Anderson/LA is a high-profile member of the Consolidated Graphics company. Founded in 1956, in Hollywood, CA, Anderson has a solid reputation for high quality color reproduction. To its expertise in offset printing, the company has added digital print, mailing and fulfillment services, and, most recently, grand-format output of everything from signs and window graphics to billboards and vehicle wraps.
Anderson clients include high-profile companies in the entertainment, hospitality, retail, automotive, and financial sectors. It also works with leading advertising agencies and design firms in a city where design quality expectations are extraordinarily high. Consistency and quality of color output are essential aspects of Anderson’s excellent relationship with major brands.
With Great Color Comes Great Responsibility
From the beginning, Anderson/LA’s color expertise has been a hallmark of its service offerings—a combination of craftsmanship and the emerging science of standardized digital color. Early on, Anderson embraced color specifications such as GRACoL, and qualified for IDEAlliance’s G7 Master printer status in December 2008. As industry standards emerged for a more systematic approach to color, the company has seen them as a potential manufacturing edge.
Earlier this year, George Mendoza joined the Anderson team as director of premedia services. His role included a mandate to make the color quality component of Anderson’s print services even more efficient and reliable, no matter what printing or proofing device is used.
Mendoza views the overall color question as a simple choice between automation and manual operations. “Over 60 percent of the printing companies that care about color quality have to rely on a full-time color guru or hire a consultant to create profiles, calibrate equipment, and tweak jobs for good color results,” he says. “That can be expensive. The alternative is a centralized, automated system, preferably managed via the Web. With dollars for color R&D becoming scarcer, the automated approach makes a lot more sense.”
The impetus for finding a centralized color solution came in part from Anderson’s growing grand-format business. The company uses four different Vutek UV devices to create a variety of signs, window graphics, and vehicle wraps—often for clients with very high quality expectations. However, Mendoza discovered that the devices’ built-in color management was not able to maintain sufficient color quality or consistency without an undue amount of manual tweaking.
To make matters worse, matching brand colors on grand-format output to those printed on offset or digital presses became a persistent issue. Each device was capable of producing excellent color, but the process of keeping the entire fleet on course, color-wise, was often tedious and time-consuming.
Fortunately, Mendoza’s efforts uncovered an efficient, practical solution: the ORIS family of color management products from CGS.
Superpowers, but no Kryptonite
With support from Anderson and Consolidated Graphics management, Mendoza asked CGS to profile and optimize the company’s array of output devices, beginning with the grand-format UV printers, and eventually affecting multiple output devices.
The results were remarkable. Creating profiles for common substrates, device calibration and other tasks took far less time that they did in a manual workflow—and the time savings translated well to Anderson’s day-to-day operations. “I feel like a color superhero,” says Mendoza. “Tasks that typically took three or four hours manually only took an hour or less with ORIS, and many of these only have to be done once. Now I can easily train someone with far less color expertise to do routine calibration and other tasks that used to consume my time.”