Real Color Design Partners with EPSON for Marvel-ous Results

Real Color Design, in Torrance, Calif., has been printing fine art reproductions for years. In 2008, it became an authorized print house for Warner Brothers Studios and they also hold the licenses to print images for Marvel, DC and other well-known studios in California. “Ninety percent of what we do today is related to the studios. Our customers are licensed with Marvel, WB, DC Comics, Dynamite studio,” says print manager, Alex Costa.

With a customer base like that, there is no margin for error. To meet the demands of qualifying as an authorized print resource, Costa and his team work with a fleet of EPSON printers. “We’ve been with Epson since the beginning,” he says. “Currently, we use the SureColor F6200 (dye-sub), SureColor S80600 (solvent) and SureColor P10000 (aqueous) and on occasion, we still use our old 9880.”

Given the wide breadth of Epson technology available, Costa and his team can offer diverse prints to their customers. “We do archival fine art on Hahnemühle, Sunset Velvet Rag and canvas, for dye-sub, we do aluminum prints on Chromaluxe as well as wood and sometimes fabric,” he says.

One of Real Color Designs’ largest customers is Sideshow Collectables. When they got their license to print, they realized right away that they couldn’t just use any printer, they had to find an authorized resource. “They came and met with us, and we helped them build from nothing to getting their print program up and running,” Costa says. “From mock-ups to introducing them to new materials, we’re there with them from conception to design to print.”

It’s that partnership with their customers that has helped Real Color Designs work with some of the most renowned high-end art gallery and collectibles companies around the world. “We were approached by Castle Fine Art, a gallery that is part of a major chain of over 50 galleries in the UK and Europe, that includes Halcyon Gallery which displays great artists like Picasso,” he says.

Relationship building and delivering results has helped Costa and the team create a name for themselves in an industry that demands perfection. “When Castle came to us, they said, ‘We want to start working with you because we’ve seen your work with Marvel.’ We are getting into the high, high-end fine art,” he says. “Right now, we are working with artist Domingo Zapata. They’re going to release a whole new line of prints and we’re working with them the same way we do with Sideshow.”

Costa says that they treat their customers the way they are treated by LexJet. “We see the customer as a partner, the way LexJet has worked with us since we started our business relationship in 2011. Stuart Haddow [LexJet sales specialist] sees us as a partner and tries to work stuff out, figure out our needs.”

The partnership relies on trust. Costa puts his trust in EPSON because he knows the quality that his customers and licensees demand. He puts his trust in LexJet to work with him on existing products and help him find new products that will excite his customers. His customers put their trust in him to create high-end art pieces that look like they stepped right off of a movie set or just out of a comic book.

Get the Most Out of Your Dye-Sub Printer

Adding a whole new technology to your wide-format toolkit can be daunting, but the versatility you gain with dye-sublimation transfer printing can open all new opportunities. With the Epson SureColor Production printers, you can get into it with an initial investment starting around $7,ooo for the F6200 ($14,000 for the F7200 and $25,000 for the F9370) for a 44- or 64-inch system. Once you’re up and running, the creative and money-making possibilities are only limited to your imagination.

Dye-sublimation transfer is particularly favored for textile printing since the ink from the transfer adheres into the fabric, rather than sitting on top of it, as it does with other ink technologies. Once sublimated, the ink won’t crack, fleck or scratch off, making it an ideal option for knitted textiles, particularly high-performance athletic wear. (Bonus: Dye-sub fabrics are also washable!)

Metal photo panels by ChromaLuxe, available at LexJet

In addition to garment fabric, textiles printed for soft signage perform extremely well with dye-sub transfers. Backlit displays, tradeshow graphics and flags are two of the top applications for dye-sub, as they fold and travel easily and are cheaper to ship than films or vinyl often used for similar signage.

Dye-sub is a great complement to your other wide-format printers, allowing you to get into high-demand print products like the popular metal photo panels, ktochkees like coasters, cups and more, and customized décor, like pillows, window blinds and upholstery.

In addition to the printer system, you’ll also need transfer paper. The LexJet InFuze line provides four transfer papers for all needs, including textile, apparel, rigid substrate and multi-purpose. You’ll also need a heat press to sublimate the image to your final substrate. LexJet offers a full line of options, from a 16×20-inch table-top swinger heat press for small jobs, to a 112x48x53-inch heat calendar machine.

If you’re ready to master the world of dye-sub, visit our LexJet.com/dyesub page to learn about more applications and watch some of the how-to videos to learn all the ways to make dye-sub work for you and your business. Here’s a quick look at how to create an all-over print for t-shirts:

A ChromaLuxe EXT Print Project That’s Really for the Birds

Felts Audubon Preserve is a hidden gem, tucked away among sprawling neighborhoods in rural Palmetto, Fla. Whether you’re a novice birder or an avid twitcher, Felts is the perfect place to visit when you want to unplug and see some of the spectacular species of birds and butterflies Mother Nature has to offer.

The Preserve land once belonged to Otis and Anita Felts, who owned and operated a family-run dairy farm. When Otis died in 2002, the family wanted the land to remain natural and free from future development, so the Felts family donated the 27-acre parcel to the Manatee County Audubon Society.

The property is beautiful and serene today, but back in 2002, it was in rough shape, and any improvements were always completed by volunteers. There are still no paid staff members at Felts, and original member Don Bansen remembers the first major project: volunteers cleared more than 300 tires out of the lake. “Everybody was covered in mud, it was a mess,” he says.

While tires in the lake no longer pose a problem, one issue occasionally plagues groundskeeper Fred Allen: vandalism. In the past, volunteers witnessed graffiti and spray paint on signs or broken display cases. Membership Director Lucette Wombacher believes mischief increases a little when school lets out for the summer.

“Everything is made possible by volunteers. They help keep the grounds looking good and Fred is instrumental in keeping the trails neat, so birders can walk through,” says Wombacher. “It’s important to have something that resists damage so we can stay focused on clearing invasive plants and trails rather than cleaning vandalized signs,” she says.

To make it easier for the volunteers at Felts, Heather Reece from LexJet suggested ChromaLuxe EXT metal photo panels with graffiti and fade-resistant properties that stand up to outdoor elements. The panels offer a glossy white finish, which makes them perfect for art and photo reproductions. The 0.045-inch metal panels have been tested to last three years or more outdoors without fading.

For PPR Pix, ChromaLuxe Was the Answer for Customer Demand

When his customers started asking for ChromaLuxe metal photo panels, James Marks of PPR Pix in Atlanta, Ga., started researching how to add the colorful photo reproduction option to his operation. That also included the purchase of a new Epson SureColor F6200 dye-sublimation printer.

“We had been looking at getting into metal and there isn’t another local place in Atlanta to do metal printing,” Marks says. “Some of our customers had asked about it, and so we wanted to get our toes in there and jump.”

We’ve Added Epson Dye-Sub and ChromaLuxe Products to Portfolio

We’re excited to announce that LexJet now offers a complete solution for digital dye-sublimation printing. We’ve been appointed as an authorized reseller for Epson dye-sub printers and transfer papers, as well as the popular ChromaLuxe aluminum photo panels.

Epson SureColor 7200
Epson SureColor 7200

Our initial dye-sub roll out will be featured at ISA Sign Expo later this month, and will include:

The full portfolio can be viewed at LexJet.com/DyeSub