Printing Company Pursuing New Possibilities of Paper through the Latest Digital TechnologyNikkei Printing Inc.
Nikkei Printing's "Graphic Garden"
- This article covers the initiatives of a printing company pursuing new possibilities of paper, focusing on the expressive capabilities of printed paper that cannot be replaced by digital printing, against the backdrop of rapid digitization of information.
Mid-sized printing company that provides total solutions to customer needs
Nikkei Printing Inc. was established on October 10, 1964 (the day of the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics). Yoshio Hayashi (Chairman of the Board of Directors) used to work at a securities company but switched careers to running a printing business, specializing in monochrome printing such as books, educational materials, and manuals, during which he accumulated skills and know-how. When Computer to Plate (CTP), a digital revolution in printing technology, came to the fore, the company took it as an opportunity to also enter the color printing business. Later, the company set up a creative office, and it grew into a comprehensive printing company capable of providing total solutions to customer needs. In recent years, Nikkei Printing has bolstered efforts in taking orders for “white papers” and they are also carrying out a publication business of the white papers they have produced.
Graphic Garden, a one-stop production office
In 2008, Nikkei Printing constructed the Graphic Garden in Funado, Itabashi Ward as their new office. Graphic Garden is a production base that aggregates diverse functions ranging from planning and production to printing, binding, and shipping in one location. Nikkei Printing selected the land with a particular focus on a location within the 23 wards of Tokyo so the office can be conveniently accessed, and the design concept was ordered to Kiyonori Kikutake, who also designed the Expo Tower of Expo '70 and the Edo-Tokyo Museum. The company named the office Graphic Garden with the hope that people with enthusiasm for “graphic," the broader definition of printing, will gather at this place, polish their skills together, and widely contribute to society. The building features a system whereby customer needs can be met in one stop, with the production and printmaking division on the 4th floor, the printing division on the 3rd floor, the binding division on the 2nd floor, and the sorting, packaging, and shipping division on the 1st floor.
In terms of information security, Nikkei Printing has obtained ISO 27001 (ISMS) certification and they are capable of printing national testing exams. In terms of the environment, they have leveraged their original recycling system to significantly cut waste and save energy, and they have also obtained the Green Printing certification issued by the Japan Federation of Printing Industries (JFPI). Through these initiatives, in 2012, Nikkei Printing was awarded the Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry Award at the 11th Printing Industry Environmental Excellence Plant Award (by JFPI).
Nikkei Printing also conducts visitation tours of the Graphic Garden, and they use these tours as a way to share the company’s track record and activities to customers and the general public. In addition, Graphic Garden plays a part in the company's strategic sales activities. The company hosts open seminars at the Graphic Garden, targeting the sales promotion division and marketing division of companies.
The company is also actively investing in new equipment to flexibly meet the changing printing needs of customers. In June 2015, they became the first company in Japan to introduce Alegro, a fully automated perfect binding machine, manufactured by Switzerland-based Muller Martini.
G-LABO pursues new possibilities of printed paper
Doubtless to say, the spread of the Internet and the development of digital technologies have reduced the need of printed paper. Paper media for obtaining information like magazines, dictionaries, maps, and manuals are beginning to be replaced by digital media. However, the sense and the touch of paper as a tangible thing are advantages of printed paper that can never be replaced by digital media. “The core (main business) of our company is the expression on paper and we will continue to master the degree of freedom in those expressions in the future as well,” states President & CEO Kazutoshi Yoshimura.
In August 2016, Nikkei Printing opened a new facility on the 1st floor of Graphic Garden called G-LABO (Graphic Garden Digital Printing Laboratory). G-LABO is used as a manufacturing base and salon space, where data brought in by producers can be outputted on the spot with an on-demand printing machine, and samples can be created easily while considering the colors and expressions. G-Labo has a constant stock of abundant sample printing papers, and the company hopes that it will become a place of interaction between producers and designers who pursue new possibilities of expressions that can only be created on printed paper.
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