Category Archives: Printing

Holiday Card

Trend moving away from e-holiday cards



“Last year we did an ecard and did not receive such a favorable response so we would like to go back to thegood old ‘card in the mail’.

-Vicky Boekestein, Administrative Assistant, Valley Christian Schools



Vicky sent me this message last week.  The board at her school had decided to go back to printing and mailing their custom Christmas cards for this year. Over the past few months I have heard from several other customers who have had similar experiences with the email holiday messages they had sent out in the past.


Email is a great tool for informative messages but a “Tangible” expression of your appreciation is the most effective, and cost effective, way to differentiate yourself in today’s social media marketplace.

Demonstrating respect for your clients by sending a holiday card is smart business in a tough economy.  It shows you care about them in a manner which builds exceptional loyalty and long-term relationships.

Holiday CardThis year we are planning on mailing a “tangible” card expressing our appreciation to our customers and vendors.  If you would like us to help you print a card that you too can mail this year let me know.  But don’t wait too long, a late holiday card could be worse than no holiday card at all!


Why did we merge?

For the past 25 years I have personally known Monte Justesen and David Overgaard.  I have always found them to be of the high moral character, honest, trustworthy, and caring individuals who work with integrity.  These values make up the culture of Stuart F. Cooper.  These are also the values that I hold dear in my life and are reflected in my organization as well.

Don Burdge, Monte Justesen, Dave Overgaard

For the last year, I have been secretly searching for a perfect fit for our firm and last October I hit gold.  Monte and Dave came to table willing to work together to make both of our companies stronger by merging together.  This gives Dave and me equal interest in the new organization while providing Monte an exit strategy from his company.

Our customers are no longer buying letterheads and envelopes as they once were.  Gradually, over the years, we have become primarily a business card printer and this merger means we will now be able to expand our product line to Burdge’s customers.  Cooper clients will be able to gain the expertise we have in our web-to-print solutions and in working with design and branding firms on corporate identity systems.

Last year when I was president of the Printing Industry Association of Southern California I learned that 10 years ago there were 38,000 printing companies in the country.  Today there are only 28,000 and that number is expected to continue to shrink.  I did not Burdge to simply shrink and fade away.  So, the other option was to find a way to offer other products and services.  This economy, as bad as it is, can offer some unique opportunities for those of us willing to look for creative solutions.  That is what Dave and I have done.

Stuart F. Cooper is in a 50,00 square foot building just 6 miles west of Burdge, just south of downtown LA, and they have plenty of room for Burdge employees.  Therefore we will be moving into their location throughout this month.  Our plan is to move each department when it is ready to go and, hopefully, by August 1st we will be moved in.   We don’t, however, plan on being in that location forever.  It is both Dave’s and my goal to move our new company back toward this business friendly area as soon as it is practical.

Arlen Alfson, Burdge plant manager for the past 22 years will still be involved in production, pre-press and IT.  Joe Lee will still be in accounting and Ruben Machado will be in customer service.  These three talented managers will be working side-by-side with their managers just as Dave and I will be working side-by-side.   Unfortunately we will not have room for every current employee.  Final decisions will be made by the end of this month.

Last month Dave and I met with the Louey/Rabino Design team.  They have agreed to create a new company name, logo and identity to take our company into the future.  We will unveil this new look and name at the end of summer.

It is important to Dave and to me that we come up with a new name.  The names Burdge and Cooper hold tremendous value to the marketplace and we do not want to lose that.  However it is very important that we create a new identity for the team of the talented individuals who we are.  Working together, under one name that will reflect the values of what we will be in the future.

Burdge and Stuart F. Cooper to Merge

LOS ANGELES, CA – July 1, 2010 – Two of Southern California’s venerable printing companies, Burdge Incorporated founded in 1923 and Stuart F. Cooper founded in 1929, announced their merger effective today.  Stuart F. Cooper is a primary supplier of engraved and printed products to law firms, accounting and consulting firms, corporations, and self-publishers while Burdge provides stationery and marketing material to corporations through a strong association with the graphic design community.

Combined, the firms will serve the printing needs of over 6,000 customers nationwide from their Los Angeles and Atlanta printing facilities.  Stuart F. Cooper acquired Atlanta based J.P. Stevens in 1997.  Stevens, founded in 1874, grew to become the South’s premier social stationery engraver and now serves the printing needs of the legal and professional community on the East Coast.

To Burdge’s client base, the merger with Stuart F. Cooper brings expertise in on-demand digital printing along with larger format six-color printing and a full bindery.  Cooper’s clients will gain the expertise Burdge has in its customized web-to-print solutions and their multi-process printing techniques.

Both firms have a reputation for producing high quality printed products, sometimes combining up to eight printing techniques on a single piece.  Products the companies produce include business cards, letterheads, envelopes, announcements, pleading paper, brochures, presentation folders, manuals, reports, directories, catalogs, books, greeting and holiday cards, personal stationery and digitally printed communications.  The printing industry has honored the two firms collectively with over 180 combined awards for printing excellence, more than any other printer in their niche.

Don Burdge, grandson of the founder of Burdge, Inc., will be the company’s president and CEO while Dave Overgaard, formally president of Stuart F. Cooper, will be the company’s chief operating officer.  Burdge graduated from USC in 1979 with a degree in public relations and after working for a short time in the advertising industry joined the family firm in the early 1980’s.  Overgaard graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1979 with a degree in Graphic Communications and has worked in the industry ever since.  Dave joined Stuart F. Cooper in 1981 and became its president in 2002.

For more information, along with details of the merger, please visit:

It’s time to Fight Back

“I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” Howard Beale screamed those words at the top of his lungs in the 1976 movie Network out of frustration about the depression, inflation, and the oil crisis.  These days I’m “mad as hell” but about all of the dis-information about the fact that printing is dead, paper kills forests, and the Post Office is on it’s last leg.  I’m mad that we’re not doing much to stop it with the facts that print is alive, paper promotes forests, and the Post Office will be here for a very long time.

We complain about it, we hope it will stop, and we shake our heads when we hear it but what do we do about it?  We print little buck-slips that have slogans about what’s good about print and we distribute them to ourselves.  Does the expression “singing to the choir” ring any bells?  We look to the paper companies with their deep pockets to stop the bashing of our products.  We hope the postal service will step up and lobby congress for help.  We look to our trade association for an answer but even there we seem to be fighting an uphill battle.

Ben Cooper and The Print Council have started to do something about stopping the flood.  At least now there is a central location for all of the “facts” about our industry.  The facts are that we ARE a green solution, we ARE able to deliver a higher ROI to our customers, and we ARE relevant as a communications tool in this internet age.  Our problem is that we are doing a TERRIBLE job of communicating this, and we are supposed in the communication industry!

In discussing this problem with my peers in printing and paper industry there seems to be an attitude that it will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to communicate our message in order to stop the flood.  Most of us ‘over 50’ think the only way to combat a trend on a scale such as this is to hire a big ad agency to make commercials to air our views.  Our own association president wanted to buy radio ads touting the value of print but soon realized that we would get so little bang for our buck that it wasn’t worth the effort.

But we shouldn’t give up, we just have to stop thinking like the old guys we are and start thinking like our kids.  In 2010 the Internet, the medium that seems to be our biggest enemy, can be our biggest ally in our fight to have our point of view heard.  We have to stop thinking that we need a big budget “Got Milk” type of campaign and start thinking like Pazazz Printing up in Montreal who made the YouTube Video called “Print’s Alive” that’s been seen by over 200,000 people so far.

But I don’t want to hire a filmmaker to make me into a YouTube star, I’m too busy running my own small business.  I don’t have time to do all the social blogging that is necessary to stop the flood of information about how bad we are.  And since we can’t afford the proper ad campaign we need to start looking at this like a political campaign.  As in politics, we have a cause and we want to influence the public; but our opposition has a cause too and they want to influence the public.  Here’s a newsflash…they’re winning.

If we start to view our problem in political terms instead of commercial terms a solution starts to appear.  There is a saying that all politics is local and, lucky for us, most printing is local too.  According to PIA in 2008 there were over 36,000 printing companies in the United States employing almost 1 million people.  Every one of those million people, and their families, has an interest to keep Print Alive.  The trick is how to call them to action and how to convince them that their action will count.  In 2007 it was proven that grass roots politics could elect a politician from Illinois with a funny name to the highest office in the land and that campaign gained steam due to the power of the internet.  I ask you, if it can happen in politics why can’t it happen with our cause?  Why can’t it start now?  Why can’t it start with you and me?

For about ten minutes a day and the price of a lunch, here’s what you can start doing today:

  1. Comment on every blog or news story that says printing or paper is bad. Linda Bishop sent me a link to a Bloomberg News article about a law firm that had decided to go “paperless” because they had a mandate to be environmentally friendly and they could market their firm more “efficiently” with email.  I took 5 minutes to write my comments on their blog stating facts I picked up from The Print Council about how they had their facts wrong.  Just like taking the time to reply to an email, you can take ten minutes to reply to a news story you disagree with.  It’s easier than you think.
  2. Subscribe to newsfeeds about printing. Google News allows you to create a custom section of their online “newspaper”.  I have one on printing so I am always getting news about printing.  Just last week a news story came up about a video game manufacturer that was doing away with their printed inserts because, as their press release stated, they wanted to “support the environment and not kill trees”.  I commented on their news release that they were not killing trees and in fact they were hurting the environment by not using paper.  I suggested that a more transparent press release might have stated that they were no longer printing their inserts because they could save a whole bunch of money, but I don’t think their audience wanted to hear that.
  3. Hire a summer intern to blog for you. There are plenty of talented kids in top journalism schools near you who know how to write, know how to blog, and just want some summer spending money.  Pay them $10.00 for every comment they post, $50.00 for every story they write about the good things you are doing, and $100.00 if they can get that story picked up in a printed version of a paper of magazine.  For about the price of a business lunch, here’s what I’d ask them to do:
    • Comment on blogs and news stories that are incorrect.
    • Email stories to us owners so we can comment on them also.  Include suggested sentences to use in our comments to make it easy for us to reply.
    • Interview our peers and us for success stories about printing and paper and post favorable news .
    • Post facts from The Print Council around the internet on a regular basis.
  4. Get your local and  national trade association to hire their own bloggers. Guess what?   There are a lot of unemployed journalists out there these days.  Newspapers across the country have been trimming their staffs for decades and there are a lot of talented writers hungry for a job.  Since very few in our industry are large enough to hire our own PR agency, why don’t we group together to hire one together?  I’m not talking about hiring a big agency and paying for suits to tell us what we want to hear, I’m talking about a posting on Craig’s list for a proven blogger to do the same thing on a local and national level.  Those of us who belong to PIA pay dues to our association, let’s put the pressure on them to use the internet to combat the mis-information out there today.  We should have a Facebook page that is a fan of printing and a fan of paper.  We should use Linkedin on a regular basis to get information to our intern bloggers.
  5. Step up and be a thought leader on today’s communications. Read “Made to Stick” by Chip and Dan Heath.  Read “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” by David Meerman Scott.  Read “The Long Tail” by Chris Anderson.  Read what these leaders are saying about how you and I, the lone individual, can change the world one sentence at a time.
  6. Just Do It. Like one of the most successful marketing companies in the world suggests – don’t make excuses anymore, let’s Just Do It.

Earthquake in Chile cause Paper Prices to Rise

Who would have guessed that the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that stuck Chile on February 27th would have caused paper prices to go up as much as 4% less than a month later?  Yet on March 10th Xpedx announced price increases from Georgia Pacific, International Paper, Wausau, Mohawk, Strathmore, FiberMark, and Appleton.

According to a March 11, 2010  Bloomberg news story; Chile’s earthquake, along with a port strike in Finland, caused the price of pulp to rise to it’s biggest seven-day increase in almost six years.  Chile and Finland together account for 12 percent of the world’s pulp sales and production in those two countries have come to a halt.

In Finland, Europe’s two largest papermakers have closed mills and cut production as a strike by port workers that started March 4th has cut off 90 percent of the Nordic nation’s exports. The Helsinki-based companies have said it’s only a matter of days before they halt production fully as they run out of space to store inventory.

“The pulp market has never seen a disruption this sudden and this large,” said Kurt Schaefer, who analyzes the fiber industry at Bedford, Massachusetts-based paper researcher RISI. “The market is so tight at this point that every disruption is magnified 10-fold.”

Pulp is the main raw-material for paper, and a shortage in supply will have knock-on effects in that market too, said Timo Jaakkola, a Helsinki-based analyst with Oehman.  Higher pulp prices will translate to higher paper prices when the paper market balance is tight enough,” Jaakkola said. “The pulp shortage will likely send pulp prices quite a bit higher for the next few months.”

Last month’s 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile, the country’s strongest in 50 years, killed hundreds, destroyed thousands of homes and hammered pulp and timber producers in the country’s central southern region, close to the epicenter.

Only one of 35 pulp plants and sawmills owned by Celulosa Arauco is currently operating, spokesman Andres Moran said. Part of the Mutrun sawmill was swept out to sea and pools of water remain in log stores, he said. A third tidal wave also flooded an area where it stores timber in southern Chile.

“We are still in a first stage of clearing away the debris,” Moran said. “Following that we will begin an evaluation process of determining in what condition the machinery is.” The company said it probably won’t produce in March.   CMPC, owned by Chile’s billionaire Matte family, said March 2nd it halted production at its plants because of a lack of power and water supply. The company owns three pulp plants in Chile and Argentina, where it makes paper products.

“It’s a perfect storm,” Cesar Perez, a managing director at brokerage Celfin Capital SA in Santiago, said in a telephone interview. “There’s not much availability of fiber in other parts of the northern hemisphere, so that’s going to push prices even higher in the following months,” he said.

One Chinese paper producer introduced Asia’s biggest price increase ever this week, raising prices by $150 to $1,050 a ton, said Sandy Lu, a Shanghai-based paper economist at RISI. It’s unclear whether the price hike will stick, she said.  Lu didn’t identify the Chinese producer.

Chile’s outages “are tightening the situation and supporting a rising price trend,” Ilkka Haemaelae, chief executive officer of Metsae-Botnia Oy, a Finnish pulp producer, said in a telephone interview. “Raw materials have no other drivers than the balance of supply and demand.”

Chad Thomas in Helsinki and Matt Craze in Santiago wrote most of the content in this story for Bloomberg News.  Thanks to Nan Faessler of Xpedx for bringing this to my attention.

America online with Burdge

America Online, the original web portal, needed a new, fresh, brand identity when they spun off from Time Warner late last year.  The New York branding firm of Wolff Owens was tapped to create a unique look for Aol that incorporated numerous bold graphics representing Aol content in a fun palette of colors and designs.  Originally intended to empower web users to select Aol as their primary web portal, these same users can personalize their landing page with the graphic of their choosing.

In keeping with that same theme, Aol wanted to provide their employees with the ability to personalize their business cards.  In a nation-wide search they, and Wolff Owens, looked for a business partner that could accommodate their unique request.

Our programmers went to work on developing a way that Aol employees could choose amongst different graphic images to be mixed up within their box of business cards.  “Within a week our team came up with a working model demonstrating how the order site would work” according to Craig Nelson, Burdge Vice President of Corporate Sales.  “We were awarded the contract after showing how the site was able to process their order and based on the quality of the finished product.” according to Nelson.

Because of the unique Aol requirement of having a different image on every card, we selected the Xerox color digital printing process produce their cards.  Along with the business cards the same mix of graphic images was used for letterheads, sticky pads, note cards and other stationery items.

Now that the branding team was satisfied with the ordering process, and the look and feel of the products, we now has to satisfy the requirements of Aol procurement.  An XML integration was written so that all orders, placed from Aol offices around the globe, could be ordered, proofed, printed, shipped, tracked, and invoiced with only about 12 minutes of total human contact.   Using the tools now available to us we can drive out all the excess cost of delivering a high end printed product to our customers around the world.

“The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” impressed with engraving

This week we received an order to produce the stationery package for “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”.  The original Tonight Show identity system was designed in the 1960’s when Johnny Carson was the undisputed king of late night talk shows.  Last month, when NBC announced that they were giving Conan O’Brian the boot in favor of Jay Leno, The Tonight Show took the opportunity to re-brand their iconic look.

Leno looked to the Douglas Oliver Design Office in the recent past when he needed a new look for “The Jay Leno Show”.  Now that Jay was moving back to The Tonight Show it was time to come up with a fresh look.

Kyle Oliver, Douglas Oliver’s son, was tasked with developing the new look for the venerable show.  For the collateral he choose to print on Mohawk Superfine Ultra White paper with a color palette of black and dark green.  Most of the material is printed using the common offset printing process however, when it came to Jay’s own business card and their executive stationery, Kyle choose to engrave the black in order to enhance the products’ look and feel.

“Engraving is nicer and more memorable than regular printing” Kyle said, “one has a limited amount of time to make an impression and with an engraved card that impression is not only visual but tactile as well.”  Kyle went on to say that they were originally going to emboss the stationery but felt that embossing changed the shape of the paper too much.  By using engraving they were able to keep that “touch” feel to their stationery without changing the shape of the paper.

Jay Leno and his executive team will get their new stationery just in time to hand out cards to the first shows live audience.  I’m sure they’ll be impressed.