Cestrian Imaging: from print to digital and back again

British, Cheshire-based Cestrian Imaging Ltd. is a manufacturing business originally founded in 1993 and currently based in Cheadle. They are one of the first companies worldwide to have recently invested in the EFI VUTEk HSr Pro, a dedicated roll-to-roll inkjet press. The press was part of a dual-press purchase that also included an EFI VUTEk HS100 Pro hybrid roll/flatbed press. The company chose these EFI presses because of their robust production capabilities and the presses’ precise ink lay-down enabling production-quality imaging at full-rated speeds. Cestrian is a fine example of how printers can be successful in a digital world. Give them a nice market and money to invest in equipment and today’s printers will produce stunning artwork that sells products as much as ideas.

Employing over 80 people, Cestrian Imaging’s aim is to bring brand communications to life, from design to production. The company delivers services to customers all over the world and have invested over 2 million GBP in the latest printing technology over the past three years. As a result, the company has an impressive range of printing and finishing equipment. They have (one or several of each) HP Scitex, HP Indigo, EFI, Durst, Mimaki, Agfa (M-Press Tiger!), Inca, MTEX and Xerox printing presses, Fotoba, Miller, Fiab and Kongsberg trimmers, cutting machines and welders.

Cestrian isn’t a printer in the traditional sense. For example, the company has an Events & Exhibition team who design and create innovative brand graphics that help clients stand out from the crowd. The extensive in-house production facility is supported by a dedicated and experienced team who have in-depth knowledge of the unique requirements of the industry. For example, the company has recently developed a groundbreaking shell scheme branding system to help elevate brands.

The company is renowned for delivering high-quality, timely and often bespoke results for their clients’ outdoor graphics and poster printing needs. In the world of advertising there is only a window of a couple of seconds to be successful as people pass by a billboard or poster. If you advertise on a larger scale, an advert can showcase a business to a huge audience, but even that is not enough anymore in today’s visually noisy world. One of the first companies in the UK to offer inkjet billboard printing, Cestrian today can also wrap an entire building, transforming any given urban landscape with dramatic advertising images.

But being eye-catching and creating instant attention requires more: a personalised message, for example.

It won’t come as a surprise then that Cestrian does targeted messaging as well, allowing advertisers to “speak” directly to the people they want to talk to, enabling greater engagement. This truly is the future of smarter advertising and point of sale print. To this end, the company uses EFI DirectSmile software. It helps their multi-channel direct marketing clients to synchronise print, URLs, email and SMS whilst tracking response rates.

There’s a lesson to be learned from companies like Cestrian Imaging. Finding a big enough niche market is only the beginning. A focus on quality and quality control is a second. Investing in equipment is not enough. You need the brains that make the equipment work for projects others regard as too much trouble or simply “out of our league”. You could argue few printing businesses have the means to invest on the scale Cestrian does, but you don’t have to be big to be thinking out of the box. On a much smaller scale, printers like JMC Signmakers in the Netherlands follow the same philosophy and thrive as a result.

If companies like Cestrian tell us one thing, it’s that printing today is alive and kicking, but not just any type of printing.

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