Lake County Press

The ability to print on multiple substrates and offering such cutting-edge technologies as augmented reality and digital printing are helping Lake County Press’s business thrive in the ever-changing world of print technology. 

Lake County Press’ equipment includes an eight-color, fully interdecked offset press with ultraviolet curing, a six-color offset press and a die cutter. The Waukegan, Ill.-based company credits Ralph Johnson, its president and CEO, with his willingness to invest in the company, even during the earliest signs of the economic downturn in 2007. Ralph Johnson’s son, Tom Johnson, is executive vice president and COO.

The company’s equipment also includes four different digital presses on two different platforms, which allows it to run different types of jobs with different finishes and substrates. “We have digital presses as well as offset presses, which allows us the flexibility to do shorter-run work,” the company says. We can run on different substrates, on plastic or paperboard up to 36 point. That allows us a lot of flexibility to produce different pieces.”

Digital Flexibility

The company specializes in printing high-end, one-off commercial printing pieces as well as boutique packaging. Having a variety of digital presses gives Lake County Press the ability to meet disparate customer demands.

“Digital printing gives us a customized approach to any sort of marketing program,” the company explains. “We can do some test marketing with specific types of design with variable data content on the package to see what response rates might be and what feedback you might get from a client. 

“We can have regional offerings presented on different project pieces. It gives us a lot of flexibility to be really able to customize the piece to the recipient of the package.”

Lake County Press is evolving with the printing industry to offer additional services including offset offerings, large-format digital printing, website development and web hosting, as well as fulfillment and mailing capabilities. 

These changes have come about as the printing industry is continuing to evolve. “We all have to reinvent ourselves and find other ways to supplement what we’re doing,” the company says. “We find ourselves going in new directions. This is what clients are demanding now, and we see the industry continuing to change. What we’re doing is we are becoming a communications company and a brand steward for our clients. We do more things for our clients now than we ever have been doing.”

One-stop Shop

The goal of Lake County Press is to meet its customers’ every printing and production need. “We’re providing all of the prepress, all the printing – whether digital or offset – the finishing, whether it’s die-cutting, scoring, perforating, folding, stitching or trimming, and then the shipment of the material out to either a fulfillment operation outside of here – if the client has that service – or we provide that service to the client, to ship their packages to the end point designation around the world, and do the website for the same client,” the company says.

Lake County Press also is working with its customers on projects utilizing augmented reality. This allows a printed piece to launch a video or secondary message through a web app by holding the piece over a smart phone or tablet. Unlike a QR code – which looks like a square bar code – the marker is built into the printed piece.

“The printed piece itself is scanned in and used as the marker,” the company says. “It could be the cover image or some type on the front depending on what we’re wanting to do with the client. If we have a person on the front cover, that person would pop up in a 3-D figure and start talking and give you more information about the product or give you some secondary information about the company.”

Lake County Press is environmentally conscious and is Forest Stewardship Council-certified. Family owned and managed, Lake County Press has a family environment that sponsors little league teams and donates services. For the future, the company plans to provide grand format digital printing, which can inkjet print on a variety of substrates – such as glass, plastic or wood more than 1-inch thick – and uses ultraviolet curing. This type of press has the capability to print signs.

The company attributes the company’s success to its employees, from those on the production floor to the salesforce. “Having been partners with our customers for many years has enabled us to weather this whole process and helped us evolve as a company,” it says. “It’s allowed us to move into different areas and adapt to the different needs that our customers have.” 

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