Did You Play Plinko at DscoopX? Use Your Show Special Now

LexJet’s booth at DscoopX.


The LexJet crew that attended DscoopX, the two-day, 10th annual conference of the Digital Solutions Cooperative, had a great time showing off various products and techniques and meeting everyone who stopped by booth No. 317.

Taking a try at the LexJet Plinko board!
Taking a try at the LexJet Plinko board!

LexJet was among 100-plus featured industry partners at this conference for HP Graphic Arts users. More than 2,800 people attended this year’s event, and many stopped by LexJet booth, where they learned about product applications and were invited to play a round of Plinko to win one of four show specials. If you attended DscoopX and won at Plinko, be sure to use your show special promotion by March 31, 2015.

“We had the opportunity to meet the decision makers with a number of our key customers and spend time understanding what more we can do for them and what the key drivers of their business are,” says Tom Hauenstein, LexJet’s digital coating product manager. “It also gave us a chance to network with other key suppliers who, over the years, have allowed us to create better and stronger solutions for the Dscoop community.”

Speaking of solutions, Hauenstein lead a half-hour Priming 101 seminar during Dscoop titled, “A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Priming Your Own Substrates.” About 40 Dscoop participants attended the Saturday event.

Several Avatrex applications were on display in HP’s Xplore Zone during DscoopX.

One of the mega-trends at Dscoop this year was a greater focus on unusual applications of the various products highlighted at the show. Avatrex, available through LexJet, is a printable material that can be applied to any surface and will take on the color and texture of that surface. It was a big hit at the conference and featured in HP’s Xplore Zone. Applications included a wooden wall display and a plush, leather photo book, both finished with an Avatrex-printed photo.

“This year, compared to last year, people are really looking for more value-added and things they can make for their customers,” says Anne Grbic, LexJet’s Avatrex applications specialist. “People were hungry for something different beyond two-dimensional prints.”

Tote bags with Avatrex prints.
Tote bags with Avatrex prints.

More people attending Dscoop were also interested in inkjet printing solutions, and LexJet plans to focus on latex printing solutions next year, says Tricia Ohm, LexJet senior product line manager. “We’re definitely excited about Dscoop 11,” Ohm says. “Dscoop is truly a unique community where you see cooperation between printers to help each other to understand how to grow their businesses. And HP does a fantastic job of supporting it.”

To redeem your Plinko prize, call us at 800-453-9538 no later than March 31, 2015.

LexJet Now Supplies In-Line Primers for HP Indigo 20000 and 30000 Digital Presses

HP Indigo 30000
Michelman DigiPrime in-line primers for HP Indigo 20000 and 30000 digital presses are available exclusively through LexJet in the U.S. and Canada.

The first HP Indigo 20000 and 30000 digital presses are being installed, and LexJet now provides the premier in-line primers for those presses through LexJet’s North American Delivery Network to ensure shorter lead times, lower shipping costs, and less hassle with winter shipping.

The primers available exclusively through LexJet include Michelman DigiPrime 050 (DP050) for the HP Indigo 20000 and Michelman DigiPrime 060 (DP060) for the HP Indigo 30000.

“Our sole purpose is to ensure our HP Indigo customers maximize their print quality and production, and to ensure they have the latest and most technically-advanced products to meet their needs,” says Tom Hauenstein, LexJet technical sales representative, who provides sales, product application and technical support to digital press customers in North America.

DigiPrime 050 prepares film and metallized film for printing to improve the transfer and adhesion of HP Indigo Electroinks to the substrate, and is suitable for use in food packaging. DigiPrime 060 improves ink transfer and adhesion for paperboard and metallized paperboard used in folding box and carton printing with the HP Indigo 30000.

Additionally, LexJet offers an extensive line of in-line, off-line and custom primers, as well as over print varnishes for HP Indigo digital presses, including the HP Indigo ws6000 series, w7200 series and the w3250 series.

For more information about LexJet and its line of primers, coatings and over varnishes for digital presses, go to www.lexjet.com/primers or call 800-453-9538.

Finding the Best Lighting for Color Calibration and Print Evaluation

Back in the day when I, Tom Hauenstein, was on the road teaching the principles of color management I was often asked, “What color temperature bulbs should I use for evaluating prints?” Another common question was, “What color temperature should I use when calibrating my monitor?”

The answers to these questions are actually related to each other, and the right answer to each is… whatever color temperature you prefer.

Color Temperature Reference ChartHowever, these two color temperatures – for both the monitor and the lighting you use for evaluating prints – need to be consistent. Start by determining which monitor color temperature is right for you.  The usual options range from 5000 K to 6500 K.

I find 5000 K to be a little too warm and 6500 K too cool, Goldilocks. Therefore, I feel that a color temperature of 5500 K is just right.  Most new calibration software allows you to calibrate your monitor to different white points. This makes it easy for you to test which color temperature is right for you.

The Test
Find a file that is a good evaluation image. The PDI target usually works and can be found on LexJet’s website at the following link: http://www.lexjet.com/LexJetWebProfiles/Epson%20Printers/Epson%202200/Driver/PDI%20Target.tif.

White BalanceCalibrate and profile the monitor to 5000 K. Open the evaluation image and examine it at this temperature. Pay attention to the gray build in the file and the flesh tones. Then, calibrate and profile the monitor for 6500 K and do the same thing.

Most likely you will prefer the look of one over the other. If you have two computers, then it is really nice because you can place them side by side. You can then calibrate and profile one to 5000 K and the other to 6500 K and not have to rely on your memory.

Then do a third calibration and profile halfway between these two at 5700 K and compare them to the other two. This will give you an idea which color temperature works best for you. I know this test takes quite a bit of time, but it is something you will have to do only once in your life. Once you decide which temperature is the best for your eyes, your job is done.

Light Bulbs
Now that you know which color temperature you like best for the monitor, the light bulbs are easy. You simply need to find bulbs with the same color temperature as your monitor.

You should evaluate prints in the same temperature as you color corrected them on-screen. This will eliminate a lot of the discrepancies between the print and the monitor. You can usually Google a certain color temperature and find a bulb that matches it.

Doing this should tighten up color management, and allow you to trust your soft proof.

Tom Hauenstein is a technical sales specialist for LexJet’s line of primers and coatings for HP Indigo presses, and brings his expertise in the printing process and color management to commercial and large-format printing customers across the U.S. Tom is also a member of the Technical Advisory Board for Sign & Digital Graphics magazine.

LexJet’s Tom Hauenstein Named to Technical Advisory Board

Tom Hauenstein Color Management Guru
A snapshot from Tom’s article on choosing inkjet media that maximizes color gamut.

LexJet’s own Tom Hauenstein was recently named to the Technical Advisory Board for Sign & Digital Graphics magazine. You may remember Tom from such nationwide color management seminar tours as the Great Output Tour, which ran from 2007-2009.

Tom is a technical sales specialist for LexJet’s line of primers and coatings for HP Indigo presses, and brings his expertise in the printing process and color management to commercial and large-format printing customers across the U.S.

Tom is not only one of the most knowledgeable resources in the printing industry, as acknowledged by his inclusion on the Technical Advisory Board, but is a valuable educational resource for everyone at LexJet. His willingness to help his LexJet teammates ultimately translates into a better experience for LexJet’s customers.

“Tom really knows his stuff, understands our readership, and is great at explaining complex technical ideas to non-technical people,” says Ken Mergentime, executive editor for Sign & Digital Graphics magazine. “If I get a technical color-related article from someone, I can count on Tom to fact-check it for me and ensure its accuracy.”

Tom has written three articles for Sign & Digital Graphics since October 2012. You can pick up some great information and tips as two of his articles are currently available online:

Understanding Metamerism (March 2013 issue)

More than just a RIP (July 2013)

Tom also penned an article about maximizing color gamut by choosing the
right print media in the October 2012 issue Sign & Digital Graphics
magazine, page 33, which you can read online at: http://read.uberflip.com/i/91176

Print Pricing: Promoting the Bread Winner and Multiples for Multiplied Profits

Pricing inkjet prints by promoting the breadwinner

In yesterday’s blog post I discussed a couple of easy ways to adjust your pricing so that your customer orders the sizes that are the easiest for you to produce. In the second part of this series, I’ll go over two easy ways to adjust your pricing to make more money.

The first step is to identify your major bread winner, and promote it heavily. The second is to give a discount on multiples.

Promote the Bread Winner
Take the time to look at your current product offering. Is there one particular type of print you make a lot more money on than usual? Identify this offering and promote it. Many photographers and print producers have realized that they can make huge profits from canvas and fabric prints. If you have a wide-format printer and don’t offer these solutions to your customers, you may want to reevaluate this opportunity.

Let’s say you charge $200 for a 16 in. x 20 in. stretched and framed canvas print. Your ink and material costs are $4.20 for canvas and ink, $1 for Sunset Gloss Coating and $27 for a Sunset Pro Stretcher Kit. You pay yourself $50 per hour, and spend 15 minutes color correcting the file, and 30 minutes finishing the print:

Price                                                      $200
Material Cost                                     -$32.20 (ink, canvas, bars, and coating)
Labor                                                     -$37.50 ($50 per hour x .75 hours)
Profit                                                     $130.30

(Note: these figures may not reflect the normal pricing in your area.)

That’s a lot of profit, especially when you consider that you paid yourself $50 per hour to make the canvas print. Since you have so much profit, you have room to play. Try running promotions at different percentage discounts and take notes on the results.

Eventually you will learn what discount rate works best in your area to increase your profit. I’ve heard photographers say that they do make more money than usual when they sell a canvas print, but they don’t sell that many. So, if dropping the price of this size and type of print by 20 percent (down to $160) enables you to sell 30 in a month as opposed to 15, then that would be worth it according to the math below…

Month 1 – 15 x $130.80 = $1,962.00
Month 2 – 30 x $117.45 = $3,523.50

That’s a big increase in profit month over a month. You should be aware that this increase in volume took up an extra 11 hours and 15 minutes of your time, but you did get paid for that extra time at a rate of $50 per hour. Do some research to find out which works best for you, put that discount plan into action, and collect the extra money!

Discounts on Multiples
This is a quick and easy pricing idea. The initial cost of producing a print is the highest. You have to shoot the shot, color correct it, crop it to size, and then print. However, in order to make another reproduction you will usually just have to change the number of copies in the OEM driver or RIP you are running from one to two.

Since there is really no additional labor involved, especially if you are making a print that the printer cuts to bleed (see Part 1 from yesterday), then you should encourage your customer to purchase more by offering multiples at a discount.

They probably wouldn’t buy more than one if there was not a discount, so this is a great way to get more money from an existing customer. It is far less expensive to get an order from an existing client than it is to find a new client.

Pricing Your Photo Printing so the Printer Does all the Work

How to print borderless and price your workAs I examine the pricing that photographers charge, I find a serious lack of consistency across the board.  That is why I have decided to do a quick two-part series on pricing. The next part will appear tomorrow morning here at the LexJet Blog.

Many photographers and fine-art producers base their pricing on the square foot cost of the material and ink. It is an easily measureable cost, so I understand why this is the trend. But there are many other factors that should be considered when setting up your pricing structure.

For example, labor should also be considered, as I will illustrate in the first part of this two-part series.  The next installment will provide two other methods of tweaking the pricing structure in order to make more money.

Epson and Canon large format professional printers have the ability to print borderless left to right, and cut top to bottom to bleed. To find out more about how to print borderless, go to the following posts at the LexJet Blog:

Borderless Printing through Photoshop and the Epson Driver

Borderless Printing through Photoshop and the Canon Driver

Borderless Printing through the Canon Plug-In

Check your Tech Data Sheet to see which sizes your printer can print borderless, and purchase rolls in these widths. For example, if you are printing on a 10-in. roll on an Epson Stylus Pro 7900, the printer can drop perfectly trimmed 8x10s in the basket for you. There is no trimming labor involved with frame sizes that have one dimension the same length as a roll you have loaded, like in the previous example. 

Also, it is very simple to make one cut in between to frame sizes that are half the width of the roll. For example, if you print two 5x7s on a 10-in. roll with double cut on, then you will only need to make one cut in between the two for perfect 5x7s. Therefore these sizes should be promoted to your market.

The frame sizes that don’t fit these parameters should be priced significantly higher for two reasons: 1) To cover the additional cost of labor involved with trimming, and 2) To discourage the customer from ordering these sizes. Here is a quick example of how a pricing structure should look to encourage customers to use the sizes that are most profitable for you:

2 – 4x6s = $10.50 ($31.50 per sq. ft.)
2 – 5x7s = $10.00 ($20.57 per sq. ft.)
1 – 8×10 = $11.31 ($20.57 per sq. ft.)

By making the 4×6 more expensive than the larger 5×7 and barely cheaper than the 8×10, the customer is sure to pick the 5x7s or the 8×10. If they really need the 4×6 size, it is still offered, but at a price that covers the additional labor involved.

Your customer may ask why the pricing seems out of line. I would respond to them with honesty, but in a manner that does not reveal your exact methods. A good example of a response would be, “Unfortunately, a 4×6 is an odd size in my photographic process, so it costs more to produce that particular size.” This is a simple response with which your customer can relate.

By adjusting your pricing slightly you can encourage your customers to purchase the products that are the easiest for you to produce. This should decrease your labor costs and increase your profit per print, which will have an immediate impact on your bottom line!