As all printers know, it doesn’t matter what machines you own, how amazing your pressman is, or how knowledgeable your staff is; understanding a clients needs can make or break a final product.
Clients can be demanding: having unreasonable expectations, or they can be high maintenance: needing to have their hand held through the printing process. But even regular, low maintenance, clients who know what they want simply use a different language than printers. Deciphering client needs is half the battle.
Our shop has several large scale clients which are either based outside of the United States, or employs staff from their country of origin as they need staff to be bilingual. Often times, this will results in our client contacts finding out what their print needs are in, let’s say, French, and then having to translate it to English and hope they’ve adequately described the item so we can print what they want.
Most people are unfamiliar with technical printing terms, so one can imagine how hard translating technical printing terms must be for someone who doesn’t speak the printing language in the first place. This multi-lingual disconnect has resulted in our shop being asked on several occasions to create Kakemono’s.
One recurring client of ours has us make variations of the exact same Kakemono so frequently, we thought this was a product or marketing title they had given their project. That is, until we received a second request for Kakemono’s from a different client, of a different scale, material and use. Finally, we turned to Google.
So what exactly is a Kakemono? A Kakemono is a Japanese hanging scroll of silk or paper with an inscription or picture on it and rollers at the top and bottom. However, the word Kakemono within a modern printing context now describes a vertically hanging banner. Think ‘street pole banner’. Interestingly enough, all of our clients who now order Kakemono’s are French. Apparently this particular item is very popular amongst French speaking nations. As with all banners, Kakemonos can be printed on vinyl as a traditional banner, static cling or adhesive vinyl for a window display or in store graphic.
Our client likes to have their Kakemonos printed on 10 mil paper steel produced by Magna Magnetics so it will adhere to a custom magnetized display they use in store. They used to have these products printed in France and shipped, but due to customs changes our client now has us fabricate this recurring order.
Moving forward, more and more printers are likely to receive orders. Just remember: Kakemonos are banners, and banners are versatile, so next time you get a kakemono order, have no fear!