Archive for April, 2010

Post Cards… The Workhorse of Direct Mail Marketing

April 20, 2010

A post card is one of the most versatile, inexpensive, and effective tools you can have in your marketing tool kit. Compared to the effort and cost of a brochure or a traditional direct mail package mailed in an envelope, a post card is quick, easy, and a great way to stretch your marketing budget. In addition, some kinds of post cards will help you keep your mailing list updated.

Think of a post card as a miniature billboard – a design space that can hold
• a photograph of a new product, a staff member, or your location
• a handwritten message to customers
• a published article
• a reminder of an upcoming event
• a request for an appointment
• a mini newsletter
• a discount coupon or admission ticket
• a newsworthy happening in your company

The advantage of a post card is that it does not have to be opened to be read, and if creatively designed, can have impact far beyond its size and cost.

Effective Promotions for Customers and Prospects

April 19, 2010

For long term success, every business or organization must attract and retain customers. Most of us understand the term marketing as the discipline associated with such activities. On the web site, Dr. Paul Christ offers this definition of marketing:

Marketing consists of the strategies and tactics used to identify, create, and maintain satisfying relationships with customers that result in value for both the customer and the marketer.

Marketing encompasses a broad range of activities, from product development and pricing to promotion and distribution. As your printer, we have a role to play in helping you effectively promote your business or organization’s products and services.

Imagine the Possibilities…Partnering with your Printer

April 18, 2010

You may not realize that our printing business was founded in 1985. In that 25 year period, we’ve had the chance to work with hundreds of customers ranging from those whose primary job is to buy or manage printing to those who rarely need to place an order. We’ve had our share of miraculous saves – those awe-inspiring times when despite an impossible deadline and less than optimal manufacturing circumstances, the job gets done and done right. We’ve also had a few misses, where no matter how hard we tried, things just kept going wrong.

We expect you’ve had the same range of experiences – those times when you felt immense gratitude to your printer for a job well done, as well as those times when despite everyone’s best intentions, the job was a disappointment. In this issue of Printips, we’re going to share our observations gleaned from 25 years of business transactions on the best way to be totally satisfied with your printer.

How to Write an Effective Newsletter

April 17, 2010

A newsletter is a popular and effective way to keep in touch with customers. It helps create top of mind awareness – having your company come to mind whenever a customer needs your product or service. It provides a way to talk about the benefits of new services, products, or equipment. It allows you to showcase your expertise and become a source of useful information or valuable advice. And it definitely can help you find new customers or members.

To be truly effective, a newsletter must be published regularly (whether monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly); well designed, eye catching, and content-rich; and written to keep the audience’s interest.

Each of these elements – regular publication, good design, and good writing – contributes equally to the effectiveness of a newsletter. In previous issues of Printips we’ve provided tips for good design, so in this issue we’ll discuss writing.

Bitmap or Vector Image…Which Do You Choose?

April 16, 2010

Graphic images – such as photographs, illustrations, drawings, logos, and clip art – are a great addition to any printed piece. When combined with text, images measurably increase reader comprehension, retention, and interest when compared to text only.

In printing and publishing, graphic images are two-dimensional (2D), while on the World Wide Web, images can be two- or three-dimensional (3D) or multimedia.

There are two ways to form graphic images: pixel by pixel in a grid (called a bitmap or raster image) or mathematically from geometric objects such as points, lines, curves, and polygons (called vector images). Digital photographs and all images that have been scanned are bitmap images; vector images originate primarily from illustration or drawing software programs or from plotters used in technical drawing.

Examples of bitmap file formats are Tagged Image File Format (TIF); Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPG or JPEG); Graphics Interchange Format (GIF), Adobe Photoshop (PSD); bitmap (BPM); Windows Paint (PCX); and pixel image format for Macintosh (PICT). Photo editing or image editing software such as Adobe Photoshop, Corel Paint Shop Pro or Microsoft Paint all work on bitmap files.

Examples of vector file formats are Encapsulated Postscript (EPS); Adobe Illustrator (AI); and CorelDRAW (CDR). Popular vector drawing software includes Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW, and Macromedia Freehand.

RGB, CMYK, and PMS…The Alphabet of Color

April 15, 2010

One of the more difficult tasks we face when reproducing your printed material is to be certain the color is correct. When we are printing your business stationery, it is critical that the color remains consistent for the first and each subsequent printing. When printing your company brochure or newsletter, the color on the finished piece must conform to your expectations. And if we are printing in full color – especially photographs or food or people’s skin tones – a good color match is essential.

So why is color matching such a problem? The answer lies in a combination of how color is created and how the human eye perceives color.

The Evolution of Modern Printing and Copying

April 14, 2010

In today’s world of easily-accessible ways to reproduce documents, from laser printers on the desktop to high speed copiers, it is interesting to pause and remember a time not too long ago when making a copy took considerably more effort. Back then, printing was distinctly different from copying, both in quality of the reproduction and the effort it took to make the copies.

In this issue of Printips, we’ll recall some of the early machines and technologies that serve as a basis for what has become digital printing. We hope you’ll enjoy reminiscing and perhaps learn something you didn’t know.

Saving the Best for Last: What Happens in the Bindery

April 13, 2010

There is one department in our printing company that you don’t often hear about – our bindery.

The bindery is where we take printed sheets to finish the job – cutting, folding, gathering, and stitching the press sheets into booklets; applying glue to make pads or bind the parts of a carbonless form; collating press sheets into sets; perforating tickets; numbering invoices; scoring invitations or program covers so they will fold without cracking; drilling three holes in sheets or in completed manuals or one hole in a clothing hang tag; or any other function required to get the press sheets into final form for delivery to you.

Our bindery is also where we do a final quality control check before packaging the finished job and printing the delivery receipt.

Designing for Digital Printing: Tips and Tricks

April 12, 2010

Are you familiar with all the ways today’s modern print shop has integrated digital technology into the printing process? It starts with desktop publishing, continues through electronic prepress, then goes on to platemaking for offset printing or raster image processing for output to a digital printing device.

Digital technology as applied to design and desktop publishing gives us more control over layout, special effects, and the ability to make alterations. It also allows us to build a digital file to obtain the best output image, whether using an offset press or a digital printer.

In this issue of Printips, we’ll provide some tips and tricks for preparing a file specifically for output on a digital printer.

Which Typeface to Use…A Guide For Desktop Publishers

April 11, 2010

With literally thousands of typefaces available for use in desktop publishing, it is no small matter to determine which ones to use for a specific document. In this issue of Printips, we’ll present some guidelines to assist you in narrowing the choices, as well as information on how to increase the effectiveness of the type you select.

Regardless of the document you are preparing – brochure, newsletter, flyer, training manual, direct mail marketing piece – your first task is to be sure the typeface you select promotes readability and comprehension for your audience. In turn, this requires careful attention to a typeface’s legibility. Legibility refers to the clarity of the type – how easily one letter can be distinguished from another. Readability refers to how the letters interact when combined into words, sentences, and paragraphs.

Next, think about what you must accomplish with the document. The goal of a brochure is much different than the goal of an annual report or newsletter. For instance, a brochure must engage the reader’s interest quickly and tell a convincing story, while an annual report, consisting of large blocks of text with charts and financial tables, must explain without fatiguing the reader. For a newsletter, eye-catching headlines and an informal look may be the goal.

Then consider the demographics of the intended audience. What is the age range, educational level, attention span, and vocabulary of those you are addressing? Different typefaces appeal to different audiences: seniors look for clarity and legibility; teens are drawn to edgy, unusual type even at the expense of readability; children and beginning readers prefer larger, easy-to-read type.

Finally, think about how much reading you are requiring of your audience and what message you want them to take away. The more text your document contains, the more readable the typeface must be.