By Melissa Donovan
Color management is a critical component to the production workflow. As more brands become accustom to digital print technologies, expectations for color remain the same. Often, an organization won’t realize they have a problem with color until they start looking into it. Consistency across various substrates, devices, and intervals between jobs all affect a buyer’s final call on whether to commit to the final print run. While this is a challenge for some, others realize the benefits of instituting color management tools at both the software and press level to offer customers consistent color and quality.
Baker Printing & Design
Based in Media, PA, Baker Printing opened its doors in 1922. Family owned, the shop has passed along ownership from generation to generation. Today, Cindy and Tish Baker along with their mother, Betty, run the company.
In its fourth location since 1922, Baker Printing is located on a busy main street.
The general commercial printer is well-rounded in all things print from digital to offset and wide format. Its main goal in every customer interaction is to ensure that all needs are met. Most clients fall along PA’s East Coast corridor, including Delaware Valley, Philadelphia, Chester County, and Montgomery County.
With the main business located downtown, its customer base ranges from larger companies doing more than $20 million in revenue to mid-size B2B companies that require sell sheets and other marketing collateral. These customers are generally from manufacturing, food/restaurant, sports, community, and legal backgrounds.
Baker Printing brought in digital approximately 12 years ago. Cindy and Tish traveled to an industry trade show in Chicago, IL and while walking around the floor, realized just how revolutionary and impactful digital would be.
“At the time, we were still a traditional iron shop. We did not have production digital devices in place. Jobs took five to seven days to turnaround,” explains Tish Baker.
To keep up with evolving customer demands, the company brought in a RICOH Pro C901 Graphic Arts+ printing system running the EFI Fiery digital front end (DFE) in February of 2014. Additionally, the shop simultaneously became G7 certified.
The RICOH Pro C901 allows for inline capabilities, such as finishing aspects and the ability to run heavier stocks.
“We wanted to be more competitive. The RICOH Pro C901 gives us the confidence to give our customers the high quality they demand,” says Baker.
Color is an essential component of Baker Printing’s quality standards. The shop brought in Ricoh technicians shortly after purchasing the device to become G7 certified and match the new digital production device with its Heidelberg press. During a three day process, Baker and her colleagues where put through an intensive, comprehensive color education.
The Ricoh G7 team took some of the shop’s most popular substrates and dialed them in to get the correct color. After training, Baker and her team are confident in their abilities to conduct the same testing with different papers or finishes. Once a match is completed, the proof is sent for G7 certification.
“I was pleasantly surprised that we got as much out of the experience as we did. The Ricoh team was fantastic, knowledgeable, and truly understood the entire process. After working with them, we are confident that what we print on the RICOH Pro C901 will be a close match to offset,” explains Baker.
Color matching between digital and offset was the main goal. However, the Baker Printing team also noticed a difference on its Heidelberg offset press after G7 certification was conducted. While they weren’t missing colors before, the process allowed them to tweak various papers even further to really ensure they hit the correct color every time.
The G7 certification is now a big part of Baker Printing’s marketing strategy going forward. Baker believes that the positive connotations that come with the certification will benefit the shop and its customers. Offering consistent color across multiple substrates and different print technologies is a worthwhile branding message that the company can use to promote the business and its capabilities.
A year has passed since the implementation of the RICOH Pro C901 and Baker says that while the device is meeting current demand quite nicely, she foresees the company adding one or two new printers in the next six months to a year. She particularly has an eye on the new RICOH Pro C7110X, which offers longer sheet sizes and white ink, and the RICOH Pro L4100 wide format latex series.
Located in King City, CA, Casey Printing is a publication printer celebrating 113 years in business. The organization produces catalogs, magazines, directories, brochures, tabloids, booklets, and coupon books with a variety of technology including digital prepress, web and sheetfed offset, and digital printing.
Digital printing is a growing part of the publication printer’s business—representing about five percent of its revenue today. With the recent increase in demand for shorter runs, Casey Printing recognized the need for a digital production printer that would provide a cost-effective solution to an increasingly common challenge. That device would need to provide the same high quality of color that the company’s customers were accustomed to on the offset presses and on a wider range of paper types.
“We didn’t want to be in the position of having to tell customers that running a product digitally meant a compromise in quality. We want them to be thrilled with the quality of the work, regardless of the production technology we use,” explains Bill Casey, president, Casey Printing.
After researching the products on the market and polling industry peers, Casey decided on a Xerox Color 1000 Press with a Xerox EX Print Server Powered by Fiery including EFI’s Fiery Color Profiler Suite.
Several parts of the Fiery Color Profiler Suite appeal to Casey Printing. One of which is the Express Profiler module, which allows press operators to quickly create a custom profile for a new paper. The suite is designed to use settings from a preconfigured library of output profiles. A good percentage of the time, the press team can start with one of the standard-based profiles instead of building one.
Spot colors are also easily addressed within the system. Users can print out a swatch sheet that includes the Fiery server’s best attempt to match the color with a grouping of variations around that match. The result makes it easy for the press operator to specify the exact spot color and repeat that same color for every job it is applicable to.
To consistently maintain a high level of accuracy, Casey Printing calibrates on a daily basis, creates output profiles as press conditions change over time, and profiles unique paper stocks.
Since implementing the EFI Fiery DFE and Fiery Color Profiler Suite, the print provider is thrilled with the color. A common occurrence is running different elements of a job on both the offset and Xerox digital device, which requires high attention to color matching.
“Customers often have longer runs of sell sheets and other products, but also need shorter runs of versioned pieces for events or other uses,” shares Casey. He provides an example of one agricultural customer who requires sell sheets with images of produce in various groups used at shows and for selling to large grocery chains. These informational pages are usually timely. For example, a type of tomato is only in season for so long. “The images need to sell the product and look as close as possible to offset. These shorter runs are work that we never would have gotten before, and our customers are delighted,” he concludes.
It’s a Colorful World
Today’s print buyers look for flawless and efficient color management. Recognizing this, businesses like Baker Printing and Casey Printing invest in DFEs that consistently control color. The end result is satisfied customers and expanded opportunities. dps
Jan2015, DPS Magazine