Founded in 1970 by Rodger Ford, AlphaGraphics offered copy and print from “Camera Ready Originals.” The customer was required to provide an original ready for reproduction. In the 1970s, sales grew to an annual average of $180,000 per location.

The emerging technologies of the 1980s provided the platform of an assembly of evolving solutions to print from “Camera Ready Ideas.” A collaboration of technology solutions provided by Apple, Aldus, Xerox, Adobe, QMS, Megahause, Microsoft and Geisco were blended to form the platform accelerated growth of same-store sales. By 1986, AlphaGraphics Print Shops of the Future, in business for more than three years, averaged annual sales of more than $1 million.

Apple and Geisco (Apple Link) assisted AlphaGraphics in tying all AlphaGraphics stores together in the first of its kind original sharing network. Originals generated in one store could be communicated to another for reproduction. Soon AlphaGraphics expanded to 300-plus locations in more than 20 countries. By 1986 AlphaGraphics locations had opened in the Soviet Union and China. Documents were transmitted directly into those countries and printed without government intervention.

In 1987, AlphaGraphics Print Shops of the Future was purchased by RR Donnelley, the world’s largest provider of integrated communications.