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    Can You Finish What You Started?

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    If every print manufacturer can print within the same quality parameters does this make all print producers equal? This question can be resolved when looking at the next step in the production process, which is the finishing of the piece. With competition from all of the other forms of media, one of the trends in print has been to make your piece standout. Finishing techniques such as diecutting, foil stamping, embossing and custom packaging can add a significant “wow” factor to the printed piece and greatly increase the chances that the intended recipient will retain the message that you are trying to convey.

    With the pressure towards faster production cycles it is has become more critical that your print production partner handle these operations in house. While outsourcing will always play a significant role in the industry, there is no denying that it places a greater strain on the ability to turn a job as quickly or to maintain consistent quality standards. A print production partner that produces the entire job in-house will provide you with the peace of mind that a project is being managed under a single process and has the greatest probability of meeting your expectations in regards to quality and speed of turn around.

    Technology Changes and Wide Format

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    The quality of these inkjet joomla_4ices has greatly increased to the point that it is allowing for shorter runs in less time than could have been dreamed about with the previous generation of equipment. The implication of this change, along with significant advances in the types and quality of available substrates, has been most profound in the specialty packaging, interior signage and POP markets.

    In the past, to create full color images for products in these markets was a three step process. First, a liner was printed via conventional offset. This was done for quality reasons, as there were no alternative processes to print high quality images directly on to a substrate. A second step often involved lamination of the liner. While sometimes done for aesthetics, this was, more often than not, done to create a more durable product. Offset printing on an unprotected liner sheet would simply not hold up to the rigors of the settings in retail display or packaging. A third step involved mounting the liner sheet to the desired substrate. In the past the choice of substrates was significantly limited. What used to be a three step process can now be accomplished with a single step.

    The quality of the substrates have also greatly improved; imaging can now be done directly onto items like foam board, corrugated paper and composite board. The UV inks that are used offer greater rub and fade resistance than conventional offset inks. This eliminates the need for additional protection from lamination in many cases. All of these changes have allowed for shorter run lengths to be done more cost efficiently and with quicker turn cycles that could never have been conceived with the previous production methods.

    Volunteer Retention for Non-Profits

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    Volunteers are essential to many non-profits as they allow the organization to work more efficiently on limited budgets and increase enthusiasm for the organization within the community. When one thinks of marketing campaigns for non-profit organizations it is usually in the context of a financial giving. The giving of time, however, can be just as valuable to a non-profit and it is important that the proper conversations take place to joomla_4elop and retain those volunteers.

    Bringing out the passions of the volunteers is key. While outbound marketing in the form of direct mail, e-mail and telemarketing are key ways in which to communicate, just as important is inbound marketing? Social media and content marketing are ways to keep volunteers connected to your organization. Sharing the successes of the organization and focusing on key volunteers will encourage others to contribute their efforts so that they can be part of something that is doing positive things within the community they care about.

    Interestingly, the level of donor retention varies throughout the country. Some of the lowest donor retention rates are in places like Southern California, Miami, Orlando and Las Vegas. In those locations it appears that the non-profits have the added burden of competing against the fun and sun in order to retain their volunteers.

    How Does Google Reach Customers? It’s Not How You May Think.

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    Google certainly could have reached out to me via e-mail or via paid search advertisements. For all I know they could have been trying to reach out to me by e-mail, only to have them go into my junk e-mail folder along with the 250 other e-mails that are deposited there on a daily basis. The direct mailer that I received was done in typical Google fashion, lots of white space and focused on copy. While it gave me directions as to how to respond via the web, it also provided instructions for a call in number. Kudos to Google for realizing that giving the intended recipient ways to respond beyond the web can pay dividends.

    For those that may wonder if direct mail should play a part in your next campaign, I think that you only need to look at Google. They are a company whose primary source of revenue is from electronic advertising, yet even they see the value in using direct mail to reach the intended target.

    Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) Program Improves Targeting

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    The EDDM program allows a mailer to search carrier routes within each zip code by age, average income, and average size of household. While the system does not allow for the targeting of specific addresses, these new sort choices certainly allow mailers to better target their mailings within specific zip codes. This allows for a message that is better targeted to the intended recipient and can help lower mailing costs by avoiding mailing to areas that have a lower percentage of households that contain demographics more desirable to the marketer. For example, a search of zip code 08053 can be narrowed to percentage of residents that are age 65 to 85. A review of the data will show there are two carrier routes that have a far higher percentage of residents in that age bracket (25%) than the typical carrier route which ranges from 7% to 12%. One could surmise that those routes with the markedly higher percentage of older residents may contain the over 55 communities within the township. This is one way that you can extrapolate the data to your advantage.

    The EDDM program has been one of the postal programs that actually showed increased demand within the past twelve months. The new tools that have been provided should certainly encourage marketers to take a look at how this program may help them obtain their goals.

    For those that are just curious and want to get a glimpse of where the rich and possibly famous live, feel free to visit the link below. Enter the famous Beverly Hills zip code of 90210 and sort by average income to see the wealthiest areas in America’s richest zip code.

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    More Than Just Banners

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    The wide format moniker reminds me of the digital description when we first entered this arena in 2006. When we added digital capabilities there was, and to some extent still is, what the term digital described. Was it a production process? Is it a color output on a digital machine? Does the word digital describe the variable data process? The answer is yes to all of the preceding questions. While the Acuity joomla_4ice incorporates a digital imaging process, its capabilities are far greater than what most people would think of when using the term digital. To provide a better idea of our new capabilities, following are the top 5 products that we can now provide with our new capabilities:

    Indoor Signage– We can produce point of sale signage, window signage and interior decorations for retail and corporate settings. This application is a perfect fit for theatres, universities or retail facilities that have a variety of signage needs.

    Custom packaging– With the ability to print on corrugated board and coupled with the simultaneous installation of our flatbed router, we can create custom packages for your next premium purchase.

    Rigid Substrates- We can now print on almost any PVC, Acrylic or vinyl product. Once again, coupled with the cutting joomla_4ice, we can print and cut to custom shapes and sizes.

    Point of Purchase Displays– More than just point of sale signs, we can now create dimensional graphics for retail settings.

    Product Decoration– With the capability to print onto flat items that are up to 1-3/4” thick, we can now customize many premium products in-house.

    Combining all of these new capabilities with our existing digital and conventional print processes, along with our existing in-house finishing processes and further adding in our agency services will allow us to be a single source creator for the communication needs of any organization.

    What Goes Into Your Printing Matters

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    Have you ever noticed an exceptional print piece? Do you remember what made it exceptional? There are a number of critical factors that can make or break your next print campaign:

    1. Excellent design
    2. Original professional photography
    3. Creative writing
    4. The best raw materials

    Did number four throw you? When was the last time you thought about the raw materials that go into the production of your printed piece? Inks, plates and processing chemicals can have a direct impact on your final product. Change one variable and the whole job can be impacted for the better and more often worse. Whenever I give people a tour of our facility, I'm always careful to show them our inventory of raw materials that go into their finished products. Consistency in the materials used to produce your products is vital if you want consistency in your final deliverable.

    The expression “quality in, quality out” is really true when it comes to producing a printed piece.
    So, the next time you plan a marketing campaign, think about whether the printed piece is really a commodity. That way, you won't spend tens of thousands of dollars and weeks of emotional energy, just to be shortchanged at the finish line.

    Color Matters – The Psychology of Color

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    Selecting a color palette for a new brand or a brand redesign is one of the most important steps in the branding process. Since several other factors must be considered during the process, such as the core values and perceived strengths of the company, color becomes that much more important because it reflects the brand.

    The psychology of color must also be considered because research indicates that color affects human behavior, often manipulating or even changing one’s moods or emotions. In addition, certain colors have been proven to impact blood pressure and metabolism. They can also have an effect on test scores. For example, red has been shown to have a positive impact on speed and reaction time in certain activities such as athletics. Blue-colored streetlights have been connected to a decrease in crime in areas with these lights.

    When considering the selection of color it may be helpful to know the following attributes of color and the emotions they may elicit:

    Blue: harmony, confidence, and faithfulness
    Red: power, passion, and anger
    Yellow: wealth, optimism and pleasure
    Green: spring, hope and envy
    Black: mystery, mourning and darkness
    White: light, goodness and innocence
    Purple: combines the stability of blue and the energy of red; noble, luxury, and dignity.
    Orange: combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow; vibrant, engaging and creative

    The emotions a color represents and the symbolism it creates have been commonly used in advertising. For example, red is the color that carries the strongest reaction and attracts the most attention. It is commonly used in advertising to make a product or brand stand out, for example, Coke. Blue is most frequently cited as a favorite color of people and therefore the most commonly used color in corporate identity.

    It’s fascinating how something as small as the color can change an outcome or image. What have been your findings in terms of colors and marketing? Email us at


    Buying Print on the Internet

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    There is sometimes a big difference between the two. Beyond the list price, the internet based printing companies often charge additional fees for many of the services that we would provide at no additional charges. In addition, the internet based companies have some limitations that any buyer should be aware of. Some of these include:

    1) Payment Terms– For our corporate clients we offer payment terms, which is basically a loan as part of our service. Internet based printing companies often require payment in full prior to the job shipping.
    2) Delivery charges– For smaller jobs we provide local delivery at no charge, internet based companies charge this as an additional cost beyond the quoted amount. If the job is a rush and needs to ship by air the charges can easily add up.
    3) Rush Charges– The internet companies list prices with a standard turnaround fee. Rush charges can easily increase the job by an additional 50% of the quoted price.
    4) Changes– Many of the internet companies do not allow any changes. Once your job is submitted it is considered approved. The only way to change the job would be to reprint it.
    5) Additional subscriptions– One of the major internet based print companies makes a significant portion of their revenue by selling magazine subscriptions at the end of the checkout process. Many buyers are unaware of this until they see the charge on the credit card and have difficulty reversing the charges.
    6) Stock Limitations– In order to minimize their costs the internet companies typically offer a very limited choice of stocks. If the stock matches your needs great, if not, you are out of luck.
    7) Color proofs– For those who have color critical jobs and require a hard proof, most internet companies offer only an electronic proof. For those that do offer hard proofs, the costs can be substantial.

    While some of the internet companies do have some built in pricing advantages because they offer a limited scope of products, buyers should look at the context of the entire job to make sure that there will be no surprises after it has been delivered.