Magazine Article


Vista Color Imaging: A Cutting-Edge Digital Business

Trade show clients account for more than 70 percent of Vista Color's business-clients that demand photographic quality. "We're talking pharmaceutical, biochemical-and that part is growing," says Vesely.

Kevin Vesely, president of Vista Color Imaging.

Vesely sees the type of work shifting now that the Rho flatbed press is online. "More than 60 percent [of our work] has been digital photo, but that will probably change with the new flatbed," he predicts. "While photo has been a significant growth part of our business, inkjet output, especially larger solvent-based output, has only been a part of this growth for the last year and a half."

Vista Color has six salespeople, including Gallo and Vesely, who are active salesmen. "Outside sales is really the answer to growth," explains Vesely.

John Kallmeyer, vice president of sales, is chomping at the bit to deliver product off the Rho flatbed and CNC router. "It's extremely exciting," he says. "Every day I receive a quote that has an application for flatbed printing in higher volumes, most commonly on Sintra. There's a lot of opportunity for double-sided, 1/16 of an inch Lexan for museum work.

"It's [the Rho] going to give us another advantage with short-to-medium runs. The router will even help us with the labor cutting square board. Our plastics supplier [Piedmont Plastics] said that our ability to print white ink will give us a leg up on board printing, on black Sintra and on other colors."

Kallmeyer's excitement carries over into new areas, positioning Vista Color to get more heavily into POP display and signage markets. Herb Byers, vice president of creative, is a former museum designer and curator and has been selling for Vista Color since 1992 as a museum and national and municipal parks specialist. He's also a creative designer in his own right and works with producers for the creation and installation of custom exhibits. Byers believes that museum work will keep digital photo alive for quite some time. In addition to the curatorial issues, he says, "photo is considered an art form because of its quality, color matching, resolution and longevity. You cannot use any product that can fail with heat and humidity."

Some of Vista Color's prize exhibits include John Lennon: This Life and Work in Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Great Lakes Nature and Science Center and, most recently, Cumberland National Park in Middlesboro, Kentucky, accompanied by storytellers covering the personalities of the history of the Cumberland Gap. Vista Color produced 65-inch-high kiosks faced with half-inch glass artifacts that relate to the audio story using Kodak Clear contour-cut graphics, hand-mounted to glass and finished with MACtac Permaflex.

The Vendor Partnership

Walking around Vista Color's 34,000-square-foot plant tells you that they have a broad brand assortment of equipment and vendors: Creo/Scitex, ScanMate, Durst, Océ, Encad, Seal, AGL, Kreonite, Colex Imaging, Miller Weldmaster and MGE/MultiCam. The same variety applies to consumables: Kodak, Ilford Imaging, Fuji, CPAC/Trebla, Avery Dennison, LexJet, MACtac, Quality Mounting & Laminating, General Formulations, FLEXcon, L.G. Chemical (Korean), CorePlex, Sintra, Lexan, Gator and more to come as clients request unique substrates. After all, who knows what special product will be required for the Rho flatbed? "We can't find one finishing supplier to fulfill all our needs," says Vesely. "We are discriminating enough that we will pick from all the manufacturers for cost, performance and quality." Next year, Konica Minolta and Agfa could be added to their vendor list.

Vista Color is fortunate enough to have Miller Weldmaster, Avery Dennison and Hasco Sales, Inc. (the Seal distributor) headquartered in the Cleveland area. Obviously, it's impossible to make all these purchases direct, so a good dealer that will stock your basic products and deliver them the same day is crucial. Vista Color has a tight relationship with Piedmont Plastics in Akron, OH, a national photo/graphics distributor. "They offer good warehousing; we get better pricing, and in most cases, same-day delivery," says Vesely.

With only 29 employees, Vista Color Imaging is lean in comparison to many of the industry's large-format graphics producers. However, when you consider the large production space, packed with the finest print and finishing equipment available on today's market, the company comes off with a power-packed printmaker image. The finishing department contains more capability than larger companies, and its four street docks allow them to move big graphics in and out. From a business standpoint, perhaps Vista Color has it right: Keep the employee number low and the equipment current and plentiful. This will allow Vista Color plenty of space to grow in the future.

Front facade of the 34,000+-square-foot facility in Cleveland, OH.

Imager Snapshot

Vista Color Imaging

TYPE OF LAB: Full-service commercial lab.


  • Wide-Format Printers: Océ Arizona 500, Océ LightJet 500 XL, Durst Rho 205/8W, Durst Lambda 130, Durst Lambda 131
  • Digital Media: Kodak, Fujifilm, Avery Dennison, LexJet, MACTac, Ilford