When it comes to standing out, grand gestures don’t always cut it. More often than not, it’s the “little” things: the glint of gold embossed handwriting on a wedding invitation; the burst of color on a personalized birthday card; the feel of a business card, soft to the touch. As someone who seeks to make a lasting impression, I was pleasantly surprised to discover the range of 3D printing services Lema Press offers right here in Ghana.
Lema Press Begins 3D Printing
The introduction of a cutting-edge 3D digital printer and accompanying 3D Varnish services (spot, gold and silver) in January 2017 will be welcome news for customers who have had to wait on a print job all the way from Europe or China at some point. A self-professed early adopter of highly sought-after printing technologies, Lema Press sees its latest acquisition as a milestone in their quest to deliver quality printing in Ghana. The 3D digital printer comes equipped with smart scanners only released in June 2016, making it the seventh of its kind globally. After hearing about the machine, I looked forward to seeing it in action myself.
From the onset of my visit to their Akpakpa Road, Kokomlemle facility in Accra, one thing was clear: Lema Press doesn’t compromise on innovation. Lema Press opened shop in 2010 with the aim of introducing the best in cutting edge printing technology. At the time, that meant a tabletop printer. By 2013 however, Lema Press was operating with a range of industrial printers and a promise to always deliver on quality. Today the company boasts a pan-African and bilingual team of experts and a repertoire of industrial digital printers, automatic cutters, a 3D printer digital offset, and other high technology machinery. This allows them to produce even the most complex designs with great precision and attention to detail.
How the 3D Digital Printer Works
My anticipation was high by the time we arrived at the acclaimed 3D printer. A horizontal and rectangular white and grey apparatus with computer-like screens embedded on its side, the printer resembled a large telescope or miniature space ship laid flat. Off to the side was the “pre-press” team who pored over customer designs submitted on flash drives to determine which machine would handle which print job. Once assigned, the design was uploaded from the flash drive onto the 3D printer system and a data entry clerk keyed in specifications for printing on a touch screen. At the press of a button, the printer hummed alive.
Besides the occasional flash of white light and the movement of paper or printing screens from one section to the next, there was very little to be seen. That is, until the finished product came out. Only then was it evident that the smart scanner’s eight cameras can automatically identify as many as 200 points at a go, effectively guaranteeing 100% registration when transferring designs from screen to paper. The fact that a data clerk is the only human resource needed to run the 3D printer also reduces the margin for human error – goodbye ink smudges and misplaced sheets. Based on what I saw, it was clear that 3D printing could be revolutionary in Ghana not just in terms of mass printing with precision, but also by way of creative design and risk taking. Could the days of copy and paste literally be over?
Affordable & Quality 3D Printing In Ghana
After witnessing the attention to detail in 3D varnish printing, I was curious to find out what that would mean money-wise. Would a start up entrepreneur or professional like myself be able to afford Lema Press’ services? Should clients and customers who undertake corporate stationary, business, and special event print jobs abroad consider doing them in Ghana instead? The simple answer to both questions is yes: Lema Press’ 3D printing offerings are more competitive and affordable. Same product, same quality, all at a lower price, right here in Ghana.
Take for instance a stack of 100 business cards with 3D gold or silver varnish. In Europe those cards would go for about 163 Euro (almost 800 GHS), but at Lema Press they go for 100GHS. That’s a sixth of how much I paid in 2015 for my 200 soft touch Circumspecte business cards from Moo while visiting London. Of course, these estimates do not factor in additional shipping costs and taxes for printing in Europe (or in my case my tube ticket and time spent), which would make outsourcing one’s 3D print jobs abroad even more expensive. Lema Press customers in the know are already taking advantage of the new offerings; it is no wonder the printing press is planning to restructure its lobby to better accommodate customers and clients. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to my first print job with Lema Press – and to saving a few cedis. If you’re the quirky type who likes to chart your own course when it comes to branding and identity, let your imagination come alive.
Web to Print Service – Create or Upload Artwork Online
Can’t make it to their office? Order your prints online with their new web to print digital service, straight from the comfort of your home or office. To print existing artwork by simply uploading it onto the Lema Press web to print platform, indicating specifications (paper type, number of copies, lamination preference, etc), and submit your order. You can pay securely online using mobile money and your order should be ready for pickup in a matter of hours. Don’t have the artwork ready? Watch this step-by-step video tutorial if you have issues. No worries – you can create your own design! Simply choose from a variety of templates for business cards, brochures and so on, customize it with your logo, 3D print requirements, and other design elements, and place your order. Now that’s what I call convenient. Check out the video below for a step by step on how to create your customized design for printing. Don’t forget to leave a comment and let us know how it goes!
Jemila Abdulai is the creative director, editor and founder of the award-winning website Circumspecte.com. A media and international development professional and economist by training, she combines her business, communications and project management expertise with her strong passion for Africa. Besides writing and reading, she enjoys travel, global cuisine, movies, and good design.