Big Picture - August 2018 - 25

"We grew through customer requests and our attitude to
never say 'no' to a project. If it's possible, we will take it on and
figure out how to get it done," he adds.
Less than one percent of Wild Blue's business is outsourced. They discovered early on that it wasn't their thing,
which became a big driver for expansion. "We found we
couldn't control the speed or the quality, and we built the Wild
Blue brand on both of those things. We need to be able to
manage the timing and quality control throughout the entire
process," Van Epern explains.
"Things in this industry are constantly changing, even
during a project, so it's allowed us to be more nimble and
adapt to those changes more rapidly," he adds.
Production runs smoothly throughout the large facility via
a combination of software and human tracking systems. Van
Epern says they haven't found an out-of-the-box workflow
software that functions as a single tool for all facets of their
business, so they developed their own custom job tracking
software. Two team members are in charge of "traffic,"
making sure each job moves fluently through the creative,
production, and installation processes.
With a focus on constructing experiential spaces - often
in retail environments - wide-format digital print is still an
important component of Wild Blue's business, though the company has expanded into other related areas in an effort to meet
clients' needs. While 80 percent of growth decisions are based
on customer demand, the remainder are rooted in Wild Blue's
desire to be on the cutting edge. Virtual reality, for use as an
e-commerce tool, is a recent investment. Using cameras that can
track people's emotions through facial expressions is another.
"If we think there is a future in something, we invest, and
add another tool to our toolbox," Van Epern explains. "We're
always looking for trends in the industry, like in the virtual
space. Even before our customers are asking for something,
we like to have it developed so we can bring the idea to our
customers, rather than waiting for them to ask us for it."
IES ( launched in 1995 as a fulfillment and
finishing company. After 16 years in business, they expanded
into wide-format digital printing, which now makes up 80
percent of their business. Once they jumped into wide format,

IES frequently
prints visuals for
shopping centers.
Both of these
graphics were
output on an EFI
Vutek HS125 Pro.
The elevator wrap,
left, was printed on
3M IJ180mC-10. The
9 x 12-foot banner,
right, was printed
on Piedmont
Plastics SupraFlex
Eclipse blockout

Brian Rogers has always been in the printing business. He got
his start working with his father, a photographer who branched
out into photo processing. He then spent 30 years in the
printing industry in production and sales roles for a few
different PSPs. In 2006, his wife, Leslie, posed the question:
Why work for other printers, when we could work for ourselves? Louisville, Kentucky-based Spectra Imaging ( was born in a two-car garage using solely the
couple's savings - they didn't want to take on loans - with a
computer and a single 42-inch printer.
Two years later, business was booming with large clients
including Kroger - despite the sagging economy that shuttered
many shops - so they moved to a larger space. Every year or
two since, the company has added more square footage to their
shop to meet the demands of their growing operation.
In addition to the husband-and-wife team at the helm,
Spectra Imaging employs four team members - three full time
and one part time - who work in the 8500-square-foot facility.
Projects run the gamut from basic yard signs, window graphics,


Big Loud Records received late approval from the city of
Nashville to have these sidewalk graphics installed for the 2018
CMA Fest. IES received the order Thursday afternoon, printed
with an EFI Vutek HS125 Pro onto AlumiGraphics Grip, and
installed the project before 5 a.m. Friday morning.

IES quickly grew from a 10-person shop in 2012 to 37
employees in a 40,000-square-foot facility today. A typical
patron is a retailer seeking P-O-P signage, but they also
complete vehicle wraps, print displays for events, and more,
says Scott Schweitzer, general manager.
The Nashville-based company seeks to simplify a client's
project by taking care of every step, from design to print to
shipping. They even offer warehouse space if a tradeshow
client, for example, wants to store their booth graphics between
events. With an eye toward creating a seamless customer
experience, IES handles everything in-house, which gives them
the flexibility to meet a buyer's timeline. "By handling all
aspects, we control the whole experience," Schweitzer adds.
A challenge in the wide-format business? "It seems the
only constant in equipment for wide format is that it's
constantly changing. A press can become outdated within
four to five years. We always want to be on the cutting edge of
technology, which requires constant changes to not only the
equipment, but also to software and continued training for our
employees," Schweitzer explains.
Workflow is run through EFI Pace MIS software, as well as
preflight software and CAD software. Like many PSPs, typical
bottlenecks happen in finishing, which is why IES is adding a
third cutter and a second shift to keep up with demand.

25 http://www.BIGPICTURE.NET

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Big Picture - August 2018

Big Picture - August 2018 - Intro
Big Picture - August 2018 - Cover1
Big Picture - August 2018 - Cover2
Big Picture - August 2018 - Contents
Big Picture - August 2018 - 2
Big Picture - August 2018 - 3
Big Picture - August 2018 - 4
Big Picture - August 2018 - 5
Big Picture - August 2018 - 6
Big Picture - August 2018 - 7
Big Picture - August 2018 - 8
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Big Picture - August 2018 - Cover3
Big Picture - August 2018 - Cover4