Archive for March, 2010

How to Select the Right Paper for the Job

March 21, 2010

As printers, we love paper. Paper adds a design element, influences the impression, and contributes to the overall appeal of a printed piece. Paper is also a critical variable in how well a job runs on press, in a high-speed copier or digital printer, or through the laser printer on your desktop.

For most printing jobs, there is a paper whose characteristics are best for the application. For example, if the printed piece is a trifold brochure, a sheet with good folding characteristics will be best. If the piece has significant ink coverage, then a paper with superior ink holdout will perform best.

It is our job to guide you through the many possibilities in order to match the paper to your printing project. This will be easier if you understand how the characteristics of paper affect the appropriateness for a specific printed piece.

Direct Mail + List Management = Effective Marketing

March 20, 2010

Direct mail is a very popular way to market a company’s products or services. We have helped many customers design and print effective direct mail marketing pieces.

But here is something you may not know – the success of any direct mail marketing campaign is more dependent on the mailing list than on any other factor. You can verify this for yourself with a simple hypothetical example. Suppose the owner of a pizza parlor mailed a post card that looked just exactly like a delicious pepperoni pizza and offered a pizza for free just for returning the card. That would seem to automatically guarantee a high response rate. But suppose the mail list used for the mailing was comprised only of vegetarians – a sure case of a great mailing to a bad list.

Renew, Refresh, Rejuvenate: Redesigning Your Ads

March 19, 2010

When is it time to consider a redesign of your company’s advertising material? Some may answer, “When its effectiveness drops” or “When the competition does” or “When we hire a new marketing director”. We agree that these are good reasons, but we also would add that periodic redesign should be part of your regular advertising cycle. A good redesign will refresh your ads, and renew them for your loyal customers and your prospects alike.

Your company’s advertising material may need a redesign if any of these conditions exist:

•It has been more than five years since you first developed the advertising material.

•Your company today is much different than it was when the advertising material was developed.

•The target audience for your product or service has changed since the advertising material was developed.

Your advertising material may also show signs of aging; i.e., its typeface, the layout, or the color palette.

Let Me Illustrate My Point: Choosing and Using Clip Art

March 18, 2010

Think back to the last time you bought something that needed assembly. Likely the instructions included drawings or illustrations to help you understand what the words were saying. In fact, the drawings may have been all you needed to complete the assembly. This is the power of illustrations that accompany what we read. Our comprehension rises dramatically when we also have something to look at.

When designing a brochure or flyer for your company, or when creating a newsletter, you can use this fact to your advantage by including clip art within the body of the copy. In graphic design, the term clip art refers to a broad category of non-photographic images that can be used to illustrate text. The name comes from the way images originally were packaged – bound in a book from which users could cut out (or clip) artwork to place in layouts. When desktop publishing replaced manual layout, users stopped clipping and began scanning the images. Now clip art books have been replaced by digital compilations available on CDs or even downloaded from web sites.

Form and Function–The Two Faces of Direct Mail Design

March 17, 2010

If you are like most of our customers, you have a lot of questions about designing an effective direct mail marketing piece. Should you use a post card, a self mailer, or an envelope? Use lots of copy or lots of white space? Announce who the mail is from, or build the reader’s curiosity? With so many variables to consider, where does one begin to seek the right answers?

To help sort through the maze of interlocking decisions, remember that there are two ways to judge how well a direct mail piece has been designed. One set of standards comes from the discipline of good graphic design; the other comes from what makes mail move efficiently through the mail stream. We believe both are important, and that a good strategy is to thoroughly understand each set.

Getting It Onto The Paper: How Ink and Toner Work

March 16, 2010

Except for deciding about color, you probably haven’t given much thought to the ink or toner that creates the image on your printed piece. Yet there are some technical facts about each one that have an effect on the finished look of your document.

Use Direct Mail to Grow Your Business

March 15, 2010

Direct mail marketing – the process of using a printed piece to communicate directly with a selected audience – is experiencing a renaissance. The surprising popularity of the federal Do-Not-Call registry for telemarketing, combined with public ire at Internet-based spam, is causing renewed interest in using the mail to create leads or generate orders.

Direct mail offers several benefits over other marketing techniques:

• Targeting. Prospects can be targeted by using a list containing individuals or businesses that meet a specific set of criteria.

• Measurable results. The results of a direct mail campaign can be evaluated by computing a cost per lead or cost per sales transaction.

• Flexibility. Direct mail literature can be personalized or tailored to the individual receiving it.

• Affordability. Even a modest advertising budget can fund a successful direct mail campaign.

Using Photographs in Documents & Newsletters

March 14, 2010

When used properly, photographs can greatly enhance the appearance, impact, and reader comprehension of a printed piece. Crisp, clear, or eye-catching photographs also give your documents a professional look. And what newsletter isn’t dotted with photographs of people, places, and activities?

As your printer, we have the same goal you do – to be sure all photographs are reproduced in the highest quality possible. But to accomplish this objective, we need your help. Read this issue of Printips to learn more about photographs in documents.

How Do You Define Printing?

March 13, 2010

Printing. Considering the range of ways to “get the marks on paper” today, it is a simple word with a complex meaning. Reduced to the basics, printing is the transfer of images from one surface or source (printing plate or digital file) to another (paper or other substrate) using a medium (ink or toner).

As recently as ten years ago, we printers may have been careful to distinguish between printing using an offset press, and copying using an analog copier. But with the introduction of digital copiers, the distinction is becoming much less important.

Starting a Company Newsletter: Tips for Success

March 12, 2010

Company newsletters are an effective tool for communicating news and ideas, for keeping readers up-to-date on company policies and procedures, and for creating a sense of community. It can also be an overwhelming task to get one started. In this issue of Printips we will provide a number of tips to help you achieve success in starting and publishing a company newsletter.