By Cassandra Balentine
Print is powerful. Photo-inspired printing products represent a great niche for companies that want to leverage the capabilities of digitally printed products. However, to avoid becoming a commodity provider that competes on price alone, many successful photo printing businesses offer unique, high-quality products that stand out from the competition.
Founded in 2012, Artifact Uprising is a Denver, CO-based lifestyle brand, which the company says is driven by the belief that everyone has a story. What better way to tell these tales than through photographs. It aims to honor the meaningful moments of life through printed, photo-based gifts, and books. “With a focus on high quality and elevated design, we help make permanence of what matters most,” shares Melanie Robertz, product marketing, Artifact Uprising.
Starting as a basement operation, today a team of 40 employees work out of offices in downtown Denver. The company produces a variety of photo products including photobooks, wall art, prints, and photo-inspired gifts. The company’s heirloom-quality Layflat Photo Album, which was named one of Oprah’s Favorite Things, and its Hardcover Photo Book are staples within its photobook line.
Design, marketing, customer service, engineering, and production expertise are performed in house, while also working with partners across the U.S. to help bring its products to life.
Positive Vibes Only
Artifact Uprising is heavily influenced by the environmental elements that go into its offerings. A very ecocentric company, these values drive its mission and products. It uses recycled paper as well as reclaimed wood.
“We care greatly about both the quality and environmental impact of the papers we offer,” shares Robertz. Because of this core business value, it has intentionally selected paper composed of recycled fibers for the interior pages of its hardcover and softcover photobooks. The paper selected is Mohawk Options Paper, which includes 100 percent post-consumer fiber and all of the electricity used to manufacture the paper is matched with renewable wind-generated electricity.
Robertz explained that from the start, the company recognized the narrative that could be rewritten in its own backyard, the story of mountain beetle pine. Finding beauty in reclaimed wood, the company teamed up with a local woodworking company, Azure Furniture Company that manufactures furniture built from trees affected by mountain pine beetles in the Rocky Mountain Forest. Using pieces that would otherwise be discarded in furniture production, they are used to manufacture products like its Wood Calendar and Wood Block + Prints.
The wood features a uniquely grayish-blue color, which serves as reminder of new purpose in an otherwise storied past. “Occasionally you’ll find a storied spec of this paper’s past from the recycled fiber within—we see these as beauty marks of a better choice for the environment.”
Robertz describes these marks as resolute reminders of individuality throughout every piece. Four years in, she says it has helped support Azure in reclaiming 250,000 feet of fallen pine in the Rocky Mountain forests. “And this is only the beginning.”
Artifact Uprising utilizes digital printing equipment to produce its photographic output, primarily printing using production printing technology from HP Inc.
“Our choice of production equipment is driven by what is best in the industry to accommodate our high-quality standards,” says Robertz. “Having been founded by professional photographers with an eye for color, it’s a combination of the materials we choose and our custom print profiles that make up that quality, so we select equipment that can give us the most flexibility while delivering the most consistent product at the same time.”
Turnaround times vary. To maintain its quality standards, production times differ between products. Photobooks generally range from three to eight business days, while prints and cards are about two to three business days, and wall art between two and five business days. Shipment times for orders begin after production.
Robertz says the biggest challenge with digital printing has been consistency, which is why it has several quality assurance check points throughout the production process to ensure products look their best. That said, the great thing about digital print is that it’s ever improving. “There are new solutions developing every day to reduce those inconsistencies, and we’ll always strive to be early adopters of these methods.”
In terms of finishing, the photo printers tend to use flush mount materials. The company’s website explains the process, noting that each page has a glue sheet inserted to make the page extra thick. The pages are secured around the spine and placed into the cover, which is then adhered to the outer side of the end sheets.
The company uses flush mount materials. Each page has a glue sheet inserted to make the page extra thick. These pages are secured around the spine and then placed into the cover, which is then adhered to the outer side of the end sheets.
In its layflat photo albums, each page is approximately .04 inches thick. The minimum book is 20 pages and .625 inches in thickness. The maximum book is 70 pages and 1.625 inches in thickness. Because the photo paper has an easy sheet inserted to create a flush mount photo album, the pages are not measured in gsm.
Its softcover and hardcover book products use PUR binding due to its durability and compatibility with digitally printed output.
Artifact Uprising offers unique products driven by its core values. Its story is one worth paying attention to, as it stands out in a competitive market place with high-quality, ecocentric products that make a lasting impression in homes, its community, and the environment.
Jul2018, DPS Magazine