Thysse is a G7 Master Qualified Printer – How Does That Help Your Brand?

Color consistency is kind of our business, and we’ve got a shiny new badge to prove it

Even before the first purchase, your brand meets your customer in a variety of ways: packaging, store signage, mailers and vehicle wraps – all creating a perception of your company, its offerings, and, perhaps most importantly, its quality. If these are all working in harmony, that’s a great representation of your brand, and creates strong awareness.

Now imagine each asset, each physical manifestation of your company, being produced in a different facility, with different standards. Each requires different inks, substrates and print processes and variation in each can lead to significant color inconsistencies across the range of materials. We’re not trying to scare you, a small variation here and there is typically within an acceptable margin of error, and likely won’t be noticed by your consumers or prospects. 

So why the hue and cry over color inconsistency? For starters, color is one of the most emotional attributes of a brand. It’s an important part of why consumers decide to embrace (or reject) your message. Color consistency reinforces trust, and inconsistency of colors associated with a brand subconsciously diminishes it – eroding brand loyalty and your products’ perceived value. 

In plain English? Stringent color management is essential to your brand’s credibility. 

The good news however, is that vendors can be assessed on their printers’, processes’, and people’s ability to achieve color consistency, and Thysse just happens to be an expert in all three. Only a printer of the highest compliance level may be classified as a G7® Master Facility Colorspace (Ahem – that’s us).

So, what the heck is a G7® Master Certification?

First things first, it’s a 3-tiered qualification system verified by Idealliance®, a worldwide provider of industry standards in graphic communications. G7 certification at every level ensures your brand is produced with exceptional quality, color matching, and color consistency, regardless of where you do your printing or what device materials are printed on.

G7 is aptly named, as it includes evaluation of Grayscale + seven colors (CMYKRGB); it is a set of global specifications for achieving visual similarity across all print processes. For those who don’t dream in Pantone® Super Swatches however, all this color lingo may be, well, a bit of a gray area. 

Here’s the gist of what G7 allows your printer to do:

  • Align all processes to create a strong, consistent visual identity for your brand
  • Preserve the integrity of your brand standards to the highest degree
  • Consistently match and replicate provided color targets 
  • Make it look like you dropped some serious cha-ching on your advertising 

Can it get any better? Why yes, actually. It can.

In addition to exceptional color consistency, G7 can reduce pain points and make communication with your printer easier by providing a foundation for less subjective conversations about color. Increased efficiency in production and process control also have their perks, including reductions in: 

  • The physical and actual cost of proofing and shipping prior to print 
  • Waste and make-ready overhead time during press runs 
  • Design times which means fewer revisions and quicker turnaround
  • The need to travel onsite for press checks

What exactly does it take for a printer to get certified?

This is the section that usually involves a lot of jargon, Delta E’s and indescript acronyms. Don’t worry, we won’t get too technical – we’ll leave that to our in-house color management team. In simplest terms, for a facility to become G7 Master Certified, each device must be calibrated to a set of independently verified and globally-approved color specifications. Next, the machine’s color files are inspected using a serious instrument with a Mary-Poppins-of-a-name;  a spectrophotometer. Finally, the output is compared to a G7 data set and performance overall is evaluated.

To eliminate any potential for a VW-level cover up, this process is repeated a second time with added specifications. Once targets are achieved within a certain tolerance, the results are sent to an independent agency for review. This final test determines whether a printer passes or fails the G7 certification, and if attained, remains valid for one year. 

So… do I need to fire our printer?

We’ll leave that up to your best judgement, but know that not all G7 Facilities are [qualified] equal. A printer’s compliance determines which of the three levels Idealliance will award. Splitting up the 4-color process into color (CMY) and black (K), the base level (Master Grayscale), notes that a printer can consistently define and reproduce standard curves referred to as the neutral tone ramp. When these are produced well, then all other colors tend to fall in line more easily. A great first step in achieving color stability but evaluation doesn’t stop there.

A Master Targeted Facility takes it a step further by ensuring that, in addition to those neutral tones, its devices are able to print consistently across primary color targets (CMY), and secondary color targets (RGB) as well. Seems reasonable, but we’re not done yet.

The third level and final level of compliance is the most stringent: the G7 Master Colorspace Certification. (Spoiler, we have it!) In order to obtain this title, a facility must demonstrate it can consistently reproduce the entire spectrum of colors. 

That’s the neutrals, the primary and secondary solids, and everything in between – which is about 1,620 patches (about 1,300 more than the level before it).

Also unique to this level, is that the standards are assessed separately for both printing and proofing, with proofing being even more stringent.  

Thanks for the enlightenment, now what?

When it comes down to it, the best way your printer can help your brand is to be a proactive partner. Thysse’s people, processes and yes, even our printers, will ensure that the world always sees your brand in the best possible light. Your brand’s visual integrity is upheld by adherence to your unique brand standards, and G7 or no G7, we take that responsibility seriously. 

But hey, that top-tier, world-wide accreditation of G7 Master Colorspace Facility definitely tells us we’re still where you go with your brand.

Interested in a brighter future for your brand? Head on over to our contact page and ask us for more details.

Badger Group’s Sally O’Brien fills us in on the latest technology in direct mail marketing.

Thysse interviews Badger Group President, Sally O’Brien, about her industry expertise. 

Last month, Thysse finalized a partnership with another family-owned print and marketing services provider from Fort Atkinson, WI. In the weeks following the big handshake, Badger Group staff has been busy settling in to their new home at the Oregon campus and giving the break room Keurig a hefty workout. With the transition now well under way, we stole a rare free minute from Badger Group president, Sally O’Brien, to tap her expertise in direct mail and campaign planning tools and get a read on what it means for our clients’ bottom line.

Thysse: Can you tell us a little bit about Badger Group’s history and what brought you to the industry? 

Sally: Growing up, my family always had a close connection to the print industry. My father bought Badger Press, Inc. in 1975, then located in Jefferson, WI. I worked there throughout college in various production areas and, after a few years working as a music therapist, returned to accept a full-time sales role. The work was something that instantly clicked with me. I really connected with the clients – I think that’s been the most rewarding piece all along! I love helping people come up with solutions to make their business better. In 1990, Badger Group built a new facility and moved to Fort Atkinson. I became President in 2000, expanding my role and responsibilities, but I’ve always focused on the customer side of the business.

Thysse: Badger Group started as a commercial printer, and, similar to Thysse, ended up expanding into a breadth of other areas as customer needs evolved. What other services does your team specialize in? 

Sally: We wanted to add more value for our clients, and make their marketing dollars work harder for them. We added digital marketing components to direct mail to increase their exposure and ROI. This omnichannel marketing approach can be created on a campaign level, or on a broader level using marketing automation software to engage audiences over time. We also create web-to-print storefront portals that enable clients to easily order and fulfill marketing materials within their organizations.

Thysse: Can you describe any recent projects that have been particularly effective print campaigns? Or how your marketing services are continuing to evolve the perception of what a printer provides?

Sally: We recently won a ‘best of’ category through Great Lakes Graphics Association (GLGA) for a unique self-mailer we produced for Madison College. They wanted an interactive piece that prospective students would spend time with once they received it in the mail, so we created a design with multiple folds and flaps that needed to be opened to reveal the content. We incorporated multi-channel digital follow up in their direct mail strategy as well, which resulted in an incredible response rate. They got a ton of extra exposure that they wouldn’t have gotten with just the direct mail piece. 

Thysse: The Badger staff joining the team are experts at applying the latest technology to boost direct mail marketing efforts. What can you tell us about Mail+ and why should businesses consider it? 


Sally O’Brien, Badger Group President

Sally: This means you need to be reaching your audience multiple times to successfully engage them and convert into a sale or action. Using Mail+ adds multiple digital components to your direct mail campaigns to extend your reach across many different communication channels – keeping your message and brand in front of your target audience. It’s a really cost effective way for companies to boost their direct mail ROI.

Thysse: How would you explain marketing automation and its benefits to a company who’s never used it before? 


Sally O’Brien, Badger Group President

Sally: Any company or organization that is looking to grow and fill their sales or lead funnel can benefit from marketing automation. It takes time and planning on the front end to create and implement a marketing automation program. But – once in place, this data-driven, omnichannel marketing campaign works behind the scenes to send out content based on actions taken and qualify leads based on past behaviors. This data is collected, managed and stored in a digital dashboard and can also be linked directly to your CRM for a seamless transition of information.

Thysse: Can you explain the importance of customer data in helping businesses reach the next level of brand awareness and engagement?

Sally: Data is king – you need accurate, detailed data to best attract and engage your audience. The more details you have about your audience the better you will be able to push out relevant content. If you’re looking for a good prospect list – the more you know about your current customers the better chance you have of finding ‘look alike’ audiences to create great prospect lists.

Thysse: What insights can companies gain about their customers by using the marketing automation analytics dashboard? 

Sally: Digital dashboards help you manage the activities happening within your campaigns. They allow you to do things like: 

  • Predict and confirm when the direct mail piece is delivered so you can be prepared for new calls and online leads
  • Track phone calls that were a direct result of your campaign 
  • Tell you how many unique visitors came to your website, how many digital ads were shown and how often they were clicked on 
  • Track email open rates to know who is interested in the content you are creating 
  • Gather survey data collected from personalized URLs. The data can also be reviewed and used for future actions

Campaign tactics can be tweaked during a campaign based on what kind of results you are seeing on your dashboard – giving you the best possible chance for success. 

Thysse: What is the biggest challenge companies face regarding their marketing efforts? 

Sally: The average person receives more than 2,900 marketing messages a day – across multiple communication platforms. That’s a lot of competition for your message to stand out, engage and create action. Organizations need to use multiple communication channels to make sure their brand and message is reaching their audience. These communications need to be personalized so your audience finds value and takes notice. 

Thysse: Is there anything else you would like to share about Badger Group’s partnership with Thysse? 

Sally: Jason [Thysse President] and his team have the same values as our Badger family. Both being family owned and operated businesses, we care about our employees and are able to recruit and retain great team members. In both organizations, customers come first. I needed to be sure that my clients would feel completely comfortable that their needs would be well taken care of with this partnership. This past year with the pandemic, we often heard things about being ‘in this together’. I believe that this partnership will make us ‘better together’ with our expanded teams and services. I trusted Jason and his team from the first time we met and am excited about what the future will bring!

About Badger Group

A family-run business since 1975 and a WBENC-certified Woman-Owned Small Business, Badger Group is a print and marketing services provider specializing in data-driven, cost-effective, targeted direct mail communications. As of June 1st, Badger Group staff became a proud member of the Thysse family and looks forward to providing clients with an expanded range of services and capabilities.

About Thysse

Thysse is an ever-evolving brand experience provider built by three generations of visual communication specialists. We like to say Thysse is “Where you go with your brand,” and provide innovative solutions to back that statement up. We are a design, printing, specialty graphics, and manufacturing company at our core, but we also offer imagination and the tools to customize your project to find the right solution every time.

For questions about the services mentioned in this interview, get in touch with us through our contact page and ask for more details.

Experiential Design Dream Team: Defined.

We thought a few introductions to the team who tinkers with your brand translations was in order. After all, we’ve been playing them up as guides and experts of brand expression, but often they get reduced down to job title when we boast about our unique experiential design makeup. For one blog only, we’re putting a temporary spotlight their skills and storied pasts because it’s about time we bragged about these creative minds.

Loren Zemlicka | Principal

Loren Zemlicka, Design Principal

First up, the guy who started the foray into experiential design at Thysse. A creative in one way or another for most of his life, Loren brought his 20 years of graphic design experience and creative direction to Thysse in 2013 and only looked back to bring a few friends along for the ride (more on them in a moment). A renowned Play-Doh sculptor in his early years, he’s since moved on to molding enterprise brands into hierarchical masterpieces and has been known to moonlight a blog or two. Never content to master one skill, his efforts now stretch to encompass print design, web design, video production, copywriting, photography and of course, experiential (environmental) graphic design.

Geoff Sabin | Principal

Geoff Sabin, Principal Architect

Geoff Sabin’s a little shaggier these days than his picture would suggest, but he’s still got the same focus and drive on every project as he did on day one. Geoff joined our team shortly after its inception, and our house band has been thanking him ever since. Our principal architect by day, and on Rhythm Guitar and Lead Vocals by night/is-it-actually-really-early-the-next-morning, Geoff brings over 20 years of design and architecture experience to the Thysse crew. He can design a building, move on to design everything inside and outside the building, and then finish with  a design of the invitations for the grand opening. Geoff infuses creative energy into everything he does and has a very specific taste in pens – the now-discontinued Yasutomo Lupro Niji Stylist Markers to be exact. We’re still warring with the guy on eBay for the last box….

Kris Marconnet | Senior Designer

Kris Marconnet, Experiential Designer

Kris excels at visual branding elements in corporate, education and healthcare settings. A practicing lawn artist, she’s mastered the intricate turns and specific step counts to create an exact match to the revered Scottish “Royal Stewart” tartan in her own backyard. This latest design received modest praise from the neighbors, though they’re still a little leery after the more controversial piece, “Reclining Nude Eating Grapes.” We wish Mrs. Jensen well in her recovery… What were we doing? Ah yes, bragging about our master illustrator and logo developer. Probably swearing like a sailor internally that she’s the first designer on the list of praise, we’ll have to bribe her with cans of Bubly to make up for it. Like a silent assassin, her 25 years of accomplished design work often speaks for itself.  

Julie Kimmell | Project Manager

Julie Kimmel, Design Project Manager

We want your project to be beautiful, but we also want to be sure it stays on schedule and budget too. Hailing from the picturesque shores of an Illinois farm and a life spent raising hot dogs and bears, Julie is our professional creative management maven. We’re thrilled she left a string of Amazonian corporations, the three-martini lunches, fashion model shoots and glamorous haute-couture lifestyle behind to join our team; who doesn’t long for a hard hat now and then? With over 20 years of experience in creative and schedule wrangling,  Julie supports the team with financials, project planning, estimating and documentation on every design project and thankfully runs that weekly status meeting with military precision.

Allyson Casey | Concept Designer

Allyson Casey, Experiential Designer

We probably shouldn’t brag about theft on here, but you could say we stole Allyson away after collaborating on a multi-year project. Maybe stole is a bit harsh, we are pretty irresistible after all. She joined the Thysse Design crew in 2018 and brought her wealth of knowledge as a designer, art director, and artist along with. She’s also got a penchant for obscure indie folk music. If it’s got guitars, mandolins, or fiddles, you can bet it’s on her Spotify playlist. Typically armed with a cup of coffee and at least one AirPod in, she can nail a brand’s essence in record time, and translate it to walls, windows, and more. We usually pause the stopwatch for that second part.

Evan Hildebrand | Architectural Designer

Evan Hildebrand, Architectural Designer

Mr. Texas Panini himself, Evan comes to us from…Ohio. We’re kidding of course. This renowned humorist and ultimate frisbee cutter graduated Summa Cum Laude, with Distinction from University of Minnesota. Writing that out seems prestigious and oddly NSFW all at once… degrees and an eight-semester Dean’s list streak in hand, he then secured a sweet gig as a Design Associate in – you guessed it – Dallas, Texas. After perfecting his pronunciation of “y’all,” and confirming his cowboy boot size,  Evan hopped back to the Midwest and joined Thysse Design to specialize in 3D design, modeling, and rendering

Jen Braga | Marketing Director

Jen Braga, Marketing Director

We don’t make it a pattern, but sometimes we like the people we work with enough to hire them on our team. She’s been a project manager, designer, brand manager, and marketing specialist, and has a terrible golf swing, so we thought it’d be best to combine it all into one role on our team. Jen is a University of Wisconsin MBA graduate specializing in marketing and branding. She understands the importance of powerful storytelling, targeted messaging and may use the term “unaided brand awareness” approximately 23.5x more often than the average person.

Angie Biermeier | Designer

Angie Biermeier, Experiential Designer

We round out introductions with our very first Thysse Design hire. Angie came from the print design, copy layout and logo development world, and has since broadened her skillset, working in the built environment to create facility branding programs. Think that’s impressive? Wait till you see her Donnie and Marie memorabilia collection. With over 20 years of design experience, we’ll listen to her talk about the Osmond lunch boxes, coloring books, framed (and signed) 8x10s all day because when it comes down to it, Angie is a technical production artist wiz. Truly, her art file setups are a thing of art.

So there you have it, the team who draws the connection between material and messaging, and brings your brand into a new plane. In addition to these key personnel, we also have a staff comprised of a skilled craftsmen and women who love what they do. It is a team woven together with collective expertise and bound by satisfaction of a job well done.

Sound like a crew you’d like to kick it with even when the projects get hard? See if you have what it takes to join the team.

Curious to learn more? Let’s talk. We’re not salespeople. We’re just a bunch of passionate designers who love to talk through a project.

Experiential Design and Facility Branding

Bringing your brand to life in a physical space through experiential design.

University of Wisconsin School of Business – Grainger Learning Commons. The Thysse experiential design team designed, fabricated and installed a custom LED-lit donor wall, custom branded privacy vinyl, dimensional metal letterforms
University of Wisconsin School of Business – Grainger Learning Commons.

We sometimes use the phrase, “your brand is more than a logo.” It’s a way to start the conversation into brand experience and perception, to ensure our prospective clients understand the value of  consistent and quality representation across all lines of production and communications. Ensuring your vehicle wraps are aligned with your mailers, that these pieces match your promo products and work together for your brand is critical for ongoing success.

When our Experiential Graphic Design team works on a project, this idea is catapulted to a new level: your physical space is representing your brand – what’s it saying? Thysse Design understands that slapping a few art pieces on a wall may take up empty space, but it’s likely not improving your guests’ and employees’ experiences in any meaningful way.

University of Wisconsin Memorial Union renovation. The Thysse experiential design team designed, fabricated and installed custom wallpaper, custom wood millwork, hand-painted and formed aluminum, dimensional acrylic, direct-printed acrylic, vinyl graphics, LED lighting, fabric panels, interior and exterior signage, and wayfinding.
University of Wisconsin Memorial Union renovation.

Instead, we avoid haphazard messaging and disconnected art installations, by taking a holistic approach to understanding your brand and your audience. In these discussions and throughout the project, the Thysse experiential design team acts as guides to deepening your brand’s visual identity and to inform decisions about architecture, finishes, furniture, even lighting and electrical outlets. To ensure your brand and culture is best translated into the best graphic and physical form, our mantra is:

“Everything that goes on the wall has to mean something”

Seems like a tall order, but Thysse Design achieves this through careful balance of 3 elements: the message, the design and the materials. All three components have to be present in your space, in equal parts, for a truly effective and impactful finished product. When any one of these elements is lacking, the whole experience falls flat.

Luckily, we are uniquely qualified to build an environment for your brand that turns materials and messages into connections for your space and your brand.  Our team of architects, designers, project managers, copywriters and historians love to weave in a good story of inspiration and enthusiasm throughout your organization, and we especially love to work with people who are passionate about what they do.

San Jose State University Student Union. The Thysse experiential design team designed, fabricated and installed custom wallpaper, custom millwork, hand-painted and formed aluminum, dimensional acrylic, direct-printed acrylic, vinyl, LED lighting, printed fabric panels, acoustic fabric panels, interior and exterior signage, wayfinding, ADA and room signage
San Jose State University Student Union.

Thysse is where you go with your brand, and our experiential team proves that it’s ok if that path is currently a little unknown. We’re here to create experiences that elevate, illuminate, and inform. We believe your story is as important as the materials it’s printed on.

Because it’s your brand, but it’s our name on the line.

Curious to learn more? Let’s talk. We’re not salespeople. We’re just a bunch of passionate designers who love to talk through a project. Drop us a line at

Thysse Interviews Agrace on Promotional Boxes

Agrace Recognizes All Staff With Self-Care Gift for 2020

Thysse’s Marketing Director, Jen Braga, interviews Agrace’s Director of Marketing and Communications, Liz Kopling, on her experience with the project.

Agrace approached Thysse with an opportunity for a brand new project: a custom gift box for all employees to recognize them for their dedication and contributions in 2020. From March-December, these team members faced enormous challenges to providing patient care and facilitating family communications, all while navigating a pandemic themselves. Agrace’s CEO Lynne Sexten wanted to share Agrace’s appreciation for employees’ perseverance and commitment to providing the best standard of care for Agrace patients. In mid-December, I had the opportunity to sit down with Liz Kopling, Director of Marketing and Communications, to talk through the entire process, and how it was received by staff.

Agrace custom gift box

Jen: What made Agrace want to do a custom gift for your team this year?

Liz: In my 10 years with Agrace, we’ve never done a company-wide gift on this scale before, it was a unique thought for 2020. The project was really a function of wanting to reach out and personally thank each employee and surround them with care and empathy. We have about 850 employees and this year has been hard on all of them. Many of our staff are in a clinical setting and had added challenges of adapting many types of patient care throughout the pandemic.

As months and months of the pandemic wore on, our CEO, Lynne Sexten, had the idea to do something that would make people understand how much we appreciate them. To show our gratitude for hanging with us through such a tough year.

“You cannot take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself first.”

Liz Kopling, Agrace

Jen: What were some emotions or themes you wanted to capture with this box?

Liz: The theme of the package was committing to self-care and creating self-compassion. The idea of giving yourself grace and prioritizing taking care of ourselves. You cannot take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself first.

Each item was chosen to encourage taking breaks and participating in self-care in a way that was meaningful to them. We included items for work and home, to provide self-care opportunities throughout the day, in any setting.

Understanding that self-care is not always about self-reliance, we also included a list of resources for employee assistance, discounts and more.

Ultimately, we wanted to provide an experience that made them feel appreciated, understood, and valued.

Jen: The final box is made up of a few Thysse-sourced pieces and some with local flair. Can you talk through how you selected the items included?

Liz: The goal for the box was for items to be helpful and things that people would appreciate. We wanted them to be high quality and locally sourced when possible. Through employee connections, we sourced Madison-area companies to provide the tea and chocolate included in the baskets, (Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier and True Coffee Roasters). Thysse was a deliberate choice too, as you’re able to provide a local connection to help us source some of the items produced elsewhere. In the end, it was more about quality than quantity, we wanted an entire gift experience that people would value and be excited to receive.

Jen: Other than proximity to your offices, were there additional factors in your selection of Thysse as the partner for this project?

Liz: I had worked with Thysse on previous projects, and knew from experience that JJ would be honest with me about the feasibility of the ideas I had in mind. Thysse has a great reputation in Madison and Oregon, for being a provider of quality work and as a company who really cares about their community.

I’d worked with JJ and Tina on sourcing third-party items in the past, with great success. I knew they would be able to get what we wanted without the need for me to constantly check in to make sure things were on track. The communication and logistical work would be seamless with Thysse which was a huge advantage.

Agrace custom gift box

Jen: Can you explain how the project kicked off with our team? What tools and conversations did you have to help formulate the project scope? (initial consult, item selection, proofing, etc)

Liz: In the beginning, we just had the packaging and quality in mind, and wanted a trusted partner for the process. In terms of timing, once the idea was out of the gate, we wanted it delivered as soon as possible to help our staff combat the constant stress.

We came to the table with a couple ideas; we knew we wanted to include the chocolates and likely a cozy blanket, but were open to suggestions. Tina added so much value with her recommendations because she took our initial ideas and pulled ideas for us to consider. The blanket in particular ended up being a unique plaid pattern that she’d suggested.

We did use the promotional store link on the Thysse website to form an idea of what we were looking for, to then share with the Thysse team. It helped us understand what our options might be and have more productive discussions with Tina and JJ about the whole set of products.

Jen: What was the overall timeline for your project, from request to delivery?

Liz: The project was about 7 weeks from first contact to completion. The team was upfront about lead times, (YETI was substantial because of high demand), but once everything we ordered arrived in Thysse’s hands, the turnaround time exceeded expectations. Thysse was very responsive throughout the process.

Jen: Were there any expected or unexpected challenges in working through these custom boxes?

Liz: The timeline was out of our and your control, being based on vendor supply and lead times, which is a factor in any project. Tina and JJ were extremely upfront in setting expectations on delivery and ship dates to deliver as soon as possible. One piece we knew we wanted to include was a YETI product, which Tina confirmed at that time had the longest turnaround time of any of the items. We narrowed down that selection first, to get the order in immediately while other components were being selected.

“I had very high hopes and expectations of the project because of my past experiences with Thysse.”

Jen: What’s an unexpected benefit you found in working with Thysse through this process?

Liz: One example of Thysse’s value came when we went to order the blankets. The color patch on the blankets we’d chosen was brown and there were only about half the quantity needed in stock. Tina quickly suggested a gray option instead, that still went well with our branding and had full quantities available.

Anytime there was a hiccup, JJ or Tina would always respond with a solution which was so helpful. It kept things moving forward on our timeline, and it felt like they knew how important it was for us to get this out as quickly as possible. It also just takes the stress out of the hands of the customer or client in our case. Just knowing that I don’t have to worry about those details like I might have to with another vendor, where they aren’t as solution-oriented or proactive.

Another benefit was Thysse’s proximity. We always try to work with local partners as much as possible. On this project, it allowed us to more quickly view samples and make decisions.

I’ll just end with: I had very high hopes and expectations of the project because of my past experiences with Thysse. The feedback from staff was beyond my expectations. They were not only appreciative; they were emotionally overcome in some cases by how this package arrived unexpectedly with so much thought behind it. I think having Thysse be able to help us execute our vision was an expectation that your team far exceeded.

Jen: You had some custom messaging included in the boxes. How did you decide what to include, and who did you ask to participate in the box creation?

Liz: We wanted it to be a surprise, so we kept the working group fairly small. I shopped around a bit on the Thysse web portal and would put them into a little collage to be tweaked.

Some of it came up organically. We had the idea to do the “Proud Agrace Team Member” magnets, and I assumed that customizing them by job (RN, CAN, LPN, etc) would have a large cost associated. Tina got wind of that discussion and let us know that the cost difference would be pretty minimal. Her ability to work with the vendor gave us some more creative energy to be able to customize them even further.

The most collaborative part of the projects seemed to be after we had the items set. We started to look at the collection and wonder how to package them all together in a way that would withstand shipping, and in a way that would keep the boxes looking pristine. The Thysse team tested different boxing options, whether we should put everything into original packaging or totally customize the boxes for a better experience.

We ended up using a belly band that was glued around the bundle to keep everything in place. We did have a couple in person meetings, but for the most part we were able to collaborate with the stakeholders and Thysse virtually. I was with my design manager in my office and took a short video of a mockup idea. Thysse took that and ran with it to make a formal prototype to test with all the items and ensure the optimal fit. It was very collaborative.

In terms of the box we chose, when designing, we originally thought of using white. Someone on the Thysse side suggested the kraft brown box as these items were being shipped and could get a bit scuffed/worse for the wear in the process. The end result shipped beautifully, and that impacted the final design. 

Agrace custom gift box

Jen: We have an area in sales with space to do some prepackaging/prototyping. Tina, Ole, and JJ played your video on our monitor and would scrub back and forth on the layout to confirm it was matching your requests, and also note areas for improvement. I think that was the first time they’d used video to work with a client in that way, but all agreed it was a good process to continue for future projects, so that we can all agree on layout and assembly process. The video was a great tool for communicating remotely. Having the ability to play it back multiple times was extremely helpful.

Liz: Right! You can lose the nuance in meeting notes sometimes. The Thysse team’s expertise was a big asset in the process too. We thought that just wrapping the items up tighter in tissue paper should do the trick [to keep everything in place] and the Thysse crew did some testing. The corner of the chocolate box may break through the tissue in shipping jostling and arrive ripped/out of place. That’s the kind of level of detail where we just wouldn’t know, having never sent something like this before. Having a partner you can trust is critical. We’re not the experts in packaging and shipping, knowing that Thysse has that expertise and we didn’t have to anticipate every doomsday scenario that could occur.

Jen: I assume you’ve done some promotional product ordering in the past. What’s a mistake often made when sourcing promo products? Did we avoid this?

Liz: In the past, when we’ve been able to do something like this, we’re looking evaluating cost as first priority. Things end up being “ok” but no one is ever passionate about them. This time we had the benefit of being in a situation where we knew people would be passionate about the items received.

I noticed a difference in the quality of each piece too. The engraving and branding on every single item, from the $.99 ear saver to the patch on the nicer blankets, the imprints were so beautifully done. I was almost shocked at how good everything looked. Engraving/imprints/etc are not always done so meticulously. I don’t know if that’s a credit to the vendors that Thysse works with or Tina’s attention to detail or if we just got lucky. I mean, again, even the ear saver has just the most crisp, absolutely pristine logo on it

Jen: It’s a combination of all of the above. Tina knows the vendors doing the imprints, and selects those that do an outstanding job engraving/embossing. There’s also a difference depending on the product chosen, certain materials will receive embossing or imprints a little better, and look really clean. If something’s printed on lower quality material, or in a way that’s less conducive to the application, it will end up being less crisp or doesn’t leave as clean of a line. Tina has such a high level of expertise in that area, and she will let you know if a combination is not going to work out as desired. She’s great about sharing alternate options that are still in line with your vision, but will have greater impact, often at roughly the same price point.

Jen: Color management, brand consistency, and overall experience are important to Thysse. Can you describe how Agrace evolved certain components or values into physical pieces and experiences with the box? The theme was self-care, but did some of the values of Agrace make their way into the box?

Liz: Our values as a nonprofit and a healthcare organization frequently revolve around compassion. That’s compassion for patients and families, but we took this as an opportunity to show compassion for our staff. They’re such a valuable resource to Agrace themselves, so we used self-care inspiration and quotes in the box to draw those feelings out in a way that was tied to Agrace but wasn’t simply our mission, vision, values plastered on the inside of the box. This was something created for our staff, so it needed to be fresh and a little unique application of our core tenets. The box was something a little different meant to engage in a fresh way.

“…what would make us feel valued and seen and understood and heard? We were invested in creating an experience that was relatable to our own staff as a target audience.”

Jen: What should companies know about when it comes to employee gifting on a large scale?

Liz: I think we were so successful in this project because our leadership team (CEO, another director and I) thought about what we’d like to receive in a gift like this. I put myself in the recipient’s shoes as I am an employee but I’m not a clinician providing hands-on care. That exercise of thinking about the emotions we wanted to evoke, what would make us feel valued and seen and understood and heard? We were invested in creating an experience that was relatable to our own staff as a target audience. You can typically do focus groups to understand these audiences and find out what they’d like. In this case, we wanted to keep this as a surprise to keep the mystique, so we didn’t really have that option. We did a bit of projecting, if you will. In particular, one of the quotes used was “talk to yourself as you’d talk to a friend.” Thinking along those lines of, what would you want to get that would make you feel valued?

Agrace custom gift box

Jen: Can you share some of the feedback received about the boxes?

Liz: It was so exciting to hear from the staff. They were surprised and so appreciative and emotionally touched by the gesture. There were some common themes which were:

  • It was clear each item was picked out with love and intent.
  • It was that the box arrived just at the right time. Some went on to describe the day they’d experienced and the ongoing challenges of providing care during a pandemic.
  • People felt it was speaking to them when it arrived at their home and felt like it was made just for them.

It was exciting to hear these things from my coworkers and repeatedly gave me chills. Hearing their comments and seeing how much it meant to people, there was a lot of tearing up over the shared emotion and people sharing their heartfelt gratitude.

A lot of the staff went directly to our CEO to share their gratitude. Some went to our internal forum, some shared to social media to unveil their boxes. To share how they felt, there were comments like “wow! That’s the reason you work for a place that appreciates you in this way!”

Jen: Are there any additional thoughts you’d like to share about the experience?

Liz: It was just something we were really proud to do for our team. People know I oversee the marketing department and assumed I had something to do with it. They would approach me to ask about it and say it was really well done. We heard this multiple times!

That was feedback I appreciated because we put out so many things each day and you don’t always hear the impact they have on people. That feedback was really meaningful to me. Not only did people feel appreciated but they felt like they were receiving something of quality.

Jen: That makes us feel great about the work too! Even if it had not been as collaborative, and was purely transactional on our part, producing the box and procuring the items, we would have been so proud to be a part of it. Knowing that we were able to also add input and help along the way, makes our staff feel so proud to have assisted with this effort too. We love being a partner to projects that help in this way because we can bring together multiple service. By combining the custom kit packaging, with the promotional items, and shipping direct to the team, we were able to have a greater impact and assistance to the Agrace team.

Liz: Your team was excited to work with us and that really shined through in every interaction we had with Thysse. Obviously this wasn’t the only project you were working on, yet it felt like we were given priority and we were the only project. They were very responsive and happy to talk with us about the project.

Introducing Thysse Bundles: A promotional offering with your brand at the center.

Let’s face it, sometimes the idea of sourcing branded items for your team or customers is easier said than executed. There’s an internet-load of options to choose from, shipping times, personalization options, and deciphering what each vendor means by “imprint.” It’s great to have a promotional products specialist to guide you along the decision-making process, but sometimes even that can be daunting.

Our promo team always works to make that process as smooth as possible. They weed out the poor-quality items, clearly lay out shipping costs, production times, and benefits of volume pricing. But this year, we wanted to take our efforts a step further to better meet changing needs of remote work and recognition.

Thus, Thysse Bundles was born.

Our first set of bundles includes a health/wellness component, a technology component, and opportunities for multiple imprint styles for brand exposure and flexibility.

We know that a single quality piece is memorable, but an entire gifting experience is unmatched. We also understand that these conversations typically start with a budget and roll from there. Our team of promo experts have created a series of branded items thoughtfully paired with price, quality, and maximum impact in mind. These are then hand-packaged, addressed, and shipped from our facility to your recipient’s front door. What could be easier?

Intrigued yet? Love the bundle, gift wrapping, and shipping but looking for a custom gift to suit your needs? No sweat, we can easily bundle a unique solution for your team too.

Drop Tina a line at to learn more and talk specifics.

Thysse Unveils New Campus and New Capabilities.

New Address, Same Thysse Culture.

Monday, July 27 marked the next chapter in the Thysse legacy. The company opened the doors on its new headquarters, a 95,500 square-foot building in Oregon, WI. The new campus, situated just a stone’s throw from the previous Netherwood location, is the third expansion in seven years to support Thysse’s enhanced services and growing lines of business.

The building itself is as functional as it is visually impressive; featuring 2 glass lined stories and triple the production space. The new location brings together a full in-house design suite for Thysse’s Experiential Graphic Design team, moves all production, specialty graphics, and fulfillment services to a single site, creating greater efficiencies for Thysse’s customers, and enhances the close team culture for its employees. For President Jason Thysse, this is the real measure of success,

“Since my grandfather started Thysse in 1941, this company has always been about the people. We designed the new campus with both client and employee needs in mind, and the result we’ve realized with the team of Thysse architects, designers, and assistance from OPN Architects is a dream come true. We are very excited for this next chapter in Thysse’s story!”

Fleet of Thysse delivery trucks at new campus

Director of Operations, Nick Brevik knows that the new campus will start showing a return on investment almost immediately,

“The move to a larger space that can house all our services in one location minimizes our logistical inefficiencies. We’ll be able to reduce travel time, particularly in fulfillment, and we’re able to increase our service offerings, adding on foil stamping and embossing capabilities starting in August. The bigger production space allowed us to bring in a larger format and faster press, as well as the prepress workflow to support it, effectively doubling our offset printing rate. The move also increased fulfillment storage by 30%. Thysse has always looked for the best way to meet our customers’ current needs, while simultaneously planning for their future; this move is a continuation on that promise.”  

Thysse’s new address, as of July 27th, is 780 Cusick Parkway, Oregon, WI 53575.

Production space in Thysse's new campus

Although the building was completed for Thysse, it wasn’t done alone. The project had many partners involved including: The Village of Oregon, Oregon Community Bank, Wisconsin Business Development, OPN Architects, Newcomb Construction, and Thysse’s very own Experiential Design Team. Thank you for your support and assistance along this journey!

To stay up to date with what’s happening at Thysse, stay tuned on our social channels and at

Facebook | Twitter | Linkedin | Instagram

For more information, contact Jen Braga, Thysse, at 608.249.6951.

Color Sells Your Product: An Interview With Color Management Guru John Drew

An Interview With Color Management Guru John Drew

“I want ‘Color sells your product’ to be engraved on my tombstone,” says John Drew. Find out below why this color management guru is so passionate about choosing the right colors for your brand—especially your logo.

Professor John Drew
Professor John Drew

Drew takes logo colors about as seriously as anyone. A professor of graphic design at California State University, Fullerton, Drew has co-written multiple books on the topic, in addition to teaching courses on logo design for nearly 30 years.

We spoke with Professor Drew on a number of topics related to logo colors. If you’re a designer or a marketer, the following Q&A will help you understand (or remind you) just how important logo colors are. We’ll cover key areas like:

  • Why careful color selection is so crucial
  • How to ensure logo colors perform well across platforms
  • How to work more effectively with your printer
  • How to re-evaluate your logo colors   

Q: What does color management for logos mean?

From a graphic designer’s point of view, color management for logos refers to what needs to be done to accurately reproduce logo colors across all platforms, including print, screen, and 3D environments, both indoors and out. 

And that’s just for starters. Color management for logos also means considering the learned and/or psychological effects of color on people. Those are critical factors for logo design. 

It also happens to be the name of a graphic design text book I co-authored with my wife [a graphic design professor at Cal Poly Pomona]. That book is a comprehensive treatment of color issues involved in logo design and gives designers the technical know-how—and inspiration—to design logos effectively. 

Q: What are the most important design elements of a logo?

When I teach logo design, we cover the three major signifiers for how humans make sense of what they see. The first is the form or silhouette of something. Humans most often recognize an object by this signifier. Then there’s tone and texture. For example, think about seeing a shag rug. 

And then there’s color, which I believe is the most important element of a logo. 

Q: Why is color selection so important when it comes to logo design?

First, the hue and color combinations you choose will affect how well they can be seen from a distance. I’m not only talking about distance in terms of recognizing a logo on a billboard or something like that. I’m also talking about the distance from, say, a viewer’s eyes to a smartphone or computer screen or a brochure. 

Logo color selection is crucial when considering that about 1 in 12 men is colorblind, with red/green colorblindness being the most common. Now throw in another small percentage of women who may be colorblind. In addition, there are roughly 246 million people who are visually impaired or have moderately low vision.

Logo color selection is crucial when considering those who are colorblind, vision impaired or have moderately low vision.

Do you really want to create a logo where it’s possible that around 13% of the population may not be able to distinguish your logo colors—and by extension not recognize your brand? 

You also have to consider the power of color in terms of how you want people to feel about your product or company.  

Q: Can you explain what learned effects of color are?

Basically, those are the ideas about color that people absorb from the culture they grow up in. Designers and marketers need to consider the connotations that colors have in a given culture, especially in relation to the form you place the color in.

For example, I had a student who designed a beautiful red and gold color combination in a dollar bill-like form for a book cover. Another student, who happened to be from China, pointed out that the colors and design resembled paper money that Chinese people burn—during rituals for the dead.

Be aware of possible associations your logo may have.

There’s an important lesson there: You need to be careful that your logo doesn’t carry associations that are off-topic, distracting, or worse, offensive in some way. And this is really crucial if your brand’s reach is international—or you want it to be. 

Q: Can you give an example of the psychological effects of color?

Research into this is ongoing, but some hold that red, for example, has a stimulating effect on our metabolism, which among other things, can increase our appetite. 

Now think about that in terms of all the fast food restaurants where red is an integral logo color—McDonald’s, Burger King, Carl’s Jr., KFC. It’s a long list, and there’s a reason for that.  

Q: What’s a common mistake that companies make when it comes to their logo colors? 

Let’s say you have a logo mark or symbol that’s one hue and then you have the company or abbreviated company name underneath it in another color. Probably the most common mistake I see is not having enough color contrast between those two logo colors. 

The combination may look fine on a computer screen, but once you go to print it, the contrast may not be great enough to see at any kind of distance. 

Q: What can designers/marketers do to help ensure that their print vendor ultimately produces colors accurately? 

Well, to set the record straight, most of the problems that happen between designers and printers are the designer’s fault. They don’t set up the document correctly in the first place, so the printer either has to call them and tell them that they’ve got to make some changes, or they’ll do it for them.

Designers should probably use an ink-matching system. And that way the printer can pull the needed colors. Let’s say it’s Pantone 123. The file says 123, so the printer will then pull 123. So, it should be accurate. 

On the other hand, there are a lot of printers that may not take the kind of pride they should in the outcome of their printed work. 

I’ve experienced scenarios where the initial printed items looked great. But then the run continues, and maybe while the press person takes a break, the color starts to get a little lighter. That’s why printers should have good color management practices as well. 

Q: What can a printer do to help the designer in terms of color management? 

Any design firm or printer I’ve worked with usually has documentation that clearly lays out how they want you to create a file, store the file, name the file, etc. 

A file prep document from the printer is crucial.

Based on my experience, a good file prep document from the printer is crucial. When you’re told specifically how to set up a file for the printer, it can make it so much easier to hit the target the first time around, which obviously saves time and money, to say the least. 

If it’s not provided, a designer should always ask for one.

Q: What should companies know about when it comes to printing in house?

When companies opt to print materials in house, say on an inkjet printer or even on a laser printer, they should know that those printers aren’t really meant to match colors. They sort of simulate the color that you’re trying to get.

If they have really high standards and tight tolerance levels, they’re probably not going to adequately match their logo colors when printing in house on this type of equipment. 

Q: What technical steps can be taken to make sure a logo’s colors will perform well across different platforms?

First, begin by recognizing there are better and worse ways to design for logo colors across platforms. People often don’t realize that matching from one medium to another isn’t necessarily an easy thing to do.

This is really important to consider if you have a client say something like, “We’re a web-based company, so we just want a logo mark for the web.” But what if further down the line, they determine they want to add brick and mortar?

Designers should assume they need to match colors for print and screen-based experiences.

If you’re a designer, start with the assumption that you will need to match logo colors for various print and screen-based experiences. In fact, I would recommend you build colors for print first so that they match within the CMYK color spectrum. 

The process will be a lot easier than doing the reverse and starting with RGB for screen colors. CMYK is the smallest color spectrum, and if you choose your hues from this color space, you’ll be able to guarantee that the hues selected will match within the Pantone and RGB color spectrum.

Q: What should a company do if they want to re-evaluate their logo colors?

Well, I can give you a basic checklist for re-evaluating your colors: First, are the colors inclusive? Do they physically work for everybody? Or, for example, have you chosen colors that the majority of colorblind people won’t really be able to see at a distance?  

Second, are you maximizing the distance by which you can see the logo by the choice of your colors? The third is, are you maximizing the psychological effect of these colors for the culture in which it’s going to be used? 

And then fourth is, do you have enough color contrast between the colors you’re using so that it could be seen by people who are visually impaired?

These would be the top four questions I would ask. If your colors do all of those things, then you’re probably in good shape. But if a couple of those questions are problematic, you may want to consider altering your colors. Obviously that requires careful analysis because changing your logo is nothing to take lightly. 

To learn more about color management and logos, check out Drew’s book Color Management for Logos: A Comprehensive Guide for Graphic Designers

For more information on color management in printing, see Why Is Color Management Needed in Print Projects?

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Who Trusts Thysse With Their Brand? – The Digital Ring + Milio’s

“Where you go with your brand” is not only Thysse’s tagline, but our mantra. We take it very seriously, and it’s ingrained in our culture. It can mean anything from the guidance we provide to the quality of the product that we produce.

The Digital Ring needed to find a print partner for a Milio’s Fresco Italian Trio campaign that could diligently manage and monitor all touch points of the process. From making recommendations for better performing and cost-effective substrates to color consistency and the packaging and delivery of the final product kits. Thysse proved that attention to detail was a part of our DNA and we delivered above expectations on all accounts.

From backlit signage to bag stuffers, window clings to sidewalk posters — our challenge was managing color across a variety of substrates and printing processes. We pride ourselves on our detail-driven production and can hold color matching between our large format and digital printing capabilities. Through cross-departmental teamwork and a quality assurance process, we successfully produced seventeen items for the Milio’s launch.

Thirty-five Milio’s stores across three states were counting on us to deliver these kits damage-free and not every location received the same items. Meticulous spreadsheets allowed our teams to pack the assortment of quantities, sizes and substrates carefully, padding and wrapping everything to protect during the shipping process.

“Working with Thysse is such a wonderful experience. We were really looking for a partner with our printing needs, not just a vendor. We found a great team who not only managed the complexity of shipping large orders with varying designs, quantities, and materials to all of our stores, but also printed the highest quality pieces with outstanding color consistency at a great price. We couldn’t be happier with Thysse!”
– Nicole Ledoda, Account Executive, The Digital Ring

Finding Inspiration in a School Bus

Nelson’s Bus Service has come to rely on Thysse to provide the “cool wow factor” for their branded collateral. Thysse has developed everything from business cards and pocket folders to giant bus-sized banners.

Most recently, Thysse completed a signage project for their facilities in Whitewater and McFarland, Wisconsin. Thysse began with a site study, identifying needed signage messaging and installation locations. We then amassed an overall signage inventory, designing a sign family that fit within the established Nelson’s Bus Service Visual Branding. We direct-printed the designs to aluminum panels with UV ink that would hold up to all weather conditions. Areas of raw aluminum was strategically left unprinted to catch the ambient light, creating a visually striking sign piece.