Web-to-print software developer and printer Print Evolved has celebrated its 20th birthday with the installation of a new litho press and a raft of upgrades to its flagship Cognitu software.
The Holloway, London-based business, known as Ivor Solution until it was rebranded to Print Evolved last year, was one of the first to enter the UK web-to-print market.
The company is currently run by Spencer Slee, who joined as managing director in January 2014, with founder Ivor Jacobs semi-retired and now working on special projects.
Jacobs said: “It was so evident at the time we began that the internet would sort this problem out of people wanting to order some stationery but not having the faintest idea of what they wanted in terms of designs and so on. This way they could let the internet do it for them.
“We started on 14 December 1997 and by 1 May 1998 we were up and running. We were only working on an 8K modem, so it was very different to now, but we had business – we had a lot of publicity because we were the first in the UK to do anything like this.
“The market was different – there was no Google or anything like that so we sold not by the internet, but by normal advertising means.”
The firm’s operations are built around its own Cognitu web-to-print software, which it has continued to develop and evolve over the years.
This platform runs in-house at Print Evolved, which has its own internal printing facility, but the company also allows its customers to choose their own alternative print vendor and can then provide a web-only service and outsource the work.
Jacobs said the Cognitu software encompasses hundreds of features including integration with most back office systems, API’s for CXML and OPXML, foreign language editing – including Chinese and Arabic, full audit trails and B2C shop fronts.
Print Evolved undertakes every detail of the technical work. It sets up sites, produces templates and maintains servers so that its print management customers can concentrate on selling.
Last week the company took delivery of a new five-colour Hans Gronhi litho press, which was supplied by Printers Superstore.
“Because we’re a software company we didn’t really have the ambition to go into print initially, but we found it really difficult to get people to understand what we were doing,” said Jacobs.
“So we started off digitally around 10 years ago and then went onto Presstek machines, which we thought would be environmentally-friendly and easier to control, but then the demand went up so we bought another print business that had Heidelbergs.
“We then moved to these 1,400sqm premises about five years ago and had the space to put more equipment in, which is when we bought platens, more litho and all sorts of other machinery.
“We have swapped over a couple of two-colour and single-colour Heidelbergs for this new Hans Gronhi machine, really so that we can compete more.”
Print Evolved, which has 55 staff and a turnover of around £5m, also operates HP, Ricoh and Xerox digital equipment plus a raft of wide-format, laser cutting and finishing kit and offers despatch services.
The company runs its own print academy, headed up by Jacobs, which aims to help people involved in the industry who lack technical expertise.
(Pictured) Print Evolved celebrated its 20th birthday and Christmas with a staff lunch, served by managing director Spencer Slee