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Passion-powered printing
STEAM: Savannah's print shop you've always seen and never known
Steam Printing is a product of creative cooperation fueled by dedication. Photo courtesy Steam Printing

BRAND LOGOS have always been essential. Allowing for easy recognition, logos serve as a symbol customers can identify with.

These designs don’t appear out of thin air or print themselves—they’re made by creative individuals who understand the necessity of a finely printed product. It’s here that Savannah’s Steam Print Co. excels where others may falter.

Currently nestled off East Broad in Southern Pine Co.—undoubtedly one of the city’s creative incubators—Steam Printing is headed by Brian Granger and Ampersand owner Charles Crosby.

Today the Steam team serves a slew of local and national clients, such as Welch’s and Nickelodeon.

“We both believe in a project that’s greater than the sum of its parts,” Brian Granger said sitting with partner Charles Crosby in Ampersand’s second floor.

Indeed, given the company’s history and transformations Steam Printing is a product of creative cooperation fueled by dedication.

The Steam Printing Co., as it is today, was established in February 2013. Its predecessor was Crosby’s company Dilated Spectrum, which operated under that name from 2009-2013.

Dilated Spectrum’s origins can be traced back to “Big Purp”—the grand purple house on 38th and Lincoln which has housed a number of creative co-ops, including Savannah’s now defunct Word of Mouth.

In the confines of a 10×10 shed in the backyard, Crosby’s vision took shape and became a reality. The notion of doing a lot with very little is both apt and a gross understatement of the time and effort invested into Steam’s predecessor.

Frustrated with the shortcomings of some of their equipment, Crosby sought to upgrade. Taking to Craigslist, Crosby and his partner were able to purchase an industrial-size dryer, exponentially increasing productivity and the possibility of taking on larger commercial orders.

Though, as with anything in life, they faced an immediate problem. Their new business purchase occupied all their available workspace relegating it relatively useless. Due to growing business needs—and presumably the difficulty of operating a print shop in a 10×10 shed—Dilated Spectrum relocated to their initial warehouse space off Louisville Road near Dollhouse Productions.

“We were losing in the initial aspects,” muses Crosby reflecting on the availability of adequate space and over ambitiousness to take on new work.

With a new location and materials Crosby and company were initially eager to take any and all new work.

“We’d say, ‘Whenever somebody calls just say yes,’ and I found myself several times along the way really regretting that,” recalls Crosby.

Dilated Spectrum’s inaugural vision was to be as diverse as possible given the ample amount of talented artists and designers in the Savannah area. Though following a few regretful occasions where ambition superseded underlying desire and ability the decision was made to narrow the scope of creative products offered. Finding their niche and honing their abilities, screen printing was solidified as the bread and butter of Dilated Spectrum and eventually Steam Printing Co.

“Focusing on working on something we’re really passionate about is where we’re at today...we would be perfectly happy to just be screen printers,” beams Crosby.

While Dilated Spectrum would continue operating under its original name for a few years it wouldn’t be until 2014 that Charlie Crosby would officially team up with partner Brian Granger.

Prior to working with Steam, Granger was an owner and the lead printer of Design Syndicate, creating work for reputed names such as professional BMX-ers Dave Mirra and Matt Hoffman. Though wildly successful, Granger and his partners amiably agreed to part ways seeking other business ventures to begin ending Design Syndicate’s successful five year run in 2009.

Spending time in both Atlanta and Raleigh, N.C., Granger was no stranger to Savannah, having visited on and off for about nine years. It was during these visits that Granger took note of ample opportunity here.

“I felt like I was walking by river of gold dust and people were just passing it by,” recalls Granger.

Bearing this potential opportunity in mind, Granger moved to Savannah in 2011 and set out to make the necessary relationships an upstart business needs—the personal kind.

“Being in this type of business allows you to build relationships you couldn’t in any other business,” Granger says. It’s this emphasis on making business relationships more personable that has propelled both Granger, Crosby and Steam’s success in the Savannah community.

Indeed, longtime Steam client Logan Crable, owner of Sicky Nar Nar, cites this point of distinction explaining their relationship: “They’re the best printers and the personal’s the creative community aspect, you feel a part of it.”

It’s the mesh of the personal elements and proficiency of their craft that aids the Steam team in furthering their goal to be a pillar and staple in the creative community.

The start of this year came with a flurry of happenings for Crosby and Granger. As co-owner of Savannah’s hot new bar Ampersand, Crosby had to manage time btween the print shop and launching his newest venture.

It was the drastic demands of time paired with Granger’s previous success and experience that prompted Crosby to bring him on as a partner with Steam Print Co. With the successful opening of Ampersand comes an avenue to hosts a range of artistic projects and events allowing for a seamless marriage betwixt Crosby’s businesses.

“We both believe in this city. We see so much opportunity, now more than ever,” Crosby says explaining the enhanced ability to further community involvement for the arts and bicycling culture, a subject of which both Granger and Crosby are adamant advocates.

Today, the list of the Steam Print Co.’s local clients is long. Employing the talents of their diverse design staff Steam prints products for local businesses such as: the Savannah Stopover, A-Town Get Down, The Rail Pub, Paris Market, Leoci’s and Sicky Nar Nar amongst others. Coupled with this they’ve created prints for local musicians like the Cusses and Crazy Bag Lady.

Logan McDonald of Le Snoot Gallery says, “I think what they produce in their realm is the highest quality in Savannah.”