The Printing Press Blog
A Graphic Design Studio that Prints
Cirrus Visual in Tucson, Ariz., is one company that’s well positioned to produce many forms of brand marketing and experiences. Brandon Blair founded the company 15 years ago as a graphic design studio with commercial printing capabilities. Today, Cirrus Visual helps local companies and organizations develop and execute brand identities through services such as logo design, app design, business cards, direct-mail postcards, labels, packaging, business cards, trade show exhibits, online catalogs, event graphics, menus, magazines, T-shirt designs and vehicle wrap designs.
“We aren’t a large ad agency that overthinks projects and comes up with lots of themes and ideas,” says Blair. “What our clients love is that we just execute. They can come to us with a concept or goal and we just roll up our sleeves and get things done.”
He adds, “Our best customers are those who allow us to be an extension of their marketing team.”
For example, some companies rely on Cirrus Visual to help enforce brand standards for logo usage, fonts and brand colors. This can be a challenge when salespeople and other employees can so easily assemble and print their own branded materials for direct-mail postcards, reports, presentations, landing pages and posters. But Blair believes the need for brand consistency is more important than ever in the noisy world of 24/7 omnichannel communications.
Blair came up with the concept of selling graphic design and print services after working behind the counter at a quick-print shop during college. The more he talked with customers, the more he realized that what many small business owners really wanted was help executing all phases of their online and print marketing. When customers had trouble translating digital design files into print-ready files, the quick-print shop was blamed if the job was late or imperfect.
“We needed to make their files work for their deadlines,” says Blair. Often, this meant higher labor costs than the customer had agreed to pay for in the estimate. By selling graphic design services and fulfilling on print, Cirrus Visual can control how and when design files are produced. Having a team of six graphic designers on staff is helpful when executing fast-turnaround, multi-channel marketing projects.
The company’s name “Cirrus” reflects the fact that the company’s service mix may change shape over time, like clouds. The word “Visual” highlights the importance of visual communications and doesn’t pigeonhole the firm as a “quick-print” company.
In 2017, Cirrus Visual officially retired their sheet-fed offset printing equipment and went all-digital. An early adopter of Ricoh digital printing equipment, Cirrus currently uses two versatile RICOH Pro C7110X digital presses. White and clear toner options on the RICOH Pro 7110X empower Cirrus designers to produce creative, eye-catching designs — even on colored substrates.When Cirrus Visual moved into a larger facility in 2017, they were eager to broaden their revenue streams, so they added a seven-color RICOH Pro L4160 latex printer.
Cirrus allocated more space in the new facility to bindery and finishing operations that would allow them to produce a wider range of digitally printed products.
Even though wide-format and digital printing services have been driving the growth of Cirrus Visual, Blair still wants clients to regard the company as a multifaceted creative studio. Throughout the new facility, the offices are decorated to inspire creative thinking for all teams including sales, design and production.
As a long-time customer of Ricoh, Blair and his team at Cirrus Visual are learning more about everything that is possible with the Ricoh Latex printer and other wide-format printing devices. He knows he can count on the color management experts and other technical and business consultants at Ricoh to get the most from the full range of commercial and industrial printing technologies that Ricoh supports.