Our Story

Founded in 1919 as The Phototype Engraving Company, Olberding Brand Family was built on a legacy of prepress, color, and print quality management, with upstream capabilities added along the way. But our story’s not about what we make or do, because that’s always evolving. It’s about how we deliver it – with a commitment to bringing out the best in every brand we touch.

The Beginning

It all began in 1919 with three men who shared a common passion for delivering high-quality work and superior service. Our founding members were Ed Lemker, George Maier, and Otto Busch. With just $4,000 between them, the three opened shop in the Atlas Bank Building in Cincinnati, OH. The company soon became incorporated in the State of Ohio and was one of the first graphic services businesses in the region to use revolutionary photo-etching techniques.

Business Is Booming

From the onset, it was clear that quality and craftsmanship were driving business, demand was up, and we had outgrown our workplace. Phototype moved to a larger facility at 214 East Ninth Street. In those early days, operations included photographing type, etching the type in metal, mounting it on wood, and printing from the mounted plate.

Growing the Family Legacy

Dick Olberding, Ed Lemker’s nephew, joined Phototype as an apprentice cameraman/salesman. At that time, we were the first in the region to offer powder-less etching, which enabled us to produce a higher quality plate in less time.

The Legacy Continues

Dick’s brother-in-law, Bob Scheid, left the Army and joined Phototype as lead salesman. Bob’s contagious energy and excitement helped him quickly build a solid rapport with the growing agency community in Cincinnati. Phototype secured a place on the printing industry’s cutting edge by using the newest Kodak relief KRP plate.

The Proof is in the Printing

Phototype became the first engraver in the region to offer magnesium plates. We also used our 29″ Harris press, enabling us to produce progressive proofs to ensure the quality of our plates.

Growth Through Troubled Times

With the US on the verge of recession and local competitors closing, Phototype continued to grow, forcing our third move. We moved into the top two floors of the historic Baldwin Building, essentially doubling our space. Continuing our reputation as innovators, we became the first in region to offer 4/color offset on-press color proofs, and in 1975, we were the first regional printer to adopt SWOP color standards.

Continuing the Family Legacy

Enter the third generation of Olberdings. Steve (Dick’s older son) joined the company and David (Dick’s younger son) joined a few years later, in 1989.

Finding a Place to Call Home

Owners of The Baldwin Building notified Phototype that the building would soon be renovated into an office complex, forcing the company to find a new home, yet again. This resulted in the purchase of the current headquarters, located between Florence & Gilbert Avenues. During this time, we shifted from a unionized company to a non-union company.

It’s a Brave New World

Phototype became the first in the region to purchase digital scanning and imaging equipment. The systems used 12″ reels of magnetic tape for file storage and occupied an entire room. By contrast, today’s desktop computer has over 1400 times the storage capacity, from 140Mb into 2 TB.

Enter the Digital Revolution

Phototype opened the PhotoArt photography studio and became the first in the region to offer digital photography. Those early state-of-the-art cameras boasted 10 mega-pixel resolution – roughly the same as today’s iPhones.

Celebrating 75 Years

When Phototype turned 75 years old, Dick Olberding announced that his son Steve would become President. It was also during this time that we shifted our focus toward brand packaging – a move that opened up new opportunities and would help define our future.

Closing the Loop on Flexo Color

Phototype opened a leading-edge flexo platemaking facility. Two years later, we installed the Cyrel Digital Imager for flexo plates, the first digital imaging machines in the region and only the sixth machine of its kind installed in the US. Today, our world-class plateroom utilizes some of the most advanced platemaking technology available to best serve our clients.

There’s a NuDot® in Town

Phototype announced its NuDot screening innovation, a patented, proprietary flexographic screening technology that utilized irregular dot shapes for flexo. This breakthrough screening technology changed the way we print flexography on film today.

Extending the Family Legacy

Enter the fourth generation of our family-operated business as Jen (Steve’s oldest) joined the company. Her brothers Chris and Anthony, and David’s daughter, Caiti, joined over the next few years.

Expanding to New Regions and New Services

Starting in 2005, Phototype began opening satellite offices to better serve our clients. By 2010, we had tripled our domestic footprint and opened new production offices in the United Kingdom and China.

Everything’s Bigger in Texas

Phototype opened an additional production facility in Dallas, TX to better meet the needs of clients. In that same year, Phototype launched an innovative 3D studio in our Columbus, OH office.

The End of an Era

Phototype reached 260 employees and was recognized as an Enquirer Media Top Workplace. Sadly, we also said goodbye to Dick Olberding, the company’s patriarch for 63 years.

A Refreshing Change for Beverage Makers

Phototype installed a can printing press to pilot and proof new designs, and opened an office in Tampa, FL, dedicated to providing art and pre-press services to the beverage industry. A year later, we created and launched Brilliance,™ a combination separation and plate technology that allows for unmatched fidelity in image reproduction, exceeding any technology in the marketplace today.

Further Expansion

In addition to opening our new facility in Atlanta, a state of the art studio for producing comps and mock-ups, Phototype also celebrated our 100th anniversary. At our centennial, to better reflect our family-run heritage and culture, we began doing business as the Olberding Brand Family.


We maintain our tradition of client collaboration, innovating new techniques to design, optimize, and protect brands, and setting high standards for the printing, design, and packaging industries. We continue our dedication of bringing brands to life on the physical and virtual shelf.

PAC Global Award: Best in Class

In February of 2024, Olberding Brand Family was honored with the prestigious Best in Class PAC Global Award in New York City.


  • 2024 PAC Global Best in Class Award
  • Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Top Workplaces – 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023
  • 2023 U.S. Department of Defense Patriot Award Nominee
  • 2019 Aetna Workplace Well-Being “Inspiring Change” Bronze Award
  • 2016 Cincinnati’s Top Family Businesses Finalist
  • 2013 Print Expo Special Appreciation Award, P&G Strategic Partners
  • 2013 BRIT Implementation Excellence Award


  • Flexographic Technical Association – Forum Presenter/Co-Chair
  • Graphic Media Alliance, Southern Advisory Council
  • Huenited Collective – Board Member
  • International Metal Decorating and Packaging Association
  • International Organization of Standardization Technical Committee 130 (ISO/TC 130) – Voting Members (2)
  • PAC Global
  • PRINTING United Alliance
  • Stylus
  • Technical Association of the Graphic Arts Advisory Committee

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