Once Upon a Time in a Land Far to the North: Reflections from Jim Hesch

Author: Jim Hesch, Customer Service Leader

Once upon a time, in a land far to the North, where the cold wind howls and sun stays low and silvery, I took a journey through a state park in the Arrowhead Region. Each step I took, I heard the crunch of the many layers of snow that melted and refroze and were snowed on again.

I am standing in the snow and as the sun starts to fade; I get an ethereal feeling of peace and winter magic. The winter pixies might be out playing in the hoarfrost.

Land far to the North
Photo by Simon Matzinger from Pexels

When it is really cold, the sun will get a rainbow from a halo of ice crystals called a sun dog; at night the moon can also cast a moondog. Almost spiritual.

I remember one year my mom came to visit us from Palm Springs. It was minus 40 degrees and they went for a walk. I said to my sister, “Let’s time them,” yeah… 30 seconds and they were back… pretty good for a southerner!

I’m glad to be home by the fire with a warm cup of cocoa; my thoughts shift to work. When it gets cold like this, a good Account Manager can bring sunshine to a cloudy, blustery day.

When it is so cold all you can do is laugh or cry, I will go talk to Alicia. I stick my head over the cubicle wall and tell her she is not funny, no fun allowed… Right… Or Mikey V, or is that Mr. V… always cheerful. I can hear him laughing with a customer from my office. He will send out a daily meme that leaves you no choice but to laugh.

Winter sports are really important to us up here in the tundra. It is always good to catch up with Cynthia and her football player / wrestler son. Watching our children or grandchildren play is the best! We also enjoy hunkering down with fun snacks to cheer on our favorite teams with family and friends.

So many of us are home-schooling our children and that brings other challenges (you know when I was in school, I walked to school uphill barefoot in snow storms both ways…) But we really love kids and will gladly talk about them and their wins, struggles, and losses.

Some of us, like my son, have their Christmas tree up already. Me? I have had my Christmas lights on all year, hoping it might bring a little extra joy this year.

We print in a warm, humidity-controlled building and in the winter we start our cars at lunch time. If the car won’t start, we all have jumper cables and pitch in to help each other out. We are proud of our work and the substantial library of products we produce and glad to brave the elements to come in every day…in sunshine or snow!  We are a close people up here, where warm hugs are a must (pre-pandemic).

If you have never seen or heard us boast about our CSAT (customer satisfaction score), you might be interested to know that for 12 months running our score is 88, and overall since we started keeping track it is 83. Get to know our team and you’ll find out why… it will warm your heart.

About the Author: Jim Hesch is a Department Manager at Nahan, was born in North Dakota but spent his early years in California. He is now entrenched in the Minnesota culture of shoveling snow, opinions on the meaning of life, and blogging. Come join us!

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Halloween Special: Getting Started with Printing Isn’t as “Scary” As You May Think

Authors: Melissa Fransen and Jim Hesch

Getting started with Printing

Halloween is right around the corner! Our business is “boo”ming this time of the year and our presses are running nonstop.

Our team is working the “skeleton” and “graveyard” shifts to get products produced for the upcoming Holiday season. So, we thought we’d have some fun with a special interview with Customer Service Leader Jim Hesch. You’re in for a real “treat” and maybe a few “tricks” as well, knowing Jim.

Getting Started with Printing

Jim, first tell me why so many of our customers are starting to add print campaigns again into their marketing strategies, even if they have taken a break from print or have never printed before.

Many customers come to us because they have been under the “spell” of the same old marketing tactics and they are looking for something new to break it. Some customers are looking for strategies like loyalty mailings to bring their “zombie” customers back to life. Others are looking to leave their competition in the “shadows” with awesome new campaign strategies. No matter the circumstance, we always say don’t let print “scare” you. We’re here to help and have a “ghoulishly” good time at Nahan. We love new “tricks” on our equipment and love to “treat” our customers to amazing quality print. We also offer a whole “web” of services to our customers so they are well taken care of.

Printing Ink
Red Printing Ink

Once someone decides to add a print campaign to their strategy, what sort of things should they think about?

First of all, you’ll want to think about your goals and what you want to achieve. What do you want your print project to do for you – drive sales, acquire new customers, bring customers into your store, etc.? You will no doubt want to take advantage of our Mail expertise, as Direct Mail marketing has significant response rates and we want the project to be as successful as you do.

Once you have the details for the project, our team will create a quote for you and we’ll put together a project schedule.

Ah… but the machines, the scope, the details, it can be “intimidating” for someone new to print.

Yes, but the good thing about working with Nahan, is that we are here for our customers every step of the way. We help you avoid “stepping on the cracks.” There are also a lot of terms in our industry, for example, RGB, Perfect Binding, Digest, Oblong, etc. but again, it’s not as “daunting” as it may seem and we are here to help.

How about paper selection?

I don’t want to “gloss” over the details, but your Sales Representative will help you determine which paper will work best for your particular project.

What are some common questions we might here from designers when creating artwork?

Here are some fun ones…

Q: My catalog has MANY pages, does it need “creep?”

A: Depending on how many pages, your book may need “creep” because when taking a “face trim” off, we wouldn’t want to lose any “digits.” Our skilled experts will take care of that for you.

Q: My project has “bleed?”

A: Yes, if your image extends to the edge of the page, you will want 1/8” extra image so that your image can “bleed” off the page.

Q: Will my project be prone to “ghosting?” 

Getting started with printing

When we talk about the term “ghosting back,” we are referring to an image being lightened up to use as a background or other light accent. However; there are many undesirable “traps” that can happen when printing large solids. If your solid image has reversed type or white knockouts a few different types of “ghosting” can appear.

Mechanical “ghost” is a “phantom” image on the printed side of the sheet caused by ink “starvation.” It can be quite “menacing.” You will need a well-maintained machine with highly skilled operators to help eliminate it.

Chemical “ghosts” appear ominously when the ink is drying, caused by a differentiated dry speed and gaseous emissions, leaving a “ghosted” image on the other side of the sheet (in the solids). Experienced operators with a lot of training, R&D, and quality products help eliminate this as well. This type of ghost generally only happens on coated papers.

So, if you’re concerned about “ghosting,” who you gonna call? “Ghostbusters!” Just kidding, you can call us and we will help!

Getting Started with Printing

We get asked questions about security at Nahan and we deal with a lot of data. Tell me more.

When you work with Nahan, you’re not “alone in the wilderness” on your project. We take great pride in being secure.

Any last words of advice Jim?

Don’t let print “scare” you! We are here to help!

Jim, this was fun to put together with you! Thanks for the humor and fun! We hope all of you enjoyed this blog as much as Jim and I did putting it together. Have a wonderful Halloween and stay safe and stay well our friends!

Bios:

Melissa Fransen is our Marketing Manager. She started with Nahan in May of 2017. Melissa is responsible for Nahan’s marketing initiatives, which includes everything from conference planning to social media initiatives. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband and enjoying time in the outdoors with family and friends.

Jim Hesch is a Department Leader at Nahan Printing and has been in the printing industry since 1973. He has held the positions of Press Operator, Operations Manager and Customer Service Leader.  Jim loves visiting his grandchildren and teaching them to play guitar.

Cover Photo: Image by Image by Public Domain Pictures from Pixabay

Mixing PMS Colors

I remember the days in a small Minnesota print shop, when I guessed at color by number of parts (Note, a part is actually a percentage of total weight) and mixed them up on a slab of granite. I used a razor blade to draw down the color and compare to the book.  Soon the “by guess” and “by golly” method changed to include a scale and a “quick peek,” which was a small rubber roller that would apply a measured amount of ink to the paper for a closer color match. Not very scientific but it worked.

How to Mix Colors

For point of reference, an easy color to mix is PMS 185 – the build of 185 is 75% Rubine and 25% Yellow.

Direct Mail

How to mix??

  • First, you will need an ink knife, sort of a longer putty knife, and a hard surface like glass or stainless steel.
  • Then, determine how much ink you need (that is a different story for another blog).  Let’s say two pounds.
  • Multiply  2 by .75 = 1.5 lbs. of Rubine Red (75% Rubine)
  • Weigh out 1.5 lbs. or Rubine red and put this on the mixing surface
  • Multiply 2 by .25 = .5 Yellow (25% Yellow)
  • Weigh out .25 lbs. mixing yellow and put on the mixing surface

Just as in the old days you can put your ink on glass or granite or other smooth surface and mix them together. On a larger scale these colors would be mixed on a machine.

Do watch out for the comedian mixing up warm red!! See explanation below…

  • Once thoroughly mixed take a sample and draw it down on your paper and compare it to the PMS guide. Note: colors change as they dry, use a hair dryer or hot air gun to speed up the process, if you are mixing up UV ink you will need a light source.
  • Also, you must use the right matching guides to match your mixture. Formula Guides are based on the paper you are using coated or uncoated. Important note: Paper makes a big difference when matching color. Make sure you are drawing down the ink on the same paper you are going to be printing on..

Color Matching

If you are comfortable matching with your eyes, and the color looks good, you are good to go. The light in the area where you are reviewing color does make a difference. Are you viewing in 5k light? 5000 Kelvin light is the industry standard for viewing color.

Even though color has become more of a science with processes and standards, one can still weigh out small batches and mix them on a table and get relatively close.

Your ink company has become the expert with all the tools and standards for consistent larger batches of PMS spot colors. They will provide you will a drawdown of the color on the paper you are going to print on and provide spectral analysis if requested. (Some clients insist on the LAB having a Delta E of  +/- .02), and for good reason. Corporate branding is expensive to achieve and maintain for immediate brand recognition.

If you need more high-tech color matching, request a drawdown from your printer and ask for LAB print out to accompany it. (What is LAB? Check out X-rite blog)

If you know the spectral specifications for your color and you have a spectrophotometer, you can check your LAB, or you can compare the LAB number to the book (or your swatch) and then get an LAB +/-, which is also known as Delta E. Here is a great link about LAB and Delta E.

Commercial Printing

About Pantone

Around 1963, The Pantone (PMS) concept came along to help printers mix a color that would match if it were mixed in New York or California or any other state.

Originally, Pantone colors were mixed using a set of 11 base colors to achieve 500 colors and used a numeric system to identify them.  

Now, 14 basic colors are used as the building blocks that grew in to 1,114 available colors in the formula guide.

Base colors include Yellow, Warm Red, Rubine Red, Rhodamine Red, Purple, Violet, Process Blue, Reflex Blue, Green, Black and Transparent White (clear), Yellow 012, Orange 021, Blue 072 and Red 032.

Speaking of high-tech, Pantone now provides RGB, HEX and CMYK equivalent values for each color. You can look up PMS colors like 185 on their Pantone Web Site.

In 2007 Pantone and Xrite teamed up to become one company.

The new color guide with additional colors has 1,755 solid color choices.

There are other colors that can be used such as florescent or metallic inks; however, the standard color matching guides or PMS colors are the starting point and base of the main color matching system.

Pantone recommends changing your formula guide annually as paper can yellow and color can fade.

Nahan’s In-House Ink Company, INX

Nahan Printing has an in-house ink company called INX. They are industry-leading experts in color consistency and creativity. This allows Nahan to build custom mixed colors on site, provide quick turn drawdowns to customers, and create an ink mix that matches across all of our presses. This helps to maintain color consistency across components and help maintain brand standards.

Hot ink trick

The HOT INK TRICK is an old spoof. As the press comedian is mixing ink on the slab, an office person (You) walks up and asks what you are doing? (S)He will respond: Mixing warm red, it gets real hot when I mix it. Want to feel? So you put your hand near the ink and the press comedian slaps your hand in to the ink…The old hot ink trick is not very funny 🙂

(Stay tuned for more printing inside jokes….perhaps next time I can fill you in on the paper stretcher or the dot gain. We usually keep them in the basement).

Author: Jim Hesch is Customer service leader at Nahan, with ink in his blood…

Winter Paper Conditioning in the Upper Midwest

 

Author: Jim Hesch, Customer Service Leader

I hope you will be joining us for press OK’s this winter! While you may need to bring a warm jacket, I promise you it will be 70 degrees inside our pressroom with plenty of warm and inviting smiles to greet you. Fun fact, 90% of our customers are located outside the state of MN with many traveling from both the East and West Coasts. The average January high temperature is 23 degrees F and the average low is 7 degrees F.  The average snowfall is 12”. This is a perfect scenario to make a snow angel on our front lawn. Minnesota takes great pride in keeping its roadways and airports open and free of snow. We love it here (or we wouldn’t stay).

Paper Transportation

 

In winter in the upper Midwest, paper travels by standard truck or rail.  It is very expensive to ship in heated containers, so paper gets very cold during shipping. Cold paper does not run as well; it dries out, wrinkles, has problems with ink drying and can affect print quality, dot gain, and overall color. For paper to perform well, it needs to be acclimated to press room temperature and moisture levels.

Guidelines

 

Paper Company guidelines vary, however, a good rule of thumb is to allow paper to acclimate to pressroom conditions for at least 24 hours and up to 100 hours. The heavier the paper and the colder the outside temperature, the longer it takes to warm up. At Nahan, we plan for paper to arrive a few days earlier in the winter months to allow for paper to acclimate so it runs at it’s best.

Here is a link to Neenah Paper Conditioning chart:

https://www.neenahpaper.com/resources/printer-resources/paper-conditioning

So the advice we have for you is to dress warm and travel to Minnesota to enjoy our winter wonderland and order paper in early so it can warm up.

Here is a link from Minnesota Public Radio on Minnesota’s beautiful winters.

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2013/01/25/photos-minnesotas-bitterly-cold-brightly-beautiful-winter

About the Author: Jim Hesch is a Department Manager here at Nahan, was born in North Dakota but spent his early years in California. He is now entrenched in the Minnesota culture of shoveling snow, opinions on the meaning of life, and blogging. Come join us!

Photo Credit: Adam Rohde

Nahan Shines at PIM Star Awards

SAINT CLOUD, MN – May 6, 2019 – Nahan was honored to attend the Annual PIM Star Awards in Minneapolis, MN on Thursday, April 26. This event celebrates the Midwest’s leaders in print.

During the awards ceremony, Nahan was honored to receive two Awards of Recognition for Print Excellence in the following categories: Variable-Data Digital Printing and Digital Printing – Brochures & Booklets. Nahan also received recognition for the categories of Product Catalogs, Booklets, and Promotional Campaigns.

In addition to receiving Awards of Recognition for their printed pieces, five of Nahan’s team members were recognized as Nahan’s nominees for the Customer Service and Production Professional of the Year Award. Nahan’s nominees were: Amanda T., Lori S., Ernie K., Jenny C., and Samantha M. Nahan was proud to nominate these individuals based on the following criteria that was given as testimony of their work:

  • Going above and beyond in daily work
  • Being proactive on new opportunities in the workplace
  • Empowering and encouraging other employees to grow

“We are very fortunate to have a team of really talented people at Nahan. I don’t think I can express in ways that would do justice, the level of collaboration and service excellence I get the honor of experiencing every day with these individuals. These five individuals are driven, present in the moment, self-directed, and take pride in their work. They represent Nahan in the best possible way and I look forward to working with them every day,” said Jim Hesch, Department Leader of Customer Service.

 

About PIM

PIM, Printing Industry Midwest, is a trade association representing the graphic arts and communication companies in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. They add value to companies that provide print, graphic communication services, market or manufacture supplies for the printing industry. The mission of PIM is to be the leading resource to enhance the strength and profitability of the printing, graphic communications and related industries through advocacy, education, safety, and environmental information.