By Olivia Cahoon
Direct imaging (DI) presses combine digital and traditional offset printing technologies into a hybrid solution featuring high image quality and reduced makeready. DI technology is well suited for products like business cards, direct mail, event tickets, flyers, postcards, and posters. Commercial printers and in plants with digital and offset capabilities invest in DI for static runs and volumes between 500 and 20,000.
Established in July 2007, Kessler Creative is a full service direct mail marketing provider in Jacksonville, FL. The company originally offered printing and mailing services from a 6,000 square foot work area with 11 employees.
Today, Kessler Creative operates branch sales offices in GA, NY, and TX. The marketing agency specializes in helping customers grow business through a variety of marketing solutions. With 58 employees, it operates from a 24,000 square foot facility serving nationwide marketers, entrepreneurs, franchises, and small- to medium-sized business.
Kessler Creative offers email and mobile marketing, direct mail marketing, graphic design services, postcard mailings, social media management, and wide format printing with digital and offset technology. When the company started, it looked to DI presses.
“We didn’t know much about printing and we were looking to either buy an established franchise company or start our own independent shop,” says Keith Kessler, COO, Kessler Creative. After researching technology compatible with its intended print quality and volumes, the company selected the Presstek 34DI.
The Presstek 34DI is a four-color digital offset press with a maximum sheet size of 13.39×18.11 inches. It prints 7,000 sheets per hour in sheet thicknesses up to 0.5 mm. It features a waterless printing design for less waste, a wider color gamut, less dot gain, and quickly processed colors.
“We all agreed that a 34DI was the best solution to start a printing company that would allow for a quick startup time, reasonable investment, and quick turns with great quality,” says Kessler.
As the company’s workload increased, it invested in a Presstek 52DI in 2012 to keep up with production. The 52DI prints 10,000 sheets per hour in sizes up to 20.47×14.76 inches wide and 0.5mm thick. It includes ECO-UV Enhancement for wider substrate compatibility and instant curing. The Presstek’s ECO-UV curing system accelerates production, requires less power than standard UV, and incorporates a UV lamp in the delivery system.
“We have continued with the 34DI and 52DI on our offset printing capabilities and have been very satisfied with the quality from them and the service we get from Presstek,” offers Kessler.
The company experienced few challenges during the DI press implementations. According to Kessler, the pressmen were trained on larger conventional sheetfeed presses and learned how to operate the DI presses with ease. “They love how much easier they are to run and maintain,” he explains.
In addition to DI technology, Kessler has also invested in dedicated digital printing presses. The company uses several digital Canon presses including the recently purchased Canon imagePRESS C10000 with a large capacity sheet feeder for 13×30 sheets. It handles media from 60 gsm to 350 gsm with a maximum paper capacity for 10,000 sheets. “We traded in our Canon imagePRESS C800 because of the need for faster turns and more options like the 13×30-inch large sheet,” says Kessler.
The company also uses the Océ VarioPrint 6150 and Xerox iGen 4 with a 14×22.5-inch printing area. The iGen 4 handles sheets up to 14.33×22.5 inches with speeds up to 120 pages per minute. It has an input capacity of 80,000 sheets with customization features for printing on books, brochures, manuals, and postcards. According to Kessler, the iGen 4 prints on thick substrates, like 14 mil polyester for menu printing.
With the DI presses, Kessler Creative prints non-variable postcards, print letters, booklets, and other paper products in runs of 2,500 or more. Common media for the DI presses includes 10, 12, and 14 pt gloss cover stock and 80# and 100# gloss text. “With the 52DI, you have the capability to run 14.3×20 inches so we run two 8.5×14-inch shell letter stock for variable jobs that enable us to offer a better price point on variable data mailings,” says Kessler.
According to Kessler, DI presses offer quick makeready, fast color specs, reduced paper waste, and less costs than completely digital presses. “It is rare for us to have a client job that is the small reprint over and over,” he explains. “Most of the company’s clients change their look so the conventional press with saving plates is not really a priority to us.”
However, sheet size and run speed can be challenging for DI presses with longer run jobs. Kessler says it’s difficult to price match against larger sheet presses on longer runs. “Plates are more expensive than traditional presses, but you don’t need a plate maker.”
Direct marketing applications rely on DI presses for quick turnaround time, efficient production, and customization. “Combined with the ability to regularly change your marketing to test different messages and offers makes DI presses a perfect fit,” says Kessler. DI presses also benefit industries in financial planning, healthcare, education, and churches.
As one of the company’s flagship services, direct mail marketing promotes a service, product, event, or specific offer with mailed printed materials. Kessler Creative serves as a one-stop solution for direct mail marketing and claims that 79 percent of consumers act on direct mail immediately compared to 45 percent who respond to email.
With more than 1,200 direct mail clients, the company provides full direct mail campaign assistance including mail content, recipient list, mailing methods, tracking tools, and scheduling. For four years, repeat client Harry’s Seafood Restaurant has collaborated with Kessler Creative for monthly marketing campaigns.
“We print and mail for Harry’s Seafood Restaurant monthly for a variety of marketing campaigns from holiday mailers to client anniversary celebrations—the work is ongoing,” explains Kessler.
To create the restaurant’s monthly mailers, the company prints shells on its Presstek 54DI press and runs the variable with its Océ VarioPrint 6150. The VarioPrint 6150 handles sheet sizes up to 350×500 mm at 600×1200 dpi. Personalization includes barcodes that can be scanned to match back to the recipient.
The client typically requests over 100,000 11×17-inch mailers that are tri-folded and tabbed after the variable is imprinted. Mailers are printed on 100# gloss text, which Kessler says has a great shine ideal for direct mail.
“The finished bleed size is 11×17 inches and perfect for a 12×18-inch sheet that the 52DI loves to run—quick up to color and great consistency on the colors throughout the longer runs,” he explains. Direct mail jobs for Harry’s Seafood Restaurant are typically completed in three days.
The client is satisfied with its monthly mailers and continues to use Kessler Creative for all its marketing campaigns. “Harry’s Seafood Restaurant is very happy with response rates for this mailer and loves the print quality,” says Kessler.
DI presses combine digital printing’s speed with traditional offset’s capability for large runs. With direct mail marketing at the business’ core, Kessler Creative uses DI technology to create brochures, letter campaigns, newsletters, and postcards.
Mar2018, DPS Magazine