A decade ago, Image Printing was a Louisville, KY-based commercial printer serving its local print market—but it had the vision to do a whole lot more. At the same time, Midland Communications Packaging, also based in Louisville, prided itself as a manufacturer of marketing solutions within the postpress segment of the graphic arts industry.

Today, the merged company, now called Vivid Impact, is a diversified graphic arts manufacturing enterprise that specializes in providing a range of communication solutions.

The concept of Vivid Impact dates back to 1989, when Greg Buchheit and Pete Smith bought Image Printing. With them came the vision of a tightly integrated, single-source graphic arts solutions provider. For the next decade, Buchheit and Smith grew the company through internal operations and external acquisitions.

Within the same industrial park, Midland Communications Packaging was known for loose-leaf binders, vinyl heat-sealed products and creative manufacturing solutions to packaging and presentation of marketing information. Both Midland Communications and Image Printing prided themselves at listening to the voice of their customer and building or solving unusual marketing material production problems. The companies shared a common vision. Since their manufacturing capabilities didn’t overlap, the fit was natural and obvious.

Image Printing and Midland merged into a strategic partnership in mid-1998.

During the next 18 months, “communication packaging” and the management of the production of complex marketing projects through an integrated solutions approach became the mantra at newly named Vivid Impact. Immediately, they set their sights on concurrently winning national accounts and capturing a larger local market share.

To achieve these lofty goals, Vivid Impact relied on carefully cultivated strategic relationships with other manufacturing companies, which fortunately were already firmly in place.

Vivid management worked hard at getting their people to believe that no communication problem was too difficult to pursue. To drive this point home, they told their people and the marketplace, “If Ringling Brothers calls and asks if we can print its logo on the side of an elephant, we’d tell them to send a sample.”

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