Profiling for Print: A Necessary Step for New Products

W. Edwards Deming, American scientist, once said, “Innovation comes from the producer – not from the consumer.”  We recognize that we’re not the sole innovators on print projects, but rather innovation captains. This quote reminded us that we, as producers, are responsible for the successful execution of innovation.

At Custom Color, the foundation of our success lies in innovation. We’re a group of trendsetters who work systematically to find new and fresh solutions to our client’s printing problems.

The solutions to our customer’s printing problems lie in our material offerings. We store a standard stock of over 200 materials that work for a majority of our client’s projects. However, in order to stay on the cutting-edge and to anticipate marketplace changes, we must introduce new materials into our offerings.

How do we find out which materials to introduce? We listen to our customer’s needs. We scour trade shows and meet with vendors to find materials that our client’s have never seen before. Then we find the products at the highest quality possible that we can introduce for the lowest price to our customers.

Profiling for Print: A Necessary Step for New Products

Finding the product is just the beginning. Every company, regardless of industry, always wants to offer their clients the best products and services – at Custom Color, we’re no different in that regard. Unlike every other company in the world, we have to go through a much more extensive and complex process before offering new products to our clients: profiling.

Printers and materials do not have one-size-fits-all properties. Each printer and material requires special amounts of ink, a certain speed and a precise degree of heat in order to render a perfect print.

In order to guarantee the color that our customers have grown to depend on, the profiling step is crucial. After an initial trial test print, our purchasing department works with the press operators, the RIP team, the production manager and our color management expert to determine the printer settings that will ensure that the final product matches the graphic on the customer’s screen. After getting the settings just right, our color management expert will work to certify the material to G7 Master Qualification standards.

We check for multiple factors when introducing material. We look at the ink consumption, sublimation, color, the stretch and whether it creases or wrinkles. If the material meets our Custom Color standards and cooperates with our workflow, we’ll introduce the product to a permanent spot on our substrate lineup.

We have a very aggressive material testing and profiling process. Usually, we test four or five materials per month. Our vendors have noted our profiling process, too! We have been selected to be the primary research and development testers for one of our biggest vendors - this means that we have the opportunity to print on the newest materials before they hit the market.

We walk the walk. Because we’re all about innovation, we’ve introduced two new materials to our Global Shop booth. If you’re a qualified buyer and will be in or around Las Vegas between March 28 and 30, register here for a free pass to the show to check out our booth!

If you’re interested in learning about other new materials, drop me a line. I can’t wait to work on innovation with you.


Custom Color Josh VanMeter

As the Custom Color Purchasing Manager, Josh VanMeter is the keeper of the company credit card. When he isn’t scouting out the best material deals, he is either shopping at Costco or Gap, looking around Amazon or dreaming about San Francisco. Connecting with him on LinkedIn is a wise move, he’s a rising printing star.