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Tukaiz--"Not Just Prepress Anymore!"

October 1999

"If you want to know where you're going, you have to know where you've been," says Frank Defino Sr., president and CEO of Tukaiz Communications—a man who is not only aware of his company's history, but has been instrumental in its making. Having been at the helm of the Tukaiz ship for the past 36 years, Defino has guided the firm through a sea of transition—from traditional prepress services to full-service, digital and commercial printing.

However, Defino prefers that the Franklin Park, IL-based Tukaiz be called a "digital media communications company" or an "electronic digital media specialist." He also emphasizes that Tukaiz "is not just a printer. Printing is just another service we wanted to offer our customers."

And those same customers were instrumental in Tukaiz' transition to commercial printing.

"You Can Do It!"
"Our customers said, 'We know you can do it. You already have the quality. Why don't you just print it?' So we did," says Lisa Saul, Tukaiz' director of marketing. "We've always been known for our quality prepress work and for using leading-edge technology. Our customers were confident in our use of technology and our quality.

"We have always been strong in corporate and agency work, producing advertisements, POPs, etc. Now we are going strong with corporate agencies and manufacturing firms that are looking for single-source suppliers," Saul continues. "Good partnerships have developed with new customers due to those partnerships with existing customers."

Tukaiz, or rather Defino, first had the vision of transitioning into commercial printing in the mid-1980s, when the company was contemplating becoming a graphic arts center.

"To be full service and accompany our high-end systems, we brought in Macs," says Defino. "We were also heavily involved in multimedia products, specifically an interactive product, a sing-and-learn book and tape, which is sold in Walmart stores worldwide."

From multimedia to new product development (including graphic image managment and Website design), Tukaiz saw the transition from prepress to printing as a "natural progression."

Natural for Tukaiz maybe. For other commercial printers, the "normal" progression would be the other way around—first providing the printed product, then adding electronic prepress services.

"The idea for diversification, to become full service, started in the early 1990s," says Defino. "Digital photography and digital printing were just being introduced then. As a prepress house, we understood what was involved—we had the personnel who could understand the conversions that were necessary. We had the experience with color balance and digital workflow that allowed us to make the trans-ition/evolution to direct-to-plate.


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