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Primary Color: Master of Its Own Destiny

April 2014 By Erik Cagle, Senior Editor
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As it prepares to celebrate its 30th anniversary, the executive leadership team at Costa Mesa, CA-based Primary Color prefers to look ahead as opposed to reflecting on where it's been. Not that the multi-faceted printing and marketing services performer needs to wash away the's the future, however, that is generating much excitement among the Hirt brothers (Dan, Ron and Mike).

And who can honestly blame them? In the last five years, when the American economy in general, and the printing industry in particular, have experienced a severe downturn, Primary Color has set the wheels in motion to elevate its sales considerably beyond the $56 million plateau that it attained in 2013. During that five-year span, the company also raised its employee base from 185 to more than 300. With an additional plant in El Segundo, CA, as well as warehousing and distribution space in Irvine, CA, Primary Color has invested an eye-popping $12 million in that bright future since 2009.

"That comes from the belief that we want to be responsible for the outcome," notes Vincent Randazzo, Primary Color's CEO, of the capex initiative.

The competition level among California printers has never been higher, yet Primary Color has developed a faithful following in the retail, restaurant, automotive, entertainment, agency and corporate spaces. Here's a sampling of tools in its arsenal:

  • Primary Color runs the gamut of print-related services (including an expanded color gamut, coincidently), from litho printing to small- and large-format digital, wide-format, dye sublimation printing, fabrication and design (metal and wood), silk screening, global fulfillment, distribution and installation.
  • Its Forklift Creative branch offers an array of photography, retouching and design support services (including graphic design and mechanical layout).
  • The PrimaryConnect division has been producing Web-to-print storefronts for nine years, making Primary Color a veteran in an area that has not been fully utilized by many printers.

And to think, the company was founded in 1984 by Walter and Elisabeth Hirt as a prepress firm. What a difference 30 years makes.

Taking Large-Format Global

One of the most recent developments at Primary Color is actually about 6,500 miles away—on the other side of the world in China. At press time, the new Primary Color facility in Shanghai was a mere three weeks old, the realization of a two-year journey that arose from a need to supply high-end retail, point-of-purchase materials and out-of-home advertising—a.k.a., the gargantuan signage that adorns modern city landscapes in the form of building wraps, billboards, bus/transit/street graphics and other outdoor attention grabbers meant to shock, impress and fascinate.


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