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Wide-format Printing Widens the Market

August 1998
Greg and Scott share the same last name (Scinta). They share the same birthday (they're twin brothers). They share the same business (Smash Graphix in Louisville, KY). And they share the same opinion about wide-format printing (it's great).

"It certainly makes our life easier," says President Greg.

"Money-wise," Vice President Scott chimes in.

The Scinta brothers aren't alone in their thinking. When it comes to wide-format printing, many shops are discovering that the market is wide open.

When most people think of wide format, they think of signs. Granted, signage is a common, and profitable, application—but it's hardly the only one. With a little creativity and clever marketing, a shop can discover a whole world of wide-format opportunities.

Consider Insync.Media in California. With its Hewlett-Packard and ENCAD wide-format printers, the company has output everything from digital proofs to comps for boxes. Insync.Media even discovered an unmined vein in the annual report market.

During annual report season, top executives across the country line up to get their photos taken. Once developed, the photographs are often scanned, saved in a Quark document, then printed in annual reports. Afterwards, the original prints get filed away, the digital images are archived. The pictures have served their only purpose. What else can you do with them?

Print them on wide-format systems. That's what Insync.Media does.

Since photographs taken for annual reports tend to be high-quality, professional shots, they can yield impressive results on a wide-format printing system. Insync.Media has found that executives gladly pay for the larger-than-life portraits, which they hang in their homes and offices.

Bill Hobbs, the owner of Archetype in Riverside, CA, tried selling a similar service. Located on University of California's campus, Archetype, a provider of color copying and graphic design, offered to blow up graduation photos on its Hewlett-Packard DesignJet 2000CP. However, Hobbs quickly learned that recent college graduates don't carry as much disposal income as corporate executives.

"They don't have any spare cash," he says.

Apparently, they aren't alone. Hobbs admits that business has been rather slow for his wide-format machine, which he added in October. He points out that he has needed time to get accustomed to the system and its software.

Now, having grown slightly more comfortable with the machine, Hobbs is stepping up the intensity. He's finding new ways to market the service. For example, he is using the system to print mission statements for companies, which, in turn, post them on their walls. These huge displays grab attention and serve as reminders of the company's goals.
 

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