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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

“I did nine versions of the label. The first one I did was the version they wanted and when they looked at it, they said, ‘We don’t like that.’ We went back and forth a ton. They asked if I could put some coffee beans on it, so I took a photo of some coffee beans piled up on a table, clipped them out and put them in the foreground like a little hill. They liked that, so then they said, ‘What would it be like if there was a coffee cup on it?’ So I put a coffee cup on it. Of course, their reaction was, ‘No, we don’t like that! Get rid of that!’ so I took it back out. Then, I think they’d almost approved it when the manager at the Hyatt said, ‘I don’t like the gray sky, though, can you put in a blue sky that’s got puffy white clouds?’”

Louf’s reaction at this point: “Well, then you’re not going to have a rainbow there, and the rainbow is what’s really cool about the picture!” But, like any compliant designer, he headed back to the drawing board – in this case, utilizing a combination of Adobe InDesign and Photoshop to see if he could make the changes the client envisioned. “I took this image I’d shot at Sand Dunes up in Utah that has really dramatic white clouds in it. I managed to superimpose it in PhotoShop behind the rock formation and still keep the rainbow. Even though it was less saturated, you could still see there was a rainbow. And, boom, that’s the one they liked.”

A peel-and-stick solution
With consensus on the label design, Louf and his partners at the Hyatt Starbucks were ready to move forward with printing. Because the private-label coffee was something of a marketing experiment for the store, they didn’t know how much they could expect to sell. Starting small, with only 100 labels, Louf knew there was little chance of finding a label company willing to print such a small batch for a reasonable price. So, instead, he offered up his own machine – a 44-inch Epson Stylus Pro 9800 – for output onto LexJet 11-mil Sunset Photo eSatin 300g paper, using Epson Ultrachrome K3 aqueous pigmented inks with three-level black-ink technology (simultaneous black, light black, and light light black).