Award-Winning Printing Is Alive and Well at the Service Center

At your Service Center

“Printing isn’t dead,” John Barron, director of the Service Center, will tell you. “There’s a lot to be said for a printed piece that has physical characteristics and not just bits and bytes.”

Barron, who is in his 18th year at St. Thomas, also will tell you that there’s a lot to be said for a poster that was produced by the Service Center for the Music Department’s Festival Orchestra Honors Concert of April 16, 2012. The poster earned a Bronze Award (digital flyers category) in the In-Plant Printing and Mailing Association’s 2013 printing contest. IPMA is generally recognized as the professional trade association for in-plant printing operations in the United States.

“Overall it’s just a beautifully designed piece and it’s a beautifully printed piece, so we have the staff to thank, the equipment to thank and the designer to thank,” Barron remarked in a recent interview.

Concert poster

The Service Center won a Bronze Award from the In-Plant Printing and Mailing Association for this Music Department poster. The IPMA will present its awards at the association's annual meeting, which will be held in June in San Mateo, Calif.

A total of 482 entries were submitted to IPMA in various contest categories by 75 organizations, including many large universities and organizations. Eighty winners were selected from 35 organizations. In recent years, the Service Center also won IPMA awards in 1995, 1998, 2000 and 2011.


The staff that produced the Bronze Award poster included designer Stacy Drude, iGen3 operator Sue Moro, finisher Cassie Watson and production manager Leann Martens.

“We’ve known that we’ve done some great work because of some talented designers on campus, because of the high-quality equipment we have, but also some really dedicated staff.  … We’ve got some really caring employees who are highly trained. Being able to get recognition from our trade association – it just feels good, and getting that kind of recognition is what our staff deserves,” Barron said.


The poster was printed on the Service Center’s iGen3 by Xerox, a high-tech, color digital printer. The machine is 20-feet long, six-feet wide and eight-feet tall; it weighs 7,051 pounds. A structural engineer was hired to ensure that the floor of the Service Center (thought to have been built in 1894 along with Cretin and Loras halls; all three were designed by Cass Gilbert), could support the size and the weight of the machine. It took a couple of weeks to install.

The iGen3 is designed to do digital color printing up to 14-by-20 inches and can produce 110 prints per minute.

“It’s a very significant machine, and we’ve been running it real hard, and getting real good results out of it. … It’s intended to do very high-quality digital color printing in very small runs – from one to 10 up to several thousand, and it’s economical up to several thousand,” Barron said.

The quality is “virtually indistinguishable from offset, which has been the standard of excellence for over a hundred years,” he added.


Barron pointed out that Drude drew on ongoing themes and motifs that she has used for a variety of flyers, brochures, posters and banners for the Music Department.

Drude designs some  half dozen pieces for the Music Department every year and countless others. She “hit on” the concert poster. “I was looking at what instruments were involved, the sort of music that was involved and kind of knowing what Kara Bradshaw (her Music Department client) looks for, and just started making a layered file and bringing all of the pieces together,” Drude remarked.

Barron pointed out that Drude’s poster featured well-rendered images with good midtones, highlights and shadows and pleasing colors, and it featured good use of typography, the words were large enough to be read, and it made meaningful use of white space.

“It’s a great piece. We’re proud of it,” Barron concluded.