Park Communications

Park Communications is a London-based printers that specialises in delivering bespoke creative solutions for a range of corporate and cultural clients. It has worked with the likes of Harley Davidson, Harvey Nichols and the Bank of England. Sales executive Mark Shields answered our questions.

On the importance of knowing the full story... We actively encourage collaboration at all stages. Artwork, proofing, retouching and especially printing, because in the last stage of production it's really important that somebody who understands how the concept has evolved is there to do any final tweaks. Our guys on the machines or on the mats will know what they want to do, but they don't actually know the full story, so it's important to get as much interaction with the client as possible.

Why his red and your red aren’t the same thing... Everybody describes colour and print in a different way, and a lot of what we do is simply trying to understand everybody’s language. If a client presents an idea and we immediately know that it’s not going to work, it’s usually for several reasons. If it’s because of a technical issue then it might be a case of explaining to the client: “This isn't going to work in this particular way, but it could work like this.” On the other hand, there might be other factors that shut that conversation down because it would take too much time or cost too much money.

Very, very occasionally you’ll get to a position where a client is so adamant that they want to go through with something, you have to say “Well, this isn’t for us then, because it’s not going to work,” and walk away. I can’t remember the last time I had to walk away, but it does happen.

Why working with creative clients is like playing tennis... I often find with more corporate clients that their understanding of print is slightly more limited, so we might have to hold them by the hand and show very clearly what can and can't be done. They're usually very quick to say “Yes, no, fantastic, let’s do this.”

With some creative clients, it can be just that they want to go down a certain route, so that’s what they're going to do. That can be easier. Then again, if you’re working with a creative then it really does become like a good game of tennis. As fast as you're answering something and taking something in one direction, they’re saying “Yes, let's do this” and it goes in another again. So it really does change from client to client. It’s just a case of that relationship developing.

Why nothing can replace face-to-face... Meeting in person is hugely important, because a project can just kind of unfold, and it’s not until you see it in front of you and you can say “Right, okay, I see what you mean,” and sometimes a picture, a phone conversation, an email, can't get to the point as quickly. These meetings strengthen the relationship, it fast-tracks the decision-making process, and allows things to evolve and get to the finish point that much quicker. Face to face is just fantastic, it’s the best way.

Why winning over difficult clients can be so satisfying... Occasionally you’ve just got to take a step back and count to ten in order to keep in mind where you're all trying to get to. Which can be really bloody difficult sometimes! But again, it doesn't really happen that often!

Truly difficult clients are a real rarity. Most people have got the job in mind, and they’re coming to us or they've found us through a recommendation or because we're the right person to work with, and once you’ve got a few conversations under your belt, the relationship does strengthen quite quickly. A real confidence grows.

I can think of a few clients where this actually makes the process more enjoyable because you're actually getting somewhere. As much as there may be a coldness within the relationship, you can see that the client really appreciates what’s coming out of the end of it. So it usually works, but sometimes you have to drag the other people with you.