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Building a Green Campaign

(December 2010) posted on Tue Dec 07, 2010

Portland Color helps Bloomingdale's show off its sustainable side.

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By Jake Widman

"Going green" is the mantra of many businesses these days. But few print providers have embraced the concept as thoroughly as Portland Color of Portland, Maine. This year, the shop was able to leverage that commitment into producing materials for special environmentally themed “Little Green Boutiques” in every Bloomingdale's location across the country.

Portland Color's road to being a wide-format print shop that’s focused on sustainability has taken the company down various paths in its history. Recalls company founder and president Andrew Graham, "Since we started in 1988, we've gone through many stages. At one time, we created presentation graphics with Lotus Freelance Plus and Harvard Graphics. Unfortunately, the slide-making and overhead business didn't last. Neither did the color-copy business, nor did the film processing and printing business. But we kept evolving to provide new products to our customers.

"We became a wide-format print provider around 1998," Graham continues. "We bought a couple of Encad NovaJets and a PostScript RIP and began RIP’ing files and printing them 36-inches wide. Our first job was signage for a well-known Maine retailer. Now we employ 22 people in a 25,000-square-foot facility."
Since then, the shop has moved far beyond those two early NovaJets: The facility now houses an array of wide-format printers, including an HP XLJet 1500 dye-sublimation printer, a Roland SolJet Pro aqueous dye-sublimation printer, an HP Designjet L65500 Latex-based ink printer, an HP FB6100 UV-curable flatbed printer, a CET Color X-Press HK512 16B UV-curable printer, and an Océ LightJet 430, among others.

Connecting the 'green' dots
Portland Color also has made great strides to set itself apart from its competitors. One aspect of this has been its efforts to offer environmentally preferable options to it clients and to become a leader in environmentally sound practices overall.

"About four or five years ago," Graham relates, "I became interested in becoming a green company. I contacted the SGIA (the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association) to ask about how, and it was just about the time they were starting to ask those questions internally themselves. It became quickly apparent that we were ahead of the curve, because there weren't very many sustainable products or processes yet. So we began pushing manufacturers to come up with solutions that were appropriate and to come up with documentation that proved it."