FESPA FESPA Member Profile: Emmanuel Buhagiar Imagination Graphics We recently caught up with Emmanuel Buhagiar, affectionately known as Budgie, Director of Imagination Graphics. Situated in Marrickville, not far from Sydney’s CBD, the company is a multidisciplinary graphic design, web design, print and pre-press studio. really took off, and we managed to corner the market in Trade Plates. Then printers started giving us small digital printing for them as they did not want to invest in digital printing at that time. Ten years later, Imagination Emmanuel has worked at Imagination Graphics for 24 years; we found out about its history, Emmanuel’s plans for the future and how the company maintains its rigour in a highly competitive marketplace. Can you tell us what attracted you to the printing industry? My father, John, used to fix large etching machines at the Telegraph, and he was fascinated with printing. He guided me towards the printing industry, and I began as a hand, and machine compositor in a small company in Surry Hills called Braycole when I was sixteen. Can you tell us more about Imagination Graphics, what they do, their future plans and why you like working there? I was placing a lot of film as a print broker in 1997 and thought there was an opportunity to start my own pre-press company, so I created Imagination Graphics. From pre-press, we went on to offer graphic and web design to digital printing. I remember meeting with the team about ten years ago where I asked them, “Do you want to expand the business with me and learn a few new trades?”. They all backed me up, so we purchased our second Konica machine and ventured into poster printing and corflute signs. So not only were we a pre-press company, but we had also become a small digital printer. Once film started to die off, we decided to take on CtP and offered plates to the trade. This 8 JUN/JUL 2022 Graphics is still making plates for many printers and now offers printing to printers. Our KM-1 is currently running two shifts a day, 5-6 days a week, but most importantly, our signage part of the business is growing, and we are finding ourselves doing more and more in this area. We currently have 16 staff, but we’re growing. I plan to go to PacPrint in June as I would like to see what there is in new technology and to see how I can improve our quality of work and give added value to our customers. How do you define success? Success to me is defined by growth in many areas. Growth in sales, increase in employees, change in machinery, but most important is developing my knowledge of many sectors of our industry now, and in the future. How have recent challenges changed the way you now operate? Things have been difficult for everyone in the last couple of years. I took the approach to advertise more to my existing clients and look outside the box and take on new experiences and manufacturing. In other words, we diversified into other areas. We started selling face masks and hand sanitisers, we even started manufacturing and installing Covid Screens for the hospitals and the corporate sector. This proved to be very lucrative and helped Imagination Graphics through the Pandemic. Covid screens have now stopped, so we’re concentrating more on the signage side of the business – there is a big future here for us. We’ve also taken on vehicle signage, and the team are doing a great job. We have the attitude that we’re willing to take on anything! Our motto is never to say no to any job, and we always have the customer’s needs first. We’ve created a one stop shop that will take your idea from design to the finished product. Customers don’t want the headache behind the job – they just want the job done for a reasonable price within a reasonable time but with the highest of quality. Without the incredible team at Imagination Graphics, this would not be possible. My team are second to none; that is what makes Imagination Graphics. What has been your most memorable printing/career moment? To be honest there have been many memorable moments – everything from winning a printing award, travelling to Japan and visiting the Konica Minolta Factory, our apprentice winning awards to installing a KM-1 B2 Digital Press. Tell us a bit about yourself outside of working at Imagination Graphics? My hobbies are playing Touch Football, I have represented NSW on many occasions both through playing and coaching. I have also coached Australian teams around the world at many World Cups. I was on the board of the NSWTA Association for 8 years and currently I’m on the executive of Balmain Touch and continue to coach juniors at the club. Colleen my wife is our accountant and works with me here at Imagination Graphics every day, without her smarts, humour and drive I do not think we would be as successful as we are. Colleen bonds the whole company. I have 3 daughters a son and 5 grandchildren. I’m proud to say that all my children are very successful in their chosen careers. How did the nickname Budgie come about? I got this when I was about 12 years old. As budgerigar looks so much like my last name Buhagiar! So it stuck.