City Colors — Direct Imaging Devotees
Quality, Speed, Cost
High-quality reproduction, quick turnaround and price are key to the company’s success. For example, an order for 1,000 UV-coated business cards submitted as a print-ready TIFF file costs $17 and ships in 24 hours. Other file formats are accepted, but Infante maintains that TIFF is the easiest format to process and correct, if necessary, so a lower price is warranted.
City Colors attracted its first customers via direct mail and word of mouth, and continues to rely on direct mail to expand.
“We started with a 10,000-piece mailing, and now we try to get our name out two to four times a year. We have no sales reps, but we attract four to six new customers daily. In addition to graphic designers and brokers, small and large printers use our services. Some small printers aren’t set up to run full-color, high-quality work; and 40˝ printers aren’t interested in running business cards and postcards, but both want to satisfy their customers. About 98 percent of our printer customers are below our size,” Miguel Infante explains.
As technology evolves, City Colors continues to streamline its entire workflow. The company began to accept e-mail orders in 2003 and subsequently transitioned to online ordering from its Website in 2005. In addition to submitting the file, all necessary paperwork is done on the Website, and the price of the order is calculated, as well. “Today, we don’t accept e-mail orders,” Infante says. “While a few people still send us a CD and fax the order, 99 percent of our orders and files come through the Website.”
The company began offering UV coating in 2004 with a system from Tec Lighting and Vencol. According to Infante, customer demand provided the impetus, but City Colors quickly moved from offering optional coating to “mandatory” UV. He notes that, in addition to providing the significantly shinier look that customers want, UV curing helps postpress operations, like cutting—because with the inks cured, there is no chance for offsetting. What’s more, pressmen can now run a job in 20 minutes instead of having to build in drying time.