Art of print in a world of commodity

What makes Lustra Print Process, winner of PrintWeek India Brochure & Catalogue Printer of the Year in 2014, a leader in commercial printing? Basically two concepts: quality and innovation. So say, Dibyajyoti Sarma and Rahul Kumar

18 Mar 2015 | By PrintWeek India

As we start our tour, the shopfloor within the one-acre facility of Lustra Print Process, located at Bahadurgarh on the outskirts of Delhi, is abuzz with activities, which, at best, can be compared to an assembly line production. As the machines, both offset and screen, lumber on, workers are busy arranging a variety of print products, from coffee table books to brochures, from wedding cards to specialty calendars for the coming year, from ad banners to writing pads, in short, every kind of print job you can think of.
Commercial printing is the bread and butter of the company, says Aditya Bhat, executive director, Lustra. Yet, the market for commercial printing is in the dumps. This has been a trend since the slowdown in 2008, after which companies have cut down heavily on their ad spending. But, Lustra has an advantage due to its expertise in screen printing. “This has supported and allowed us to expand to offset,” says Bhat, the second-generation leader of the company. “Now, the only way to survive is through innovation.”
Even this is not easy. The competition has increased. Now, a client has the option to decide before choosing a printer. Bhat gives an example. “If a client is printing brochures for a tier-two city, he would not probably come to us, as in tier-two cities, print quality is not a requirement, as long as it is readable,” says Bhat. “The client would probably go to a printer with secondhand machines who would give him a better margin.”
Even the demand for specialty papers has gone down. “Now, even coffee table books are being printed on art paper,” he says. Bhat, however, sees a market in coffee table books. “There is a lot of pedigree work to be done in this segment and this gives us a visibility,” he says.
Wedding bells

In the recent times, the company has also diversified into niche markets like wedding cards. “There is a strong market for wedding cards in India and this boom will continue,” says Bhat. Of course, all these would be specialty jobs, with combinations of offset and screen, and with various fabrications. Bhat shows us a large box which contains the wedding card along with a book dedicated to Shiva, among other things. It is definitely a collector’s item. “Some wedding card jobs are as good as commercial jobs, from designing to execution,” says Bhat.
Another area Lustra is exploring to counter the shrinking commercial market is the market of niche calendars. “Customers come up with innovative designs and we execute it (to their satisfaction),” says Bhat.
Screen loyalist
While there was a time the industry almost wrote obituaries of screen printing, Lustra has been a steadfast loyalist. In fact, the company, in its initial years, was involved only in screen printing.
Talking of loyalty, Lustra also swears by its range of Ryobi printing machines.
But, what makes Lustra, winner of PrintWeek India Brochure & Catalogue Printer of the Year 2014, special? “Quality and innovation,” says Bhat. He gives the example how the company approached Hyundai for a project and offered proof by printing it on surfaces like PVC and Poly, a print job of such quality and innovation that the client could not refuse.
Job: M3M | Golf Estate Brochure
Size: 16.54 x11.69inch closed, 16.54x23.38inch 0pen 
No of pages: 64 pages (including gatefold) + ends + PLC with hard case cover and pocket
Colour: 4 + 4 + aqueous coating 
Paper: Cover (PLC) : 160gsm Rendezvous Super White pasted on 2.5mm mill board pocket + inside: 190gsm Rendezvous Super White 
Input: Ready to print file and one set Epson proof
Fabrication: Abrasive UV and one metal deposition on the front cover, die-cutting and pocket pasting 
Binding: Section sewing hard case cover with 2.5mm imported millboard
Quality consciousness
“We are not just printers, we are print partners,” says Bhat. “Once we take up a job, we consider ourselves as an extended manufacturer of our client where even a smallest requirement of the customer is fulfilled with precision.”
Lustra’s highly motivated team of 200 employees stay true to the company’s fundamental mantras of quality and innovation. To achieve excellence in services and solutions, Lustra has adopted stringent quality control procedures to ensure that clients receive only the best. Quality control is done vigilantly by using colour bars for objective analysis and measured frequently to ensure proper and consistent densities.
Job: Spireworld | WTC Gift City Brochure

Size: 11.75x8.25inch closed, 11.75x24.60inch open gatefold
No of pages: 56 pages (including eight gatefolds and ends) + cover + pocket
Colour: 4 + 4 + aqueous coating 
Paper: Cover : 300gsm Magno matt art card

Inside:  225gsm Magno matt art card / 170gsm Magno matt art paper
Input: Ready to print file and one set Epson proof
Fabrication: Outer cover matt lamination + blind UV
Binding: Section sewing + cover pasting with ends and pocket pasting

On Lustra
An offshoot of the screen printing company New Color Screen, based in Naraina in Delhi, Lustra was set up in 2000, with the determination to offer quality work. “From the beginning, premium quality has been our selling point, and customers have embraced us for this very reason,” says Bhat.
“We started at the Naraina site and grew exponentially till 2008. It was the best time for the graphic art industry,” adds Bhat. Understandably, there was a need for space and the company moved to the present location in 2010. And, the growth continues. 
Job: Eicher | Eicher Bus Mailer

Mailer: Printed on 300+300gsm one side coated board in size 7x10inch closed, 14x 10inch open with four+four colour printing, both sides gloss lamination, fixing hooks  for slider and single fold
Slider-2 parts: To be printed on 300+300gsm one side coated board in size 5.75x 10inch open with four-colour printing, outer side gloss lamination, die-cutting with slot making and making as per dummy

Envelope: To be printed on 170gsm Sinar Mas art paper in size 7.25x 10.75inch closed, 16.25x12.25inch open with four-colour printing, outer side gloss  lamination, die-cutting, pasting and making