SOA Print is a fine art printing studio serving thousands of clients every year throughout the DC metro area. They operate on campus at George Mason University within the School of Art, and strive to offer low prices and quality service for students and the general public.
Co-Founding, Brand Management, User Flows, Website Direction, Marketing, Graphic Design, Social Media, Junior Designer Management
I worked with two other co-founders, Sean Salyards and Chris Oliver, to start the business from the ground up. We started with no name, no brand, a couple of boxes, and an empty room. Together, we built it into a business that is still thriving.
We tossed around a variety of name choices, and landed on a simple one: SOA Print (full name: School of Art Print Studio). We asked Peter Winant, a professor at George Mason University’s School of Art, to create a logo that referenced printing techniques. We chose the jaunty version you see at the top of this page, with crop marks built into it. We felt that it embodied the vibe we were going for, as well as looked connected to one of GMU’s colors, dark green. We were off and running.
A name and a logo are just the beginning. We needed to define the energy that we were going for throughout the brand. I chose a fun, standout sense of humor, and selected the bright green uniforms, tablecloths, and signs to reflect that.
User Flow Development
We needed to create flows for three different users: clients, staff, and supervisors. Clients needed a simple path for formatting and submitting files, as well as paying for and picking up their prints. Staff members, including interns, needed a process for accepting payment, keeping track of purchases, printing the right orders, delivering them to the correct clients, maintaining the equipment, and more. Supervisors needed a flow for keeping track of the finances, hours everyone was working, inventory, and more.
I contributed my skills built from my extensive experience working as a retail supervisor. I determined the purchasing flow, and designed how we would keep track of the money coming in. I identified and set in place a system for keeping track of staff hours. I worked with the other two co-founders on putting quality control measures in place, so that we would always produce top quality prints, like those below.
I conceived and built a junior designer internship program from scratch. We needed staff, and the students needed experience for credit. Perfect match. I hired and supervised over 40 junior designers over a period of two years. I managed the designers as they created the SOA Print website, designed collateral for the business, produced the prints, and served our clients. I established client management norms and developed a customer service training program for the staff to ensure quality service.
Today, SOA Print is managed by one of our former interns. The business continues to offer some of the best fine art prints in the region at great prices, and have a reputation for top-notch service.