Postcards and Greeting Cards
Although Rolling Press may have been founded in 1998, its history predates it by many years. As a reincarnation of his earlier printing company, Kam Lee has spent four decades in the graphic arts witnessing its incredible change.
In the 1970s, prior to forming Rolling Press, Mr. Lee ran a successful commercial print house that printed for businesses of all kinds, ranging from restaurants to Asian media giants. Yet, 50 years ago, as an electrical engineer, he was part of a research team at Bell Laboratories that pioneered the growth of crystals as a technology that is only now being used.
With Mr. Lee at the helm, Rolling Press has become a living business example of the best of two worlds. He navigated what was once an artisanal craft requiring the most disciplined manual skills into one of today’s most technologically demanding industries. Rolling Press today embodies the care and precision of traditional lithography and the drive to incorporate sustainability into printing.
Businesses throughout the world hire branding teams to achieve what Mr. Lee does naturally. Regardless of content or client, he approached everything as a perfectionist, ensuring every project is treated with care. That commitment to quality is now in the hands of Eugene Lee, who internalized his father’s code, has earned Rolling Press a coveted spot among printers.
“If it is possible, it has been done; if it is impossible, it will be done.”
Kam lives in Brooklyn with his wife, teaches tai chi in the park on weekends, and enjoys the occasional binge-watching on NetFlix.
Since co-founding Rolling Press in 1998, Eugene Lee has gone on to put Rolling Press on the global map for sustainable practices.
For over eight years, Eugene helped organize and co-host the monthly social networking event Brooklyn GreenDrinks. He has spoken at Fortune 500 corporations and academic institutions about sustainable graphic design and printing, and in 2007, he was a judge for Blackbook’s first annual Corporate Social Responsibility Annual Reports competition.
Raised in Park Slope, Brooklyn, from which he attributes much of his early exposure to progressive views, Eugene attended New York University where he studied Graphic Communications Management and Technology at the School of Education. After receiving his degree, he taught there for three years, and later served as a member of its Board of Advisors for two years. He was also an assistant instructor at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.
Eugene’s lifetime of experience in the printing industry has left him with a deep respect for traditional craftsmanship, while his experience as a designer means he is always looking for innovation and seeking new ways to make printing environmentally sustainable for generations to come. His passion is creating print products that are “transparently green” – beautiful, well-crafted printed materials that are also environmentally friendly.
When the presses are at rest, Eugene keeps busy as a freelance graphic designer and production artist for Rizzoli Publications. Some titles included are: Kohn Pedersen Fox: Architecture and Urbanism: Vol. 3 and Vol. 4, Roger Vivier, Rick Owens, Lanvin, Chip Kidd: Book One, Retail: Shopping and Architecture, and New New York.
Eugene still lives in Brooklyn, with his beautiful wife and above-average daughter, and misses the warm, orange glow of sodium-vapor street lamps.
Small business isn’t easy, but it makes it easier when the right people are involved. Enter Bong Castelo.
Growing with Rolling Press since 2001, Bong has become an integral part of the company’s success. Starting as the Director of Prepress Technologies, then coasting through Operations, he has established a number of working systems in place that has helped maintain a consistent level of quality evident in every sheet that comes off press.
In addition to his career in printing, Bong also has a thriving freelance design practice creating 3-dimensional packaging and informational material for a renowned European cookware and appliances brand. His work can be seen at fine retail stores such as Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and Williams-Sonoma.
Prior to Rolling Press, he has rendered professional services in the field of graphic design and desktop publishing for companies throughout the Philippines and Japan. He holds a Bachelor degree in computer engineering from Makati Polytechnic Community College from the Philippines.
Bong lives in Jersey City with his son, and spends his weekends playing tennis and searching for the perfect crispy pata. He is also quietly on a quest to find Earth 2.0.
The first person you speak to at Rolling Press may well be Molly McIntyre, who runs the prepress department. Molly will help make sure your files are press-ready, provide you with price estimates, and is generally available to assist with any questions you may have. Once your job is on press, she will make sure that things are running smoothly and will keep you informed of the progress.
Prior to working at Rolling Press, Molly spent several years as the head of admissions at an English Language school in Berkeley, California. Learning the ins and outs of the Visa application system prepared her well for the intricacies of managing a wide variety of print jobs simultaneously and keeping accurate records. With a background in printmaking, and currently a freelance artist when she’s not working at Rolling Press, she is passionate about print and loves working at a job where she gets to help people make things.
Molly lives in Brooklyn, within walking distance of Rolling Press, with her husband and their two cats, Stella and Shackleton.
Behind the scenes of any small business can be an intimidating chaotic realm of paperwork, billing, and policies. Who better to keep things in check than a former restaurant cook and (off-)off-broadway stage manager. That undaunted soul is Wai Lee-Source, darling daughter of Kam Lee, tougher younger sister of Eugene. As Office Manager, she tames the bureaucratic beast and maintains a strong infrastructure for a smoother operation – which allows Rolling Press to focus on what it does best. She will also contact you about starting an account, and shipping your finished project.
As a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, before joining the family business Wai could be found in fast-paced kitchens under celebrity chefs like Susur Lee and David Bouley. She has also served as a stage manager for off-Broadway productions, and holds a degree in theater from Marymount College. In the kitchen, backstage, or at a print shop, managing the daily drama of a fast-paced business is her specialty.
Wai lives above Rolling Press with her husband, and is so frugal, she generates virtually no waste.
Putting ink on paper is only the first half of any project. The real transformation happens when flat sheets of paper are trimmed and converted into the likes of books and magazines, postcards and greeting cards, corporate brochures and folded maps. At the helm of the Rolling Press bindery is post-press renaissance man Juan Campos. With over a decade of experience crafting goods from paper, Juan has a meticulous eye for detail and a fluency for all things mechanical. He is able to finesse equipment to bend to his wishes, with plenty of fine-tuning and trouble-shooting along the way, to yield high quality results.
Prior to joining Rolling Press, Juan developed his craftsmanship at three other fast-paced print shops, but not before dabbling a few years in woodworking and construction.
Juan lives in Greenpoint with his lovely wife and their three kids. He is slowly replacing his energy drinks with organic apples, oranges, and bananas, and he has a beautiful singing voice.
15 Denton Place
Brooklyn, NY 11215
T 718 625 6800
F 718 625 0669
Rolling Press is a family-run commercial print house that brings together environmentally-friendly methods, ethical practices, and personalized service. Founded in 1998, Rolling Press represents the harmony of traditional craftsmanship and sustainability.
We are a group of experienced professionals who still love the look and feel of ink on paper. We use a variety of certified and recycled papers, print with non-toxic and vegetable inks, run on renewable green energy, and help review projects and suggest ways to reduce paper waste and energy consumption. At Rolling Press, every decision is made with a purpose, where everything should ultimately leave a positive or neutral imprint.
We specialize in working with non-profits, entreprenurial start-ups, local businesses, artists and artisans, schools and universities, art and cultural institutions, and eco-conscious businesses. Whether you are printing a line of greeting cards, need marketing materials and packaging, or are preparing an annual report, catalogue, or look book, we’ll work with you to figure out the best options for getting excellent results – all while staying within your budget.
When you come to Rolling Press and work with us, you’re benefiting from an approach that brings together calibrated technology with the training and eye that can only come from years of hands-on experience.
To further maximize our energy efficiency and reduce our CO2 emissions, we have switched from conventional energy to sustainable energy generated by wind. Wind-powered electricity is renewable, which means it can replenish its own resources naturally, continually, and reliably. As a manufacturing facility, we can consume a great amount of energy throughout the year. By using renewable energy, we are preventing 50 tons of CO2 from entering our atmosphere each year. Electricity is efficiently generated with specially designed turbines that capture the power of wind. We receive our power from the Fenner Wind Farm in Madison County, New York, about an hour southeast of Syracuse. Their 20 wind turbines provide up to 30 megawatts of energy throughout the state of New York annually, including here in Brooklyn.
Echo-Friendly Sound Reduction
When you visit our facility, the first thing you’ll notice in our production area is probably our walls of egg trays. While the appeal of this lo-fi chic design choice is apparent, these egg trays are not simply there for aesthetic purposes. They are also perfect for cost-efficient sound reduction. With its concave parabolic shape, each pocket essentially absorbs echoes and high-pitched noises by canceling sound waves. Our equipment can generate quite a bit of noise when everything is in full production, and those egg trays contribute to safer and healthier working conditions for everyone. Noise pollution is still pollution, and prolonged exposure to noise pollution is also known to cause a number of physiological and psychological health concerns, such as irritability and aggression, increased levels of blood pressure, stress, and hypertension, not to mention tinnitus and hearing loss. They also help us to be good neighbors, since the classrooms of The Children’s School P.S. 372 are directly across the street. The egg trays are also made from recycled materials, so they’re a great example of how we reduce, reuse, and recycle. Incidentally, we’ve noticed the trays’ incubating qualities that help us reduce energy for heating and cooling throughout the year. All in all, they’re quite environmentally “sound” indeed.
Efficiency & Appropriateness
When people first consider using a green printer, often their first concern is that they’ll need to spend more for an eco-friendly product. At Rolling Press you don’t have to pay more to be more responsible – we make green printing affordable. How? By focusing on efficiency and appropriateness. To produce a project efficiently is to travel through the entire manufacturing process and identify ways to minimize time, raw materials, and energy. And the easiest way to accomplish this is to keep formats simple and standard. That may sound uninteresting, but if you remove all the aspects that slow down an otherwise streamlined process, you can find great cost-savings. And rather than changing a standard format, we would prefer you invest your time and energy into design and photography. In any case, we will be glad to help you determine the best way to produce your project efficiently. And how do we determine the appropriateness of design? We simply ask whether or not it is “over- designed” for its purpose. Does it have one too many embellishments? Does it even need any embellishments? Sometimes the aesthetic principle of “less is more” can also prove to be financially practical. A common scenario found in printing is paying too much for excess. And where excess exists, waste is sure to follow. Ultimately, our best advice is to consult with us during your design process. Our goal is to help you maximize your efficiency and value, while minimizing your waste and cost – all without compromising the message you want to communicate.
At Rolling Press, we always offer a selection of premium-quality, responsible papers which incorporate a variety of features of sustainability and performance. All of the papers we have chosen were selected because they have a combination of most of these criteria: they are managed by strict international forestry programs, made with recycled fibers, processed without chlorine, manufactured with renewable energy, and made carbon neutral. Are all of the papers we recommend 100% recycled? No, but not all 100% recycled papers can accommodate the demands of all projects. Instead, certified papers offer a great solution for specific demands and sustainable forestry practices. Having most of our papers processed chlorine-free is a benefit that should not be overlooked. Bleaching papers using chlorine can yield extremely toxic by-products such as dioxins. Dioxins are recognized by the World Health Organization as one of the “Dirty Dozen,” a group of dangerous chemicals known to be persistent organic pollutants. They are often described as one of the most dangerous poisons known to public health, causing cancer and other diseases. And because of their chemical stability and their ability to be absorbed by fat tissue, the higher one goes up the animal food chain, the higher the concentration of dioxins to be found. Our selection represents an excellent balance of responsibility, performance, aesthetics, and affordability. And what sets us apart from many others is that we regularly carry these specialty papers, which means you don’t need to pay a premium to get them. You can rest easy in knowing that whichever of our papers you choose to print on, its been heavily vetted with an eye towards excellent performance on press as well as environmental responsibility.
Though soy-based inks are a better choice than petroleum-based inks, we have found an even better option in vegetable-based inks. Vegetable-based inks are made from mostly linseed or flaxseed oil. Linseed is a far easier crop to maintain and harvest than soy, as it requires less water and land. Decreasing our dependence on a single crop with an overwhelming demand like soy also helps lessen the impact of any future epidemic crop disease. Both soy-based and vegetable-based inks allow papers to be recycled more easily during the de-inking process due to their higher oil-to-pigment ratio. And, because they allow us to print more vibrant colors, we can use about 15% less ink than petroleum-based inks. Equally as important is the amount of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) removed from our inks. VOCs are chemical vapors that evaporate during the drying process and become greenhouse gases, contributing to air pollution and climate change. While most standard inks contain up to 30% VOCs, our inks average below 2%. What about print quality and matching Pantone colors? Not a problem. Our printed results look no different than any other quality print house. We take pride in offering a genuinely great product that just happens to be environmentally-friendly.
While the use of vegetable-based inks is certainly preferable for offset printing, our digital presses use non-toxic dry inks rather than liquid inks (which require supportive chemicals and solvents). Dry toner inks are fine powders which are designed to be safe and non-toxic, following strict emissions standards, and which do not produce hazardous waste. Since toners are a dry ink, they do not get absorbed into the fibers of paper. They are fused onto the surface, which has the added benefit of maintaining vibrant colors when printed on uncoated papers, unlike offset inks which are absorbed and may become muted. And because the inks are fused, not absorbed, dry toners are easily de-inked and recycled without energy intensive methods.
Offset printing is the leading method of production for most paper goods in our everyday surroundings.Compared with other methods, offset is most ideal for balancing cost, larger quantities, and quality results. And given its versatility, it’s the first choice for printing with specialty inks such as Pantone or metallic colors, and on a variety of papers. While the results are often most impressive, they do call for significant time and setup costs, requiring suggested minimums to help justify the cost of production. Depending on the size and scope of the project, minimums can start at 500 or 1,000 copies, while others can start at 5,000 or 10,000. Offset printing is ideal if you are looking for both quality and quantity. Feel free to consult with us and we’ll be more than happy to help you make the best decision for your project.
While offset printing is the preferred method for its high quality and aesthetic finish, it has the disadvantage of being too costly for smaller quantities. Advances in digital imaging technology can now emulate offset quality at a fraction of the setup time and cost. Thanks to digital printing’s comparatively streamlined production process, small quantities are no longer cost-prohibitive. On the one hand, digital printing makes things faster and easier for the printer, because it allows us to forego expensive printing plates and the messy lithographic techniques of wet inks and complicated chemistry, all of which helps lessen the burden of setting up. And digital presses are mostly designed to print in full-color already, thus streamlining the overall cost-efficiency. Since we can focus our energy on tweaking color and calibration, rather than on cleaning up wet inks, we can print more jobs in a short amount of time – which allows us to print smaller runs, at lower costs, which helps you get what you want faster and cheaper. But equally important, the environmental benefits of digital printing compared to offset are myriad. By skipping printing plates and wet inks, digital printing eliminates the countless number of peripheral cleaning agents and solvents needed to maintain the daily operation of an offset press. This alone can remove tons of metals and thousands of gallons of chemicals from the waste stream each year. The energy consumption of a digital press is considerably less than its counterpart, drawing less power from the grid. Our electricity bill is all the proof we need to know we’re doing the right thing. And with finer controls over color and precision, the amount of paper spoiled for makeready is as low as 2% of what was needed for offset – a 98% reduction in paper waste. When we save, you save. It’s as simple as that.