The Esko CDI Spark 5080 at Creative Graphics plant in Noida. Photo PSA

The Creative Graphics Group was established in 2001 by Deepanshu Goel as an integrated agency to supply a range of services to brands for the design, amplification, and production stages of their packaging lifecycle. Today, it is counted among the largest producers of flexo printing plates in India. Creative Graphics has world-class technologies and infrastructure from the leading technology suppliers for design, prepress and imaging, and proofing. Its hardware, software, and state-of-the-art digital imagers include Esko’s 50×80 and 42×60 CDI devices, a Kodak NX machine, DuPont and SWAN plate-making systems, and Epson technologies for proofing.

Creative Graphics
A flexo plate manufactured by Creative Graphics. Photo PSA

The company is increasingly present with prepress and flexo plate production across the country with metropolitan cities including Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi NCR, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, and Baddi. It recently added Kolkata and is on way to adding new locations soon. 

CG Premedia

Creative recently launched CG Premedia – end-to-end premedia services like packaging design, adaptations, art-working, prepress, color management, mock-ups, and market testing samples. In addition, CG Premedia provides print production management and 3D CGI packshots for eCommerce portals all under one roof.

The new venture is under the leadership of director Sanjay Sakalley, based in the company’s head office in Noida. Sakalley was previously the managing director for Diadeis/SGSco, one of the largest premedia agencies in the world. Jayaraj Nair heads operations at the exclusive production base in Old Mahabalipuram Road in Chennai. He previously worked with Schawk, a global leader in the premedia world.

Creative Graphics
Sanjay Sakalley, director, CG Premedia. Photo PSA

Sanjay Sakalley, says, “These are services brands look for before the print-ready files are given to the printer or the plate supplier and CG Premedia performs all of these. It was a very logical progression for Creative Graphics to get into premedia because it’s backward integration. Before the plate is made, there are a number of such activities which take place, and only when the artwork reaches the platemaker the plate can be made. CG Premedia is directly in touch with the brands to assist them with their premedia and prototyping requirements.”

Connecting concept to prototype and fulfillment

The process of premedia involves several stages from conceptualization to implementation – strategic advice, creative design, creative variations, models and prototypes, artwork, retouching and reprographics, printing tools, and press approvals that lead up to the ultimate printing and converting stage.

The bundle of services include strategic package design, structural and engineering design, 3D and 2D CGI, and eCommerce images. Amplification services include creative and variant graphic adaptation, photography, image retouching, image manipulation and color correction, MIS management, printer database management, and digital asset management.

The artwork creation mechanicals include font size management according to current printing regulations, text color limitations, PCRO, and regulatory requirements, GS1 approved barcode norms as well as registration marks. Creative variation provides harmonization of layout across variants thus adapting the new design to all formats, flavors, and packaging types while maintaining brand consistency.

Production services offered by CG Premedia include artwork creation, technical drawing builds, repro including color separation and trapping, physical and digital mock-ups, print file preparation, distortion for shrink sleeves, color management and printer profile matching (finger-printing), color proofing or remote proofing, matching color targets, object-based screening and final printing plates.

CG Premedia and Creative Graphics employ software tools like Esko Deskpack and Art Pro+ prepress software and plug-ins, the Esko Automation Engine, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Indesign, and Global Vision for design, prepress, color management, and plate imaging while Autodesk 3ds Max, Modo, and Maya are used for 3D modeling.

The designing, color trapping, and other services are done both at the Noida and Chennai arms of CG Premedia. Sakalley says, “In Noida, we get a lot of advantage of the existing infrastructure of the Creative Graphics headquarter plant. We already have a huge prepress department in Noida in which close to 150 skilled resources are working. The CG Premedia team is doing the designing and color trapping along with many other activities.” The CG Premedia team currently has dedicated resources – for marketing, mock-ups production in Noida, and artwork production in Chennai.

CG Premedia is taking on the challenge of receiving just the creatives from the brand and being responsible right until the final delivery of the print-ready file. The Creative Graphics Group has first-hand experience of working with practically all major FMCG brands. Sakalley adds, “The new company is already working with some of the leading brands in India and is able to make an impact in the market.”

Mock-ups for launch campaigns & market research

CG Premedia provides packaging mock-ups on actual substrates as well as 2D and 3D visualization of mock-ups. Mock-ups can be of monocartons, shrink sleeves, pouches, sachets, tubes, and labels. The mock-up can be filled with the actual product, or it can be left open-ended to fill at the client’s end. Sakalley explains that the mock-ups can be prepared with a variety of print finishes such as hot-foil stamping, embossing, debossing, varnishes, metallic effects, and specialty inks. A host of assembly formats such as zippers, spouts, closures, blister sealing, tube sealing, poly bag sealing, label application, and shrink wrapping are rendered.

Creative Graphics
A mock-up prepared by CG Premedia. Photo PSA

Sakalley observes, “CG Premedia is primarily a services company, the only physical product that we are producing are mock-ups for which our turnaround time is 48 to 72 hours. Currently, we have more North Indian clients but we are starting to service clients in Western and South India as well. We have also started working with overseas customers.

“For mock-ups, we can provide from one to a few thousand pieces to the brand owners which then use them in photo shoots, advertisements, and pre-launch activities of new products. These mock-ups are also used for registrations on supermarket or eCommerce websites. The mock-ups are at times used by brands to select the final product design from 3 or 4 alternative designs. They are also used for the purpose of marketing research. We also offer options for variable data printing, in-store branding, and personalization of products.”

Transitioning from gravure to flexo printing

“With two decades experience in flexography, the Creative Graphics Group offers turnkey solutions to brands that want to migrate from gravure to flexo. Brand owners only need to hand over the existing gravure printed pack and Creative will deliver the print-ready file and the plates to the flexo printer. All the intermediate steps and the most challenging aspect – prepress is looked after for transitioning to flexo,” says Sakalley.

Creative Graphics is soon starting the manufacture of flexo sleeves, an enhancement of flexo plates. The company claims it will be the first to offer the advantages of sleeves to its Indian clientele. According to it, there is a wide scope for flexo sleeves in the country as the wide web flexo and label industry were already looking for such options. Sleeves offer numerous merits as they avoid tapes and mounts for fixing plates, and the gap at plate edges in continuous production. It is claimed that with flexo sleeves, production is faster and of better quality. Creative says that with flexo sleeves the transition of flexible packaging from gravure to flexo will be much easier.

This article has been slightly edited on 30 June 2022 at 1522 hrs IST and again on 2 July 2022 at 1749 hrs IST

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