A magazine of new ideas, developments and solutions
VOL. 2, ISSUE 2
Upsetting the Applecart
How inkjet technology is changing the game for todayâ€™s commercial printers and why it matters to you
In this Issue
Building a Brand Time to start crafting who you are
By Leaps and Bounds
Creative Printing Co. jumps into wide format with Fujifilm Acuity
vol. 2, Issue 2 • summer 2012
Upsetting the Applecart How inkjet technology is changing the game
Building a Brand
By Leaps and Bounds
The true power of print
Why the time is now for you to start crafting who you are.
Thanks to UV flatbed printers such as Fujifilm’s Acuity series, Creative Printing Co. continues to be the difference-maker in its customers’ wide format print needs.
Print continues to excite the senses and, when done well, creates an experience.
1 2 15 16
Disruption A letter from Todd Zimmerman
Visual Magnetics Dynamic signage system giving retailers new options
Tips & Tricks Want to know our secret recipe for the effects on the front cover
What Print Buyers Want How good marketing helps you rise above your competitors
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Kristi Hubert Mendez Editor & Publisher > email@example.com ENERGY is published quarterly by Fujifilm North America Corporation, Graphic Systems Division Copyright 2012 All rights reserved www.fujifilmgraphics.com
A letter from Todd Zimmerman
he last few years have challenged all of us. We’ve seen lots of changes. Oftentimes, change is uncomfortable. When things are familiar, we fall into a sense of security. On the other hand, anything that upsets the applecart can downright scare us.
But history proves that change leads to innovation, and innovation leads to new levels of prosperity. Disruption is necessary for the future of our great industry. Here at Fujifilm, not only do we believe that disruptive change is a catalyst for our customers’ success, but we believe it is our responsibility to lead the charge for change. We have entered a new day with amazing possibilities. While the technological advances we’re collectively making are obvious, the most impactful change is in the way each of us thinks.
While the technological advances we’re collectively making are obvious, the most impactful change is in the way each of us think.
I have met with countless customers who have shared some wonderful successes in recent months. And the thing that stands out the most is the disruptive type of thinking that’s happening throughout our industry. It makes you realize that technology is great. But without strategic market-based thinking, that technology will never take flight. We always strive to understand the pulse of the market, and to be passionately committed to that market. We take great pride in our product offering, and we’d like to think we’re upsetting the applecart on a technical level. In addition, we want to take the lead in disrupting thinking. We believe that Energy is a great step in leading that charge. Our goal is to be a point of reference for you. We know how busy you are, and that it’s impossible to keep up with everything happening around you. With social networks, the web, and the never-ending amount of content out there, it can be downright overwhelming. It seems that despite all this information at our fingertips, we’re doing less and less thinking. We believe that the best thinkers – the disruptive thinkers – will be the most successful. Energy was created to incubate that type of thought. As you have seen, Energy is defined by what’s relevant to you, rather than what might be relevant to us. Our cover article, “Upsetting the Applecart,” details both the disruptive change brought about by inkjet technology, and the type of thinking that will dominate the new landscape. I know you will enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it. In “Good Printers Brand,” we delve into why branding is a cornerstone to your future, and how to go about it. Sprinkle in some amazing insights from print buyers and marketing experts, and this issue of Energy is truly disruptive. Respectfully,
Todd Zimmerman Vice President, Sales and Marketing Fujifilm Graphics Systems Division
Visual Magnetics By Kristi Hubert mendez
y and large, we are a society that likes to be sold. We’re drawn to elaborate packaging that asks us to touch it and sometimes even smell it. We check in and tweet our whereabouts in hopes of discounts and special pricing. We respond to signage that tells us that there’s a sale going on right now. It’s a trait that’s inherent in our culture and it’s one that retailers (not to mention those that buy media for retailers) understand very well.
For retailers, it’s imperative to have a wellcoordinated campaign, with dynamic signage that can speak to customers in real-time about an offer that’s going on today and then speak to them again about a different offer that’s taking place next week. As a result, both printers and print buyers are looking for innovative and cost-effective ways to change and update advertising campaigns, all in an effort to speak to as many customers as possible and move them to buy. Previously, that’s meant printing a number of versions of signage, high shipping costs and, oftentimes, installing it with the help of a professional. All of that’s meant big spends for retailers.
But, one company is now changing the way retailers are doing business. Visual Magnetics – a moniker that serves as the name of the company as well as a description of its products – is transforming the way that brands are able to roll out instore campaigns. The company has created a revolutionary large-scale graphic system that marries magnetic technologies with high-quality printed media, allowing retailers to easily and effortlessly change in-store signage. “Until now, retailers have had to accept costly shipping and labor-intensive installations as a necessary evil in changing in-store graphics,” explains Joe Deetz, president of Visual Magnetics. “This system aims to eliminate those frustrations and costs.”
The Visual Magnetics Graphic System™ is comprised of three components: • ActiveWall® – a latex wall primer that contains extremely fine particles of iron and that can be painted onto virtually any printable surface. This primer gives the surface a metallic quality, allowing the system’s next component, InvisiLock® flexible roll and sheet magnet, to easily attract to the wall surface.
• InvisiLock® – these high-performance magnets were designed for maximum magnetic strength and can be used with virtually any surface, incorporated into frames and fixtures or simply applied to ActiveWall primed wall surfaces.
• MagnaMedia® – this coated printable media allow for photoquality graphics and lay completely flat, even when layered. It’s compatible with all printing platforms and can be easily installed by in-store personnel. MagnaMedia is applied over the InvisiLock magnet as the finished graphic.
“In addition to simplifying the installation process, the Visual Magnetics system ships in inexpensive tubes and can be easily installed by store employees for a fraction of the cost that would be required for a professional installer,” explains Terry Amerine, program manager for wide format media for Fujifilm. “In fact, it’s not uncommon for store clerks to be able to put up a new graphic in less than a minute.” Visual Magnetics has created a variety of media available for use with this system, including polypropylene and polyester films, canvas fabric, natural bamboo fabric, chalkboard and dry erase specialty films. “This system’s media is so thin that it’s possible to create multi-layer graphics in order to update images instantly for specific promotions,” Amerine explains. “Additionally, because retailers only need to print films to update signage – and because it’s so inexpensive to ship – they’re updating signage far more often than they used to. And, of course, that’s good news for printers.”
Applecart How inkjet technology is changing the game for today’s commercial printers and why it matters to you
et’s get all scientific for a minute. Firing tens of thousands of ink droplets
per second per nozzle, at a volume as low as two trillionths of a liter per droplet, across an array of more than 130,000 nozzles, with consistent and repeatable reliability is true magic. That’s the technology – and beauty – behind inkjet.
While not a new technology (the application has been used for more than 30 years in consumer inkjet printers), a series of breakthroughs in scaling the technology in terms of productivity and reliability over the last five years has prompted talk of inkjet as a game changing technology. These breakthroughs have put inkjet technology in some good company. The telephone. The Model T. Digital cameras. History has taught us well – don’t get too attached to anything. Technology has a way of taking long-held, sometimes comfortable ideas, and turning them upside-down. Think disruptive. Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen coined the term “disruptive technology” in his 1997 best-selling book, “The Innovator’s Dilemma.” Christensen wrote that such technologies surprise the market by generating a substantial improvement over existing technology in a variety of ways. With its continual evolution, inkjet technology certainly is upsetting the status quo, causing today’s printers to evaluate the presence of another option they can provide their customers. So, where does inkjet technology stand? Depends on whom you ask. You either believe inkjet is a game changer or you don’t. Some say the printing industry is evolving to the point where commercial printers and graphic arts service providers won’t be able to thrive profitably without a digital printing component in their operations. As offset print run lengths continue to decrease, and the frequency of these jobs increases, logic eventually will dictate that only end-to-end digital production – from job order processing to printing – will become a requirement. And while digital printing won’t replace offset print volumes anytime soon, it will capture the high-value work needed to run a profitable business.
role. Marco Boer, vice president for I.T. Strategies, Inc., says that in and of itself, inkjet technology is not a disruptive one, mainly because millions of people use it every day on the consumer side. “Where the disruptive part enters is that inkjet technology is a tool that will enable commercial printers to manage and survive a disruption in workload shifts,” he says. “The way commercial printers have worked for generations is reaching a stage where, at some point in the foreseeable future, that way will no longer be viable.”
The only way to grow a traditional offset base is to offer additional services like inkjet and/ or acquisition of a similar commercial printer. – Dave Gilson, President, Gilson Graphics
Boer says that a typical size commercial printer may have 25 jobs per day averaging 2,500 sheets. “As we all can see, the trend is moving toward fewer sheets per job, but a higher frequency of jobs. So, instead of professional print buyers negotiating for the lowest cost per piece, which often is accomplished by ordering more than they need, we’re moving to a world where the marketing managers order the exact quantity they need on short notice for a predictable, often nonrecurring event. This is driving job orders per day up to 50 jobs or more, often with as few as 1,000 sheets per job.” For example, it’s likely that an owner of a digital production printer would find that 20 percent of his volume is for extremely short-run jobs, such as personalized calendars or an ultra-short run of 10 posters, jobs that in the past he could not have accepted due to the opportunity cost. “Today, he may find that 20 percent of those jobs will come to provide 80 percent of his profits, especially since he can charge a premium for instant turnaround for jobs with print sizes not attainable on standard copier/ MFPs,” Boer says.
That, industry experts say, is where inkjet technology will play a vital
upsetting the applecart
The way commercial printers have worked for generations is reaching a stage where, at some point in the foreseeable future, that way will no longer be viable. – Marco Boer, VP, I.T. Strategies
Riding the new wave Dave Gilson loves new technology. As president of Gilson Graphics Inc., he is always one of the first to see what’s inside the “latest and greatest” box. In the 1970s, Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Gilson Graphics was among the first to communicate text from dedicated word processors to its composition system. In the 1980s, the commercial printer installed the second full graphics Xy vision composition system. When the 1990s rolled around, the printer scored one of the first Scitex Dolev 800 imagesetters, picking up Scitex’s second computer-to-plate system, a Doplate 800, later on. Early last December, Gilson’s love of new technology paid off when his company output the first job from its Fujifilm J Press 720 sheetfed inkjet press, which was the first J Press 720 customer installation in the United States. When Gilson surveys the printing service industry today, this is what he sees: more inkjet, less offset and less toner-based digital.
“If a company does not grow, it will eventually go out of business,” Gilson says. “Too many printers were slow in adopting computer-to-plate, and then too slow in adopting digital solutions. The only way to grow a traditional offset base is to offer additional services like inkjet and/or acquisition of a similar commercial printer. Inkjet in large format and sheetfed, along with traditional offset, allows us to offer better solutions to clients who need this flexibility in output.” Gilson doesn’t believe inkjet will replace offset, but he does think it will further diminish its growth. “Inkjet will allow smaller quantities to be produced, and more versioning and personalization as costs continue to decrease. As the resolution and speeds of inkjet continue to improve, it will become more cost-effective and accepted in producing variable, static and large format work.” Printers that have not researched the benefits of inkjet technology may be missing the boat, Gilson believes. “You’re going to get lower costs through eliminating plates. Your
things everybody should know about inkjet 1. Inkjet technology is a well-established one that is reliable and proven on the substrates it has traditionally printed on. But it’s too early in the journey to expand the range of substrates on which inkjet technology can print. It took offset technology nearly 100 years to become as versatile as it has in terms of being able to print on virtually any paper or substrate. It may take inkjet just 10 years to be able to print on this same unlimited range of papers. 2. Inkjet technology is based upon a complex science, where mechanics (print
heads), chemistry (ink), physics (jetting 40,000-plus droplets per second), and software (color management) all have to act in unison. Introduce one inferior piece into the equation and the output suffers. Inks are the hardest working part of the system, which makes them more complicated to manufacture than offset inks. They require a premium and will always be more expensive than offset inks. This means printers must accept a new business model when running this technology. You remove most of the prepress costs, the inventory and inventory waste cost; but, in exchange,
your cost of inkjet ink per liter increases significantly to guarantee maximum uptime, performance and output quality. In the end, all that matters is whether or not you can make a greater profit from using inkjet technology than traditional offset technology, regardless of how the business cost model is put together. 3. While reliable, like any mechanical device, it will need service at some point. Be sure to choose a manufacturer who has a network of service people in place near your location.
Source: Marco Boer, VP, I.T. Strategies
makeready time and materials will allow for more print-on-demand. You’ll have more versioning and personalization, which will lower print quantities on static work, so less is inventoried, and it lowers the risk of obsolescence and allows larger sheet sizes than what’s currently available in digital production. The larger sheet size will take more work away from the traditional offset and open up opportunities for jobs that, in the past, could not be economically produced. As the industry pushes forward in this new landscape, Gilson believes more work will shift from traditional offset and current digital solutions – both black and white, and color. “Inkjet has a wider color gamut and does not have the variables that offset has with dot gain, ink and water balance, registration, etc.,” he says. “It is also more cost-effective in the digital arena because there are no click costs.” So, what about the future? From where Stephen Sanker sits, these are good days to be in the inkjet technology business. As director, inkjet presses, for FUJIFILM North America Corporation, Graphic Systems Division, Sanker has seen this pattern of game-changing technologies occur before. As a company, Fujifilm has seen it in both the digital imaging and photographic film sectors. As for inkjet technology, Sanker believes any level of disruption has moved to the next phase. “The disruption has clearly moved into the adoption phase, and is clearly already underway to become the standard,” he says. “Macro trends within our economy have opened the supply chain up for disruption, and the value of inkjet printing technology is enabling the adoption. Inkjet printing provides value and benefits to those who adopt the new method, and simultaneously disrupts the way systems work. That is this will continue into the adoption phase.” Sanker believes inkjet can and will play a major role in enabling the industry to adopt the competitive forms of media we
are seeing. Inkjet will also enable access to new and developing markets. “In many cases, conventional technology just won’t allow some things to be produced because it’s not economically feasible,” he says. “In comparison, inkjet can make it possible – and profitable.” Thanks to a deep and vast technology well, Fujifilm sees immense opportunities to increase productivity and efficiencies by cutting costs and removing waste from the process. “We see the opportunities to do more and to offer a broader range
less guarantee a rapid return on investment. It is not as simple as buying a press and knowing you have 20 years to amortize the unit. But it’s very common to have a return on investment in three years or less.” Boer says the best piece of evidence of the success of those who have adopted inkjet production printer technology is the very high repeat purchase incidence. “About one-third of customers who bought an inkjet production printer have already bought a second, third or even fourth unit.”
Macro trends within our economy have opened the supply chain up for disruption, and the value of ink jet printing technology is enabling the adoption. – Stephen Sanker, Director, Inkjet Presses, Fujifilm Graphic Systems Division
of services,” Sanker says. “We see that there’s more opportunity to do more for a client, to gain share and simultaneously open new markets. Inkjet technology is revolutionary. And we have a broad development path across many industries with our focus on the graphic arts.” Sanker says that because of Fujifilm’s intellectual property and product strategies, its technology is tied extensively to many areas, even beyond graphic arts, and further into the supply chain. “We have systems and technology that print to, and on everything, from the contract proof at the local printer for the traditional print buyer all the way through the supply chain.” I.T. Strategies’ Boer believes the industry is in the early stages of production inkjet printer adoption. “Growth rates of 30 to 100 percent, or more, are not uncommon for these printers,” he says. “The reason for this rapid adoption is that the new business models that these machines require more or
Why the time is now for you to start crafting who you are
he irony wasnâ€™t lost on Anthony Narducci, president of Phoenix-
based Oâ€™Neil Printing. For all the hours print solution providers spent honing, shaping and producing materials for their customers and the brands they want to promote, how much time did those individual printers invest in their own brands?
The better job we can do with branding, the clearer the opportunity to use it as a communication tool for our own marketing and advertising. – Anthony Narducci, President, O’Neil Printing
“Most printers, with the exception of maybe the national printers, probably didn’t spend a lot of time dealing with or worrying about their own brand,” Narducci says. But those attitudes are changing. The green movement encouraged printers to “brand” some of their green initiatives such as FSC certification and stocks used. Branding has become a hot topic on the trade show circuit as well. “[Branding] is now more aligned with some of the things we’re doing as an industry,” Narducci says. “It’s an important part of our industry, especially at a time where it’s a little misunderstood where print fits into marketing. The better job we can do with branding, the clearer the opportunity to use it as a communication tool for our own marketing and advertising.” “Historically speaking – the type of press equipment that a printer had, oftentimes was used to tell their story or indicate what type of company they were,” says Mike Heischman, COO of Addison, Texasbased Best Press, Inc. “That is not the case anymore. Big iron no longer differentiates companies – intellectual capital does.” Small businesses now thinking big James Gauber t, sen ior lec t urer of marketing for the College of Business & Behavioral Science at Clemson University, says the notion of branding has evolved considerably over the past decade. “While small businesses usually have perceived their success on the strength or charm of the owners and their core of existing customers, many have neglected the reality of acquiring new customers – the key to
survival – while also trying to increase the share of wallet from existing customers.” The building of a community used to mean a strong presence in local chambers of commerce and traditional local print and broadcast media, Gaubert says. And while these elements still have strong adherents, the rise of social media has necessitated the consideration of online community building via Facebook, Twitter, and other emerging sites. Incorporation of QR codes and VDP (variable data processing) into traditional marketing communication modes also has allowed for customized messages and usable customer data, Gaubert says. The key is to understand that these make customers feel important to the marketer, and open up the possibility of better understanding a customer’s true needs. It creates an opportunity to introduce your brand like never before. Branding 101 But where to start? If your intent is to position yourself as selling solutions versus selling products, you’re on the right track. Yet, if you’re not careful, the process can create an identity crisis. Are you a print solutions or marketing services provider? Cross communications or graphic communications? “You can’t send a confusing message,” says Kenneth McNerney, CEO and managing partner of Dayton, Ohio-based Think Patented. “You can call yourself anything, but you need to practice what you preach.”
building a brand
T hin k Patented rebranded itself in 2005 from the name Patented Printing to emphasize its mindset of being a communications and marketing provider for its customers, not just ink on paper. The process included a name change, and swapping out its purplish, circledesigned logo for a tighter blue-andorange logo. “We didn’t want to lose equity, but we didn’t want print in our name,” McNerney says. Think Patented described the company’s evolution of its brand from merely selling products to becoming the executioners of marketing for its customers. To maintain a consistent message in its brand, Think Patented created an informative video for its sales team, and anyone else who interacted with customers, so they could better articulate the same message. “We’ve created a consistent message in everything from business cards, to collateral materials, to our magazine that’s sent out to customers. The brand is consistent around all the materials.” For its branding efforts, O’Neil Printing went outside the company, working with Rule29, an Illinois-based creative firm. Narducci and Justin Ahrens, Rule29 principal and
You can call yourself anything, but you need to practice what you preach. – Kenneth McNerney, CEO & Managing Partner, Think Patented
creative director, met 16 years ago while working on marketing materials for a nonprofit fundraiser – an Alice Cooper charity golf tournament. Ahrens handled the creative and partnered with Narducci for the printing. That partnership carried over into their businesses, with O’Neil exchanging print services for consultation and creative work in branding. “His firm helps us with our look, feel and branding across all communications, from social media to print media to our website,” Narducci says. “We’ve been fortunate to have a great partner to work with us, guide us and watch over our brand for us.” Branding helped O’Neil build consistency in its messaging through all of its outlets, whether it was its bi-monthly magazine distributed to clients, or e-mail blasts or its website. Type fonts, logos used in different mediums, messaging printed and Internet communications were all synced. “From a holistic standpoint, everything we do as a company is part of our brand.” About three years ago, Best Press started a journey that included a $10 million reinvestment into the company. “We realized that we had to be unique and
That is not the case anymore. Big iron no longer differentiates companies – intellectual capital does. – Mike Heischman, COO, Best Press Inc.
offer more to our clients,” Heischman says. The reinvestment included new presses and a building expansion, “but it also warranted improving our brand recognition. To this day – it is still an integral part of our long-term business plan.”
Branding helped give Think Patented an edge during the economic downturn when approaching customers as a solutions provider rather than simply offering products. “It forced our sales team to think differently,” he says.
“Our brand is becoming more important each and every day. We have been re-evaluating all of our customer touch points and have begun to identify more strategic ways to communicate the Best Press brand.”
In short, branding creates a concise, impactful message delivered across a wide spectrum of channels – critical in today’s competitive marketplace.
First impression What are the fruits of a successful brand? Narducci says one client approached O’Neil Printing based off its brand presentation on the website. “Clients take away a first impression snapshot of who you are and what you are capable of doing.”
Says Gaubert: “Whether it is a job seeker knowing how to deliver an ‘elevator speech’ – a succinct yet persuasive means by which they are differentiated from fellow applicants – or a multinational firm trying to establish a leadership role in an industry, it is not only important, but also crucial to setting one’s self apart in the minds of the recipient of the message.”
Branding done right Walk before you run. “A lot of our brand presence has been introduced at the micro level – existing customers and prospects,” says Heischman. We have adver tise d in several local charity events as well as some local industryrelated functions. Our walkbefore-we-run approach has allowed us to identify several things that we are seeing a return on, and of course, others that we’re not.”
Find the right partner. “It’s really an expertise outside the normal skill set for a print solutions provider,” says Narducci. “Work with a creative firm that understands that as part of its core competency.”
Differentiate your branding from positioning. “Realize a brand is how you represent who you ARE while positioning also is essential – that is the process by which a business conveys greater value to the customer versus competitive offerings,” says Gaubert. “They go hand-in-hand, but will only be successful if the two processes are considered complementary tasks.”
Talk the same talk. “Too many times ink on paper printers only think about the name change when it comes to rebranding,” says McNerney. “Now we’re called something different, so we’re going to be different in the customer’s eyes. You’ve still got to deliver.”
By leaps and bounds Thanks to UV flatbed printers such as Fujifilm’s Acuity series, Creative Printing continues to be the difference-maker in its customers’ wide format print needs.
n 2005, the Creative Printing Company management team decided to purchase some new equipment. It was a natural move for the
45-year-old commercial printer, which grew from a two-person operation to the fifth largest printer (by volume) in the Kansas City area, and along the way, they built a reputation as a supplier of highquality printing and finishing services.
The company’s goal is to do everything in-house, an approach that VP Dave Leavey says not only gives them more time and better quality control, but also enables his team to control all aspects of production to better achieve customers’ goals. That was the driving factor behind its decision to find new equipment. After evaluating the needs of its largest customer, Creative noticed that the customer was using a lot of short-run, large-format signage. These short runs, the Creative team noticed, were not cost-effective to produce via traditional offset printing. That’s when the company decided to buy its first wide format flatbed printer and a finishing table. The mission: deliver faster production times, less waste and lower prices to these types of programs.
Creative’s first digital printer included a 60 x 120-inch UV flatbed and a 64-inch solvent roll-to-roll press. Unfortunately, the UV press’ image quality was only 300 dpi. And while the prints from the machine looked great from across the room, they were much too grainy for P-O-P signage viewed 1-3 feet away. To achieve a smooth image, the Creative team had to print on either the solvent press or one of its aqueous printers. They then had to mount those prints on a thicker sheet to achieve the quality required for the sign. “Obviously, this was time-consuming and led to increased material and production costs,” Leavey says. But, he says, the process still was more cost-effective than litho printing. Technology being technology, the process using UV flatbed print slowly started to get better. “We watched as the technology advanced to where UV flatbed print quality improved,” Leavey says.
“While other printers in our area may be cheaper, we find our customers keep coming back to us because we give them the highest quality prints to represent their brands at retail.” – Dave Leavey, VP, Creative Printing Company
So, in 2007, Creative purchased the first of its three Acuity printers from Fujifilm. Almost overnight, the printers became the heart and soul of Creative’s department. “Our customer base began to grow with new P-O-P clients who loved the quality of the Acuity,” Leavey says. “Two years later, we bought a second Acuity to help with the increased workload.” Last year, a still growing workload enabled the Creative management team to add a third Acuity press to its arsenal. The AcuityXL allowed the company to add
Three things you should know about wide format digital
1 2 3
Digital is not for every job – It does have limitations, so be aware of how a project is being used and how it’s being constructed downstream (either by you or another vendor). One technology (UV flatbed, solvent or any other) will not be the best solution for every job – You need a variety of tools to meet all types of production. Consider speed vs. quality – Do you want to produce fast or produce the best quality images? You can’t do both: speed sacrifices quality and vice-versa. This leads back to knowing your customers. Some may sacrifice quality for speed. We find this rarely happens in the P-O-P world.
Making the move to wide format To go wide, or not to go wide – that is the question. If you’re thinking about making the move, Creative Printing Company offers these words of advice: Know your customers’ needs – There are a variety of wide format digital technologies available, so choose what best meets the needs of your existing customers, and then branch out. It’s not as simple as just hitting “print” – As with traditional offset printing, you must consider downstream operations in your production layouts, and then work hard to make sure you have the best yields for all of the materials utilized for any project. You also have to color calibrate and test every material. Be consistent with your training – Keep your employees updated with improvements in color technology, and keep your machines calibrated so that your production is consistent day-to-day, week-to-week and month-to-month.
white ink to its digital printing offerings. ”The resolution that the Acuity printer, with its variable dot pattern, has been a major hit with our customers,” Leavey says. “While other printers in our area may be cheaper, we find our customers keep coming back to us because we give them the highest quality prints to represent their brands at retail.” Since adding digital wide format printing and finishing to its capabilities, Creative Printing has experienced a tremendous amount of growth in its customer base. For example, by being able to do a variety of finishing capabilities, the Creative team is producing jobs in-house that it never thought possible, including heat bending/ flame polishing plastics and constructing P-O-P displays. “By embracing digital wide format printing, we have become an overall better supplier,” Leavey says. “Looking to the future, we will continue to explore new technologies to bring the highest quality printing and finishing at competitive prices.”
for Coatings E
ver follow a recipe from a renowned chef and end up underwhelmed with the results? What went wrong? As someone becomes both more comfortable as a cook and familiar with a specific recipe, they begin to alter the ingredients and the amounts to suit their individual taste. A ¼ cup more sugar, a bit less salt, a little extra baking time. In our industry, coatings are no different. Jeff Hernandez and the crew at Chicago’s Classic Color, the printing company that printed this magazine, would be considered an “Iron Chef” when it comes to coatings.
By Kristi Hubert mendez • tips & tricks
How ’bout them apples? “If comparing coatings to cuisine, soft touch and gloss coatings are Classic Color’s bread and butter,” explains Hernandez, Classic Color’s VP. “For every great recipe there is always that secret ingredient or special touch that makes the final dish taste even better. “At Classic Color, ours is none other than ‘thyme.’ Well, more accurately, ‘time.’ Time is the major ingredient in creating a printed piece that stands out. And the combination of the coating itself and the time required to plan and finish it is key.” Below, he shares exactly what he did to achieve the results you see – and feel – on this issue’s cover.
e Aziridin aper and h 1740 it nish to p w fi h e c ik u -l o e T d t e f su So ” feel or ’ 1512D es a “soft hesives id d v A ro p & t s a th Coating d coating ater-base w ll u d A r-coating rd t UV ove p e paperboa c c a n a cation d »»Surface c n accept adhesive applition r improve to 1512 fo d s e b d d jo »»Surface ca an accept foil applica a n e o ant 740 b rly import TALYST 1 A la C u t »»Surface c ic c rt u a d p pro . This is DED that hardness OMMEN lm C fi E d R n Y a L e ks It is HIGH e, block resistanc l color in tanc is s re /or specia b d f n ru o a s g d in il bu rnish ire: /coating y process shing/bu g b li n d o ti that requ p n te a ri in p re c lt d »»Two-side turated ink film areas dling, which can resu a /s han y v a e »»H of >100º F chanical nditions nd/or me o a c l a d u e z n a ti a »»M non-clim g surface icularly in rt the coatin a p , e g aper and stora a ge o n p loss UV im G d d e »»Long-term e is is ra a Ra provide ’ 5262A hesives signed to e d d A g & n ti s a r Coating s s U V co n or lowe image glo d e is esh scree ra m A e n ts li c u 0 it n 20 rd prod coating u s using a y for use paperboa ress read an Anilox reen pres c p nce, it is s ia d ta v e s e r li in si o p -l re d p ff an o »»Su desire rasion ia b e v a g a d d e n li im a p d n p »»Can be a g on the level of raise nce for gloss, adhesio inks be used as well a in d red n e p de ng perform sheetfed or Hy-B um coati le m b ti ta p a o o r c o »»F t UV nded tha recomme
Instructions: Start with the finest grade paper, apply four-color process ink generously to the paper. Next, apply one hit of UV gloss varnish overall, and then install the spot UV apple cyrel plate. Using that plate, apply 5262A raised UV stampable gloss coating from Coatings & Adhesives (C&A) using a 10 BCM roller over all of the apples. Then, cure with press lamps. Install second spot Cyrel plate of green apples and slices and apply C&A’s UV1512D Soft Touch with 1740 Aziridine for creating a resilient soft touch using a 12 BCM roller. Cure with hot air knives and IR lamps. Let sit for one hour before “serving” to bindery.
what print buyers want • By Margie Dana
How good marketing helps you rise above your competitors
hen I think of “branding” for printers, I think of their professional and very public reputations. Everything a prospect or customer reads, sees or hears about you constitutes your brand. If you’re not taking advantage of developing a strong brand, you’ll be run over. And the other driver will be your competition – who has developed his brand brilliantly.
» What do you stand for?
Everything a prospect or customer reads, sees or hears about you constitutes your brand. If you’re not taking advantage of developing a strong brand, you’ll be run over.
Is your company’s strength definable? Whether you’re a manufacturer or service provider, what you produce – and (presumably) excel at – should be obvious in every facet of your public persona, including your website, corporate identity, sales and marketing materials, blogs, posts, email signatures, presentations and, of course, social media presence.
So, what does your brand say about you? Consider these questions. Your answers will reveal a lot about your brand and tell you if it’s weak, strong or if it even exists. • What do you stand for? • How do you show it? • Is it part of your company’s DNA? • Would your customers agree? How do you know? • Is it a dynamic brand?
of it – you’re dead wrong. A printer’s brand must include professionalism at every stage of customer interaction. Customers care about how they’re treated by everyone at a company, and buyers will move their business elsewhere because of shoddy treatment or unprofessionalism.
» Would your customers agree? How do you know?
Start by reviewing your website. Is your brand personality evident in your tagline (do you even have one?) and home page copy? Are you blogging, and does your personality shine through there? Do your business cards and other stationery items reflect a consistent look, and showcase your logo and tagline? If you’re running print or digital ads, is your brand identifiable there as well? At every opportunity, the first thing you, and your sales and service teams, should think about is, “Does this accurately convey what we’re all about?”
Printers who have excellent reputations with their customers definitely are in the driver’s seat. If your customers sing your praises, make sure you capture them. Every time someone shares a “great job” comment, whether in person, by phone or in an email, ask for permission to use it. Testimonials are a powerful branding tool. If you have an email campaign or print newsletter, always include a feedback mechanism so readers can tell you what they think. And don’t forget a customer survey. Use simple and affordable online tools such as SurveyMonkey (www.surveymonkey.com) to send customers an annual “how are we doing” survey. Chances are you don’t know exactly why they do business with you until you ask them.
» Is it part of your company’s DNA?
» Is it a dynamic brand?
Print buyers deal with sales reps, CSRs, press operators, prepress specialists and management. Your brand should be ingrained in every one of your employees, from senior management personnel to delivery drivers. If you think a print buyer doesn’t notice if a production or delivery person is obnoxious or slovenly (not yours, of course) – and decides to work with another printer because
Developing your company’s brand isn’t a one-shot deal. Many companies hire a creative agency or designer to give them a new logo and website. Up goes the new site. The logo is used on business cards and other collateral. Voilá. That’s it. Right? Wrong. Brand development is not static; it’s dynamic. It changes, it grows, it is redefined by market needs and customer demands, and it needs constant tending.
» How do you show it?
© 2012 Margie Dana. All rights reserved. Margie Dana is the founder of Print Buyers International, and a marketing specialist for the print and graphics art industry. She also produces an annual print and media conference, including the 7th Annual Print & Media Conference, which takes place in Chicago this October. Margie has been building her own brand since 1999, when she started her weekly “Print Tips” e-newsletter. Subscribe at www.printbuyersinternational.com.
By Matt Sisson • perspective
power of print
was fortunate enough to attend the recent Sappi Standard Book 5 rollout at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Chicago. The book, printed by Fujifilm customer Classic Color, highlighted numerous coatings, including flock coating, which made the image of an abominable snowman look and feel real.
There also was a print of a coffee can, that when scratched, smelled of fresh roasted coffee. Each of the book’s pages screamed, “touch me!”
In his biography of Steve Jobs, author Walter Isaacson discussed the influence that one of Jobs’ early mentors, Mike Markkula, had on him as it relates to branding. Said Jobs of Markkula: “Mike taught me that people do judge a book by its cover.” Jobs used the advice to his advantage. That’s why when you open the box of an iPhone or iPad, you get a tactile experience that sets the tone for how you perceive the product.
This is where high-end print is headed. When you pick up a printed piece, it must do more than excite your sense of sight. When we tease more than one of our senses, we convey a more powerful, longer lasting message.
It’s interesting that one of the most digitally centric men in the world understood what well-designed, printed packaging could mean to a consumer. As the owner of several Apple products, I can attest to the fact that the packaging of an iPhone is nothing short of exquisite. Everything has its place. Nothing is thrown into the box, but rather has its own alcove within the package. My initial perception of the product, based purely on the box, is one of simplicity, usefulness and elegance.
That’s the true power of print. Conveying that type of message is something electronic mediums like TV, radio, mobile devices and the Internet simply cannot provide. So, while the printing industry is transforming, it certainly is not dying. Just as you cannot build a house with only a hammer, effective marketing cannot be obtained through a single medium. All components must work in harmony and complement one another. Take the rise of Apple, which began in 1984 with an Orwellian commercial depicting a renegade throwing a hammer through a screen featuring “Big Brother.” The message was instantly clear. Apple wanted to do things differently. They didn’t want to conform. For example, their retail stores – designed in oppostion to conventional wisdom – became a unique way to showcase the company’s products. Today, many others have copied this approach. Even the way Apple packages its products speaks volumes about how the company wants consumers to perceive the brand. All of this messaging is done through different mediums but, when combined, helps Apple become one of the most valuable brands in the world.
This demonstrates the true power of print – the ability to mold opinions. That’s a very valuable tool when interacting with consumers.
Just as you cannot build a house with only a hammer, effective marketing cannot be obtained through a single medium.
Having sold more than 300 million iPods since October 2001, Apple has delivered more mP3 players than all of its competitors combined. That’s even more amazing when you consider Apple products have identical specifications to many, much lower priced devices. The brand loyalty Apple has built is staggering. I cannot think of another company that can release a new product and be assured of lines of devoted zealots camping out in front of company stores to be the first to own the latest gadget. At least a small part of that devotion can be attributed to Apple’s brilliant use of printed packaging. Jobs understood that a product’s packaging is integral to its success, and paramount to building a positive first impression. Not only was Jobs a consumer electronics genius, it appears he also was a big supporter of the power of print.
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L O S E T H E S E L AT E LY ? Fujifilm Inkjet Technology
Too much makeready? Registration problems? Underestimated dry-time?
L O S E T H E S E L AT E LY ? We hear you ... and we can help, before you lose your shorts.
Fujifilm Inkjet Technology
Too much makeready? Registration problems? Underestimated dry-time? We hear you ... and we can help, before you lose your shorts.
Fujifilm Inkjet Technology
FUJIFILM North America Corporation, Graphic Systems Division
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