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Digital Prepress--The Need to Diversify

February 2000
Digital prepress houses are recognizing the need to diversify and invest in additional value-added services. Topping the list, for some, is on-demand digital printing.


BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO


In February 1994, William Staar found himself on the cover of Printing Impressions magazine. At that time, Staar was a strategic influence in his family's $7.3 million digital prepress firm. The company, Noral Color, which has since been purchased by a larger graphic arts service provider, was co-founded by Staar's father, Norman Staar.

In 1994, William Staar represented a new breed of commercial printing executive. He was powered by the intrinsic desire to modernize. He was bent on making his family's digital prepress operation the most elite, digitally savvy digital prepress operation in the Chicago area.

Staar pushed for the adoption of a digital photography studio. He had his sights set on positioning the company to become a "needs fulfillment" organization—from concept and design to digital prepress fulfillment.

For Staar, the potential for digitizing and expanding the world that was modern digital prepress seemed limitless. Today, Staar's visionary momentum is alive and well at DreamColor, the Chicago-based digital prepress and digital printing operation, at which he serves as president, along with partner, Vice President Darren Nykaza.

With roots that stretch back to Noral Color, DreamColor is a 17-employee, full-service prepress house that operates as a multi-capabilities print provider—with two Heidelberg Quickmaster DI digital presses and one Heidelberg Speedmaster 74 DI under its roof. DreamColor accepted delivery of its half-size SM 74 direct-imaging press late last month.

Embracing Change
"As we watched the traditional boundaries between prepress and press erode, we decided to embrace the changes," Staar reports. "Taking advantage of the latest advancements in digital printing technology, we have tapped into an entirely new market and transformed into a stronger, more responsive graphic arts service provider for our clients."

Staar believes digital printing is an opportunity that will only grow for the proactive digital prepress operation. "We gain direction by talking with our customers and listening to their needs," Staar states. "We know that our clients are looking for solutions providers—beyond digital prepress—and that is why we extended our capabilities, created a streamlined digital workflow and took on the marketing challenges and benefits of direct-imaging technology."

The management team at Media Graphics shares Staar's attitude. Media Graphics, a traditional digital prepress firm operating for nearly 25 years in Chicago, also saw the need to modernize and market itself for new business by investing in digital printing technology. The buzzword at Media Graphics during its search for the right digital press was diversification: The company had to diversify if it wanted to offset any business slide of its prepress work.

 

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