Clarence W. Schawk founded the business in 1953 from the basement of his aunt’s home on the northwest side of Chicago. He was newly married, and with his tour of duty as a U.S. Marine in the Pacific Theater and a few years’ experience in the industry making printing plates behind him, he realized, as many entrepreneurs do, that he could make a better product. He invested the $500 he and wife Marilyn received as wedding gifts in himself and the American Dream.
The business began to grow, and through the years the name Schawk became synonymous with superior quality and outstanding customer service. Like many entrepreneurs, Mr. Schawk was passionate about the business and setting new standards in the industry for both the products he produced and the people he employed.
Through the years, Mr. Schawk grew the business by acquiring successfully run companies that helped expand and deepen Schawk’s capabilities, geographic footprint and talent. It allowed the business to evolve from black-and-white to color, from analog to digital, from packaging to cross-media and from premedia to brand development and brand deployment while retaining the trust of its clients.
Although Mr. Schawk turned the business over to his son, David, in 1994, he remained Chairman for the rest of his life and stayed active in the business until his death in 2014. SGK (formerly marketed as Schawk, Inc.) was acquired by Matthews International Corporation in 2014.
A tireless and active lifelong philanthropist, the values and integrity with which Mr. Schawk founded the company remain a thread in the fabric of the SGK culture today.