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A Unique Way To Say ‘Thanks’


Mar. 16, 2009 — When Worth Higgins & Associates Inc. decided to honor some of its most loyal customers, they were looking for just the right way to do it. And when Pantone approached them to inquire if they’d like personalized Color Bridge guides, the stars, as they say, aligned to produce a unique, personalized, and effective project.

Worth Higgins & Associates is Virginia’s largest sheetfed commercial printer. The company offers high-speed multi-color sheetfed printing, UV inks and coatings, short-run digital color printing with variable data capabilities, and finishing including die cutting, embossing, foil stamping, pattern gluing, laminating packaging, mailing and fulfillment.

The company has been employee owned since 1999 when founder E. Worth Higgins, Jr. decided to sell the firm to the employees that he believed were responsible for its success.

The goal of the personalized Pantone covers project was to honor those clients who had been with the company for a while. To date, they have produced and sent 26 of the books, each one featuring several points of personalization.

“The biggest challenge with any advertising project is remembering to focus on your audience,” noted Susan Wiggins, director of marketing for the company. “There’s always a temptation to make one’s logo or sales message the most prominent feature in a piece of communication. Of course, that’s putting the cart before the horse. Customers, like everyone, are most interested in their own needs and issues. If we successfully recognize and respect our customers’ needs, the essence of our own brand, services, and capabilities becomes immediately clear.”

With that in mind, the company decided they needed to have the covers professionally designed, as opposed to just throwing something together. They engaged Jennifer Owen and Will Sims of Owen Design Co. to create something that would get noticed. Together, the design team and Worth Higgins & Associates went through a variety of possibilities, from a bridge concept to, ultimately, the playing card design that ultimately was used.

“Fortunately, Worth Higgins & Associates is a company that’s naturally centered on humility, diligence, and caring at its core,” said Owen. “That turned an interesting challenge into an genuine opportunity.”

“The concept of royalty in a deck of playing cards stuck with us and eventually eclipsed our other executions,” Higgins added.

Recipients received either a king or a queen, by gender, and personalized with both their name and title. For instances where Worth Higgins & Associates wanted to honor an entire company or department, the image of an ace was used. Both the front and back covers of the books, as well as the label on the slip case are all personalized with the information.

To produce the books, a variety of technologies were used. As one would expect, Pantone colors and branding were used, and the covers were produced on a Komori Lithrone 640, because the HP Indigo is not equipped to feed a sheet heavy enough to be a durable cover. The personalized labels for the sleeves, however, were produced on the Indigo, and the sheets were sent to Pantone, where they were die-cut and bound to the Color Bridge books.

“Although we haven’t tracked a direct correlation between the Color Bridges and increased sales,” said Higgins, “we believe that honoring our customers supports the long-term relationships we have with them. This was the ultimate goal.”

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