Dash to the Finishing Line: Fresh Color Press of Eden Prairie, Minnesota
The finishing department must have been an invention of Walt Disney. Sure, the press does all of the heavy lifting, sweating through various run lengths, but there’s something that happens between the time the piece is printed and later boxed or inserted.
Finishing is the time when the magic happens. Instead of Tinker Bell with a magical wand, it’s Ted with a folder and a tattoo crawling up the side of his face. But this is not about Ted, this is a conversation about finishing in a toner and inkjet digital cutsheet printing environment.
We’ve rustled up several printers from across the country to gauge their approach to finishing and perhaps share a story about a given project that truly raised the bar once the finishing touches were applied. First up in the four-part series is Fresh Color Press.
Fresh Color Press, Eden Prairie, Minnesota
This Twin Cities-based digital provider debuted in 2003 with a single Kodak NexPress and, in a little more than a dozen years, that fleet has grown to three. Fresh Color added large-format printing roughly four years ago, and the commercial printer primarily produces marketing collateral and direct mail for advertising agencies, design firms and corporations, according to Brian Johnson, company president.
Johnson points out that his firm handles finishing in a strictly off-line fashion. The primary reason is that the company does such a wide variety of jobs as opposed to recurring, programmatic work.
“Most of our off-line finishing equipment is fast enough that we can be running projects on all three NexPresses and keep up with it on the finishing end,” he says, alluding to his arsenal of two coaters, two saddlestitchers, two folders, two scoring/folding machines and assorted binding devices.
Some of the more out of the ordinary work done by Fresh Color includes projects that require the NexPress’ fifth color (dimensional, clear, metallic, Kodak red, Kodak gold, etc.) as well as hand-bound work, like stitched brochures with wraparound covers. Frequent work includes short-run diecut and scored pieces that are finished with Fresh Color’s Zünd digital cutter. Johnson has found the cutter to be a capable substitute for steel rule diecutting.
One of the more memorable jobs Fresh Color recently produced was a tri-fold holiday card with some really intricate diecutting. The front panel featured a fob white uncoated cover stock, with the shape of a flower carved from it, backed by vibrant colors.
“It was a simple concept that was well executed, with a good paper choice on the customer’s part,” Johnson relates.
One product that has really exploded for Fresh Color is soft touch laminate. Johnson took on some sample rolls and included them in marketing mailings, and the response has been through the roof. “People love soft touch aqueous and UV coating,” he adds.