One of those “opportunities” was the decision to get involved in digital early on. “Film processing was going out of style, and that end of the business was dropping off as the digital was increasing. It just made more sense for us to put our energies into producing exceptional grand format digital printing,” says Hall.
Green concurs. “A lot of other labs decided to wait, or skip it all together,” says Green. “As a result, many of those labs are gone today.”
In 1993 the lab bought a Howtek drum scanner and a Raster 5000 electrostatic printer, which started them on the road to digital mass production. This was followed four years later by the installation of a Lambda photo imager which enhanced their ability to produce high end, high resolution work.
“One of the biggest challenges is staying current and making the correct technological purchase decisions,” says Green. Hall estimates that in the last decade the company has spent over $5 million in their acquisition of state-of-the-art, digital equipment.
Here’s a rundown of their current digital arsenal: Two Vutek UltraVu 3360 inket printers which print on vinyl and adhesive up to 3 meters in width; two Lambda 131 large-format digital laser imagers that print continuous tone, photographic prints directly to media up to 50 x 1800 inches; an Océ Lightjet for photographic media up to 72 x 12 inches; a Scitex XLJET+ inkjet printer with high speed output for up to 5 meters seamless, double-sided vinyl prints; two Fuji Frontier digital minilabs for smaller prints; two Xerox DocuColor 6060 sheet-fed digital color presses for short-run color laser prints; an Inca Columbia direct-to-surface, flatbed digital printer; and a dye-sublimation fabric system.
One milestone that shaped Ferrari Color’s future direction was their involvement with the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City .
“It was a huge accelerator for our business,” recalls Green. “We had to turn out so much work in such a short period of time that it demonstrated the strength of our capabilities…that we could move into other areas and keep up the momentum.”
The company was charged with producing 18,000 wayfinding signs for the Olympics. According to Green, for three weeks, the lab had to run 24-hour shifts and bring in 32 temporary employees. In addition, Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee designers and Ferrari Color designers from out of state were flown in and set up shop at the Salt Lake City facility.
“They would design all day until 9:00 or 10:00 PM , and then the digital department would prep and RIP until 6:30 AM the next day when the fabrication crew arrived to begin their work,” says Green.
He admits that the acquisition of Ferrari Color enabled Creative to handle the incredible volume that the Olympics generated by shifting the work flow and personnel needed between the two locations in order to get the job done. It also propelled Ferrari into the sports industry and precipitated an explosion of graphics work that would adorn many major stadiums and venues such as the Delta Center, home of the Utah Jazz; the Salt Palace Convention Center; Arco Arena for the Sacramento Kings; and 3Com Park where the San Francisco 49ers play. Most recently, Ferrari Color produced over 36,000 square feet of graphics for REAL Salt Lake , Salt Lake ’s new professional soccer team. Because their permanent home is not complete, they were looking to dress up their temporary home at the University of Utah ’s Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Over the years Ferrari Color has received numerous awards for their outstanding and unusual graphics from such organizations as PMA, Signs of the Times, ADDY and Best of State - Utah . But Green feels that success does not hinge on honors and accolades.
“Everyone tries to point to some clever, unique project they’ve done, but our success rides on being able to pull off the daily projects with speed and accuracy,” continues Green. “And we focus as much, or more, on that goal than we do creating cool, funky products you can show off.”
Green and Hall are quick to credit their personnel for much of the growth and success the lab has enjoyed. The lab will only hire the “best of the best” technicians, artists and production people who demonstrate a “high level of energy, passion and pride in what they do;” and all prospective employees go through a long and arduous screening process before they come on board.
“The bottom line is that we try to create a winning attitude…a winning organization,” Green says. “I’m convinced that people want to work for a company that strives to be the best.”