DON’T stop the presses: I love print

By Clarice Oscher


Growing up, the newspaper was a more popular item to bring home than a loaf of bread for our family of five.

Each morning brought us the most recent edition of Newsday, Long Island’s leading news source. I wondered why we always had the newspaper and why someone would want to read through it day in and day out, like clockwork.

Eventually the mystery was solved for me. My dad, Timothy Oscher, is a pressman for Newsday. He works overnights and prints the newspaper for the following day. That is why we had a complimentary newspaper at girl-reading-newspaper-morguefileour house every day, since before I was born nearly 21 years ago.

I would watch my dad at the dining-room table with his coffee, reading the paper from cover to cover … but I never understood how or why he would do this.

Slowly but surely, I picked up his love for newspaper without even realizing it.

I found myself reading the “Help Wanted” ads even though I was too young to work. This led to the “Cars for Sale” section, where I could dream of what would be my first car. I loved reading highlight stories about the successes of local everyday people and also keeping up with Long Island’s own personal train wreck — Lindsay Lohan.

Having the newspaper in my life since the beginning has sculpted my view and appreciation for print. I love having the hardcopy of anything, whether it’s a book, including expensive textbooks for school, or a syllabus for class or invitations to events.

As much as I love technology and the advances that continue to develop, I will forever be loyal to the print copy of anything. There’s just something about the physical copy that gives meaning to whatever is printed on it.print hearts

Print has long been important in history — from political communication and official legal documents to original copies of books — and will continue to be valued, no matter how far we go into the digital world.

A front-row seat for five decades: Witnessing and experiencing dramatic changes in printing

By Skip DeBiase

CEO, Phoenix Graphics


Skip DeBiase and his son, Sal, review a color document from their Kodak Nexpress SX3900.

I am proud to tell our customers that we are a four-generation printing business. I personally have grown up in the printing industry. Working in my mother and father’s “family-run” print shop after school, learning and living not only the technical side of printing but also the physical side of having the work ethic necessary to grow and survive the business.


Setting movable type

I personally have been on the job watching, learning, and growing with the dramatic changes I have lived through from my front-row seat during my 55 years in the industry.

I have lived through the evolution of “movable type” letterpress and hot metal linotype to “cold composition” and offset lithography to the advent of the computer era and up to present — the digital revolution in printing. The changes even amaze me!

A full-color product in the 1960s meant my father and I would color separate, strip, plate, and run the 4-color process on a 1-color press, one color at a time. The sequence was run yellow separation first, then put the sheets back through the press and run the red separation (while staying in perfect register of dot for dot), and again for the blue separation, and finally the black plate.

Throughout the four separate runs, there was much anxiety as we never knew if the final finished piece was acceptable until the final pass was complete — and if it wasn’t perfect, we would throw it out and start all over again at our expense. The problems could have been in the original film separations, the stripping (aligning), the plate (exposures), or the press (inks, densities, registrations, offset, etc.).

Over the years, we ultimately experimented and changed combinations, but no matter, it was not an exact science as we were working with so many variables (films, plates, inks, presses, washes, registrations and so on).  In retrospect, I don’t know how we made it work, but we did somehow.

In the 1970s we increased our color work by investing in 2-color presses. When we did that, we could put down various combinations with only two passes of each sheet. We could “see” the final image much sooner and had more latitude in altering the overall image by adding or subtracting two colors at once. Sequences became blue black then red yellow. This gave us a much greater ability to manipulate the final color densities of the image produced.

phoenix skip 1

Offset printing machine from the 1950s

Today it seems archaic, but at the time we honestly believed, “Wow, we’ve arrived! In truth the industry kept evolving at a much faster pace than ever imagined. We expanded to web offset  (roll-fed), multi-unit presses, whereby we printed four or even five colors with one pass through the press. At the same time, the “web” of paper was automatically cut off and sheeted or, if needed, folded as required for final usage.

Just as time marches on, so it is with the printing industry. Offset (lithography) is rapidly being replaced with digital printing. The new digital world allows us to do things that were not even considered a few years ago.

As it’s computer-generated, each piece can be individualized. Gone are films, plates, stripping, etc. What used to take us a week to make ready can now be produced and completed in hours.

Currently we have reached the pinnacle of digital color printing with the Kodak NexPress SX3900, which we installed in 2014. This goes alongside our other 10 Kodak digital presses.

Being in Kodak’s town, and having their technical staff always available, certainly helped make our equipment decision easier. We used to produce thousands of documents in decades past, whereas we now produce tens of millions of documents in the same time frame.

What used to take weeks, literally now takes hours. This allows our customers much more flexibility in ordering on as-needed basis. This new technology has truly been a game changer on both sides of the aisle.

Tony Running Ballots

Phoenix Graphics has 10 digital color Kodak presses working alongside its Kodak NexPress.

Our family business still thrives due to the work ethic instilled by our ancestors. It has grown from a small hand-fed press in my father’s basement — where he printed church bulletins and prayer cards — to the multi-million-dollar commercial powerhouse it is today. I have grown from running that hand-fed press at age 12 to overseeing the staggering growth of Phoenix Graphics as it exists today.

I am in awe of the capabilities our latest equipment allows and feel a great sense of pride watching the evolution and the next generation that is the driving force moving forward.

Impressive? You bet!

Phoenix Graphics has 10 digital color Kodak presses working alongside its Kodak NexPress. Learn more 

Why print is here to stay: a millennial’s perspective

Growing up in the 90’s, I remember opening our front door every morning and retrieving a bright blue plastic bag from my front step (or occasionally the driveway, garden, or gutter depending on the dexterity, height, bike speed, and mood of the paper boy). I’d deliver the bag to my Mom and Dad and marvel at the sophistication as they swapped sections of the D&C over their morning coffee.

Jump ahead a decade to the college years. When I was an undergrad between 2008-2012, digital versions of textbooks were not typically available as an option for students. I recall several music courses with CD’s in little plastic sleeves on the inside cover, and plenty of courses that called for responses to online content, or to find online resources we thought were applicable to the project or valuable for future students, but textbooks and additional materials were almost always printed pieces of paper. Sometimes my professors even required a “hard copy” of an assignment in addition to submitting it online.

Tprint is alivehere’s a degree of anonymity with digital engagement that isn’t the same on paper (literally). The guise provided by the digital age allows users to pull information from innumerable sources, often making it unclear from whence the idea, information, or thought came. Here’s a brief litany of reasons why, as a millennial, I will always prefer print.

Perks of print:

  • When I come home and see the bookshelf in my living room full of plays, fiction, biographies, old text books (oops) and “next on the list” items, I feel how I imagine a seasoned athlete feels when she enters a room full of hard-earned trophies: reverent and accomplished. A long list of titles inside an iPhone app doesn’t exactly induce a similar feeling.
  • My retinas don’t writhe after hours of reading printed text on a page the way they do after spending hours in front of a glowing screen.print is alive 2
  • Pictures in frames on walls
  • Being reminded of how hard you worked every time you enter the kitchen and see that A+ smiling at you from behind a magnet on the fridge
  • Falling asleep reading printed text is a peaceful and relaxing way to end your day and doesn’t leave you seeing little rainbow outlines of screens every time you close your eyes.
  • There’s something incomparably satisfying about looking at a book and taking note of how much progress you’ve made and how much you have left to go based on the placement of your bookmark
  • True, brilliant, un-distorted colors
  • Digital media changes by the second. claims that 350,000 Tweets are posted every minute. Every minute?! I’m overwhelmed just hearing that figure, let alone trying to keep up with the influx of information. Print is permanent.
  • Information shared via printed material feels more valuable because it’ll last longer and it’s tangible. If I can hold it in my hand, I know it’s real.

As with any new technology, subjectivity abounds. There are certainly valid arguments to be made by digital advocates, and I invite those arguments whenever I can. But until my PC’s touch screen smells like the pages of my 1975 copy of To Kill A Mockingbird, this millennial is sticking to print.

by Emily Putnam, PR & Social Media Manager at Dresden Public Relations

From Press to Polls: Phoenix Is Thankful For Another Successful Election Season

There’s no room for error when it comes to ballot printing for election season in New York State. For us at Phoenix Graphics, elections are an incredible opportunity to exemplify our unfaltering commitment to precision and detail.

We’re always grateful for feedback, but notes like this from our friends at the Fulton County Board of Elections make us especially proud: “Just wanted to thank you and your wonderful staff for helping us pull this off! Love you guys.”

We highly value our local, regional, and statewide communities’ civic voices, and have made it our mission to produce the highest quality voter materials for each and every one of the 13,000 election districts we serve (over 75% of New York State).

Election laws are complex. In order to better adhere to the intricacies of each county’s respective ballot requirements, Phoenix got creative. We’re proud to say we’re the first commercial printing company in New York State to develop software specifically designed to facilitate precise ballot formatting, thereby accommodating complex NYS requirements.

In 2006 and 2007, we were awarded patents for our unique ballot formatting system, and continue to improve upon our existing systems

2006 Patent 2007 Patent

With these helpful software tools in our back pocket, the production process begins. Not only do we format and physically print the ballots, but Phoenix provides a number of other analytic and precautionary services to our districts as well. These services include:

  • Creation of initial ballot layouts
  • Certification updates
  • Generation of M.O.V.E. Act files (Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment)
  • Production of approved absentee bridged data (secure fonts on request)
  • Password-protected PDF proofs
  • Generation of ballot order forms

Kings County Official BallotsBen at Light Table

  • Manual editing of registered voter info to reflect consolidation when required
  • Ensuring integrity of printed ballots (testing individually on a scanner with county software. Checking for readability, ink adhesion, cutting and registration)
  • Verification of pad quantities’ weight
  • Secure stapling


  • Creation of county and election district-specific labels
  • Securing materials in pre-printed shrink wrap
  • Sealing delivery cartons with security-specific tape
  • Packing and verifying carton contents
  • Directly transport freight, included at no additional charge


Each election year presents new challenges, and we continually look forward to utilizing our knack for innovation and creativity to accept each challenge and reach our goals.

Thank you, New York State, for entrusting us with this paramount opportunity, and we look forward to providing you with your election materials for many years to come!

Our very best,

The Phoenix Graphics Team