Gilson Posts Strongest 1st Quarter Sales in Company History

Despite a tumultuous start to 2020, Gilson posted the most significant 1st quarter sales in their 72-year history. Sales are up 8% over the same time period last year—a rarity in the printing and graphic arts industry. Some of the world’s largest commercial print operations have experienced significant declines in recent years, forcing long-time industry players to entertain sell-offs and mergers to offset the decline in the overall market.

Despite the year’s many challenges, Gilson has not only weathered the storm but thrived in the face of it. Gilson finished out the 2019 fiscal year in May down 5% in sales from the prior year, ending a five-year growth trend. With just three months left in the fiscal year, Gilson was on track to have their best sales year yet, until COVID-19 showed up.

But the downward trend did not last long.

“June, July, and August are historically challenging months for us as a business,” said Jim Vosburgh, CFO. “Between vacations and a general slow-down in our strongest market sectors, we typically see our lower sales volumes during those summer months. To see a sizable increase this early in the new fiscal year is encouraging.”

Gilson’s leadership team excels at making smart investments and calculated risks, putting the company in prime position for growth when the conditions are right. Many of their most lucrative business decisions have come about when faced with national economic hardship, thanks to the fiscally responsible leadership of second-generation owner Dave Gilson.

“Before joining the family business in 1974, I spent a couple of years in the banking industry,” said Gilson. He went on to speak about his father, Lars, who founded the company in 1948, “It was always my father’s goal to seek out a competitive advantage that could help our customers and grow the business, but also to do so in a way that made financial sense.

“I’ve tried to run the business with the same proactive approach to growth by consistently investing profits back into the business,” said Gilson. “That’s how we’ve been able to keep expanding and growing right alongside our customers for so many years.”

Dave Oswald, President of Gilson, shared his perspective on the current pandemic. “We spent the first few months really sinking our teeth into refining our processes and revamping what we knew to be successful and then adapting it to what we needed for this new selling environment. I’m incredibly proud of our entire team, from the sales staff staying connected with customers and prospects remotely, to the production team making the best out of their new working conditions,” said Oswald. “We are coming out of one of the most difficult business scenarios we’ve ever faced and come out stronger than ever before.”

Gilson has remained in operation during the pandemic as an essential supplier in support of its grocery, pharmaceutical, and military contracts. By requiring those who could do their jobs remotely to work from home, and by following the CDC and OSHA requirements for work-safe conditions such as daily temperature checks and social distancing, Gilson has been able to continue operations.

Gilson offers marketing solutions such as print, design, and fulfillment to Fortune 1000 customers across the country. They celebrated their 70th year in 2018 and remains a privately held, family-owned business.

Gilson Crunch and Learn

New this year: Our first-ever “Crunch” & Learn Event!

Never one to let a good idea go stale, Gilson is changing up the Lunch & Learn recipe and inviting you to ‘Crunch’ & Learn – an educational event with an all-new format! We’ve partnered with AMA West Michigan for an exclusive, invitation-only event. Make plans to join us at Vander Mill Grand Rapids (505 Ball Avenue NE) on Monday, October 8 from 5:30 pm – 7 pm for complimentary appetizers, drinks, networking and an exclusive preview presentation by MRM//McCann’s Subu Desaraju.


Stop in For a Tour, Earn a Drink!

We’ve experienced significant growth over the last 12 months, thanks to customers like you. And while our production floor no longer has the space to accommodate guests as we have in the past, we’d still love to walk you through what’s new at Gilson! Please reach out to your Gilson account representative if you’d like to stop by for a quick Gilson tour before the event – and we’ll throw in an extra drink ticket! Our facility is located just one mile from Vander Mill (this year’s event location).


About the Speaker

Subu Desaraju
EVP, Performance Marketing at MRM//McCann

Subu Desaraju is a seasoned digital marketing leader with over 20 years of industry experience in defining growth opportunities at the intersection of business strategy, marketing analytics, and technology.

He has led digital initiatives for Fortune 500 clients across the automotive, telecommunications, and financial services verticals. His experience spans digital performance marketing, CRM, e-Commerce, and emerging media. Subu has demonstrated expertise in developing transformational marketing initiatives enabled by data-driven insights and delivered through marketing platform/technology innovation.

Contact your Gilson representative to be added to the guest list.

4 Large Format Applications You Need To Know

You might be missing out on large format printing opportunities that could take your business, marketing, and promotions to new heights–and sizes! Most people think of paper when they talk about printing, but large format printers open the doors to new ideas and substrates to solve creative problems for your retail displays, branded materials, or installations. You can create stunning logos on the side of vans, print textured brick on walls or floors, and more!

Large Format Printing Applications

There are lots of applications and possibilities when it comes to large format printing. Here are four examples that are just the tip of the iceberg.

Vehicle Graphics

Why settle for a normal paint job on your company van or car when you can show off your brand in style? The ability to print any image or color for vehicles with large format printing technology opens up a new road for your marketing and branding. Don’t settle on a simple door magnet for your logo when you can bring something special to your vehicle with printed graphics.


Gilson Vehicle Graphics


Wall Graphics

Creating stunning art to showcase your product, decorate your office, or promote your products has never been easier. You can create custom graphics with bold and stunning designs for product displays, welcome signage for customers and clients, or details and promotions for installations. All you need to do is use a large format printer to bring it to life. Why settle for a simple framed picture or poster when your entire wall can be the frame?


Gilson Wall Graphics



Do you want a trade show booth created completely out of honeycomb core substrate? The old way of printing would’ve needed to print and then mount the designs on the boards, but now printing technology lets us print directly on substrates. That means that you can get stunning trade show booth designs, beautiful signage, or other printed materials without the added step. This gives you a clean design, a bold look, and more options for your projects.


Gilson Vutek Large Format Print

Unique Textures and Patterns

Do you need to make your hallway look like a path of stones? Want to put your logo or message on the pavement outside for an event? With large format printing, that’s completely possible! For example, check out the textured stone pattern below. This was printed directly on a substrate and looks fantastic. Imagine using this same technique on a floor or wall for your next installation or retail display.



Whether you’re looking to show off your brand or create stunning pieces for events, retail, or manufacturing, large format is your new go-to for getting your message into the world. Want to get started on your next large format project? Contact us to set up a meeting and we can help you bring your dream to life. Dream big, print larger–with Gilson!

Gilson Vutek

Gilson Gets an Upgrade — VUTEk HS125 Pro from EFI

Gilson Graphics is excited to announce that we’ve added a new large format printer to our ranks. EFI’s VUTEk HS125 Pro has just been installed in our facilities and we’re eager to put it to work for our clients and customers. Adding this machine to our facilities means more output, more large format opportunities, and more ambitious projects for you and your business.

Discover just what the VUTEk HS125 Pro is capable of and how it can help take your business and marketing to new heights with some info in this blog post. We’ll cover what large format printing is, what the VUTEk HS125 Pro can do, and how it will upgrade your experience when you choose Gilson.

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Composition Data

Seize Your Data and Make it Work For You

You’ve got raw data, but you need a way to present it and unlock its potential to grow your business. With so many options, it can be hard to know where to start. That’s where Gilson Graphics and our Composition Department can help. Gilson can convert your raw data into the optimum format to fit your business.

Watch this video for more information about Gilson’s Composition Department or read more below!

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Benefits of Honeycomb Core Trade Show Booths

Recyclable substrates are going to be your new go-to when it comes to trade show booths. That’s because designing an awesome trade show booth is only half the battle. Constructing a booth that can live up to the challenge is a whole different story. There are lots of substrates that can do the job, but if you’re looking for something that’s sturdy, printable, and easy to construct, a Gilson booth made out of cardboard substrates like honeycomb core just might be your new best friend.

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Award Winning Trade Show Booth

How to Create an Award-Winning Trade Show Booth

Creating an award-winning trade show booth is no easy task. But with a little creativity and a whole lot of planning, an eye-catching, engaging display is within reach. And Gilson Graphics can help you do it!

We recently exhibited at GlobalShop 2018 where our RoboShop-themed booth won a Best Booth Design Award. How did we do it? Read on for the inside scoop on how to make your next trade show booth a winner!

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GlobalShop 2018 Best Booth Design Award

GlobalShop 2018 Best Booth Award Winner

GlobalShop 2018 has just kicked off and we couldn’t be more excited. Located at McCormick Place in Chicago, the show is full of exhibitors and attendees ready for an exciting experience. And to make a great show even greater–GlobalShop awarded our booth! We received the news yesterday morning that our RoboShop booth won a Best Booth Design Award! Combining the theme of GlobalShop’s #notmyapocalypse with our customizable services, we created a RoboShop where you can build and adapt your own services to make your business shine.

Here’s some more information about the award, the show, and the RoboShop booth we’re featuring this year.

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Integrated Marketing Campaign

How Integrated Marketing Will Make Your Campaign Awesome

Integrated marketing can take your campaign from limited to limitless. Your audience has access to so many different mediums to receive your message, so it’s important to meet them where they are. Whether that’s in the mailbox, their inbox, on social media or on their mobile devices and tablets.

Planning impactful touchpoints and tailoring your campaign to your audience makes a marketing campaign memorable and sticks out for years to come. After all, you want your clients and customers to talk about the campaign long after it’s over!

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