By Olivia Cahoon
Part 2 of 2
Print service providers (PSPs) continuously look for new markets to enter, strategically investing in equipment and consumables that support these segments. Often, creativity is the only limit to the possibilities of print.
Here, we feature one print provider that offers more than signage through its wide format capabilities.
Color Ink was founded in Hartland, WI by Jim Meissner in 1984. Meissner recognized an opportunity in printing from his work experience in commercial art and advertising. He opened Color Ink as a small commercial printer. The shop quickly grew and relocated to a plot of land on the Meissner family farm in Sussex, WI.
Today, Color Ink remains family owned and operated. The shop employs 75 people out of two buildings and a 100,000-square foot work area. Its services include, but aren’t limited to, design, production, and distribution to offer turnkey print and marketing solutions.
“Color Ink’s commitment to quality and innovation solidified its reputation as an industry leader by customers and industry peers alike,” says Austin Meissner, sales and sourcing manager, Color Ink.
Its facility features a complete prepress department, sheet-fed press room, small and wide format digital presses, a full-service bindery, mailing and fulfillment operations, and warehousing space to facilitate nationwide distribution and long-term storage of finished goods.
The shop often relies on its Inca Onset Q40i Fujifilm North America Corporation Graphic Systems wide format digital press. The UV flatbed printer features FUJIFILM Dimatix Spectra QS10 printheads for high print quality.
Among its finishing options, the PSP uses two Zünd digital flatbed cutting systems, a guillotine cutter, a UV coater, and laminator. The finishing devices were added to the shop over the last five years.
Color Ink formed a subsidiary, FunDeco, LLC, in 2012 to develop, produce, and market children’s learning items, play accessories, and décor. The items are sold in boutique stores and online retailers.
Color Ink and FunDeco recently collaborated to create a do-it-yourself cuckoo clock kit and merchandiser display. The shop’s objective was to create a self-contained merchandiser display that was cost effective to produce and ship, and easy to install on the retail floor.
To produce the kit’s display, Color Ink used half inch-thick white Eagle Cell honeycomb paperboard. The trays that hold the product are made of standard white kraft B-flute corrugated. The clock kit was produced with three millimeter white conVerd.
“All of the components of the clock kit are inserted into a plastic clamshell with a printed insert that contains the instruction for the kits, along with advertising and branding information,” says Meissner.
Each merchandizer is 15 inches wide, 17 inches deep, and 65 inches tall and holds 36 units. The project took three weeks to complete
The display was printed on the shop’s Inca Onset Q40i printer and cut on a Zünd G3 digital cutter. Meissner believes the speed and quality of both devices were ideal for the project.
After the shop’s fulfillment department assembled the trays and filled the displays with the finished product, they were inserted into a corrugated shipper and sent to boutique retailers across the country.
Meissner says the job’s biggest challenges included finding a cost-effective solution to hold multiple units of products with a small retail footprint. “What is so unique about this product is the fact that we turn-keyed everything. We developed the product, designed the packaging, designed the display, and handled the product marketing.”
According to Meissner, the cuckoo clocks are well received in the marketplace because of the display marketing and product branding’s execution.
“The experience gained from this new venture has provided valuable knowledge to Color Ink regarding the process of creating effective POP solutions at a retail level,” explains Meissner.
A Taste of POP
In addition to the FunDeco collaboration, Color Ink creates a lot of POP work. The company designs most of its structural POP applications in house, including product displays, shelf toppers, shipper cartons, and beverage displays.
The shop prints on various types of corrugate like E and B flute. Meissner says the material is cost effective for the structural POP display market and its sturdy enough for long term usage. For structural displays, the shop uses Gilman Brothers’ Eagle Cell honeycomb board. For decorative, high-quality paperboard material, it uses conVerd corrugated bleached white material.
The PSP manages files with Agfa Graphic’s Apogee workflow system. “We selected Apogee because its flexibility allows us to RIP files to all of our printing devices including lithographic, wide, and small format digital,” says Meissner.
The shop works with a lot of big box retailers who constantly request impactful displays. Meissner notices a trend in the retail market for items that set an atmosphere in stores and expand beyond generic signage.
“Some of the retailers even opt to incorporate elements such as light and sound into their POP displays,” adds Meissner.
Color Ink also works with print management brokers who have accounts with iconic brands. The shop has completed displays for beverages, clothing, consumer packaging, fast food restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, and technology industries.
Digital print production is the standard production for many of the shop’s POP applications. Meissner says it’s due to decreasing ownership and ink costs and increasing device speed and quality.
Digital print technologies and an expanding range of compatible media offer print providers a greater variety of POP application possibilities. Print providers like Color Ink keep clients satisfied by offering full services from design to fulfillment.
Jul2017, Digital Output