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Profiting with Large-Format Scanning

(September 2008) posted on Thu Sep 11, 2008

Five shops share their viewpoints on digitizing on a large scale.

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By Clare Baker

"People are not looking for that whole procedure," he continues. "A large-format scanner allows us to take a client’s original art, run it right through the machine, and scan directly from the original art without having to produce a transparency first. And we can scan it directly at a much lower cost."

McLeester admits, however, that there are some drawbacks to the sheetfed scanner: "The quality of the scan isn’t as good as the drum scan. For some clients, that can be an issue. The retouching and color correction in Photoshop involves a little more work."

Importantly, however, the expanded service the large-format scanner offers, as well as a lower cost, has resulted in an uptick in business for the shop. And it brought in new customers as well as more work from existing customers. "We had an artist who would have us do one of his images about every other month," says McLeester. "Now he’s bringing us in four or fives images every month because he can afford it and we can do it quickly enough."

And while the large-format scanner is primarily used for fine-art reproductions, Digi-Type’s scanning customers represent a number of fields, including advertising firms, various small businesses, and companies needing blueprint reproductions. Another steady customer is nearby Sonoma State University. "The university’s library has brought over old maps that we’ve scanned, reproduced, and laminated," says McLeester.

Even with the increased clientele, McLeester says there are no plans to add an additional scanner to the shop. "At this point," he explains, "the only reason we would is if we needed to scan larger than 36-inches wide, which hasn’t been the case yet. With the combination of the Graphtec and the drum scanner, we’re able to handle the workload."

Scanning specialists
While scanning is just one of the services that Digi-Type provides, it’s a major aspect of the Phoenix-based AZ Overland Blueprint’s business. Although the shop was established more than 20 years ago as a blueprint company doing primarily copying and duplicating, within the past five years the company has transitioned into a full-service scanning bureau.