Shit happens, the paper cut damaged in shipping by UPS

January 30, 2023

We tend to just talk about the all the good aspects of business and the creative process and sort of skim over the less than great stuff. Especially on social media. But, since I’m all about honesty and candid content, I’m going to share one of my most recent less-than-great experiences where my artwork was damaged in shipping on its way to the client.

The artwork

A big (approx.. 2ft by 3ft) paper cut I had designed and constructed for a client. It was the first in a series we had planned to collaborate on and it was the most anyone had ever paid me for my work, so it was a pretty important piece of artwork.


This is where shit went wrong. I had never shipped a piece that big before so I was a little nervous, but I spent a lot of money on these fancy, artwork shipping boxes so I thought it would be good to go. Just to be safe though, I also got the paper illustration insured with UPS for the full invoiced amount.

Nonetheless, even with “FRAGILE” printed in big letters on the box, UPS still managed to mess up the box and artwork. Needless to say, I wasn’t only pissed about the artwork being messed up, but horrified when I saw the email from the client when they got it. Thankfully, this client is so awesome and they were completely understanding! At this point all I could do was have them ship it back to me to fix it, all on my penny, as the extra shipping costs weren’t in the agreed upon budget.


The costs

This damage cost me a total of $500 in shipping (as it had to be shipped back to me and then to the client again) plus the cost of time and materials to fix the artwork. For a small business this isn’t the kind of loss that can just be shrugged off like in a major corporation (cough, cough UPS). I’m still a little pissed, can you tell?


So, after perusing a claim with UPS, and after many attempts to work things through with them, I eventually had to abandon it. They made it incredibly hard to reach anyone, didn’t communicate with me, and they were taking a way too much time as the client needed the work back. The financial loss SUCKED and needless to say I will never trust UPS ever again. Ever!

But it was certainly a learning experience. I now have better methods for reinforcing my artwork, stronger materials for layering, and a new approach to designing my illustrations with physically less depth but just as much detail. Sometimes shit happens, that’s just how business goes. It sucks, but you have to take what you can from the experience and move forward.

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