In Search of ‘Extreme Printers’
I’m on a mission to elevate print, and I need some help. Many of you may (or maybe not) know that I have a Website called foldfactory.com that provides custom templates for folded materials and lots of resources and videos, etc. As the site has caught on, and its visibility, traffic and video views have gone up dramatically, so have the inquiries and requests from our audience.
A trend we’re seeing is that people come to the site for creative inspiration. The most frequently viewed videos are the ones featuring exotic specialty folds. We’re seeing growing interest in branded and proprietary folding solutions, and solutions for direct mail and digital print as well. But we have a problem, because we’ve been getting messages like this:
“I need to produce 25,000 flipper brochures like the one in your Dec. 8th ‘Fold of the Week’ video for a client in San Francisco. Can you point me to a printer in the San Francisco area that can do this type of work?”
See the problem? The issue for people is certainly not finding a good printer—there are many of you out there. The issue is finding a good printer that actually wants to do this kind of work, and that can do it at the highest level of quality.
There is a lot of mainstream print work out there, and many great printers who exist on that type of work…and who do it very well. When a specialty project like a flipper brochure comes into the shop, it can be stressful and unprofitable to try to make that happen for the client, or the project may need to be outsourced.
However, I’ve found over the years that there are printers that thrive on this kind of work. “You want a Twist fold? Sure! A funky Iron Cross with a custom envelope? Bring it on! Show me your concept sketch—we can do that!” These are the printers we’re looking for, and we’ve tried to find them, but it’s not an easy task. So, I’m asking you “Extreme Printers” out there to please identify yourselves.
Trish Witkowski is Chief Folding Fanatic at the online community foldfactory.com. She holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in graphic design and a master of science degree in Graphic Arts Publishing from Rochester Institute of Technology's School of Printing Management and Sciences (now the School of Print Media).
An award-winning designer, Trish held the position of creative director for a Baltimore-based agency for six years, and has taught design and desktop publishing at the college level. She has a specialized expertise in the area of folding and is the creator of the FOLDRite™ system, a 2004 GATF InterTech™ Technology Award winner.
Trish frequently publishes articles for graphic arts industry publications, and has written three books on the topic of folding: A Field Guide to Folding, Folding for the Graphic Arts: A Teacher's Handbook, and FOLD: The Professional's Guide to Folding.