Case Study Features Key Success Strategies for Offering Digital Print Enhancement
Color Ink, located in Sussex, Wis., the heart of America’s Dairyland, describes itself on its website as a “Cow of a Different Color.” What makes the family-owned printing company, which is located on land that was previously the family’s dairy farm, stand out is its ongoing focus on innovation and digital transformation to meet customer needs. One area where the company has excelled is offering customers enhanced printing capabilities. (This article is an excerpt from a longer case study detailing Color Ink’s actions to expand its offering to including digital print enhancement.)
While founded as a graphic design firm, the company moved into printing to better serve clients. The company started with printing commercial work on offset presses but, as volumes started to decline, invested in digital printing devices. Because many of the company’s customers served the retail and beverage markets, Color Ink also added sign and display graphics and promotional packaging to its product mix.
Investing in Technology to Enhance Digital Printing
Recognizing the opportunity today’s digital printing and finishing devices offer in producing special effects and embellishments to enhance print, Color Ink invested in equipment that can transform printed materials from commodity, price-sensitive offerings to higher-value products that command a premium. The company purchased an MGI JETvarnish 3D digital enhancement press for adding embellishments to all of the print applications it offers. The device can add raised/spot UV coating and foil on runs from one to thousands.
A growing opportunity for print service providers is offering customers print work that is embellished or enhanced with special effects produced on digital presses or finishing equipment. Ongoing advances in printing technology, finishing solutions, and substrates enable new methods to enhance the power and value of print. There are many options to enhance print applications, including spot colors, clear coatings, specialty colors, extended color gamut work, textured effects, and foiling.
Research Focuses on Adding Value to Digital Printing
NAPCO Research conducted a study in 2019 titled Adding Value to Digital Printing to uncover the key trends and market influencers driving the use of techniques to add value to digital printing. The comprehensive research effort surveyed various types of print providers and brand owners/marketers that purchase and/or influence print.
According to the research study, two-thirds of print provider respondents are familiar with special effect technologies used to enhance printing (Figure 1). One-third of print provider respondents use printing enhancement technologies and another 19% plan to use it, while 14% report being aware of it but having no plans to use it. A little over one-third of respondents are not familiar with print enhancement technologies, and there is an opportunity for industry suppliers to educate the market on their benefits.
In addition, almost half of print provider respondents that offer digital printing report enhancing digital print with special effects, while another 23% plan to add it.
Figure 1: Print Providers’ Familiarity with Print Enhancement Technology
According to Todd Meissner, president of Color Ink, “We got into printing enhancement because our customers were pushing us to provide value. Everyone can put ink on paper. A common theme with all of our customers is they want printed materials that really stand out in a crowd.”
Color Ink has evolved its operation to expand the services it offers customers and deliver digital print products that incorporate embellishments and special effects that capture attention and wow customers. The company took many actions to evolve its operation, expand the services it offers customers, and deliver digital print products that incorporate embellishments and special effects that capture attention and wow customers. Download the full case study to learn more.
Lisa Cross is the principal analyst of NAPCO Research (a unit of NAPCO Media) where she conducts market research and analysis on emerging trends and changing dynamics in the commercial, in-plant and packaging industries, and the market forces that are driving those changes. With decades of experience covering the graphic arts and marketing industries, Cross has authored thousands of articles on a variety of topics, including technology trends, business strategy, sales, marketing and legislation.