Optimized UX to save $8M/year

From my weekly check-ins with Foxconn, HP's printer manufacturer, I learned that a high-end (HE) flexographic printing press was now available in China. HP had used lithographic printing due to availability of lithographic presses throughout China. Lithography was also believed to be higher quality than flexography.

I decided to assess the technical and financial feasibility of changing HP's print process to flexography.

First, to understand differences in print quality, I went to Best Buy and looked for high end products printed in flexo. They did exist. I next asked Foxconn for a pallet of product printed in both print processes. Thirdly, I requested specs for both types of presses. What were the strengths and weaknesses of each press?

From these 3 assessments, I learned that Flexo does not do shadows or gradations well. Litho was the gold standard for packaging print, albeit more expensive than litho. I found a graphic designer who would help create box designs that were true to the current design language, but played to flexo's strength.

The test pallet sent from Foxconn. Litho printed box on top; HE flexo with poor prints of gradations on bottom.

A printer box design optimized for HE flexography.


I presented the new concepts and accompanying cost savings to HP's branding and marketing leadership, who deemed the new design language adequate for the DeskJet (lower-end) line. The switch to HE flexo print was estimated to save the ICS GBU $8million per year, was optimized to maintain desired UX, and is still in use today.

2011 Case Study