Creative Toolkit Shows Off Finishing Services

By Jeff Peterson, editor-in-chief, PostPress

Poor Richard’s Press (PRP), a commercial printer in San Luis Obispo, California, has provided printing services in Northern California for over 75 years. Over the past several years, PRP’s clients have been asking about additional services, including special finishes and embellishments. With this in mind, the company recently decided to add digital spot UV, digital foil and lamination capabilities to its line of services.

To help educate and promote the company’s new capabilities, it was important to create a self-promotional tool. From this, the design of a “Creative Toolkit” was born.

“It’s important as printers to remember that just because we may have plenty of print knowledge, the people who purchase from us often don’t have a convenient way of learning,” said Bella Skinner, Poor Richard’s Press marketing manager. “We saw the need for a tool that is both educational and displays a wide array of the services we provide. We also wanted to ensure we designed it in a modern and appealing way where people would want to keep the toolkit and use it repeatedly.”


Graphics for the Creative Toolkit were accomplished in-house by Skinner. Her goal was to ensure the piece encompassed PRP as a whole and would be appealing to both the designers and marketers of the world, as well as act as a useful and functional tool. PRP used black elements on the toolkit to provide a sleek, uniform look to all of the items.

Due to the nature of the piece, an array of paper was used. The outside folder element is a 100# cover uncoated midnight black. Most of the inside covers of each booklet were printed on 100# gloss cover.

“To create a unique contrast, we made the inside pages of our toolkit items vibrant and colorful,” Skinner said. “The overall design process took lots of trial and error to ensure a cohesive yet impactful design.”

The toolkit’s purpose was to show the capabilities of PRP’s new equipment and services. The different pieces within the Creative Toolkit included digital foiling, lamination (soft-touch, gloss and matte), spot UV, diecutting and binding (coil and screw).

The kit included a paper sample book with several coated and uncoated samples in different paper weights; a spot UV Sample book explaining the process with several colorful, raised spot UV samples included; a foil sample book; a sample of both offset and digital printing; as well as samples of PRP’s embroidery capabilities and a leather sample that showcased the company’s latest engraving capabilities. All of the sample books in the Creative Toolkit included a black digitally printed cover with soft-touch lamination and raised spot UV coating, creating a cohesive look to all the pieces. The printing was accomplished on a RICOH 9200 digital press and a Heidelberg Speed Master 52 offset press. The spot UV was done on a Duplo DDC-8109 spot UV coater and the soft-touch lamination and foiling was done on a Vivid Matrix MX-370p. The foil was supplied by Crown Roll Leaf. The diecutting was done on an Intec 9000.

“The toolkit is unique because it utilized a vast number of the machines we have in our shop,” stated Skinner. “Not only did we use some of our newest printing equipment, but we utilized our Epilog laser engraving machine and our 6-head embroidery machines as well.”

Design and production challenges

The different books fit into a folder utilizing a black cover stock and raised spot UV coating, giving it a consistent black-on-black look as with the other covers. Skinner insisted on using the black stock and having white edges on the folder simply was not an option. PRP had to figure out a way to include a QR code and target marks on the paper to properly register the spot UV and diecut. To accomplish this, a hand-placed label was added to the corners so every sheet could be digitally printed and the finishing machines could read the marks and QR codes. “Luckily, we had amazing Cal Poly Graphic Communications interns help with the tedious task of hand placing the labels,” commented Skinner. “In the end, it was well worth it. The sleek look of the black outside folder outweighed the extra time put into the creation.”

Customer response

Poor Richard’s Press has had overwhelmingly positive reactions from clients and its team members on the Creative Toolkit. Its project managers and sales team enjoy utilizing it when explaining the various services and print finishing options offered by PRP.

“We have found that our Creative Toolkit is excellent at upselling our print finishing services,” concluded Skinner. “When we show a gorgeous foil or spot UV sample next to a plain print, our clients are easily impressed! In fact, we have had such success with this piece, we find ourselves running through our inventory and having to make more quite