Open for Business

After twenty years housed in a 3,000-square-foot facility in Miami Beach, Florida, print provider Impress/DC Media had been experiencing tremendous business growth. Because of this, they moved last fall to a larger, 10,000-square foot space in Wynwood, the art district in Miami famous for its vibrant outdoor art displays.

Impress/DC Media has been making a name for itself with unique large format and wallcovering installations featuring local artists’ photographs. To enhance its outdoor signage and general commercial printing offerings, they recently added an HP Indigo 7600 Digital Press and HP Latex 850 Printer, as well as a Zünd cutter, to its lineup of in-shop digital printing technologies.

Impress and DC Media are actually two separate entities—the former handling sheet-fed digital and the latter specializing in large format output.

Impress started up twenty-some-years ago focusing on high-quality work for the area’s fashion/modeling industries. Meanwhile DC Media Co-Founder Mike Dean noticed that demand for large format printing was very high in the water-based world around the early 2000s and co-started DC Media using large format printers and laminators. Dean and his company resold printing services to Impress, eventually “impressing” the owner enough to bring them on-board.

In addition to serving the general public, the companies also broadened its focus beyond fashion to create P-O-S/P-O-P Duratrans and backlit displays for luxury timepiece and fragrance companies found in duty-free store. They’re also actively involved with special events like the Art Basel international art shows (the Cannes Film Festival for art) held in Miami Beach.

  • 1 of 9. Co-owner Mike Dean (center) with local artists & photographers.

  • 2 of 9. Impress/DC Media employees at Open House event.

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This past November, to showcase its new location and expanding in-house capabilities, the companies brought local photography to life at an open house strategically timed to coincide with the local Wynnwood Art Walk, an event held every second Saturday of the month when all the art galleries and businesses in the area are open and people come in for free drinks and look at art. “It’s a big social gathering in the area,” says Dean.

Impress/DC Media wanted to use this opportunity to let their existing customers know all they can do and who would, in turn, then spread the word about them to their friends and clients. “We reached out to everybody that may have sent us any kind of work (even the smallest job) within the last two to three years,” says Dean. “We also contacted ad agencies and other printers to let them know about the new equipment we had, the capabilities of the new flatbed we’d just installed, and our cutting capabilities.”

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  • 9 of 9. Stand-ups created: (l-r) Breaking Bad, Justin Bieber, and Miley Cyrus.

The night involved DJs, food and beverages, and producing giveaway stand-up corrugated displays of various celebrities (Breaking Bad, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, etc.). “People liked having their pictures taken with these cut-outs,” says Dean, “and they enjoyed interacting with the technicians and operators running the machines and learning what they did.”

Since these existing customers also brought along their friends, close to 250 to 300 people were in and out of Impress/DC Media’s building that night. “They were just really excited about printing. We thought that only printers got excited about printing!” laughs Dean.

DC/Impress even ran actual jobs live during the open house for everyone attending to see.

“A customer came in on Friday night needing us to print onto tiles for a mural that they were putting in a restaurant opening up on Monday. So I told them that, because of the time constraints, the only thing I could do would be to run it during our open house,” says Dean. “And that’s what we did.

“The client gave us the artwork and the 12-by-12 tiles to print on from Home Depot®. We loaded them up on the HP Scitex FB6100 large format printer, and they looked beautiful!”

The owner of the restaurant even stopped by during the event to see the printing action of his tiles and was “impressed” with the process. “They had no idea that one could print onto tiles,” says Dean. “So this really opened people’s minds to let them know what we can do for them.”

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Getting their actions out to the public included even more than an open house. Viewing the building murals in the area painted by local artists, Dean knew another way to demonstrate their vinyl capabilities during Art Walk was to put up a 20-by-80-foot wall wrap mural featuring a collage of images from well-known area photographers and artists.

This wall wrap was printed on 3M Scotchcal 3624 with 3M Scotchcal 8524 overlaminate output via their HP LX850 latex printer. It covered two sides of their building exposed to the street. (Note: The digital files were a mix of JPEG and vector art put together in Illustrator and finished off for print in Photoshop.)

Installation of the wrap involved a heat gun and a special foam roller. “They’re four foot-by-twenty-foot panels with one-inch overlaps,” says Dean, “and we paneled them evenly.”

  • 1 of 3. Outdoor 20-by-80-foot wall wrap mural.

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Everyone who saw the building wrap was amazed by it. “Hopefully we’ll get a couple of more jobs from it,” says Dean.

Currently Dean would like to hold an open house every quarter (targeting the same second Saturday night of the month.) “We work a lot with the interior design community, so we might invite designers over for the next one and show them the wall décor we do,” says Dean. “Printing onto wallpaper has been pretty big for us.”

In fact, the biggest challenge in putting this open house together was trying to figure out which pieces of equipment and offerings they wanted to showcase. “For this one, we decided to focus on our new machines’ capabilities and perform live demos of them in action,” says Dean.

He adds that the element that made this open house such a success was being able to introduce his customers to all their offerings.

“Most of our customers were completely unaware of our other abilities,” he says, noting that, with the investment in new equipment, they’re able to take on 40 to 50 percent more work than before. “We wanted everyone to experience all we do.

“These customers would’ve previously requested only a banner or a poster from us, but then they saw we could also print onto acrylic or wood or another substrate on a daily basis.”

—Jeff Wooten


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