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The Value of In-house Creative Services in a Printing Company

A recent survey conducted by Clemson University's Graphic Communications department examined current trends regarding printing company involvement with creative services as a driver of business growth.

By Erica Walker, PhD
Published: November 30, 2016


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Erica Walker has a diverse background in visual communications which includes feature film production, web design & development, print buying, marketing, and graphic design for print. Her formal education includes a BFA in Film Production from the University of Colorado, Boulder and a MS in Graphic Communications from Clemson University. Now, a faculty member in the Department of Graphic Communications at Clemson University, Erica teaches courses in Photography, Video, Web Development, and Entrepreneurship. Contact https://www.linkedin.com/in/ebwalker and eblack4@clemson.edu



By James Shand on Nov 30, 2016

Interesting article Erica - as a provider of 'creative services' in customised content management with a fully supported managed service I would suggest collaboration. We collaborate with many print houses in the UK recognising we each bring different skill sets to providing solutions for the customer.
Outside of this market I can see quite a challenge with creative agencies who currently work with printers being reluctant to see the printer bring services in-house.


By Erica Walker on Nov 30, 2016

That is a great point @James.

I went into more detail regarding ways a company might consider adding these services in the Executive Outlook presentation this Fall, but you are right. Sometimes it makes much more sense to create strategic partnerships and let each partner provide what they are best at rather than attempting to bring everything in-house.

There is no one-size-fits all answer to how to address this. Your point would definitely need to be part of the overall conversation when addressing these questions.


By Brett Heap on Nov 30, 2016

You raise several important points in regard to how printers need to pivot their business. With the growth of web-to-print solutions as an important sales channel, offering creative services is a great way to add value. An online design tool not only helps the client create their design and have it automatically meet production standards, but it also reduces the amount of time taken up with the exchange of prepress proofs.
An online design tool like DaVinci Designer provides 3D proofing of both content and special effects like spot varnish and metallic finishes. The resulting print ready files are immediately entered into the workflow.
Additionally, marketing services are a value add. These include SEO, website graphics, logo design and social media and garner a good margin as a creative service. Our experience has been that in e-commerce it's a natural fit to offer marketing services.
Consolidating the creative with the manufacturing makes interactions with the client a more comprehensive experience, and builds a stronger, less price sensitive, relationship.


By Erica Walker on Nov 30, 2016

Yes @Brett, marketing services can offer added value for printer's customers. This can result in increased revenue and stronger client relations. In this research, I didn't really touch on the online design tools like you mentioned, but the features available in W2P stores are getting more powerful all the time and can certainly drive additional up-sell opportunities.


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