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An Aqueous Journey

(June 2011) posted on Tue Jun 07, 2011

Photographer-turned-print provider Bill Louf finds wide-format success.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Paula Yoho

All told, Louf says, he can output, cut, and mount 100 labels for Starbucks in less than an hour. “Basically, I gang them up so they’re 11 images across on a 36-inch roll, and then I print them three rows high, so I’m printing 33 at a time. I always print some extras, because I know they’re going to order them, and I just put them in the drawer until I run the next run.”

The labels are applied by hand, peel-and-stick fashion, to white coffee bags that have a picture of the Pike Street market store, the Starbucks label, and brown printing on them. But, because the media Louf chooses to print on is not self-adhesive, he has combined ingenuity with his years of experience to come up with a solution for the client.

“They’re printed on eSatin paper, which comes on 100-foot rolls x 36-inches, because that’s what I stock. When I get done printing them, I sled them upside down with a piece of 3A Composites Gatorfoam that I run through my 33-inch Coda roller press [laminator] and basically put an adhesive on it. I don’t take the release sheet off, I leave it on because it’s Teflon coated, so anything I run through there is not going to stick. Then I flip the prints upside down so they’re face down on this sled and I run them through the Coda again with the adhesive this time, and the adhesive goes on the back of the print. When I flip them back over, I trim away the outside edges that are bigger than the print was, and I end up with a sheet of these labels that have an adhesive backing on them that’s peel-and-stick. Then I take my Rotatrim cutter and, in 20 minutes, clip them apart into a stack of 2 x 3-inch labels that they can peel and stick onto the coffee packages.”

Building brand momentum
The label experiment was a solid success, with Starbucks selling out of 100 packages of coffee in the first month-and-a-half. To maintain the branding momentum, Louf then proposed developing a series of signs and P-O-P displays, and Starbucks jumped on board.