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(October 2012) posted on Tue Nov 06, 2012

In Yellowknife, Signed delivers digital printing to Canada’s far north.

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By Mike Antoniak

But Pacey is not threatened by the competition. “We have a customer base that’s been coming to the company for years, and I also brought some small business clients,” she explains. As a certified graphic designer (CGD) with the Designers Guild of Canada, Pacey had done work for many consumers and companies in the territory since she first moved to Yellowknife in the mid 1990s.

“We’re trying to position ourselves as somewhere people can come to and get great service, great graphic design by a CGD, and a one-stop shop for marketing their business,” she explains. In addition to design and sign printing services, marketing programs have included branded items like USB drives and pens, sourced from distant wholesalers. “We’re filling a niche so clients not only come to us for signs, they can have all their needs taken care of.”

Signed’s equipment lineup is modest but it’s also versatile enough to realize the corporate goals. Some of the major tools include: a 64-inch HP Designjet 8000, a 12-color Designjet Z3200 (44-inch) used primarily for printing posters, Konica Minolta color copier for color copies and brochures, and a pair of older vinyl cutters. The Postershop 7 RIP from Onyx drives the workflow to both HP printers. Signed uses HP inks exclusively but will source media from several vendors – including a range of 3M media and laminates, Oracal vinyl, and various substrates from Sabic Polymershapes.

“The HP Designjet 8000 is our workhorse,” Pacey reports. “We do pretty much anything: banners, election signs, Dibond site signs for construction companies, tiny vinyl lettering for government name slats.” Daily customers range from “government departments to construction companies to the diamond mines the NWT is famous for, and even people walking in off the street looking for a decal so they can name their boat.”

Projects are as varied as the client base. When Pacey spoke with The Big Picture in late August, she and her crew were in the process of wrapping an 8 x 16-foot mobile food trailer with vinyl for a local Thai restaurant. And for a new clothing store, Signed’s full-service solutions included not only producing the graphics for the store’s mall windows, but also designing the store logo, printing business cards, and creating the ads to promote the store in the local newspaper.