Wild Apple Graphics Expands Short Run Capabilities, Targets New Markets With Meteor Digital Press
The next time you walk into a Bed Bath & Beyond, take a hard look at the framed art prints. Chances are that a good portion of those prints came from Wild Apple Graphics, and the print you’re studying was likely produced on a MGI Meteor DP60 Pro® digital press.
Wild Apple Graphics, located in Woodstock, Vt., is an art publisher and licenser to the trade with annual revenues over $4 million. Since 1989, the company has been a powerful force in discovering new artists, such as Warren Kimble. Wild Apple produces the prints and sells them to retail framers, who then sell the finished “ready to hang” prints to national and regional retail chains (e.g., Bed Bath & Beyond and Target), as well as to furniture stores, the hospitality industry and others. From these sales, Wild Apple pays artists a royalty on sales of posters of their artwork, similar to the relationship between an author and a book publisher.
The other side of Wild Apple’s business is art licensing. They act as agent for artists to place their imagery with a wide variety of manufacturers, from dinnerware to rugs, wallpaper to paper napkins. Manufacturers pay a royalty on their sales, which is split between the artist and Wild Apple.
Wild Apple’s business is brisk, with more than 50 new images released each month. Each year, the company produces a 300-page catalog that lists all the prints available in its inventory.
In terms of production, Wild Apple has an array of inkjet proofers and light production digital, along with a KBA 74Karat offset press, which initially enabled the company to bring a lot of its production in-house and speed up its turnaround time for prints to two to three days. However, as the art market continued to evolve, Wild Apple found it needed to expand its capabilities to be able to accommodate shorter runs of prints, as well as decrease their turnaround time. That led to a year of research into all of the high production digital devices on the market, including sheetfed and roll-fed toner as well as high-speed inkjet.
After exhaustive testing, Wild Apple decided on MGI’s Meteor DP60 Pro, installing it a few months later. With key factors including quality, sheet size and scuff-resistance, the Meteor DP60 Pro was the press best suited for its purposes. Jim Chadwick, director of Technical Services for Wild Apple, also spent a lot of time talking to other Meteor owners, and was impressed with the reliability of the machines and the overall positive experience that other users reported.
“One of our most popular print sizes is 12x36” with a full bleed, and the Meteor was the only press that could accommodate that,” said Chadwick. “As a fine art printer, quality and color consistency has to be absolutely top-notch, not only within the run but also for reorders down the road. The Meteor lives up to our high standards, without question. We also think the no click charge philosophy MGI has is great.”
Since installing the Meteor, Wild Apple has met its goal of keeping little to no inventory on-hand of certain print sizes, instead producing jobs on-demand as needed. The company also can now accommodate rush orders and a same-day turnaround.
“The ability to produce true short runs now allows us to be competitive in markets we couldn’t work in before,” added Chadwick. “We can now work with our customers in new ways to help them with test programs for their customers, which require ultra-short runs produced in the highest quality and will allow us to keep growing our revenue stream. This also allows us to better serve our customers’ needs, which leads to a stronger relationship overall.”
For more information on Wild Apple Graphics, visit www.wildapple.com.
For more information on MGI, visit www.mgiusa.com.