By Melissa Donovan
Packaging is a broad, all-encompassing term that many applications fall under—from flexible packaging to shrink sleeves, polybag wraps, and traditional corrugated board. Depending on the nature of your business and the printers you use, products offered vary significantly. With digital printing, personalization and short run jobs are often the driver.
Virtuoso Graphics began in 2004. The business, which today operates out of a 2,078 square foot shop in Houston, TX, originally started out as a sign and poster printer. However, market demand swayed the business’ planned path and the company began outputting stickers and labels for packaging and other items on a constant basis.
Today the print provider services mostly the locals around Houston, but has executed work for businesses in MN, PA, and VA. Three full-time employees in addition to the founder of the business can be found creating runs of labels and/or stickers anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 pieces. In addition to labels and stickers, Virtuoso Graphics also offers a number of products including acrylic signs, aluminum signs, ADA and Braille signs, banner stands, banners, magnetic car signs, vehicle graphics, wallpaper, and window graphics.
While the business initially worked with a printer from another vendor, in 2005 Thomas Wink, founder/CEO, Virtuoso Graphics, met a representative from Roland DGA Corporation who showcased output off of a wide format Roland device. Wink was instantly enamored with the efficiency of the printer and the quality of the Roland ECO-SOL MAX ink.
In response, he purchased a 30-inch VersaCAMM VP-300 in 2005, in 2006 two VersaCAMM VP-540s, and the company’s most recent acquisition was a VersaCAMM VS-640 64-inch printer about a year and a half ago.
All of the printers are constantly running. So much so, that although they offer both printing and cutting capabilities, Wink needed to purchase additional standalone Roland cutters to offset some of the finishing work.
Much of Virtuoso Graphics’ packaging requests involve placing adhesive-based clear or glossy vinyl on a bottle or another product. The newest printer, the Roland VersaCAMM VS-640, is equipped with white ink, which allows Wink to print stickers and labels on clear material, giving the appearance that the package in question was printed on directly.
In addition to labels and stickers printed off of the Roland printers, Virtuoso Graphics also offers domed labels in house, which involves finishing a printed vinyl piece with a clear liquid that provides a three-dimensional, bubbled, or lens effect.
One of Virtuoso Graphics’ biggest customers is NovaLash, a cosmetic provider founded in 2004. The company offers eyelash extension products globally. It repeatedly requests stickers and labels to place on many of its packaged products, from circular pots that hold eyelash adhesive to tubes of mascara.
In total, NovaLash spends about $48,000 a year in labels. Most months the print provider produces anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 labels for the company. Turnaround time is short and the Roland printers aid in getting the job out of the door.
For example, a recent request from NovaLash included 50,000 labels. From receipt of the file to finished output, the job took five days. The cosmetic company commonly sends over pre-designed graphics and Virtuoso Graphics’ production team prepares the files to print on the Roland printers.
A high-end cosmetic label looks for quality in its imaging, hoping to portray a sophisticated feel in all of its brand messaging. Wink utilizes Roland VersaWorks to color manage all of the files and ensure each label or sticker matches from run to run.
“Not only are the printers great at printing small detail labels, but they are also great at matching PMS colors without guessing and adjusting levels of colors,” he explains.
Clear to the Future
Thanks to the arsenal of Roland printers behind Wink and his team, he is ready to tackle any kind of print job.
White ink expands Virtuoso Graphics’ services. These kinds of features allow the print provider to grow its package printing capabilities.
Oct2015, Digital Output