On the first frigid Tuesday of November, Graphic Designer Meredith Puida and Managing Designer Mike Kuchar flip the lights on inside Origlio’s graphics department at 7 am sharp, while most of the office is still slowly coming to life. The early start time is standard for the graphics team, who will spend the rest of the day processing, designing and printing graphics and signs for accounts in the nine counties Origlio services.
But the first and primary order of business on this frosty morning is a rush order from Origlio’s senior management – a host of new signs for the Philadelphia warehouse. Sitting at their stations and powering up their computers, Kuchar and Puida quickly set to work.
“The cycle is constant,” says Graphics Department Lead, Loren Leggerie. “Requests filter in all day long. Mike, Meredith and I are processing requests and designing signs for accounts as they come through, while Production Assistant Keira [Landis] and Sign Shop Assistant at Origlio Reading, Jen [Powell] are producing the materials.” While all designs for both Philly and Reading are digitally created in-house at the Philadelphia office, Powell handles the entire process of physically printing all Reading graphics herself. “She’s a one-woman machine out there,” says Leggerie. “We wouldn’t be able to do this without her.”
The machines are up and running by the time Leggerie arrives Tuesday morning. “I like the late shift,” she says as she boots up her own computer. “It’s pretty normal for me to be here until 6 pm or later. I like to close things up at the end of the day, make sure all the machines are shut down and everything is cleaned up.”
With a new picking system in place in the warehouse, the graphics team is tasked with creating signage that will help the operations team seamlessly transition to the new procedures. “One-way signs for forklift drivers, do not enter signage – we’re always producing new floor signs and banners for the warehouse so that everyone is able to do their job safely and efficiently,” says Leggerie.
Prior to the pandemic, the graphics department was something of a hub in Origlio’s warehouse with a revolving door of Sales Reps dropping off requests and picking up signage throughout the day. Of course, much like the rest of the beer industry, the jolt of the pandemic hit the graphics department hard. “After the start of COVID, Mike and I had to rebuild the department from square one,” remembers Leggerie. “It was just the two of us in here running around and doing everything ourselves – designing, processing, production. And of course, the 6-foot distance made things even harder.”
But the challenge also presented the graphics team with an opportunity. “We used the shift as a chance to rebuild,” says Leggerie. “We rearranged the room to make it work with the new protocols, reorganized our libraries and labeled everything from top to bottom.” 18 months later, the department is better than ever. “The volume is there again, but now things are much more streamlined,” says Leggerie. “Before, it might have taken 3-5 minutes to design a sign, now we can do it in a minute or less. That might not sound like much of a difference, but when you’re processing a hundred different designs throughout the day, the time saved is huge.”
With the warehouse signs nearing completion, Kuchar gathers his jacket and camera to head over to Origlio’s new satellite warehouse to take photos for our new website launch (more details to come). Leggerie and Puida start catching up on sign requests as Landis prints a huge Corona “La Vida Mas Fina” sign featuring Snoop Dogg lounging on the beach with a cold beer in hand. The new, state-of-the-art machine she works over is a point of pride in the graphics department. “When I started in this department 13 years ago, we were spending 20 hours a week having someone just stand here and run sleeves of paper through our laminator,” says Leggerie. “Now, with this new EFI Pro16 we’re processing between 30-50 daily requests with a turnaround time of just one to three days.”
In fact, as they break for lunch, the team finds they are ahead of schedule for the day, despite the rush order for warehouse signs. With the help of new technology and an efficient, dedicated team, being ahead of schedule is quickly becoming the norm for the Origlio graphics team.