Tag Archives: printing

Update on Eco-Friendly Printing

Green technology has moved beyond the customary recyclable paper and arrow-ridden logos. Some companies are taking it a step forward to increase social awareness. Printing green has gained a new definition that does not only reside in the one industry.

Photo originated from Output Magazine. See direct link below.

Pollution Absorbing Posters.

In the United Kingdom, University of Sheffield professors, Tony Ryan and Simon Armitage, crafted a poster that turned the side of a university building into a nitrogen-oxide absorbing poem. It will remain in this position for the next year.


Photo originated from Adweek. See direct link below.

Toxin-Ridding Billboards.

Multiple companies have also created floating promotional pieces to absorb air pollution and other toxins. Shokubutsu Hana, a cosmetic brand in Japan, recently used their new ad as away to remove pollution from the Pasig River in Manila. Partnered with the Pasig River Rehabilitation commission and Vetiver Farms Phillipines, they launched an 88ft. floating vetiver grass billboard to help absorbs toxins.


Eco-Friendly Film.

Display products that include a plastic film will also be given an eco-friendly adjustment. Earlier this year, Amari Digital Supplies premiered a static-cling film composed of recyclable polypropypylene from Statix. This can be used on indoor and short-term outdoor signage. It may also be used for promotional display items.


The aforementioned billboard, poster, and printable static film, are a few among many eco-friendly materials in the market today. For more information, follow the shortened links below each category.

Author: Jaclyn Saumell


Toshiba’s “No-Print Day”…Kaput

What started out as a good idea for Toshiba, the National No-Print Day campaign fell flat on its face as the U.S. arm of Toshiba pulled the plug, bowing to industry pressure. The message was not even heard as much as the slogan. In this day with Print struggling to stay current in its uphill battle against New Media, the last thing needed was a campaign called “No-Print.”

Initially the campaign was set as a “Green” PR event in hopes of putting a better spin on Toshiba’s poor environmental record. Offering a statistic of 40,000 trees a day being wasted by office paper waste was a great tag line and a noble cause. Printing Industries of America was one of the most vocal critics and not because of the “cause,” but the way it was presented. It was not specific in its message of recycle and renew and it seems the PR company that pitched the plan may not have understood the overall state of the industry in today’s environmental friendly world.

Vanguard Direct has long been a champion of using recycled paper in our print to our clients. There are many brands across the spectrum and most are a minimum of 30% Post Consumer Waste. Post Consumer Waste includes office paper waste and is in high demand these days. We have often advised projects to print on stock which has up to 100% Post Consumer Waste. In the past, uncoated stock was the leader in PCW content but with changes in manufacturing coated papers have regained ground and now offer up to 50% PCW. Federal guidelines for coated paper is 10% PCW content; we are proud to be able to offer 30 to 50% PCW content to our clients in all three finishes—Gloss, Matt and Silk. Our client’s often insist that not only the recycled logo be printed on their piece but the PCW content as well. This wide variety of renewable resources gives our clients an advantage over their competition and makes a statement about their corporate efforts to be “Green.”

The Paper industry as a whole embraces not only using recycled paper but also the use of wind power in its manufacturing process, supplying paper which is Processed Chlorine Free and is FSC Certified.  Aside from just the manufacturing process, the industry has taken on the lead from European Industry to create sustainable forests. FSC Certified paper is a certification from the Forest Stewardship Council that can accurately trace the final printed project to a certified sustainable forest through a chain of custody. This chain of custody begins in the forest, transfers through the mills to the paper merchant, then on to the printing plants and to the consumer. The truth of the matter is that there are more trees today because they are managed much like crops such as corn and wheat.

So how “Green” is your company? How are you viewed by your clients? Do you have corporate guidelines that include recycling or energy-saving programs? Are you using products that are approved by the Rainforest Alliance? If you’re not sure or have questions of how to get started don’t fret, here is a link to the Rainforest Alliance web page for “greening your office.”


Toshiba had the right idea but wrong execution; if the campaign ever finds life again, I am sure it will take on more of the tone it had intended. To printers and publishers around the world, “No Print Day” was Kryptonite and it should be placed in a lead-coated box and taken to a planet far, far away.

If you would like to follow the recycling trail, click on the YouTube link below.

Author: Tom Caska

Is Printing Having a Midlife Crisis?

As I contemplate my own midlife crisis, I was wondering if the printing industry was having the same problem. A midlife crisis is usually experienced between the ages of 40 and 60. Most people will experience some transition during that time of life. This transition may cause them to take stock of where they are in life. Most will come through the process without making major life changes. For others, this crisis is more complicated. The key is knowing how to handle the transition.

If I do the math, at 55, the chances of living till I am 110 are very remote. Using 80 as a more reasonable goal, my crisis should have ended some 10 to 15 years ago, leaving me 25 years to make the best of it. A crisis, though, is complicated––consider some of the feelings one could experience:

● Unhappiness with the lifestyle that has provided happiness for many years
● Confusion about who you are and where you are going
● Being unable to make decisions about where you want to go
● Questioning the choices and the decisions you have made
● A desire for a new passion

When I consider the current state of the printing industry, it seems to be experiencing many of the same issues cited above. Many printers have seen their share of the industry slip through their fingers by not staying up with new technology. Families of second- and third-generation printers are advising future generations to get out of the business. Many who have not embraced the technology changes that have come along are unable to decide where to go next. Those who did not upgrade equipment cannot compete with the new machinery in the marketplace that is built to save time, resources, and money––the big three. Two of the giant member-driven print organizations, NAPL (the National Association for Printing Leadership) and PIA (Printing Industries of America), are even considering merging.

Back to the blackboard––let us do some math together:
 I contend that the printing industry is having trouble with this definition:

“Printing is a process for reproducing text and images, typically with ink on paper using a printing press. It is often carried out as a large-scale industrial process, and is an essential part of publishing and transaction printing.” – Wikipedia

Yes, this is a big part of what the printing industry does, but it does not define what it is. Printing has always been about communication, be it the Bible, newspapers, wanted posters, billboards, or dollar-off coupons. It has been a means to get the message out to the masses, and it is international. The means of production was the printing press, which itself has morphed light years away from Gutenberg’s press. Printers need to realize they are in the communication industry. In the United States, this industry in 1999 contributed more that $457 billion to the US economy, according to the US History Encyclopedia.

Printing as a part of the communication industry has 572 years of experience––aeons more than that “snot-nosed” little eight-year-old Facebook. Eight years is hardly long enough to embrace the users that print has developed worldwide over close to six centuries. A midlife crisis, maybe, but it’s also an exciting time to be in communications. The “printing press” is morphing again.

As a former owner of a “printing” company with “printing presses,” I now work for a communication company. I left my shop behind fifteen years ago and never looked back. I still consider myself a printer, but now I can deliver the message to the masses in a wide variety of mediums, including ink on paper. The challenges that have been created by new technologies have also opened the door to many new and exciting opportunities. “Printing” now not only includes ink on paper but embraces the web, email, video, audio, mobile devices, and social media. No “printer” can ever own the amount of equipment necessary to properly compete with the communication industry as a whole.

Maybe one part of the communication industry is having a midlife crisis, but what a crisis to have. The print industry is going through a major life change, and the crisis is complicated. This transition is not the first the industry has seen, and it will not be the last, I am sure. The key is for printers to handle the transition and not ignore it. For printers like me, we should look at this as the dawn of an early spring; a time to grow new ideas and plant the seeds that have worked in the past and to nurture those seeds with the new tools that are available. I say, with a potential life expectancy of 1,144 years, at 572 years young, printing can be considered the “snot-nosed kid” of the communication industry.

Author: Tom Caska

Wide-Format Printing Tips

Recently a colleague approached me regarding a straightforward wide-format graphic print and installation project. As the dialogue continued with the client, we realized the details surrounding the project were adding a level of complexity that required a higher level of attention. This post is designed to give you a basic sense of the questions to ask when approaching a wide-format graphics project.

Whether your wide-format printing project covers an office wall, conference room window, high-end window display, or city apartment building, considering a few key points can make the project more successful.

How long will the graphics remain in place?
Wide-format substrates can vary significantly from one to another. The material used for a massive billboard may cost as little as a quarter per square foot, whereas the more versatile vinyl used for vehicle wraps may be more than a dollar per square foot. It is critical to the success of any wide-format printing project to know how long the graphics need to be in place in order to the best substrate for the installation.

What type of surface will the graphics be installed on? Glass, drywall, concrete, metal?
A project can fail––literally fall off the wall onto a client or customer’s head––if the wrong material is selected. The complexity of a specific location can add hundreds of dollars to the installation cost as well.

What kinds of images will be printed? Full-color images or type only?
Believe it or not, not all digital output devices are created equal, and not every wide-format printer prints using the same settings. One printer may be running its machines at a higher resolution while a lower-priced vendor is running them at the bare minimum. In reality, if the graphics were intended to support the sale of a high-end product, the print from the lower-cost vendor using lower resolution would most likely detract from the buying experience. It is important to provide an early mock-up of the planned graphics for the wide-format project. If the project is printing skin tone, cosmetics, or a neutral color like silver, color consistency and high resolution will be critical, whereas large solids and small images may make the lower-cost printing option work out just fine.

Where will the graphics be installed?
Is the location outside or inside?
“Location, location, location” applies to wide-format graphics as well as real estate. Indoors or outdoors is the biggest factor, but if graphics will be installed on a narrow, closed window in direct Miami sun for 10–12 hours per day midsummer, that could make or break a wide-format graphics project. Graphics installed against the top edge of a wall in close proximity to an air conditioning vent will, with the changes in temperature and dust produced from the ventilation system over time, peel from the wall if not properly reinforced and printed on the correct substrate for the wall type.

There are several other dozen factors that should be taken into account when printing wide-format graphics, but considering duration, surface, imagery, and location will get you on the right path.


Author: John Carew