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The original green printer.

When Barefoot Press opened in early 1987, few paper companies sold recycled paper and few clients wanted to use it. At that time, no one knew what the term “green printing” meant.

But owner Richard Kilby was intent on using and promoting green printing practices — one of a few in the country to do so at that time. So, he talked to representatives from paper mills about the possibilities and got some doors slammed in his face. More than one told him recycled paper was a fad, and the industry had no intention of expanding its supply beyond California, the only market then actively selling it. With no better options, Kilby had recycled paper shipped across the country and worked hard to convert his clients, with modest initial success.

Barefoot Press opened in the back room of a bookstore that also produced hand-made paper — with Kilby as the only employee. He began with a 1960’s model AB Dick 360 single-color offset press and a WWII vintage hand-operated paper cutter. Initially, the company served the needs of the Raleigh area’s lively independent magazine and music scene. We ultimately developed a national reputation for 7-inch record covers and innovative cardboard CD packages, called the “Rhinopack” after the mascot Durer illustration “rhinoceron.”

Several expansions later, Barefoot Press now has top-flight modern multi-color presses, as well as a robust large-format and digital printing operation. Building on a core belief in serving small businesses and helping them be competitive, we can now serve as a single point of contact for all marketing needs, from logo and web design to print and point of sale signage, media placement and direct mail.

Over the years, we have won over a hundred awards for print quality and graphic design. In 1994, Barefoot Press took “Best Small Press Printing” at the PICA Awards in a competition sponsored by Mac Papers. Up against hundreds of entries on premium virgin fiber paper, our entry was a CD package printed with soy inks on unbleached paper made from 100% post-consumer recycled waste. The cover image was of a clear-cut forest. In 2010 we repeated the performance by winning the BW Wilson PICA Award for “Best Printing” with the Carolina Chocolate Drops wire bound songbook printed with soy-based inks on 100% post-consumer recycled, chlorine-free paper.

Our commitment to green printing is evident throughout the operation, from our use of soy-based offset inks and non-toxic digital press inks to responsible disposal of chemical and paper waste. Our plates require no chemical processing, and our press wash is a low-VOC, water-miscible product. When we moved into our own building last year, we “recycled” a 1950s-era industrial building, using sustainable materials such as bamboo floors, energy efficient appliances, LED lighting and energy-efficient windows. We derive a significant portion of our electricity from the on-site solar array on our rooftop which powers twin 10kw inverters.

Now that worries about global warming and the environment have heated up the market for green printing, many printers are scrambling to get in on the action. Barefoot Press has an established record and over 30 years of experience with eco-friendly products and processes. We are ready to put that knowledge to work for you to help develop projects that minimize environmental impact while maximizing marketing impact.

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