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Our average customers

Our “average customers” are anything but average. They do amazing things – they make wine, and publish books, and create art, and power our homes. While we serve a wide variety of industries, when we sat down to think about our “average” customer, we were surprised to find that it’s easily boiled down to three personas: Melissa, David, and Lisa. These are fictional names, but they represent the people we work with across all industries, from entertainment to agencies to law to wineries to hospitality.

Stock photo from Death To Stock PhotosMelissa: Manager of Design & Marketing

Melissa graduated from college with a Bachelor of Fine Arts 6-12 years ago, and has worked her way up the creative ladder to management. Outside of work, she enjoys going out to eat with friends at up and coming brunch locations and supporting local museums and art fairs. Melissa will occasionally take up freelance design or consulting work to round out her portfolio. Her coworkers would describe her as task-oriented, precise, outgoing, creative, and independent.

She works with companies to help create brand identity, gives suggestions and advice on printing techniques conducive to what their client is trying to portray. Melissa can create and set-up print ready files, but someone from her team is more likely to create them. Melissa though will work with the printer to discuss best possible results for the end user, submits specifications to the printer for quotes, and likes to go on press checks.

Melissa wants to work with someone who understands the importance of choosing the right paper, process, and color and show her new options, and she needs someone who can work with her and her team to translate their designs to print. Our sales team has decades of experience in choosing the right print for Melissa’s message. We’ve created creative spaces for her to peruse paper, foil, and ink samples and brainstorm – and a fully stocked sample area to pillage for inspiration. When the job is run, press checks are open to everyone – Melissa, her boss, her client, her mom, whoever see wants to see and approve our work. Melissa has a vision, and we want to help her achieve it.

DeathtoStock_SlowDown4David: Director of Sourcing & Facilities

David has been in the workforce for about 25 years, most of it with his recent employer. His own children are in college or about to be, so outside of work David and his wife are readjusting to an emptier nest, complete with date nights and renovating one of the empty rooms into hobby space. While he takes his job very seriously, and can be resistant to change, he’s described as stable, practical, and friendly.

He’s responsible for reprographics, stationery purchases and office supplies, along with physical space. David will source vendors for competitive pricing and printing capabilities that fit their needs, and will create contracts with delivery time schedules, late order penalties and vendor company profile information.

David has been doing his work well for many years, and does take it seriously – and wants vendors who do the same. He doesn’t want to be involved much beyond coordinating orders and contracts, and that’s just fine. Once David has his specs together, we can take it from there. We do lots of contract work, and hold ourselves to high standards in quality and timeliness. Should he need to get in touch with someone, our customer service staff have longer than usual phone hours to accommodate early risers and those that stay in the office late. We’re low maintenance, good quality, and reliable, like the car that’s been in the family for decades.

DeathtoStock_Creative Community6Lisa: Legal Administrator

Lisa has also been in the workforce for a while, and when her kids were in high school she got her Masters of Business Administration to move to the next level of her career. Also facing an empty nest, Lisa now spends more time with her girlfriends, going to industry mixers, and getting to all the projects she’s put off for years. Her coworkers think of her as very detail-oriented, organized, and analytical – she often learns the basics of what she needs to hire vendors for.

Lisa manages business functions and overall operations for her law office, a firm of 5 lawyers. In addition to being responsible for purchasing, inventory control, and reprographics, she’s also in charge of records storage, reception, telecommunications, mail, messenger and other facilities management. Lisa will send Requests for Quotes (RFQs) to printers for pricing on their stationery products. As a member of the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA), she attends tradeshows and monthly chapter networking meetings.

To help Lisa accomplish her print purchasing in the little time she has, we have a full line of ready to order legal stationery and common legal documents at competitive pricing, even compared to office supply stores. With a full line of engraved stationery packages, practice essentials like manuscript covers, pleading papers, and jury instruction sheets, will & trust suppliesmailing supplies, plain paper, and exhibit tabs (and more! it’s already a long list), SFCooper.com will be her one-stop-shop. If Lisa has any questions, she can call our customer service center and talk to one of our representatives with extensive legal print experience, like Rosina.

Like any business, we’re always looking to expand to serving new business – and new people. Are you similar to Melissa, David, or Lisa? Vastly different? We want to know how we can help you in your industry.

Print in 5 years – A Guesstimate

future ahead concept

Since the computer grew to popular use, we’ve been hearing about the death of print. We’re still waiting for that to happen, and while we’re waiting, new uses for print and whole new print technologies have sprung up – at the start of 2015, let’s take a guess at where we’ll be in 2020.

Print has been in technology news a lot in the last three years, from 3D to QR. While technologies like augmented reality (AR) and quick response codes (QR) have remained mostly gimmicks (sorry enthusiasts!), others have taken off. Why not AR and QR? Like any technology, it either doesn’t fill a need or fit into existing technologies seamlessly enough to make it easy to pick up. What filled those requirements? Printed electronics and 3D printing.

Printed electronics is now in use, doing everything from collecting solar to being disposable electronics on space shuttles. There’s even college programs dedicated to its development, like California Polytechnic’s Printed Electronics and Functional Imaging certificate and master’s programs. Oh, and tradeshows. Given the recent state of the maker scene, I expect printed electronics to be entering the work of high-tech interactive art in the next two years. I think it’s safe to say that printed electronics will be in daily use in 2020, if only in high-end products and technical applications.

The prospects opening to 3D printing is possibly more exciting. We’re printing consumer goods, housing, food, and soon, spare body parts:

That’s just amazing. Our course, what catches our eye is using 3d printing for letterpress:

I think that if we haven’t mastered printing organs by 2020, we’ll be very, very close – and 3d printing will be a part of many lives.

Creating new technology in print is amazing, but we’re also adapting current uses and seeing new trends emerge. The area with the largest growth in print is definitely packaging. Not only is everything that is ever shipped and purchased wrapped in it, but sometimes people purchase things just for the wrapping. A recently-turned 21 sister of mine admitted to buying wine based just on the art. I don’t think that’s wrong – a lot of wineries are counting on you doing just that. That’s why they use foils and embossing and engraving and many other techniques to catch your eye and delight your fingers. And while there are a lot of boards for a lot of things, packaging is one of the most popular pins on Pinterest. We’ve even got one – did you know that wine labels, hang tags, and box labels count as packaging? Packaging is going to grow even more by 2020, and we might be seeing some printed electronics incorporated as security measures – or even design elements!

A party invitation from Sugar Paper Los Angeles

A party invitation from Sugar Paper Los Angeles

While packaging is growing (and newspapers are hurting), the rest of print it changing. There’s definitely been a movement toward high-end print products, as boutique shops like Sugar Paper – and a favorite customer of ours -have shown. Fancy foil, letterpress, and engraving items are also Pinterest hits, and if they don’t know the exact name of a technique, a person can identify the feel of it. As more consumers are aware of the finer aspects of print, more of it will be purchased – by 2020, I can see purchasing personalized fine stationery to once again be a mark of adulthood.

Themochromatic inks create the blushing effect seen above.

What could change consumer goods, print goods, and packaging are changes in ink. Do you know about theromochromic inks? Photochromic? Hydrochromic? All of these already exist, but aren’t widely used. The most well known specialty ink is glow-in-the-dark. As Dreaming In CMYK covered, special inks are growing. Thermochromic inks change color with temperature – like Coors Light cans and many coffee mugs – but has the potential for incredible packages, like the picture above. The packaging concept is that the skin-colored packaging blushes when touched. Photochromic inks are popular in apparel – when ink is exposed to UV waves, the ink changes color, and reverts when the light is removed. Hydrochromic inks are activated by water – and even sweat. These inks have been around for a while, but the recent craze in wearable technology may bring renewed interest in -chromic inks.


People are innovating with things as simple as newspaper ink, too. An Sri Lankan newspaper mixed citronella with ink as a part of a campaign to educate the public about mosquito prevention. If newspapers work as mosquito repellent, then this might be implemented in more third and second-world countries.

And that’s where we think print will be in 2020. What about you? What will you be watching in the next 5 years?

What do you look for in a printer?

If you’re not familiar with print, your options in print, or printers, finding one can be daunting. You know you can get digital prints from Staples, or a variety of cheap options from Vistaprint, but where do you look for higher quality? What do you look for?

You might want something local so you can meet with a salesperson in person, visit, and do press checks. You might want something national, so production can be split to assist with shipping costs. You might need one process done really well, or many. Maybe you need help with choosing the right process or paper. Or you want experience in traditional methods, or the ability to innovate – or both.

I’m going to toot our own horn here; that’s us. Continue reading

Rosina Motta is Woman of the Year!

 

NAPW Logo

Rosina Motta

Rosina Motta, a customer sales representative here, was recently honored by the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) as Woman of the Year! The NAPW VIP Women of the Year are selected in recognition of the strides they have made in their respective industries, their outstanding leadership, their professional achievements, and for displaying the highest level of support of NAPW’s commitment to networking and community involvement.

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Engrave LA

Beauty of Engraving

 

This one-day event will be a rare opportunity for designers and others to explore the beautiful world of engraved printing, both commercial and artistic. Led by respected experts in the field, guests will learn about the process of engraving as a printing method, its historical context and how engraving can be an effective option for designers today.

Don Burdge of BurdgeCooper Inc. in Los Angeles, the largest and one of the oldest commercial engraving companies in the country, will lead hands-on discussions about engraving, how it works and how to design and spec jobs for the process. One of BurdgeCooper’s engraving presses will be on location at the Printing Museum for this seminar so guests can see and participate in printing a beautiful engraved keepsake. BurdgeCooper in Los Angeles has set the standard for graphic arts excellence for generations, dating back to 1929. Today they are the world’s largest engraving company on one of the largest small format commercial printing companies in North America.

Neenah Paper will showcase the Beauty of Engraving in their presentation, featuring their amazing line of specialty papers. Every guest will leave with numerous inspirational keepsakes and samples. Neenah Paper has built a tradition of innovation, service and growth since its founding in 1873 in Neenah, WI.The Neenah Mill represents over a century of paper making heritage — a heritage that combines time-honored craftsmanship with advanced technology. Today, Neenah papers are among the most recognized and preferred in North America. They continue to advance the ideals established over 125 years ago with the constant pursuit of new business opportunities and market driven products. This is combined with their commitment to product quality, innovation and service to designers, printers, and end-use customers. Terri Hill of Neenah Paper will be providing refreshments though the day including a lunch for all attendees.

Mark Barbour, Curator of the Printing Museum in Carson, along with his team of artist printers, will demonstrate the process of traditional engraving using early turn-of-the-century presses in the Museum’s collections. Guests will have the opportunity to print on these presses using historical engraved plates from the BurdgeCooper archives.

Author, educator, and designer, Rose Gonnella will kick-off the day with a visual and tactile presentation of her new book, Design To Touch, Engraving History, Process, Concepts, and Creativity published by the International Engraved Graphics Association. Rose will explore the visual characteristics of engraving and discuss how students and professionals can creatively use this exquisite printing within the media mix of contemporary design applications. Rose will also have copies of her book available to be signed and with it, a separate engraved page (so you don’t have to tear it out of the book!).

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to experience the Beauty of Engraving at the International Printing Museum on Saturday, February 8th. Registration fee is only $50, which includes all presentations, workshops, keepsakes, samples, and lunch. Registration is limited to 60 attendees only.

BurdgeCooper and The Ligature to Join Forces

The Ligature and BurdgeCooper LogosI am excited to announce that BurdgeCooper and The Ligature, two of Southern California’s most well respected specialty printers will be joining forces on February 1, 2014. Both companies are headquartered in Los Angeles and together they will create a unique printing and engraving company in both scale and manufacturing capability. The Ligature has operations in Los Angeles and Berkeley while BurdgeCooper has sales and customer service support in Atlanta and Denver. Initially, both companies will continue to operate their respective Los Angeles facilities with a plan to integrate them into The Ligature facility by the end of 2014. Continue reading

Paper & Pixels: A Brief History

For over a decade, we’ve been supposedly hearing the death knell for print: print is dead, nobody prints anymore, everything is electronic… You’ve heard it too. In the past several decades, communication has changed drastically due to new technology — cell phones, wireless internet, tablets, social media, ebooks. Questions are asked when new technology is introduced, and they all tend to be the same. In regards to communication, a common question is “Will [     ] kill print?” The answer is no.

Print is a sector of the communication industry, and people are communicating more now than ever before — on all channels. To understand how print has adapted in the past, we’re going to take a quick glimpse of the history of communication.

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