Harper Engraving & Printing a Columbus Mainstay for Over 123 Years

Harper Engraving & Printing was officially established in 1891 to produce personalized stationery for the growing Columbus social market. Things have changed just a bit since with texts, emails and our near-constant forms of electronic communication, but despite the changing tides, the company’s services have stood the test of time.

Harper Engraving & Printing’s list of capabilities is diverse and extensive – a reason for the company’s 123 plus years of continued success. While stationary may be dying down, “Because we have had the ability to do these other processes, that’s what’s really kept us in our industry,” says National Accounts Manager Linda Kilgore.

Harper has a high-end touch to their services and the associated capabilities are what sets them apart from other printers. One of their most unique capabilities is engraving.

“We have one of the largest engraving departments in the country,” Kilgore says.

Harper Printing2
Harper Printing Equipment

It’s an old-school and highly specialized practice. For example, a Harper employee just retired at the age of 68. He’d been running a printing press since he was 18. Many of the people who operate the presses have been doing so for decades, it’s not just a position for which you can pull someone off the street. Kilgore says that even after two to three years, you are still training on just the basics.

Harper does much of the engraving process by hand, “And we actually make our own engraving dies,” Kilgore says. Copper plate dies are chemically washed with the image to be imprinted, which after stamping leaves a raised impression on top of the paper. Most printing companies do offset printing, leaving flat images you can’t feel.

When it comes to printing, engraving is about as high-end as you can get.

“As old as engraving is, nothing is replacing it,” Kilgore says.

Harper’s many capabilities really fall into two categories. The first is stationary programs which is anything you can think of – pocket folders, presentation folders, note pads, note cards – you would want your branding to be a part of it.

“Branding is huge with us,” Kilgore  says. They take great attention to detail to make sure things like color are consistent across the board.

Example of Harper's Printing Capabilities
Example of Harper’s Printing Capabilities

As for the other category, “We actually do a lot of wedding invitations and higher-end things for designers,” she adds. This also includes specialties like highly-customized, unique business cards.

Harper also focuses on many others highly specialized processes like embossing, foil stamping, die cutting and die making. As these processes start to become a fading breed, more and more designers in Columbus are finding and appreciating having a printer with such capabilities in their backyard.

For rather quietly operating in Columbus for over a century, Harper has an impressive list of national clients such as CBS, HBO and the National Audubon Society.

“CBS utilizes about every capability we have,” Kilgore says, citing products like folders, notepads and buck slips. “It’s made us a great fit for a company like that that is very diverse and has a lot of demands print-wise.”

Competitive pricing has helped Harper land such big-name clients as has their diverse, in-house capabilities.

“We are so competitive because we do it ourselves,” Kilgore says. Although they have been around for decades, Harper hopes to continue to build their presence in the community and make people aware of their specialty processes.

For more information, visit harperengraving.com.