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Laurensius Candra's Deep Dive Into the Value of Digital Print

Posted Dec 28, 2023 | Views 551
# Digital Printing
# Sales and Marketing
# Team/Culture
# Technology
# Transformation

Laurensius Candra, CEO of Bintang Sempurna in Indonesia, joins Radio Smart FM to discuss digital print's essential role in helping local brands thrive.

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Internet-broadcast station Radio Smart FM recently featured a conversation with Laurensius Candra, CEO of Bintang Sempurna in Indonesia and a Dscoop board member in the Asia-Pacific region. Laurensius joined the family owned business in 2004, and has successfully transformed it into an innovative, award-winning printing house, offering solutions with a creative approach.

Click the video above to watch the Indonesian-language interview. Scroll down to read the English transcription of Laurensius' answers to questions asked by the Radio Smart FM hosts.

The Radio Smart FM conversation centers around the importance of building creativity through digital printing. With some excellent insight from fellow guest and brand activist Mas Artto Biantora, Laurensius discusses digital print's essential role in helping local brands thrive, how good graphic designers ensure project success and more.

English Version of Radio Smart FM Interview with Laurensius

Q: Laurensius, what significant changes have you witnessed in the world of digital printing over the last 35 years?

In the past 35 years, the most significant change in digital printing is the shift from manual labor to technology-assisted processes. Earlier, printing relied heavily on manual efforts, but now, with more sophisticated machines and software, the entire production process has become more efficient and streamlined.

Q: Can you share some success stories or achievements from Bintang Sempurna's 35-year journey?

A: Since 2015, we've collaborated with creative individuals and won 43 trophies, including the International Printing Award. This year, we added two more trophies to our collection, making it a total of 45. The judging process is independent, with experts in the field evaluating creativity, print output, printing techniques, and the overall use of elements like technology and paper.

Q: How are these international printing competitions judged, and what aspects do they focus on?

A: The judging criteria encompass creativity, the quality of print output, various printing techniques, and the strategic use of elements like technology and paper. The competitions we participate in have diverse categories, evaluating different aspects such as creativity, theme suitability, and the combination of printing technologies.

Q: How has technology changed the minimum order quantity (MOQ) requirements for printing?

A: Technology has revolutionized the MOQ landscape. In the past, you needed to print in large quantities, often thousands. However, with today's technology, we can achieve high-quality prints with a minimal MOQ. This flexibility allows creative individuals to explore out-of-the-box ideas without the constraints of high volume requirements.

Q: In terms of creativity and options, do you believe having certain skills is essential, or has technology made the process more accessible?

A: Technology has democratized the creative process. While skills are valuable, today's advancements mean you no longer need extensive expertise to experiment with creative ideas. The barriers have lowered, making it easier for individuals to engage in creative endeavors, especially with the minimal MOQ and the vast possibilities offered by digital printing.

Q: Mr. Laurensius, could you elaborate on how digital printing technology has opened up opportunities for local and small brands to think creatively?

A: Absolutely, digital printing has democratized creativity, providing fantastic opportunities for local and small brands, especially those in the experimental phase. As an example, the award-winning work I showcased earlier was a collaboration with a student who had a unique concept. This not only demonstrates the accessibility of digital printing for small-scale projects but also showcases the creative potential of students.

Q: Can you share more about the special program at Bintang Sampurna that encourages designers and students to explore creative ideas?

A: Certainly. At Bintang Sampurna, we have a special program called the BS Campus. In this program, we allocate time and resources for design agencies or students to access our "designer's playground." This space is equipped with tools and showcases the products we've created, serving as inspiration for designers. The emphasis is on empowering designers to utilize the available tools and machinery to bring their creative ideas to life. It's a collaboration between the technical capabilities of the machines and the limitless creativity of designers.

Q: With 35 years of experience, how do you maintain and ensure the quality of your work, consistently earning awards?

A: The key is taking baby steps and never becoming complacent. Continuous learning and collaboration are crucial. The journey of the past 35 years has been marked by a commitment to not just stop, to remain dynamic and open to evolving technologies. The consistent pursuit of improvement and collaboration, even engaging in activities like sports with Artto, contributes to a culture of creativity and quality.

Q: How have the tools and technologies used at Bintang Sampurna evolved over the years?

A: The tools and technologies at Bintang Sampurna have evolved significantly over the past 35 years. The continuous update of machinery and technologies allows us to stay ahead of the curve and explore new possibilities. It's about providing tutorials to designers on how to leverage these tools effectively and encouraging a mindset of ongoing learning and adaptation.

Q: Mr. Laurensius, with the rise of digital communication, some may see printing as a sunset industry. How has technology transformed the relevance of printing in the digital age?

A: Indeed, some may perceive printing as less relevant in the age of digital promotions and online communication. However, there are still crucial aspects that necessitate printing, such as physical invitations and personalized materials. For instance, we've embraced technological advancements to seamlessly integrate internet technology with physical printing, creating personalized outputs like name-specific zodiac readings for seminar participants. This automated process not only streamlines production but also enhances the personal touch in printed materials.

Q: Can you share an example of a sophisticated digital printing project that combines data and design, showcasing the latest advancements in the field?

A: Certainly, one notable project is personalized children's books. By combining data, such as the child's name, with a design template, we create unique and automatically generated stories. This innovative approach allows for mass production of personalized books, offering a truly individualized reading experience for each child.

Q: Mr. Laurensius, could you share insights into the capabilities of your designer's playground, showcasing various printing works and materials, including unconventional ones like sand and wood?

A: Absolutely, in our designer's playground, we exhibit an array of our submitted and award-winning works, demonstrating the versatility of our printing capabilities. For instance, we've mastered the challenge of achieving smooth gradations in black and white photos using light black and light light black ink. Additionally, we can print on diverse materials such as ler, sand, wood, and even create holographic effects. The dark room, using fluorescent inks, allows us to produce items that glow in the dark, opening up creative possibilities.

Q: Can you elaborate on how your printing technology is applied to different materials and finishes, especially in the context of customized displays for businesses like cafes, restaurants, and hotels?

A: Certainly, we leverage our printing technology to create customized displays for businesses. For example, we can finish acrylic displays for boutique restaurants, hotels, or cafes. These displays can be removed and offer a dynamic way to enhance the ambiance of these establishments. We welcome businesses to explore such technologies, providing unique and experiential solutions for their spaces.

Q: How does your collaboration with label printers and flexible packaging companies contribute to supporting MSMEs, particularly in terms of packaging design and competitiveness in the global market?

A: Our collaboration with label printers and flexible packaging companies is aimed at supporting MSMEs in enhancing their packaging designs to be competitive globally. Through this collaboration, we work with branding experts and printing specialists to provide MSMEs with the necessary packaging solutions. Our goal is to help them prepare packaging that not only meets international standards but also enhances the presentation of their products, facilitating their entry into the global market.

Q: Could you provide a demonstration or example of the automated process you mentioned earlier, showcasing how it streamlines production?

A: Certainly, let's proceed with a demonstration to showcase the automated process, emphasizing how it streamlines production and enhances efficiency in creating personalized materials.

Q: Mr. Laurensius, could you elaborate on the personalized book demonstration, showcasing how the system curates a story based on a child's name and how this innovative approach encourages children's interest in reading?

A: Certainly, in the personalized book demonstration, we illustrated the process of creating a customized story based on a child's name. Using the example of a child named Biantoro, we walked through the narrative where he encountered various characters, and each character's name could be replaced with those of individuals related to the child. The system seamlessly compiles these choices into a unique and complete story. This personalized book not only fosters a child's interest in reading but also makes for a special and meaningful gift. The flexibility of ordering even a single unit makes it perfect for individual occasions or larger celebrations, such as birthdays.

Q: How has the response been to the personalized books, and have you noticed any particular trends or creative uses of this offering by customers?

A: The response to personalized books has been fantastic. Initially, orders were for individual children or a few nieces, but as the concept gained popularity, customers began to see it as a unique and charming gift option. We've observed a trend where customers now order in larger quantities, using the personalized books as creative and memorable hampers for events like children's birthdays. The flexibility to order a single unit or in larger quantities has allowed for diverse and imaginative uses of this offering.

Q: Could you provide more details about the price point and any special considerations for customers interested in ordering personalized books?

A: Certainly, the price for a personalized book is IDR 350,000 per unit. This pricing structure accommodates the option for customers to order just one book or in larger quantities for special occasions. Whether it's a single book for an individual child or multiple copies for events like birthdays, our pricing is designed to be accessible and flexible to cater to various customer needs.

Q: Could you elaborate on the pricing structure for digital printing, including the considerations for personalization and the comparison with offset printing?

A: Certainly, when it comes to the pricing of digital printing, it's essential to consider factors such as the quantity of prints and the type of printing method. Generally, for quantities below 300 sheets, digital printing tends to be more cost-effective than offset printing. This makes digital printing an excellent choice for smaller print runs, personalized items like the demonstrated books, or projects where flexibility and quick turnaround are crucial.

Now, if we talk about personalization, especially for items like the personalized books, offset printing becomes impractical. While digital printing may be perceived as relatively more expensive in certain contexts, the value it provides in terms of customization and the ability to print individual units outweighs the cost consideration. It's about finding the right balance between cost and the unique benefits digital printing brings to personalized and smaller-scale projects.

Q: How do customers typically place orders with Bintang Sempurna, and are there specific platforms or channels they prefer for ordering?

A: Customers have multiple avenues for placing orders with Bintang Sempurna. They can directly visit our physical location at Benungan, contact us through email, engage with us on social media platforms, or use our web platform, onlineprint.co.id. On onlineprint.co.id, customers can access standard products, receive instant quotes, and directly upload their files for printing. This approach provides customers with flexibility and convenience in choosing the method that suits their preferences and requirements.

Q: Can you share insights into the challenges and considerations regarding the quality of digital printing, especially with the proliferation of cheap options in the market?

A: The challenge with the influx of cheaper options in the market, especially for large-format digital printing like flex banners, lies in understanding the quality of the materials used. Thickness is a critical factor that directly impacts the longevity of the print, especially when exposed to outdoor elements like sunlight and rain. Thin and poor-quality materials may result in prints that deteriorate quickly. At Bintang Sempurna, we emphasize functionality and guide customers based on the intended use of the prints. For short-term events, thinner materials may be suitable, but for long-term applications, we offer options with more durable materials, even sourcing from reputable suppliers like Germany for added quality assurance.

Q: Could you provide insights into the lifespan of digital prints, specifically for flex banners, and how the choice of materials influences durability?

A: The lifespan of digital prints, particularly for flex banners, is contingent on various factors such as exposure to the environment and the quality of materials. Typically, for flex banners, the maximum lifespan is around 1 year. However, factors like sunlight exposure and weather conditions may influence the actual duration. At Bintang Sempurna, we offer a range of materials, including high-quality German materials, to cater to different needs. Thicker and more durable materials contribute to extended longevity, and the choice depends on the specific requirements of the project, whether it's a short-term event or a long-term installation.

Q: In dealing with complex orders, can you shed light on the collaborative process between clients and your team at Bintang Sempurna? How do you navigate challenges and ensure efficient production?

A: Handling complex orders involves a collaborative effort where all stakeholders, including clients and our team at Bintang Sempurna, come together to discuss feasibility, efficiency, and the most effective production methods. The process often begins with a thorough discussion on the client's specific requirements and preferences. Every party involved, from production to design, sits down together to address questions like whether the order is feasible, the most efficient production methods, and how to prepare the files optimally.

The difficulty level of orders is acknowledged, and discussions revolve around finding the most effective and innovative ways to fulfill those requirements. This collaborative approach ensures that everyone is on the same page, expectations are clear, and challenges are addressed proactively.

Q: How do you perceive the growth and quality of graphic designers over the last 5 to 10 years, especially those associated with institutions like Binus?

A: The growth and quality of graphic designers, particularly those associated with institutions like Binus, have been remarkable in the last 5 to 10 years. There has been a notable shift towards fresh and extraordinary works, showcasing a new level of creativity and innovation. As an alumnus of DKP (Design Komunikasi Visual), I have personally witnessed a positive change in the quality of work produced by designers. The recent Binus exhibition showcased exceptional works, indicating a continuous improvement in design thinking and execution.

Moreover, the enthusiasm of students and graduates, as seen in their visits to Bintang Sempurna and their engagement in discussions, demonstrates an eagerness to learn and apply knowledge in real-world scenarios. This dynamic interaction fosters a positive exchange of ideas and encourages the evolution of design practices.

Q: How crucial is the role of graphic designers in ensuring the success of print projects, especially when clients might be inclined towards direct shortcuts in the printing process?

A: The role of graphic designers is crucial in ensuring the success of print projects, especially when clients might be inclined towards direct shortcuts in the printing process. Designers bring a level of professionalism and expertise to the conceptualization and execution of designs. When clients want to jump directly to the printing phase, it's essential to emphasize the value of collaborating with professional designers.

Graphic designers contribute not only to the aesthetic appeal but also to the functionality and effectiveness of the design. They understand branding principles, conceptualize designs that align with business goals, and ensure that the final output is of the highest quality. While shortcuts may seem tempting, the involvement of skilled designers enhances the overall outcome, creating designs that are not only visually appealing but also strategic and impactful.

Q: In conclusion, what would be your message to local entrepreneurs and MSMEs considering the potential of digital printing for their brands?

A: My message to local entrepreneurs and MSMEs is not to hesitate to explore the possibilities of digital printing for their brands. Digital printing offers the advantage of producing with a low minimum order quantity, allowing for cost-effective testing of the market. It provides an opportunity for local brands to compete and even surpass the quality of larger competitors.

However, it's crucial to understand that success in this endeavor requires a combination of factors. While digital printing facilitates smaller quantities, the design quality is equally important. Collaboration with professionals who have received education in the creative field ensures that the design is not only visually appealing but also strategically aligned with business goals.

By embracing the capabilities of digital printing and collaborating with skilled designers, local brands can position themselves competitively in the market. It's a journey that involves testing, learning, and adapting, but the potential for success and growth is significant. Don't be afraid to take that step, test the market, and witness the results that modern graphic design and digital printing can bring to your brand.

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