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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.

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.


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