Christopher Edwards: Running a press in an Internet age

As a fourth-generation printer who has personally spent nearly 30 years in the industry, Christopher Edwards has seen an array of technological innovations drastically alter his chosen profession. Through it all, however, he has managed to maintain the same view on what makes up the most important part of his job.

“It has been, and always will be for me, about building relationships,” said Edwards, who founded Infinity Press, a small commercial printing company in San Carlos. “I’m never going to be able to mass-produce something and sell it cheap like some of the larger companies. I have to make sure I know exactly what my customers want, so I can provide a unique, quality product for them.”

Although his family has been running Edwards Brothers Inc. — a large-scale printing company in Ann Arbor, Mich. — for nearly 100 years, Chris Edwards decided to leave home and take a shot at the industry on his own in California. After working for two printing firms in San Francisco and one more in which he shared partner status, Edwards opened Infinity Press in San Carlos in 1992.

Since then, Edwards has had to deal with the constant industry development brought on by the Internet age, which has left customers a lot less dependent on the services of a printing company.

He managed to cope with the changes by modifying Infinity Press from a general printing company into one that operates like a boutique, specializing in high-quality, multicolor stationery packages and layouts on different materials other than paper, such as plastic.

Along with shifting the dynamics of Infinity Press, the technological advances in printing also allowed Edwards to embrace another one of his interests — environmental advocacy. In an industry that has long been associated with chemical waste, Edwards has transformed Infinity Press into a pioneer for green technology.

Using a digital imaging process called computer-to-plate technology, advanced by the printing manufacturing company PressTek, Edwards has managed to eliminate all of the waste runoff that usually accompanies the prepress printing process.

“Traditionally, the prepress protocol required a lot of chemistry,” said Edwards, who employs seven workers at Infinity Press. “Now, thanks to new technology, there is no drain, no toxic materials and no water. I’ve worked for five printing companies in my life, andduring that time I’ve seen increasingly more awareness about the environment in this industry. We plan on continuing to make headway with these developments.”

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