Last Thursday, my processes and materials class took a field trip to Blair Digital, a local printing company. This company is what I consider to be a model small business. They will go to great lengths to make their customers happy and are willing to fill the gaps that some large printers will not. Blair Digital owner, Cy, talked to us at great lengths about how the printing industry has changed over the years. He noted because technology is constantly changing, printed materials as changing as well. This leads to shorter runs (or smaller orders) and faster turn-arounds. It was amazing to me when he said a week turn-around time is on the longer end of their deadlines.
Cy also talked to us about his business model. He told us much of his business lies in handling the mix of small jobs and larger jobs and the workflow between them. He noted this allows the company the freedom to do more of the experimental jobs, or what Cy called “the fun stuff.”
I was surprised at how much hands-on work was involved after printing. I was absolutely fascinated by the paper cutting machine. Cy also noted the hands-on portion of Blair is one reason they can accommodate both small and large jobs. The larger online printing companies sometimes are forced to offer limited paper availability and will only accommodate large runs to make the job worth while. This is where a company like Blair Digital comes in. I was very impressed at their try-anything attitude and willingness to accommodate any customer. A printer is more of a partner to a designer and if the two can work together well from the beginning, the printer will go the extra mile for the designer. I can’t wait for the opportunity to work with Blair and perhaps get my own business cards printed there.
And to top off a great field trip, our class stopped for pizza for lunch!
Thank you Laura Winn for the photo!