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Putting It All Out There

One Sign Shop Shares the Benefits of Large Format Printing

by Melissa Tetreault

Part 3 of a 4-part exclusive online series was a pre-press service bureau in Charlotte, NC that began in 1989. It then became involved in digital printing because pre-press services were sliding downhill. According to Clifford Smith, owner of the wholesale shop, moving to digital just seemed like a logical step.

That transition took place in 2001. Five years later the shop added signs to its mix of digital offerings. And what a mix it is. provides any digital application you can imagine – offset printing, business cards, postcards, business forms, trade show graphics, sublimating custom shirts and garments, vehicle wraps, and vehicle graphics.

By far, Smith argues, large format printing is the most profitable service. "Printing demand is flat and commoditized, there is a genuine demand for large format."

Clients such as graphic designers, desktop publishers, advertising agencies, print brokers, and other printer companies that re-sell’s digital services all are utilizing the shop’s large format printing capabilities. Roland’s large format printers are a huge asset to the shop’s output. The company owns two Roland VersaCAMM printer/cutters.

Thanks to the growing profitability of the large format market, is able to design and install all in-house. They have a 1,500-square-foot garage for any weather installation. When it comes to printing the shop certainly has a handle on its output and luckily they are no strangers to finishing either. They offer folding, cutting, and laminating options for all of their customer’s projects.

One of the newer technologies that the company recently started to dabble in is eco-solvent inks. Smith felt they needed to start using eco-solvent ink because of the demand he was getting from customers. "We were missing opportunities with customer requests for durable, full-color outdoor applications. With eco-solvent ink we tend not to have that problem anymore."

Besides the durability factor, another benefit of using eco-solvent inks is that no environmental or ventilation equipment is needed. With regular solvent ink, harmful solvents spread volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air while the ink is drying. The creation of eco-solvent ink has led to less VOCs being spread into the air and a reduced offensive aroma during the drying process. may have a large presence in the large format business but Smith is quick to say that they find vehicle wrapping one of the more enjoyable applications. "They’re challenging and they look great when they are finished."

Look for a full feature article on Profiting in the Digital Marketplace in the November issue of Digital Output.

Click here to read Part 1 of this exclusive online series, Transforming to Digital
Click here to read Part 2 of this exclusive online series, Digitize and They Will Come

Oct2006, Digital Output

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