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First Timers Take Top Prize

July 2000
In its first appearance in the In-Print contest, SAFECO took top honors with a colorful marketing piece that required lots of attention to detail.

As a perk for its top agents, SAFECO organizes an annual event called the "Conference of Champions," which brings the company's top producers together to attend workshops, mingle with executives and make new friends. Next year that conference will take place in both Vienna, Austria, and Carlsbad, Calif.

To motivate its independent agents to work harder and qualify for the free conference, the Seattle-based insurance and financial services firm wanted to send out a quality marketing piece, bursting with color and class.

So SAFECO turned to its in-plant.

The result, an elegant 28-page book filled with colorful photos, was so impressive the in-plant decided to do something it had never done before: Enter In-Print 2000. So imagine Larry Jablinske's surprise when the manager of SAFECO Publishing Services learned that, not only had his 115-employee operation won four prizes, it had also earned the coveted Best of Show award.

"We were pretty overwhelmed, considering it was the first time we had entered the contest," remarks Jablinske.

The in-plant worked closely with SAFECO's corporate marketing and communications department on the project for six weeks, then spent five days printing and binding the job. The main focus the entire time, Jablinske says, was quality.

"It's a motivational piece, and so the quality of the photographs, the color, all of those things are important," he says.

Meeting these quality demands was no problem for the in-plant, which produces many similar jobs, including color magazines. But this job was a bit more difficult than most, Jablinske says.

"The fact that we had to print on four different papers and maintain color consistency—that was a challenge," he says. The sheets range from coated stock to a translucent UV ultra paper.

Another big challenge, says Jablinske, was working with the marketing department and design firm to get the desired contrast on the photos.

Publishing Services has a good relationship with corporate marketing, Jablinske says. Because of this mutual respect, the in-plant was given some input into the design of the piece. For example, the designers planned to use a color stock for the cover, but the in-plant recommended flood coating the paper instead for more consistent color.

Producing The Piece

The project was brought to the in-plant by Rita Tuck, account representative. Steve Locke, account executive, was the liaison between the designer and the in-plant, and Melinda Harper-Graaf, manager of branding and creative services, oversaw the project.

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