GVH Studio: Custom visual presentations

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GVH Studio is what I call a display graphics fabricator. What that means is we produce custom visual presentations in mostly two dimensions based on photographic and lettered designs. The final product can be many things; from a simple poster or banner to a completely covered vehicle or wall, a free standing sign, or a portable exhibit. The content varies from event promotions, product advertising, information, public service announcements, art reproduction to pure decoration. The technologies we use consist of digital printing, contour cut vinyl and painted objects combined with an assortment of finishing techniques. Some projects are soft vinyl or fabric and need to be sewn to a specification and hung. Other projects are mounted to a variety of boards as backers. We use metal fabrication, wooden supports, plastic products or anything that might suit the purpose.

Our main focus is to work with our customer to find what will best fit their needs and make their project function most effectively. In many cases we are making a unique product and will never make the exact same thing again, like a shelf to measure snowfall at Bromley Ski resort. For other projects, we make hundreds of copies as in a stencil for an aircraft part. All require the same attention to detail and understanding of the final goal of the customer.

GVH Studio started as a consulting company in 2001 when my industry looked to be winding down due to new technology. The advent of desktop publishing was making my employer obsolete, and I needed to adapt. I was using my expertise in imaging technology to help newcomers to desktop publishing understand the tools they were rather abruptly required to use. This morphed into fulfilling peoples need for large format digital graphics as that technology also erupted. I started very small with a single printer and very little equipment. Now we have a staff of five, three printers and a suite full of tools and computers to process our jobs. We also work with a network of specialty suppliers to expand our capabilities to a larger variety of options. Our customers include the top museums in the region, industrial firms, government organizations, festivals, shops, contractors and medical facilities throughout the tristate area.

Our location in the Vermont Mill has offered us the opportunity to grow while keeping our same address. Now in my third space in the mill, we have 4500 square feet of space including a full loading dock, storage space and a work area with twenty foot high ceilings. The space allows us to work on multiple projects at once, extra large projects and maintain a versatile workspace. Almost everything is on wheels and can be swung around to optimize productivity. The mill serves as a great incubator for emerging business, and Bennington is a perfect place for a start up and growing small business. We are equipped with a fiber optic internet connection, wifi and an internal gigabit network for our on site server and computer network.

Our staff ranges from college educated and experienced professionals to ground floor apprentices who train step by step through the many processes. Both are needed to create the balance of skills we demand. The key element in a successful associate here is to enjoy making things, finding solutions to the day to day challenges our customers present and being a productive team member. Many of the things we make are beautiful, and many hang alongside world class works of art. It can be very rewarding to see your work being displayed seamlessly alongside a time honored masterpiece. Many of our employees have a strong association with art, and that makes perfect sense. Creative thinking and appreciation for beauty is a great asset in a career in graphic arts.

Greg Van Houten is the owner of GVH Studio. This column is in observance of "Career Month," organized by the Workforce and Education working group of the Bennington County Industrial Corporation.

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