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Gapen on UV

Gapen on UV

By Darren Gapen

About Darren

Darren has worked in the printing industry for 30 years and spent more than 12 years at two of the nation's leading high-end commercial printers: Bradley Printing in Des Plaines, IL, and Williamson Printing Corp. in Dallas, TX. During that time, he operated conventional and UV 40˝ sheetfed presses and also successfully managed a $15-million pressroom equipment transition. Darren also was Lead Press Instructor for Heidelberg, where he directed specialty equipment startups and was involved in all aspects of the printing process by teaching both instructor and pressroom employees.

In addition, he served as a troubleshooter for various printing companies in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. As operations manager for a start-up specialty folding carton company, he played a key role in achieving more than $6 million in sales within two years. Currently Darren is president of D.G. Print Solutions, a consulting firm that supports printing companies of all sizes. He specializes in growth development planning, pressroom color management and pressroom training through specialty print applications.


Who Says ‘High End’ Printing is Dead?

How many more times am I going to hear printers tell me they don’t want to get into the “Fancy Printing” market? Are printers just as responsible for this business becoming a commodity as the buyers?

Two years ago I was on site at a customer assisting them with the start up of their first UV equipped printing press. Now here we are two years later and with a second machine retrofitted with UV lamps, they are sending me samples that blow my mind.

Having had numerous conversations and meetings with the VP at this customer over the past couple of years, we have become more than just business associates. We have discussed some crazy thoughts and ideas, which I honestly had questioned myself. I realized quickly that he was as serious and as passionate about our trade as I am.

I have spent the majority of my professional career working with and/or for some of the largest and most innovative printing companies in this country. It was great to see, despite today’s market and economy, that I had found someone that was willing to spend the time and money on the R&D that it takes to pull this off.

Now after opening this last package of completed samples sent to me, I recognized that the wild ideas we've previously discussed were not a hallucination and “High End Printing” is still alive.

The package contained high-impact sales sheet samples. These samples boasted a variety of specialty applications from metallic and thermochromic coatings to glow-in-the-dark and dimensional. From the preplanning of the color-corrected images to the execution on press, the results were astounding. All of these pieces reminded me of how great printing could still be if we all strive to keep it there.

All I can say is “KUDOS!” to my friend in Chicago. I have the upmost confidence that you will continue to keep printing a valuable asset and not just a commodity.

And to those of you that don’t think you can sell the “Fancy Printing”; then it’s time to rethink your business and educate your sales force. We can no longer continue selling on price alone.

Anyone who tells you they don’t love high-impact printed pieces is lying to you.

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