While many were affected by recession in the graphic arts—others rose to the challenge with renewed optimism. In particular, many smaller print shops opened, weathered the economic storm, and today are thriving. A business model of a one-stop shop that offers specialized services with a focus on a close relationship with the customer is an attractive alternative for those brand managers looking for a partnership with their print service provider (PSP).
Las Vegas, NV-based Identity Group began four years ago at the downturn of the economy. With six employees in a 5,200 square foot space the PSP considers itself first and foremost a brand builder. It offers graphic design, offset print, wide format print, digital signage, and Web presence services. To stand out from its competition, the company looked to add a niche service offering to its portfolio.
“With the downturn of the economy and the wide format industry becoming more saturated, which meant fewer margins, we needed to find a way to differentiate ourselves from competitors. We decided our customers came to us because of innovative designs and attention to detail. With this in mind we decided to put our quality design work behind a unique print product—metallic ink,” explains Phillip Dominquez, CEO, Identity Group.
The implementation of metallic ink through Roland DGA Corporation’s 64-inch VersaCAMM VS-640 printer/cutter allows the PSP to offer quality labels to custom vehicle wraps with that extra touch of specialty. While the initial requirement when looking for a printer that ran metallic ink was cost effectiveness, Dominquez and his staff were pleased by the additional benefits of the VersaCAMM that were noticeable right out of the box. These included the quality, speed, and cutting capabilities all found on the device. In addition, there was a minimal learning curve when it came to setting up files for metallic printing.
Learning to Sell Again
Once the printer was up and running and metallic ink mastered, the marketing process began. Customer interest started off slow, with only about two percent of the its products utilizing metallic ink. As the price for metallic is more expensive than standard CMYK, the sell was a bit more difficult. “At first trying to talk a customer into using the metallic was like trying to sell an exotic sports car to a family of six as a family vehicle,” admits Dominquez.
After several techniques, Dominquez determined that the team had to sell customers the mini-van they were in the market for with the upgrades of an exotic sports car. In other words, instead of offering metallic outright, the company suggested it as an accent to certain projects that would benefit from it.
“When doing comparisons of standard four- and six-color inks to accented prints with metallic silver and candy metallic color combinations there is no doubt the quality of the end product rises,” he continues.
The result, today 20 percent of Identity Group’s output includes metallic print characteristics. These range from artistic canvas reproductions to labels, vehicle wraps, and wallpaper. Media versatility is tremendous according to Dominquez, who says the textures of various substrates are marvelously accented by the metallic flakes of the ink.
Identity Graphics regularly works with Acrylic Tank Manufacturing (ATM), also based in Las Vegas, NV, to design and print unique accents for the fish tanks the aquarium company creates for high-profile clients such as A-list celebrities. These projects benefit from the Roland VersaCAMM VS-640’s metallic ink capabilities and help to transform an ordinary glass tank into an individualized work of art. In addition, the wide format printer is used to create truck and trailer wraps to promote ATM around the city.
More than Print