For 15 years, Active has been one of Paper Source’s go-to local printers in the Chicago area. Since the beginning, their relationship has been more about maintaining brand values and forming innovative print solutions than about taking orders and showcasing printing equipment.


It all started when Paper Source came to Active because they needed help with their custom wrapping paper. It wasn’t performing as expected. Active went above and beyond to help them solve their challenge and a partnership was born. Active now serves as a trusted partner, print manager and brand advocate for Paper Source. The internal creative team at Paper Source doesn’t see Active as a vendor; Active is considered an extension of their department.


Printer and Brand Advocate

After a decade and a half working together, Active lives and breathes the Paper Source brand. “We know their brand. We know it in the press room, we know it in our prepress department. We know it everywhere in our company,” explained Jeremy Hayes, President at Active.


And when it comes to the Paper Source brand, color is king. Paper Source is known for its palette of exclusive, vivid colors. Everything from their custom papers and stationery to tea towels and gifts uses their colors to create a distinctive collection of products customers won’t find anywhere else.




It’s Active’s job to make sure everything they print — from wrapping paper and greeting cards to calendars and seasonal stickers — perfectly coordinates with the rest of the signature Paper Source assortment and follows the company’s strict brand standards. They create tailor-made inks and CMYK values to match the custom papers manufactured at local paper mills. And they continuously tinker with the mix to get bright, clean colors that will make products stand out on the shelf and maintain brand consistency. But their work with color only scratches the surface of everything they do.


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A Trusted Partner

“We’re more partners in the printing and design process, in every way, shape and form,” explained Hayes. “It’s always an open dialogue. If there’s something they need, they ask for it…And I’m always asking them. We walk down a path of mutual respect for each other to understand their business.”


Active acts as not only a brand advocate, but also a technical advisor. They collaborate closely with the Paper Source design team, educating them on how their designs will execute on press and offering solutions when issues arise. They also suggest ways to print more efficiently and economically without sacrificing the design or quality Paper Source is known for.


Active works vigilantly to help Paper Source achieve the best possible outcome in their printed products. They want to make sure every item they produce isn’t just beautiful, but is profitable too. “We want them to be profitable and to grow,” Hayes explained. “That’s with any of our clients, really. And we want to grow and evolve with them.”


With a printer so in-tune with their brand and devoted to their growth, it’s easy to understand why Paper Source made the decision not to settle for a vendor, but chose a brand advocate instead.

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