Creative Plastic Printing & Die Cutting of San Diego is one of the many California companies that started up as a result of the mass market explosion in personal computers in the 1980’s. Its principal product was a plastic template that fit around a computer keyboard, providing the user with a handy reference to a computer program’s commands. Creative had developed templates for 75 of the most popular computer programs, each with up to 150 of a given program’s most commonly used commands.
Creative’s market was born out of the typically poor user documentation provided by software developers, and out of one of the founder’s own frustration in trying to learn WordStar, a popular word processing program from Micropro, of San Rafael. They devised a paper template for their keyboard and, being of an entrepreneurial bent, soon concluded that others with the same problem might be willing to pay for the solution. In point of fact, They later learned that many other computer users were making paper templates of their own, but what they had that others lacked was the courage to turn that concept into a successful business.
In the summer of 1981, They presented their idea to their partner, a computer programmer for the U.S. Navy. Together, they began product development, using $5,000 they had earned making computer cables for local retail outlets. At the time, they also had a partial interest in a now-defunct computer retail store where one of them was employed as the accountant. They learned a great deal about what you do and don’t do and where you need controls. Had they not learned it in that business, they might have faltered in this one.
Two other manufacturers of templates provided strong competition, and another eight or so lesser manufacturers came and went . But ironically, the companies that seemed likely to give Creative the most competition steered clear of the market. Although ostensibly in the computer business. Creative is actually a printing house or, more specifically, a company that does specialty printing on plastics. The offset process they use is familiar to many U.S. manufacturers, much of which has been sent over seas. Creative remains one of the few US printers specializing in the niche printing on plastic.
Since establishing itsself as a contender in UV printing on plastic, Creative has expanded into the credit-card format printing business, promotional rulers, shelf takers/wobblers, decals, stickers and clings. Creative continues to expand its capabilities with digital priting and persue new innovations.