October 16th, 2013
Written By: Nancy Chetron, Worldwide Marketing Manager
Production Customization/Workflow & Solutions, Xerox Corporation
There’s been a lot of buzz lately about color consistency, color management and color maintenance. And rightfully so! Producing the right color is just as important as producing the same color…over many prints and across multiple printers.
Shops who print for the photo marketplace have some unique needs. They recognize the critical nature of color consistency and accuracy, but they also want to achieve the most realistic, representational color. When it comes to photo images, their customers want a pleasing appearance as well as excellent shadow detail, depth, contrast and smooth gradients.
So how can you achieve all this while maintaining consistency?
A simple, fast, color management solution, Xerox MatchAssure, has been introduced worldwide and provides highly accurate ICC compliant Destination Profiles using a single spectrophotometer for all printers and just one scanning of each set of printed targets. MatchAssure also includes additional GUI options, allowing for the look of the output to be adjusted based on the desired preference for skin tones, skies, lightness and contrast.
If you are familiar with the term “Memory colors”, you know the name originates from our desire for elements, such as the sky and skin tones, to look the way we remember them…even if they aren’t a precise match to reality. For many applications, we care more about having an aesthetically pleasing image than having an absolutely precise color match. Now, skin tones and skies can be adjusted with a slider bar without changing the rest of the image. If the skies look too warm for your taste, just shift the sky slider bar toward “more blue” and voilà – perfect skies without negatively affecting the rest of the output!
MatchAssure was designed by Xerox to help customers achieve consistent color across multiple Xerox printers and sites, whether printing RGB or CMYK source files. It works with Xerox as well as selected other print technology and can be used with multiple DFEs such as FreeFlow Print Server, EFI and Creo. MatchAssure delivers outstanding matching against any of the print specifications or industry standards such as GRACoL or Fogra.
For those using a CMYK workflow, a new feature is available to enable customers to inspect their CMYK accuracy against a GRACoL or Fogra press standard.
How could your business be impacted by a color management solution providing fast and simple profile creation to help you achieve and manage greater color consistency across your fleet of digital presses?
MatchAssure is just one of the many Xerox technology tools available as part of the Confident Color portfolio. For more information on MatchAssure, please click here.
March 8th, 2013
Written by Bill Michael
With the snow beginning to melt and temperatures slowly starting to rise, Spring, believe it or not, is just around the corner (March 20, to be exact)! For many, this signals the start of wedding season. In fact, 28% of weddings in the United States take place in the spring, second only to summer (29.5%). Chances are you know of somebody getting married this year, and chances are some of your customers are seeking wedding card services. In the United States in 2011, wedding statistics show that the average number of guests in attendance was 141, and nearly $350 was spent on wedding invitations alone. Adding production capabilities of wedding cards to your list of services can be a very profitable venture. MagnetStreet, a Xerox Best-of-the-Best winner, proved just that by creating a portfolio book to house samples of their invitation cards, fueling over $2.5 million in revenue growth over a 12 month period. How’d they do it? Let’s take a look:
MagnetStreet had a long history of successfully offering customers save-the-date magnets and cards, but saw huge growth opportunities in the wedding invitation space. However, they needed a strategy to successfully bridge into this offering. They knew they had the attention of their customer once their save-the-date invitations were ordered and received. But simply accompanying a flyer or sell-sheet with the order wouldn’t be enough to turn a future sale. They needed a way to blow away the recipient. MagnetStreet created an Invitation LookBook, a portfolio book filled with examples of their invitation offerings. The book was produced mostly on an offset press, with all of the invitation cards and two pages of perforated color swatches printed on their Xerox iGen4 Press.
To drive response and encourage engagement, each book included a unique discount code that was created using Xerox FreeFlow Variable Information Suite and Xerox FreeFlow VIPP Pro Publisher. MagnetStreet could modify each variable offer and monitor to see which offers were driving the highest response. FreeFlow tools also offered built-in security, as each created discount code was unique and couldn’t be used more than once.
Couples fell in love with the quality of the wedding invitations, and MagnetStreet saw a huge boost to their bottom line. In fact, within one year, conversions of save-the-date customers to wedding invitation customers rose 56%. Within that same year, invitation orders increased by 103% and MagnetStreet saw their revenue grow by more than $2.5 million. MagnetStreet was the recipient of a Xerox Best-of-the-Best Award for their outstanding success.
Do you have a success story you’d like to share for international recognition? Are you a member of the Xerox Premier Partner Global Network? Enter into the Xerox Best-of-the-Best Contest today – entries close April 3, 2013!
Interested in more topics similar to photo specialty offerings or success stories? You may want to check out:
- Uncovering Opportunities within your Print Operation with Greeting Cards
- How the InterContinental Hotels Group Was Able to Cut through the Clutter
- Looking to Boost Awareness of your Company’s Capabilities and Attract New Customers? The Xerox Best-of-the-Best Program can Help!
- It’s the Most Wonderful Time of The Year…for Photo Publishing
- EU Services Creates Web-to-Print Variable Brochure for Sales Force
Looking to boost awareness of your company’s capabilities and attract new customers? The Xerox Best-of-the-Best Program can help!Submitted by Bill Michael
December 17th, 2012
Written by Mary Roddy
Marketing Manager, Premier Partners Global Network
Innovative personalized chocolate packaging that produces $100,000 in profit through a single holiday season, a direct marketing campaign that helps Mercedes-Benz UK achieve a 53:1 ROI, a wedding invitation book that helps drive over $2.5 million in revenue….what do all of these have in common? They are all previous winners of the Xerox Best-of-the-Best Program, a worldwide award contest, open exclusively to members of the Xerox Premier Partners Network.
This program draws participation from the most successful and innovative print shops across the globe, showcasing creativity and business impact using Xerox digital technology. In addition to recognition of great digital work by the graphic communications community, winners receive outstanding marketing and promotional opportunities. Each winning entrant is featured in a case study which can be used with customers and prospects, posted on the web, discussed in presentations, and as a proof point in email and direct marketing campaigns. Winners are showcased at regional, national, and international industry tradeshows/events and also in international press releases.
Today we’re announcing the 2013 Xerox Best-of-the-Best Program will open for entries on January 8, 2013. Members of the Premier Partners Network can submit their work in any of the following categories:
-Digital and Offset
If you are a member of the Premier Partners Network –be sure to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity! On January 8th, visit the Best-of-the-Best website at www.xerox.com/bestofthebest to get started.
If you are not a member of the Xerox Premier Partners Network, visit the Premier Partners Portal today at www.xeroxpremierpartners.com to learn about the program and benefits members receive, and become a member!
You’ll want to hurry – this year’s Best-of-the-Best Contest closes April 3, 2013!
October 9th, 2012
In a recent survey of 485 members of Xerox’s Premier Partners Global Network, conducted with GMC Analytics, more than 70 percent of printers said they are optimistic about the future, believing that print will always be part of the communications mix, but do agree volumes will still decline. The printers also feel that the recession continues to be less of a negative factor than in previous years – 65 percent of respondents agree that the impact of the recession is making investment difficult, notably down from a high of 73 percent in 2010.
Among the opportunities for new or increased revenue, more than one-third (38 percent) of the printers still expect a significant increase in revenue through direct marketing, pointing to a continued need for a balanced marketing mix that includes direct mail. Other opportunities ranked as follows:
- Packaging and Photo specialty products – 18 percent each
- TransPromo – 16 percent
- Book publishing – 12 percent
So what should printers do? The fear of going out of business with traditional services (77 percent) continues to have a strong impact and many are looking for new value-added services to differentiate their portfolio through offerings such as web-to-print services (74 percent). Another priority area for printers differentiating their business is to continue transforming into an overall marketing service provider (50 percent) which jumped from a low of 36 percent in 2011.
Listening to customers is also extremely important in figuring out which direction to go, and the majority of partners reported increased demand in certain areas – those being full-color variable data printing (76 percent), online ordering/web-to-print services (64 percent) and wide-format printing (48 percent) during the past year.
Check out the accompanying infographic we created highlighting the key stats mentioned above and more.
What is your response to these survey results? What is your experience? Are you optimistic about the future of print? Where do you see the greatest potential moving forward?
August 21st, 2012
If Abe Lincoln’s mom had his baby book printed on a Xerox iGen4 with Matte Dry Ink it would still look great today. Abe was a baby about 200 years ago and today’s color photos will fade over time – when exposed to light and even stored in the dark. Most of us have pictures in a shoebox, stored in a closet, that are showing how the quality of the photo has degraded.
As images become as important as text in communicating a message (consumer market for photo is $2B, the B2B market for photo rich documents is $12B today!) – the issue of image permanence has become even more important. We are seeing continued growth in the photo sector as people move away from the stale 4×6 print to the exciting consumer products of press printed photo books, greeting cards, calendars, and other photo specialty items that are not produced via the traditional photographic process (light sensitive photo paper and chemicals). This growing demand for photo quality is driving sales of Xerox iGens, Color Presses, and Xerox 770 into the photo publishing market(see YouTube video @ http://xrx.sm/CJ9) .
At Xerox we engaged Wilhelm Imaging Research ( www.wilhelm-research.com ) who provides consulting services to museums, archives, and is an independent industry expert who conducts research on the stability and preservation of traditional and digital color photographs. We asked Wilhelm to Certify the Permanence of a Xerox iGen4 print. Wilhelm Imagine Research awarded the Xerox iGen4 with Matte Dry Ink (excellent for photo quality) the 200+ year dark permanence rating for photo books! We are proud to display the Wilhelm Certification – now only if Abe’s mom had a digital camera!
For more information on this, or any photo related topic, please feel free to comment below.
July 19th, 2012
Written By Joel Basa
Yes, it’s my b-day! There is no better way to spend my birthday than writing a blog post as I battle my allergies while sitting in my cube (no sarcasm here). I received many birthday greetings over the past 36 hours. My Facebook timeline is flooded with nice messages, my text message inbox has started to fill and I’ve even received a few e-cards and e-mails.
However, the most memorable and meaningful greetings I’ve received come in good old fashioned print. But the world of greeting cards has changed, although many of you (and me) still spend minutes searching the card aisle at your local grocery store, personalized digitally printed cards have become a more popular and desirable option.
Here’s one of the cards that was sent to me. Personalized using my name but these images were sourced from Facebook.
The world population is 6,973,738,433….that’s a lot of birthdays. If you could send 0.02% of that number a birthday card, that’s 1394747 cards! Is your business capitalizing on the greeting card segment?
June 26th, 2012
Remember when you were growing up and your parents would tell you that you were special? Whether you were struggling to make new friends or upset about a bad haircut, hearing that simple phrase could bring a smile to your face – even if it seemed like the world was ending (oh, dramatic youth). Printers today are striving to be special. They want to be more to their customers. To bring smiles to their customers’ faces, while still running an efficient and profitable operation. Many in the industry are turning to specialty digital substrates to achieve this goal.
Mohawk’s Specialty Digital portfolio includes synthetic, pressure sensitive (labels, clings), magnet, embedded, and photo substrates designed for digital presses. Whether it’s on your Xerox Color 560 or your Xerox iGen 150, these unique materials help make you special while increasing your bottom line. If you’re hesitant to go beyond paper, keep reading as I debunk some common myths.
Myth #1: They’re expensive.
Any higher initial cost is easily offset by the printer’s ability to set a higher selling price and achieve a higher margin than traditional paper jobs. They’re also packaged in smaller quantities so you can buy only what you need.
Myth #2: They aren’t compatible with my digital press.
Mohawk has a reputation for quality and works with leading manufacturers to test compatibility of our digital products. Many specialty products perform well in a range of digital equipment, but you can check your specific compatibility in our matrix provided thru Mohawk MakeReady. Samples to test are readily available thru your paper merchant or online at MohawkConnects.com.
Don’t make it harder than it needs to be. Use specialty substrates in your own self promo. Show customers examples and throw a few samples into existing jobs. Explain how these materials can make their marketing campaigns more unique, effective, and impactful. Digital is great for these short, demo runs to spur interest.
Myth #4: My customers don’t have an application for them.
Show them what they can do and I bet you’ll be surprised. Synthetics are great for waterproof books or ID cards. Pressure sensitive stocks shine as bottle labels, window clings, and decorative seals. Magnets are attractive for calendars and signage while embedded magnets and synthetic cards make durable loyalty cards and save-the-dates. Finally, panoramic photo paper enables layflat photo books and collateral where images and graphics sprawl freely without being lost in the gutter of a traditional bind.
The applications are really endless with these types of materials, especially when paired with digital print and VDP. Don’t limit yourself. Give yourself a shot to be special today!
BONUS: I’m happy to have an exclusive giveaway for the Xerox readers today! Shoot me an email with your shipping info and I’ll send you a free copy of Mohawk’s Specialty Digital Swatchbook so you can begin exploring these high-value materials.