Earlier this year Amarula Cream Liqueur released a special edition bottle collection with its well-known elephant branding individualized by HP Indigo digital printing. The first stage of the ‘Name Them, Save Them’ campaign raised awareness of the African elephant as an endangered species by letting consumers visit a virtual African savannah where they could design and name a one-of-a-kind African elephant. In turn, these consumer-produced designs were used to decorate individualized labels on 400,000 Amarula bottles — one bottle for every African elephant still surviving in the wild.
Print plays a big role in today’s higher education marketing campaigns. Why? Because it works.

The Netherlands-based parent company of Vistaprint has changed its name to Cimpress N.V. In conjunction with the rebrand, Cimpress plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars over the next five years to build what it calls a shared mass customization platform.

The Cimpress mass customization platform (MCP), combining proprietary software and production technology, will aggregate the printing infrastructure of the Cimpress portfolio of brands. It will also bring the company’s growing portfolio of purchased assets under the same fold, including well-known Web-to-print names like Vistaprint, Drukwerkdeal, AlbelliOpens and Pixartprinting.

The company states the MCP will increase its ability to mass customize personalized and unique physical products in small quantities at an affordable price.

“We have a two decade history during which we have started a major market transformation, yet the next 20 years promise to be even more exciting,” said Robert Keane, President and CEO, Cimpress. “Businesses and consumers are still too often forced to choose between the ease and flexibility of digital communications and a more enduring tangible connection with their audience. We are changing that…”

Founded as Vistaprint by Keane in January 1995, Cimpress and its subsidiaries have focused on redefining the online purchase of printed apparel, marketing products and photo merchandise. The company states its foundation is based on the belief that software and production technology can be harnessed to aggregate enormous numbers of small orders into a high-volume production flow. Cimpress today employs over 400 software and manufacturing engineers and more than 5,300 total employees in 16 countries.

Cimpress claims that every year since 1999 it has invested at least 10 percent of its revenues into technology and development, including $176 million in its last fiscal year. Over the past decade, the company states it has invested over $1.3 billion in technology, development and capital investments.

The company also announced that it has named Don Nelson as COO for Cimpress. In this role, Nelson will be directly responsible for building and advancing the mass customization platform.

“The future of mass customization is very promising for those companies that can combine world class capabilities in software and manufacturing,” stated Nelson. “The key is to have massive scale, yet produce in small quantities. The old paradigm of job-shop production of orders one at a time simply is not able to compete with technology-driven mass customization.”

Colour Innovations welcomed more than 150 people to its launch event for the inaugural issue of RE:flex, a large-format magazine highlighting the use of specialty printing techniques on high-end design and photography.

This inaugural issue of RE:flex centred around applying Colour Innovations’ CIX MetalFX print technology to the digital collages of designer, artist and illustrator Louis Fishauf, who has won more than 60 Gold and Silver ADCC (Advertising & Design Club of Canada) Awards, Gold and Silver National Magazine Awards, and the ADCC Les Usherwood Award.

Fishauf was the co-founder and Creative Director of Reactor Art & Design; served as Editorial Art Director for Chatelaine, City Woman, The City, Saturday Night and Toronto Life magazines; was the Senior Design Consultant for Sympatico Internet Service; and is an Apple Computer Applemaster. He currently serves as a Sessional Instructor at OCAD University.

Over the past few years, Fishauf has been creating digital collages using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop and as an early adopter and enthusiastic proponent of digital imaging. Colour Innovations describes his work is an ideal medium for the application of CIX MetalFX technology.

The CIX MetalFX process uses Photoshop channels and proprietary software to combine a gold, silver or bronze base with the 4-colour CMYK process to create thousands of metallic shades and hues from only five colours. The process fit Fishauf’s approach of creating digital collages using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

“I took the opportunity to not only experiment with retrofitting my existing pieces, but also to create a number of new collages and the facing pattern pages, with the metallic ink process specifically in mind,” stated Fishauf. “This required developing a workflow in Adobe Photoshop which attempted to approximate on my computer monitor how the metallic colours would appear in print.”

RE:flex’ inaugural is a large-format 24-page publication printed on Sappi HannoArt gloss cover and text, provided by Ariva, with Metalstar Pantone silver ink, provided by Eckart Effect Pigments.

Hostmann-Steinberg North America, Canada’s long-standing ink manufacturer, completed its rebrand to hubergroup Canada Ltd., taking on the name of its powerful parent company – one of the world’s largest ink producers and chemical companies.

As part of its rebranding efforts, Hubergroup Canada launched a new Website,, complete with a revamped product selection guide. In addition to inks, hubergroup produces and markets printing varnishes, coatings, dampening solutions, additives and printing auxiliaries.

hubergroup is an international holding group comprised of 40 companies, which amounts to 150 branch offices, sales offices, distributing warehouses and representatives worldwide. It has been a privately held company for over 240 years, with the founding family still involved. More than 3,600 employees contribute to hubergroup’s annual production capacity of over 340,000 tonnes of products.

Domtar has released a series of videos which uses a humourous approach to illustrate the value of printed products. The four new videos are part of the company's PAPERbecause campaign, which made its debut back in 2010.

"The PAPERbecause campaign has always promoted the responsible use of paper and the need to balance print vs. pixels, and we wanted to illustrate several instances of when paper is the most effective way to communicate on a logical and emotional level," said Paige Goff, Domtar's Vice-President of Sustainable Business and Brand Management. "Our previous office videos reminded people how Domtar has long been a leader in sustainable paper production, but with the new videos, we wanted to focus on everyday life."

"We've been very pleased with the recognition PAPERbecause has received, and we think it speaks to a bigger point," adds Goff. "Even after 2,000 years, there are times when no substitute for paper will suffice."
Flash Reproductions and Unisource Canada partnered to launch Wayward Arts magazine, a new publication to highlight Canadian design studios. The companies held a launch event last night.

Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA, one of the world’s most powerful media companies, based in Hamburg, Germany, announced it will brand its printing operations under the name of Be Printers.

This printing division of Bertelsmann was formed a few months ago after the international media company merged most of its worldwide print operations. Now, 17 production sites in six countries on three continents will operate under the Be Printers umbrella.

The Be Printers group does business in what Bertelsmann describes as key markets in the Americas (U.S. and Colombia) and Europe (Germany, UK, Italy, and Spain). The Chief Executive Officer of Be Printers is Bertram Stausberg, who also leads the company’s Prinovis entity. 

The individual Be Printer companies will continue to do business under their original names. Axel Springer is to remain a co-shareholder in Prinovis.

Be Printers generates annual revenues of €1.2 billion and employs approximately 6,800 people, working with gravure, web and sheetfed offset, and digital printing. Its plants produce magazines, catalogs, brochures, books and calendars for their clients.

Mohawk Papers has launched a new initiative to revamp the fourth-generation, family-owned business. 

“Today, we are making bold changes across every aspect of our business with the launch of multiple customer-facing initiatives that provide tangible evidence of the company’s vision and new experiences for customers,” said Mohawk Chairman & CEO Thomas D. O’Connor, Jr.

The effort includes the launch of a new brand and a new Website at The new brand was conceived by Pentagram, Mohawk's primary brand agency for more than two decades. The logo is meant to communicate a sense of connection with designers and brand owners. Mohawk's previous logo was unveiled in 2003.

Mohawk will also be streamlining its product offering by reducing its SKUs by roughly 50 percent, most of which the company attributes to redundancies caused by acquisitions over the past five years

“This is the first wave in a holistically conceived solution that recognizes the relationship between experiencing the nuances of papers — starting with color and finish — and keeping the focus on simplicity, what the customer needs when they need it,” said Michael McGinn of Design Office, creator of a new product selector for Mohawk.

“For customers who already know Mohawk, the product line is a simpler and clearer presentation,” said O’Connor. “For customers who are new to Mohawk, the system makes the process of choosing papers effortless and engaging.”

The company has created a series of videos to highlight the new direction for the company under the theme of "What will you make today?" 

Mohawk was founded in 1931 in upstate New York by George O'Connor when he acquired the Frank Gilbert Paper Company. The company recently expanded with the purchase of Strathmore and Beckett brands from International Paper, as well as SMART Papers in 2009. In 2011, the company acquired Bravo Solutions, a supplier of specialty synthetic and paper substrates. The company has also opened sales offices in Asia, Europe and Latin America.

After entering Greater Toronto’s printing community in December 2011, by setting up a 40,000-square-foot plant in Mississauga, Ontario, 4over Inc. is opening up its new facility for tours as part of a Canadian grand-opening ceremony.

4over announced it began producing work out of its Mississauga plant in early December, after hiring Tom Hogan as Plant Manager. Describing itself as North America’s largest trade printer, 4over is headquartered in Glendale, California, and lists a total of 440,000 square feet of office and production space in North America.

In conjunction with a ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for April 10, attendees will be given an opportunity to tour 4over Canada’s equipment and products housed in Mississauga.

“We are very excited for the level of support that we have seen from our Canadian customers,” said Zarik Megerdichian, CEO of 4over. “We would like to show our appreciation by inviting the print community to join us for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony.”

For more details about the ceremony, please see the PrintAction Events Calendar

During the Label Expo Europe 2011 trade show, held in the fall in Belgium, Xeikon held a booth contest to win a trip for two to Brussels. Last week, the press company, through its Canadian distribution partner, Nustream Graphic, announced the contest winner as Elizabeth Laflamme, who is the Prepress Manager at Multi-Action Labels of Québec City.

Multi-Action Labels, which also operates a sales office in Woodbridge, Ontario, specializes in self-adhesive label and flexible packaging for food and pharmaceutical market. The Québec company also runs a graphic design department.

Pictured left to right: Anthony Bourbonnière, VP of Sales with Multi-Action, Elizabeth Laflamme, Prepress Manager, and Alexis Aubre, Sales Representative at Nustream Graphic.

Transcontinental has refreshed its brand image. From now on, the company will be known as "TC. Transcontinental," with its subsidiaries known as "TC. Media" and "TC. Transcontinental Printing."

"As our customers’ needs have evolved, so have we. What customers rightly expect is proactivity, creativity, innovation, strategy, customization and market intelligence. Our new brand launch is a logical milestone in the disciplined roll-out of the development plan we began implementing in 2008 to strengthen our core operations and build new marketing communications services," said François Olivier, President and CEO of TC. Transcontinental.

TC. Transcontinental has worked with Cohesion Strategies, a Montreal-based consultancy, and Bleublancrouge, a Montreal-based advertising and design agency to develop this brand strategy. 

According to the company, the TC, along with its typographic style, has strong meaning for Transcontinental:

Beyond the truncation of the word Transcontinental, the ‘t’ in the new ‘tc’  stands for technology, while the ‘c’ represents community. In the chosen typography, the bold, upright ‘t’ embodies confidence and solidity. The ‘c’, with its generous opening, signifies willingness to communicate.  The red dot from the former logo is transformed into a black one, which represents the digital economy as well as the point of contact between the company and its customers.

Vancouver-based Metropolitan Fine Printers introduced a new branding position by dropping the word Metropolitan from its name, as the industry stalwart will now present itself as MET Fine Printers to the market. MET based its new branding approach on what the company refers to as its three pillars of engagement: Environment, Design and Ethical Business practices.

“We felt it was time to let our clients know what we have been up to. We continue to do what we do best every day, taking on the toughest print challenges the industry and delivering the absolute finest results,” stated Scott Gray, MET's Director of Brand. “Our digital and Web-based services have grown tremendously but we have not really talked too much about it. A fresh look and robust new Website seemed a good place to start the conversation.”

The company has also started a new division called MET Resource, described as a service that project manages print collateral from business cards through retail signage and installation – with an emphasis on brand continuity.

“We feel the time has come to formally share our multidisciplinary expertise we have developed over the years,” stated Nikos Kallas, MET President. “MET has always had a tremendous appreciation of brand design and has stamped this on our business model. Our MET Resource team ensures that multifaceted projects maintain absolute brand continuity across any platform.”

Kallas continues to explain that MET Resource is to be enabled by the company’s G7 colour management capabilities and environmental positioning as a carbon-neutral printer, while also focusing on logistics, distribution and installation.

For two days last week, Toronto-based Webcom Inc. welcomed over 250 publishers and industry stakeholders to tour what the company describes as a $12-million investment in its book-manufacturing platform.

During the 2-day open house, entitled Game Changers 2011, Webcom announced a “multi-year strategic alliance” with Pearson’s educational business for North America. While details of the contract were not released, the book manufacturer also introduced a new logo, corporate colours, and tagline: “We’re on the same page.”

“The rules of the game have changed in the publishing industry with no shortage of worldwide economic problems pushing all of us,” stated Mike Collinge, President of Webcom. “We’re challenged daily in our businesses with ‘e’ and digital change, as well as rapidly advancing consumer demands.  Print must change and improve its value. Today’s announcement signifies our readiness to change the rules of the game in favour of winning strategies for book publishers.”

Webcom first announced its $12-million investment plan in October 2010 following the Canadian-first purchase of an HP T300 web press. With this inkjet-based press as centerpiece to the investment, Webcom also purchased a toner-based HP Indigo 7000 (primarily to print covers) and several pieces of postpress technology, including: Acoro and Bolero finishing lines from Müller Martini, a Standard Horizon StitchLiner 6000, and a Magnum Flexbook system.

The technologies are drawn together in a new manufacturing strategy called BookFWD, in which Webcom plans to redefine its inventory, distribution and production costs associated with book production.

HP Canada was platinum sponsor of Webcom’s Game Changers 2011 open house, which also included support from technology partners AbitibiBowater, Cascades, Domtar, H.B. Fuller, KBR Graphics, Magnum Digital Solutions, Oce Canada, SoftChoice and Unisource.

Two B.C. printing companies have received Gold Awards from this year's Sappi North American Printers of the Year competition. Hemlock Printers and Blanchette Press received a Gold Award in the Digital and General Print categories respectively. The competition revolves around print produced on Sappi stocks; more than 2,100 entries were submitted this year.

Blanchette Press' submission faced many different formats, from media guides to brochures to calendars. Titled Original 16 and produced for Great Western Brewing, Blanchette Press's production garnered the following kudos from judge Bill Garno, of the Rochester Institute of Technology: "It was a very clean piece, photography was great, separations were done well and the piece was printed flawlessly. Very clean, no mistakes and it had a great visual impact in the contrast of the colour printing and good use of the whiteness of the paper."

Blanchette press also won a silver in General and Magazines (sheetfed) as well as bronze awards in Annual Reports, Brochures and one in Printer's Own Promotion.

Hemlock's submission, a portfolio of photographer Peter Schafrick, featured a short cover and a design which can be read backwards and forwards.

"When you get into the book, the images just popped. They literally came off the page. Consistent in colour, lots of coverage and they did not shy away from the heavy saturation of colour," said judge Lauren Elliott of Wicked Good Productions. "Creatively, it has a nice overall impact as well as superb execution."

Gold Award recipients receive up to $20,000 to support marketing initiatives.

Toronto-based CJ Graphics won a silver and a bronze award in the Brochures category. Mississauga-based Somerset Graphics won a silver and a bronze award in Magazines (sheetfed) category. St. Joseph Communications won a bronze in the Magazine (web) category.
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