OU Claims Victory At Last
Printing a catalog of art pieces is an extremely difficult project because the customer is comparing the proofs to the original works of art. But University of Oklahoma (OU) Printing Services pulled it off with style last June when it printed an exquisite catalog of Native American art for a show at OU's Fred Jones Museum of Art.
"It's really important to the museum that those reproductions be as accurate as humanly possible," notes John Sarantakos, administrator of Printing and Mailing Services.
For its meticulous efforts, the 76-employee in-plant was rewarded last month with the In-Print 2010 Best of Show award out of all offset winners in the contest.
"To us it's like winning a national championship," declares Sarantakos, who has been seeking In-Print's grand prize for many years. "I was pretty thrilled."
He and two members of his staff learned of their victory during the awards banquet on the last day of the In-Plant Printing and Mailing Association (IPMA) conference in Albuquerque, N.M. In a tense silence, the entire audience watched a video, produced by IPG, showing the In-Print judges as they selected the winner from among all the Gold award-winning pieces in the contest. (Watch it for yourself by clicking on the video tab to the right.) Impressively, three of the final four pieces had been printed by OU. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' in-plant printed the other finalist.)
Striving for Perfection
Over the years, OU's in-plant has earned a staggering 140 In-Print awards.
"We strive for one level of quality: perfect," boasts Sarantakos. "Our mission is to support the university, and that means to make everything we do show the university in the best possible light."
Customers obviously know this because when Ghislain d'Humieres from the Fred Jones Museum of Art was ready to have the "Spirit Red" art catalog printed, he went straight to the in-plant to talk with Assistant Administrator Bob Goodwin, the primary customer service contact for the job.
"We just have a great relationship with them," remarks Sarantakos. "Over the years we've taken on these projects and delivered high-quality pieces to them, and they've come to trust us."
Color consistency was especially important on this job because museum patrons would be purchasing the catalog and looking at it while viewing the original works of art it depicted.
The 128-page, perfect-bound catalog was designed by Professor Eric Anderson, using InDesign. It features more than 100 photographs of Native American artwork, along with stories about the artists and their works, and includes several crossovers.
Once the in-plant received the file, John Lanig printed proofs using an Epson Stylus Pro 9500, and museum staff scrutinized them carefully against the original artwork, requesting numerous adjustments.
Then Darryle Rattler produced the plates using the in-plant's processless Kodak Magnus 800 platesetter. The job was printed over all three shifts by press operators David Fulwider, Chuck Treaftis, David Kolb, Robbie Robbins, Robert Rucker and Jeremy Michaels. The cover was printed on a five-color, 23x29˝ manroland 305 perfector, and the shop's eight-color, 28x40˝ Heidelberg Speedmaster 102 perfector printed the inside pages. Each pass had to be press proofed, Sarantakos says. The cover took five hours and the inside pages took 20 hours to produce.
Cover Proves Challenging
One of the most difficult parts of the project was the cover, which has a dull varnish on the front, and a gloss varnish on the inside.
"It was a bear to get consistency on that," remarks Sarantakos. "That dull red on the front was very, very difficult."
The cover was printed on Galerie Art Gloss paper, purchased from Clampitt Paper, and the insides were printed on Crystal Gloss text.
Though the in-plant has since added a Sulby perfect binder, at the time it lacked that capability, so the books were sent to Printers Bindery, in Oklahoma City, for folding and binding. In the end, 1,000 copies of the catalog were produced for the museum. The whole process took about three weeks.
The in-plant plans to make good use of its Best of Show award in its marketing efforts. Already, Sherri Isbell, customer service manager, is developing a marketing campaign around it, which will include a presentation at the museum, as well as posters and press releases. The other 13 In-Print awards the shop won this year will be promoted as well.
"Every year we make duplicate awards and make presentations to the department" that ordered those jobs, Sarantakos says.
He admits that he and his staff are still reeling from the excitement of their Best of Show victory.
"It's something that we've worked towards for many years," he says.
The glass trophy now sits in a display case in the in-plant's reception area, for all customers to admire. IPG
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Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited nearly 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, co-sponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.