived, and what brought you to Jacksonville? What interested you about getting into the print broker business? What do you do for fun?
Ok. So where have I lived? Ready? Here it goes. Grew up in Elkhart, Indiana (band instrument capital of the world). Then Tulsa, Tallahassee, Orlando, Lavonia, Georgia, Indianapolis and then JACKSONVILLE!!! Whew! I own stock in U-haul. So started out by going to college in Oklahoma, then found my way to Florida when I enrolled in graduate school at Florida State. GO NOLES! Sorry Gator fans. After grad school, it was just one of those chance meetings where a friend, owning a printing company, asked if I wanted to come learn the print business and be a production manager. Can you say “on the job training?” I learned about the basics of printing and it was also right at the time print shops were making the transition from mechanical prepress to computer-to-plate. Remember good ol’ QuarkXpress? It was the bomb in those days. After that, I had the chance to move and work for Print Resources in Indianapolis. This is where I learned the digita-side and the broker-side of the biz. I had two take-a-ways from there. The first was that I was better than 98% of the other reps in the business, and the second was how to make things happen. So after that, the decision was made to move to Jax to be closer to family. I no longer wanted to have a job and felt it was the right time to take a risk and build a business similar to PrintIndy. Therefore…PRINTJAX!
What I do for fun…golf, Call of Duty Modern Warfare, and hanging with the AIGA Peeps.
You’re the person clients seek out when they want to get a job done, and get it done right. How does Print Resources Jax work its magic, and what made you found it?
The PrintJax magic is pretty simple. Make the print buying experience easy and enjoyable. Say “Yes” and figure out how to make it work. I really have no other agenda than to be an advocate for the print buyer. I don’t represent any specific printing company. I represent my clients. In a way, I insulate them from all the printing industry crap. How many times do you get an invoice that’s different from what was quoted? How many times do you get charged for all the additional things that happen during the print process? How many times does the printer throw the job back to the designer because it’s not set up the way the printer wants it? Just fix it! Make it work! Invoice what you quote! Deliver when the client needs it!
You’ve been a major contributor on the board as Treasurer. How did you become involved with the AIGA, and how long have you been on the board?
So when I decided to move to Jax, I made the decision to become involved in AIGA. PrintIndy was involved and I saw how beneficial it was to be connected to the design community. I wanted to contribute, make friends, and ultimately work for the designers. I made two trips to Jax prior to moving here. The first trip I had lunch with Mary Rosenthal and Beth Voils Blacker. My second trip was planned so I could volunteer to help with portfolio review. Thats where it all got started with me calculating the scores with an excel spreadsheet. From that, I was asked to be the Treasurer. I’ve now been in that position since 2006.
Did you have any other career aspirations before founding Print Resources Jax, and do they still influence you now?
My college degrees are in music education and performance. My aspiration was to be a symphony musician. I would say that it does influence my career now because of my appreciation for the arts and fine art, specifically. I really enjoy being able to produce items that are more artistic and creative. I really like a lot of the “old school” art, or if you want to call it, retro design. The speaker event with Aaron Draplin resonated with me. I really liked his collection of the metal plates off of machinery.
Out of the hundreds of jobs you’ve printed for both AIGA and the Jacksonville area, do you have a favorite piece?
It’s hard to pick one that is a favorite. If I use the criteria of a piece being more artistic, then I just completed a Bat Mitzvah invite package that used multiple components, as well as blending CMYK + thermography. I guess my favorite part was that I was able to collaborate with the designer, develop a plan, and the execution and production was flawless. When the designer and client have smiles on their face at the end of the process, it feels pretty good.
There was also a plastic business card we printed for an agency that was very tedious in figuring out how the CMYK colors would print to get the effect that the client wanted. It was a big trial and error and high risk situation. We did a lot of consulting and discussion and succeeded on the first try. Those type of projects always rank high with me.
You can find more about Brian and PrintJax at: http://printjax.com
or, follow his updates on Twitter as @PrintJax
~Kristina, Membership Co-Director