Andrea Pesci-Jones

Elise Hacking Carr is editor-in-chief/content director for Print+Promo magazine.

Short-run products with pop make up a large percentage of the current demand. Things keep getting brighter for commercial printing. A little more than 10 years since the first high-speed digital color presses were launched, commercial printing has managed to cross over a major hump. No longer is digital color an immature technology viable only in controlled market niches; it is now a robust, economical process qualified for the production of many different products. As a result, everyone is ordering commercial printing products—from mom-and-pop pizza shops looking for a new menu to major universities looking to distribute a high-quality course catalog. These days, "short-run"

From prospecting to production, commercial printing takes a lot of hard work—but the results are beautifully profitable. At Apex Color, Jacksonville, Fla., commercial printing accounted for 30 percent of the work and $3.5 million in revenue last year. President Richard Ghelerter expects these figures to increase and has invested heavily in new equipment, including a five-color 20x26 press, as well as major upgrades in the pre-press department to facilitate that growth. Similarly, Andrea Pesci-Jones, executive vice president for Canton, Michigan-based Stylecraft, reported that in 2003, 25 percent of the company's orders were for commercial printing, generating $3 million in sales. Stylecraft expects that the

From thermal-transfer applications to value-added designs, tags are hanging on in changing times. From price tags to parking tickets, opportunities abound for the alert distributor in the arena of tags and tickets. Although basic products are still available, manufacturers report growth markets in specific categories, such as thermal-transfer tags and more durable products. "We've seen growth mostly in thermal-transfer tags, such as those pre-printed with the customer's logo for end-user variable imaging," said Dale Jacoby, Badger Tag & Label, Random Lake, Wis. Although Jacoby noted that the company has seen some drop in sales that was not anticipated, he said that Badger's sales

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