By Melissa Donovan
Part 2 of 2
In this series on print service providers (PSPs) thriving in retail signage, the first article looked at one printer who had taken a small snafu and changed it into a business creating barricade signage for retail stores during construction. Traditional retail signage complements a store inside or outside, welcoming buyers in and drawing them towards a specific marketing message.
Color Ink, Inc. offers retail solutions to a number of customers in response to changing demand.
Commercial to Retail
In business since 1984, Color Ink was created by Jim Meissner. One employee ran the entire operation as an extension of Jim’s design studio, located in the basement of a professional building in Hartland, WI. Six months later, Todd Meissner—Jim’s son, joined the company as president; a distinction he still holds today. Now the business is located in Sussex, WI on property over 18 acres and employs 75 full-time staff members. Continuing the family legacy, third generation family member Austin Meissner is involved in the company as the sales and sourcing manager.
Industrial clients, service organizations, and design firms requiring commercial print were a focus the first ten years of business. A shift in demand introduced Color Ink to visual marketing solutions retailers and point of purchase (POP). Today this represents about 60 percent of the company’s revenue.
It creates applications like merchandising displays, window clings/graphics, retail signage, backlit graphics, banners, outdoor signage, counter graphics, and floor graphics. Customers are found nationwide and include fashion retailers, convenience stores/fuel stations, pharmacies, consumer products, and beverage companies.
While the company uses media from many vendors, it routinely sources products from GPA. For example, a 10-mil synthetic paper is utilized for shelf danglers and wobblers. A range of vinyl materials offered by GPA are found in cooler clings and window cling applications.
“We find its products to be readily available, consistent in quality, and competitively priced. The part about GPA that is most impressive is that they are willing to develop specific products compatible with our equipment and fulfill a specific need,” explains Todd Meissner, president, Color Ink.
Digital UV printers make up a portion of Color Ink’s equipment portfolio. Meissner says that retail customers have store counts ranging from 200 to 2,000 locations across the country. Each kit of graphics typically involves one each of several SKUs, so most print runs are less than 5,000 units of any given graphic—making digital UV an ideal solution.
Shorter runs and smaller footprint items are run on a Komori Impremia IS29 digital sheetfed inkjet press. Larger items on thicker substrates are printed on either an Inca Digital Printers flatbed or an Agfa Graphics Jeti Mira flatbed.
“The common advantages of all of these systems over traditional lithographic or screenprinting equipment, is that we have virtually no makeready/waste and our color consistency is well maintained throughout a run with the ability to match color perfectly on reorders,” shares Meissner.
When it comes to trends in retail graphics, reusable signage is a major request. This involves both graphics designed to be used for a longer period of time and those reused multiple times with an emphasis on sustainability. To meet this demand, the PSP relies on its UV ink systems because they offer lightfast characteristics and longevity.
A recent job run for a major fashion retailer included holiday backlit graphics. This particular client was focused on hitting its corporate red PMS color as close as possible. Using digital printing and material from GPA, the Color Ink production team confidently met this need. 614 pieces were printed on one side on 8.5-mil GPA matte backlit film.
Rights to Retail
Retail signage takes many forms and is placed in many spots throughout a retail-specific area. As both Color Ink and Boston Barricade Company—discussed in part one of this series—show, retail signage can mean many things but as long as you do your job well, the opportunity is limitless.
Nov2018, Digital Output