Archive for the ‘Designing’ Category

Page Layout Development

April 26, 2010

Regular readers of Printips know that we are proud to be part of a centuries old industry that has contributed significantly to the development of human enterprise. Printing as a profession dates back to the mid-1400s when Johannes Gutenberg invented movable type, a breakthrough technology of the day. When combined with a printing press, movable type changed forever both the content and quantity of what could be printed.

Gutenberg’s invention gave rise to typography – the art of designing type and also of arranging or setting type. Until the invention of digital type, typography required either the manufacturing of individual letters in character sets called fonts or a machine to transform molten lead into lines of type. In both cases, type had a physical form and could not be easily used outside of printing and publishing businesses.

More than 500 years after Gutenberg’s contribution, the confluence of three new developments – the personal computer, page layout software, and digital type – moved typography to the desktop, making it accessible outside of the printing and publishing industry.

Updating Brochures with Clever Production Tips

April 22, 2010

Your company’s brochure is a great sales tool. It conveys much more information than can be put on a business card, a display advertisement, or even a flyer. And when someone asks you for your company’s brochure, it could be a signal of real interest in your product or service.

Examine a variety of brochures, and you’ll find they share certain characteristics: all have text mixed with visual elements such as photographs, illustrations, diagrams, charts, and graphs; all have an underlying organization; and all provide the identity and contact information of the company that published the brochure.

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.

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.

Simple Steps to Upgrade Your Printing

April 7, 2010

How long has it been since you’ve taken a critical look at your business’s or organization’s printing? Business stationery (letterheads, envelopes, business cards), marketing materials, forms – chances are that it has been more than a few years since these were originally designed, they may benefit from an upgrade.

In this case, we’re not talking about a complete makeover. Rather, we are thinking of simple steps to refresh the look or improve functionality. You may be surprised to learn that some upgrades can be undertaken without any increase in the cost of your printing, while others may add minimally to cost.

So here we go – simple steps to upgrade your printing.

Anatomy of a Newsletter

April 3, 2010

Publishing an informational newsletter is a wonderful way to keep your name in front of customers or prospects. (In fact, it’s one of the reasons we provide Printips to you each month.) A newsletter may entertain, educate, inspire, or inform. And a well designed newsletter communicates much about the organization that publishes it.

To achieve a great looking newsletter, adhere to a few basic principles of composition and design. You will produce a publication that will catch the eye of your readers.

Using (Not Misusing) Microsoft Word

March 31, 2010

Microsoft Word is a program we printers both love and hate. We love it because it has substantially improved the quality of the documents our customers bring us to have reproduced. Originals created in Word have many desirable characteristics that formerly could only be achieved with professional typesetting. Proportional spacing of letters, attributes such as italics and bold, different point sizes for headlines and body copy, special characters, and features such as sub- and superscript are all available in Word and greatly enhance the appearance of documents.

With all these benefits, it may be hard to understand why we printers sometimes shudder when we learn a document has been created in Word. In this issue of Printips, we’re going to explain why, as well as provide some useful tips on how to use Word to best advantage when you will be giving us a document to print or copy.

Marketing with Brochures: Using Folds to Tell the Story

March 30, 2010

When you think of a marketing brochure, you probably think of the standard trifold – a letter- or legal-sized sheet of paper folded in thirds, creating six pages. And while the popularity of this format is undeniable, there are other ways to fold a sheet that allow you to tell your company or product story in a completely different way.

But we’re getting a bit ahead. Whether you use a standard trifold or something more exotic, you must first analyze the information you are presenting in the brochure to determine how many segments or sections it has, which in turn indicates how many transitions will be made in the brochure. Having this information at hand as you are thinking about design and layout will guide your decision about folding.

Desktop Publishing: Idea To Execution

March 29, 2010

An important part of our printing business is to ensure that you have a professionally presented message to describe your business, organization, product, or service. Getting from your idea to the final printed piece requires a few simple steps – creating and editing the text, selecting images that illustrate the text, and putting it all together in a cohesive design. Whether you are functioning as a desktop publisher by preparing files from which we will print, or using our graphic design department, the road from idea to execution is the same. In this issue of Printips, we will travel the road together and discuss the functions required – planning, writing, design, production art, and preparation for printing.

Fonts: Don’t Let Your Files Leave Home Without Them

March 23, 2010

Ask us or any other printer to name the top five reasons why customer-provided document files fail preflight, and you’ll always have “missing or unusable fonts” on the list. The problem is so common that we’re devoting this issue of Printips to the topic.

Digital font technology Let’s start with a brief overview of digital font technology. You probably know there are two standards for fonts: PostScript and TrueType.

PostScript was originally developed by Adobe and was engineered with two parts to each font – a screen font for rendering characters on a computer monitor and a printer font to direct a PostScript printer how to render the font on paper. In the early days, PostScript fonts gained wide acceptance in the graphic arts community because of superior resolution on output.

The TrueType font format, developed by Apple Computer and later adopted by Microsoft, was designed with the printer font and screen font created from the same information. The font technology also includes a rasterizer; it is the interaction between the font and rasterizer that determines the appearance of the font on paper. Whereas PostScript fonts required a PostScript printer to render correctly, TrueType fonts could be used on any printer. TrueType fonts have been more popular than PostScript in the corporate environment.