At H&H, ‘Printing Has Become the Product’ (

What a year. No one in the industry could have foretold it. Now we’re all doing our best just to come to the end of it in safety.

2020 will be remembered for many things. One of them should be that it was the year in which innovation often came to mean the same thing as business survival.

Everything that has happened to printing firms as a result of the pandemic is unprecedented. This means everything they have done in response to it has obliged them to improvise. To rethink. To come up with new ways of protecting their employees. To pivot to completely different methods of interacting with customers. In short, to innovate.

As we’ve done the past several years in Printing Impressions, we profiled six companies that remain alive and well in the printing industry. This year, we’re presenting these portraits of Innovators in tribute, not just to the companies themselves, but to every printing business that has survived the trials of 2020 by being innovative. Here is a profile of one of our Best-in-Class Innovators.

H&H Graphics
Does innovation have a distinctive aroma? It does at H&H Graphics. In fact, innovation there smells remarkably like … tacos.

That was the olfactory enhancement the Vernon Hills, Ill.-based specialty screen printing business gave to a holiday gift wrap for Taco Bell by infusing the paper with the scents of each of the snack’s principal ingredients. When the wrap was offered on Amazon, reports Michelle Leissner, president and CEO of H&H Graphics, “it sold out in a matter of minutes.”

Nostril-tickling projects like this are all in a day’s work for a company that lists Blackberry Crisp, Mountain Dew, and even Durian (the notoriously odoriferous fruit from Southeast Asia) among the stock scents it offers for scratch-off and rub-off applications. Smell, however, gives only a hint of the innovative multisensory printing being done at H&H Graphics, where, as Leissner says, “our printing has become the product.”

One way she and her 20 employees make print the product is with scratch-off maps that people can use to mark the progress of their visits to countries, states, and other destinations. The durable scratch-off overprint, tightly registered to fine graphic elements such as state lines, is what makes the piece a keeper, Leissner explains.
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