By Melissa Donovan
Creative Graphic Services (CGS) is a family-owned large and grand format graphics company specializing in graphics for the event and entertainment industries. In business since 1977, it currently employs around 30 staff members across two facilities totaling over 30,000 square feet of production space. One of those facilities is its main headquarters located in Santa Clarita, CA, just North of Los Angeles and a second location is found in Jersey City, NJ.
Over 30 years in business, the print service provider (PSP) has a variety of core offerings, from large format and grand format digital print, dye-sublimation (dye-sub), fabrication, sewing and finishing to laser cutting, routing, installation services, and project management. It serves event planners, retail establishments, fabricators, set designers, marketing agencies, music venues, and theaters.
According to Kyle Niner, GM – Jersey City, CGS, digital print makes up over 90 percent of its work—referring to it as the company’s “bread and butter.” “It gives designers and creatives a great deal of flexibility and creative ability to brand a space, decorate an event, or whatever their goals may be.”
To achieve flexibility it relies on a vast portfolio of hardware. This includes printers like the EFI VUTEk GS5250LXr Pro, several HP Latex printers including the HP Latex R2000+, an HP Stitch S1000 fabric printer, and a PrinterEvolution D32000; routers from MultiCam and Zund America; a laser device from Trotec Laser; two laminators from GBC/SEAL; Graphtec America, Inc. FC8000 and FC8600 vinyl cutters; and finishing components like Miller Weldmaster T-100, T300, and 112 Extreme welders, a Consew 339RB-4 sewing machine, an automated Matic Cronos Ultimate sewing device, and additional sewing machines from Brother and Juki.
“CGS is always looking to advance and improve our print abilities. We choose printers based on their ability to further our goals to allow our clients the greatest amount of creative freedom. We strive to keep our offerings new and exciting with the latest and greatest technology in the digital print world,” explains Niner.
The company runs EFI and HP inks specific to their printers, choosing to stay with OEM when it comes to consumables. Niner points out how effective HP Latex inks are in particular, especially when used for pressure-sensitive vinyl and rigid board printing. “They are ‘green,’ durable, offer a wide color gamut, and are cost effective,” he says.
With the variety of printing capabilities available in both of CGS’ locations, it’s imperative that a reliable RIP software runs across all of its devices to ensure consistency between jobs. It’s been a customer of Caldera for close to 15 years and credits the company’s software solutions with achieving overall color management consistency.
“Caldera allows us to keep color consistency across two locations and a variety of medias in two different markets. We are very happy with it. Caldera is user friendly and intuitive. We are always discovering new features to help us streamline production and increase throughput.”
Caldera recently released its CalderaRIP Version 15. To celebrate Caldera’s 30th anniversary, Version 15 delivers more flexibility and performance than ever before, and helps users face the new challenges and opportunities of the large format digital printing industry.
New features include improved cutting on non-white media with White Under Marks. When printing on dark, transparent, or metallic substrates, and if white ink is available on the printer, CalderaRIP adds white ink under and around the cutting marks and codes to improve the cutter detection. It also added Preview to inspect jobs before printing. Within the Caldera Spooler and CalderaJobs, open a preview in full screen and zoom in to easily identify the jobs inside the nest and check the marks before printing to avoid unwanted errors and waste.
Improvements to Version 15 include updates to the Pantone Fashion and Home Interior Spot Colors library, settings added to the TileOrder feature to ease the production process of projects like vehicle wrapping, and an increased range of cut contour offsets in Wide Contour Offset to improve the the accuracy of the cutting process on shrinking or distorting textile substrates.
A great example of Caldera RIP’s important role in color consistency is a recent exhibit installation CGS Jersey City worked on for the South Street Seaport Museum in New York City, NY. The museum was looking to revamp its main exhibit and turned to CGS.
“We take great pride in our relationships with our clients and spend a great deal of time ensuring all clients are receiving top-notch service and products from CGS. Our relationship with the South Street Seaport Museum team is one we’re particularly proud of,” shares Niner.
Graphics were printed on two different HP Latex printers—the R2000+ and 3600—out of NJ; and in addition dye-sub work was completed out of CA on the company’s HP Stitch S1000. Between the two locations and three different printers, a variety of media was printed to including silicone edge graphics and pressure-sensitive vinyl.
A unique aspect of this job was the need for color consistency across the multiple materials, devices, and locations. “With a few pieces of this exhibit coming out of a different location, Caldera was essential in ensuring color consistency,” notes Niner.
The entire project was produced in about two weeks and installed over the course of an additional seven days. Approximately 2,000 square feet of media was printed.
Coast to Coast
CGS is a powerhouse printer on both coasts of the U.S. It links its production facilities with Caldera RIPs and because of this automation, color consistency is guaranteed.
Mar2022, Digital Output