By Olivia Cahoon
A variety of specialty ink options are available for digital printing including the use of clear, fluorescent, glitter, metallic, white, and MICR. Print providers that invest in specialty ink not only help clients outshine the competition but also add value to digitally printed output.
Established in 2015, DLS Discovery is a leading provider of eDiscovery, managed document review, legal support, and marketing services based in Wilmington, DE. The company started as an on demand digital print shop with one employee in an 800 square foot workspace. It still operates from that same space and expanded to six employees servicing the U.S.—primarily in the DE and PA area.
DLS Discovery offers a wide variety of print services including specialty printing; large mailing runs from several thousand to 15,000 pieces that include catalog mailings, oversize printing; and digital print services such as stationary, full-bleed brochures, specialty folded marketing materials, and posters.
“We produce anything from business cards with specialty inks to a custom designed brochure for an upcoming gala event or convention,” shares Rebecca Simeone Lennon, marketing executive, DLS Discovery. “What makes our team unique is that every team member has a different graphic design or marketing background so we spend a lot of time consulting on the creative side of how to produce quality and show-stopping marketing pieces.”
The shop succeeds in this by investing in the latest technologies for value-added printing. This includes the use of specialty ink products such as Xerox’s Specialty Dry Inks along with the Xerox Iridesse Production Press.
DLS Discovery purchased the Iridesse one and a half years ago. “We chose this particular press because it was cutting-edge technology that no one in the tri-state area had at the time. We wanted to set ourselves apart from other digital printers and decided the Iridesse was a good investment,” says Lennon.
The Iridesse pairs well with Xerox’s Specialty Dry Inks, including metallic, white, and clear. Metallic dry inks allow the print provider to create silver and gold metallic effects with images while white can be printed on color substrates or as a bright white base coat for optimizing CMYK vibrancy.
Often, DLS Discovery takes advantage of the gold and pearlescent specialty ink shades. According to Lennon, gold is the most popular of the specialty inks, especially for gala event printing and invitations while pearlescent allows the shop to custom create specific colors for clients.
With its specialty inks and the Xerox Iridesse press, DLS Discovery takes advantage of several benefits including unlimited creative designs and a variety of shades, tones, and gradients. “With our team of graphic designers we can bring a client’s vision to life,” shares Lennon. “Whether it’s a simple touch of clear or a full page flooded with gold, we can get as creative as a client would like us to be for a project.”
Currently, 25 percent of the print shop’s output is produced with specialty inks. Most of its specialty ink applications are produced on thicker, coated papers. DLS Discovery often selects Tango Media from WestRock either in 16- or 18-point thicknesses. “The paper quality is amazing and showcases the sparkle of the specialty inks really well,” adds Lennon. The print provider also uses several Accent or Mohawk uncoated stocks. “We always offer an option to our clients as oftentimes they have specific requests.”
Several of the shop’s printed products produced with specialty inks require finishing. For cutting purposes, the company uses a Polar DigiCut system to finish all types of marketing materials. DLS Discovery also laminates, shrink wraps, and uses a Graphic Whizard CreaseMaster Plus+ to score, perforate, or crease specialty folded pieces.
When the size is applicable, the company uses the Xerox Iridesse to score pieces in the machine. According to Lennon, the most popular asset to the Iridesse is the three-trim capability to produce full-bleed brochures.
The shop experiences occasional challenges when using specialty inks, primarily educating clients on their value and appropriate applications.
“People are used to paying a lot of money for embossed printing,” explains Lennon. “Here at DLS, we like to think that we can save a client a little bit of time and money by spending the time it takes to make sure they understand that not all applications of specialty inks are successful, or showing them how they can be incorporated into a design piece.”
Integrating Gold Ink
DLS Discovery works with a variety of clients, including brands, institutions, organizations, and venues. Repeat client—Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU)—hosts a fundraising event each year that encourages high school aged youth to enroll in HBCU. It also helps to provide scholarship dollars for matriculation and sustain a pipeline for employment from undergrad school to corporate America.
In 2019 DLS Discovery collaborated with HBCU for the second time, providing print pieces for HBCU week. “They gave us a shot at designing a small project for them, which led to them loving what we produced and wanting more,” explains Lennon.
Today, the event is one of DLS Discovery’s largest design and print jobs. “They especially love the integration of gold ink that we incorporate into their branded marketing materials,” adds Lennon
In August 2019, the client requested a variety of print collateral for the HBCU fundraising event, including sponsorship packages, menus, gala save the dates, invitations, tickets, and program books. To produce these materials, DLS Discovery selected the Xerox Iridesse press and Xerox Specialty Dry Inks in gold.
The specialty gold ink was used throughout all of the client’s marketing materials. According to Lennon, HBCU requested gold as it added a high-end finish and helped them sell out the gala event, making it very successful.
In total, DLS Discovery produced over 800 marketing materials using gold ink, including 350 gala tickets and program books, ten coil bound presentations, 20 sponsorship bi-folds, 62 table tents, 320 menus, and 50 sponsorship presentations.
The marketing company completed the job in six months. No challenges occurred during the project. In fact, Lennon says the client completely trusted the company’s design choices and judgements when it came to the event’s overall branding. “They called us experts in the matter and had so many kind things to say to us after the gala happened.”
Sparkle & Shine
Specialty inks help print providers add an extra dose of sparkle and shine to their printed products. This is especially important for marketing companies like DLS Discovery that strive to make their clients stand out from the competition.
With the company’s ability to design and produce the actual printed pieces, Lennon says the shop is receiving more work. “Clients come to us with their ideas and want us to create impactful/statement pieces not only with the design but in print.”
The combination of the Xerox Iridesse press and Xerox Specialty Dry Inks enables DLS Discovery to keep clients satisfied. dps
May2020, DPS Magazine