Graphics Trends is a shop that has earned its stripes by servicing the most demanding of clients. Find out how this graphics printer combines the latest technologies and a drive to satisfy in order to remain a leader in a high-stakes market.
By Lori Leaman
Printing grand-format graphics and promotional pieces for the entertainment and transit markets can be very demanding and challenging, especially in southern California, where competition is abundant and high-tech equipment is the norm for most graphics-printing operations. It takes a no-holds-barred way of thinking to compete in a market like that. Read on to discover how Paramount, CAbased Graphic Trends mixed a gung-ho attitude with investments in advanced technology to keep its screen-printing and digital-imaging business several steps ahead of the other players in the area.
A quick entry into screen printing
Kieu Tran, a graphic designer and graphic artist, founded Graphic Trends in 1982. He ran the one-man operation, which offered a variety of graphic-design services exclusively, until one day his best customer walked into the shop and asked Kieu if he could screen print signage. “Sure!” Kieu replied. And with a can-do spirit—but no screen-printing equipment on hand—Kieu immediately went out and purchased his first press, an M&M single-color clamshell. He then had to hire someone to help him screen print the signage. Kieu and his company were officially in the business of screen printing.
One year later, the two-man operation moved into a 1500-sq-ft building located across the street from Kieu’s home. Graphic Trends continued to grow, expanding its list of clients, job orders, and staff to support the increase in work. In 1993, the company moved into a 12,000-sq-ft facility and added an American Husky 52 x 80-in. press and a gas dryer. A few years later, Graphic Trends added 60-in. x 23-ft and 60-in. x 18-ft UV dryers. The company beefed up its prepress operations with the addition of a Sefar 92 x 160-in. screen stretcher in 1999.
By 2000, Graphic Trends had grown to a staff of 40 employees with an equipment line that included two M&M single-color presses, an American Husky press, a Sakurai 33 x 44-in. press, an M&R long-stroke, and three M&R Patriots. Later that year, Graphic Trends added an M&R five-color inline system, an OYO Liberator XR 5400, and more space to its facility, which brought the building size to 20,500 sq ft.
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