Century Printing & Packaging Team Members
Jacob Matthews, Graphic Designer
Jacob, tell us about your background and education.
I am a Greenville native and the majority of my family is from Georgia so we do a lot of back forth with our family. I went to Eastside H.S. in Greenville and then went to Greenville Technical College and got my degree in Graphic Design and an Associates in Arts degree.
Upon graduation, I was doing freelance photography and graphic design work. I kept applying for graphic design and arts positions. Then last year Ben and Neil gave me the chance to work for Century. I really like it because now I’m using the skills and knowledge I was trained for in graphic design and art.
Describe your role at Century Printing and Packaging
I am a graphic designer and every now and then I get to design a label for a customer. I’ve done our tradeshow banner designs. I recently designed the new butter wrap paper. I’m also the pre-press operator so when clients send in their art to go on a label my job is to go through and check for trash in the images and clean up anything that won’t print right as well as go through the different color channels to make sure it will print the way the client wants it. I also go through flexo jobs to make sure they have trap to make sure that when they are trying to register the plates lining up on top of each other that there is overlap. If there is not a certain degree of overlap the finished product can show up a lot of white that we don’t want. We extend the shape outward a specific measurement to ensure proper overlap and color matching or alignment.
Is digital artwork different from flexo artwork when it comes to you from a client?
Yes, there is less worrying about alignments and more worrying about matching color. In flexo, we have a viewer that will basically show you how it is going to look when it prints. Digital requires a lot of color profiling and figuring out how the artwork will react with the printer. Sometimes it’s printing a bunch of GMG samples before the job is out there so they are just different workflows.
Do you deal with the customer’s art department or graphic designer?
Yes, we communicate a lot about things like backside ink requirements which means if there is too much ink on the backside it will negate the adhesive so we have to keep it at a minimum. For example, a customer may have a big gray image that we can’t print on the backside because their label won’t stick if we do so there is a lot of back and forth between us finding the right solution for each job.
Jacob, what’s the best part of your job?
I enjoy making plates and trimming them down to the right size for a job and seeing the final result. It’s not something I was trained to do in college but that I learned at Century Printing and Packaging. I enjoy the process of working with Roger in production too. I also enjoy it whenever I get to design something because that’s my wheelhouse.
How does your work affect or relate to sales and production at Century?
If there is ever a problem we go back and trace it to the source. Usually, if there is a problem it comes to us and it’s either something we overlooked or something we should have done that we didn’t. Whenever there is a problem in production it typically comes back to pre-press so a lot of what we do is to make sure the art they bring prints the way they expect. That’s not always easy because some things aren’t going to work. For example, tan is a hard color to match, so many times we talk to production and the client’s design team to find an alternative if say for instance Pantone is a better choice than CMYK for the material we are printing on for them. Our goal is to make sure the client gets what they expect and want.
What kind of software do you use on the job?
I mainly use Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop. We don’t often receive files created using InDesign and Lightroom but we can adjust those as well. Most of my time is usually spent in Illustrator, but we sometimes have to spend time shuffling images in Photoshop.
Jacob, it’s been a year since you were hired, tell us what you think about the company and your work?
With any new job you start you are trying to catch up to speed and wondering if it’s the right job for you and I have been pleasantly surprised at how everyone treats you and they are readily available to help you navigate the new waters. They give you space to learn and navigate but are always ready to help you. For example, I began at the beginning of Covid and I didn’t have my head in some of the software for awhile and had to re-learn some things so it was a bumpy start but after I got in the seat it started to click and things came together again.
Would you address the culture of a teamwork atmosphere at Century?
In the art graphics department, everyone is really good about helping each other out, checking our work out to make sure it complies with the client’s needs. Everyone has each other’s back which is really nice.
What do you like to do when you are away from work during your downtime?
So most of my family is local and not everyone here is blessed like that. I’m from a family of five, my Mom, Dad, brother, sister, and I lived in the same house. It was kind of hectic but everybody kind of ended up doing their own thing. My brother works in logistics and my sister is an occupational therapist working with kids and it was a cool upbringing.
I play guitar and record music and sing a little bit, like rock, singer-songwriter mixture of the two. stuff. I have an Instagram account where I produce graphic art and digital drawings. I also love playing games from time to time.
Did you ever dream you would be working for a printing and packaging company?
No! I actually thought I would be working for a company doing digital ads and stuff. At one point I wanted to do CD art covers because of my passion as a musician, but I really had no idea where I would end up.
So Century has given you the opportunity to employ your education in graphic design?
Yeah, I didn’t just want to be a guy sitting in a cubicle somewhere not able to use the gifts and skillset I have learned in school. I have a lot of portfolio pieces now and it’s nice to be using my skillset to help build the company and myself.
Can you speak to the culture of working for a family-owned business?
Ownership is so accessible and supportive of our work. They aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and routinely pitch in to help. I feel like hard work is rewarded at Century and the support is incredible compared to my days in retail and freelance work. It makes you want to work hard and celebrate the quality of work our team produces.
How is the new Mark Andy Series IQ digital hybrid Printer impacting the business?
With the move to hybrid from digital, it’s like a lot of internal stuff is involved. It is a lot of stuff at once, a new comm system, new press, and everyone is trying to learn and come up to speed at once. It’s like the Lamborghini of presses.
At Century Printing and Packaging we have a long line of tenured employees who make up our team. We are proud of their work, spirit, and the contribution they make to produce high-quality products for our customers.