Here’s the scenario – a customer or designer sends a file, usually an ad book or something with sponsors and the logos used are pixilated and fuzzy. Often the person who created the piece grabbed a gif or a jpeg from the sponsor or advertiser’s website. In almost every case – these images are low-res and I am asked the question “Can you do something to make it look better?” The answer is usually yes, but it may take some time.
Here is where I look when I am asked to find a good logo:
1. The first thing I do is look in a folder we keep on our server where we store commonly used logos.
2. If it’s not there, the next place I look is in our dvd archives. If we have printed something with that logo before, it should show up on a search – providing that the image file was given a name that I can easily find, not something ambiguous like logo.tif.
3.If I have no luck with the first two options, then I go online. There are a couple very good sites that offer high quality vector logos for free.
4. The fourth place I look, and this one is my personal favorite, is on the advertiser’s website. I don’t go after the low-res jpegs and gifs, but I search newsletters, catalogs or press releases. In many cases companies post PDFs of printed pieces online, which have high-quality logos on them. If I can find a good logo (preferably vector art) I extract it with either Illustrator or Pitstop.
5. As a last resort, we can recreate a logo from scratch in Illustrator. This is the most time consuming and therefore most costly alternative.
So, don’t settle for poor quality logos for your printed project, there is almost always a way to make a low-quality piece look sharper and more professional.
Have you ever received a pdf proof from your printer (say that 5 times fast) that doesn’t look quite right? Maybe the color is so far off that you couldn’t believe that they used the right file. It might not be wrong at all, it could be that you need to change a setting in Acrobat.
Sometimes, your printer will use a technique when preparing your file that may make your proof appear incorrect if a setting called Overprint Preview in Acrobat is turned off. And, of course, off is the default setting for many of the older versions of Acrobat Reader. The technique I’m referring to employs the use of remapping one or more process colors to Pantone colors in a pdf editing program such as Pitstop or Neo. Or, in other words, telling one color to be something completely different. Through this process either Cyan, Magenta, Yellow or Black is assigned to print as a Pantone color. This can also be used for grayscale images.
Below is a screen capture from a pdf that has a grayscale image of a truck remapped to Pantone 370 C in Pitstop. Both sides are the same pdf but the image on the left is what the pdf looks like with Overprint Preview turned off, the one on the right is when it is turned on.
In your Acrobat preferences you can specify whether Overprint Preview mode is on only for PDF/X files, never on, always on, or set automatically. I recommend having it set to always on. Hopefully this tip will help eliminate a headache or two.
It doesn’t matter what the question is I will always say yes when a member of our sales team asks me if my graphics department can do something. If we don’t currently offer a service, that doesn’t mean we will never offer that service – it just means, no one has asked us yet. The only way to grow and expand, especially during difficult recessionary times, is to think bigger.
We have branched out into quite a few areas, all because someone asked us if we could – and we weren’t afraid to try. We offer flip books now, because someone asked. We have mastered cds with html launch pages that link to word and pdfs on the same disk. Event signage is a big one – we regularly print dozens of posters for events and then mount on foam core – sometimes with directional arrows that Velcro on. We have created artwork for every type of promotional product under the sun – from pens, to hats, to mugs, to hand-held fans, to stress balls and more.
So, the next time you’re looking for something a little bit unusual – give us a call. We’ll probably say “Yes, we can do that.”
In the old days, graphics people all worked on Apple Macintosh computers. When I worked in the newspaper industry, I had 24 operators on 24 macs and no pcs. My first prepress department had macs on every desk and one pc tucked away in the corner. Fast forward a couple decades – every prepress tech in my department has both a mac and a pc. It’s a necessity now. Especially given the increase in digital over the years and many companies opting to save a little money by not hiring designers, but rather keeping projects like catalogs and brochures in-house with software that came bundled with their computers.
Prepress techs used to cringe when they picked up a Publisher job. It often meant having to work on the dreaded PC in the corner of the room. Times have changed. I have seen some surprisingly high-end pieces come out of Publisher. It picked up support for spot colors several years ago, so that is no longer an issue. Bleeds – no problem. It’s not the Cadillac that Adobe Creative Suite is, but it’s no longer the Yugo it once was. And given the fact that it is often installed free on many computers – it’s really not that bad at all.
Powerpoint is the same. We regularly receive jobs submitted that were initially part of someone’s slide-show presentation and now they want it turned into an accompanying binder as a handout for a seminar. No problem.
And what computer do we use to work on these jobs? A pc. Good ol’ Windows. As the years have gone on – the large graphics companies have migrated all of their applications to Windows, so there is very little difference between the two platforms anymore.
So, the next time you hear a printer complain about any of the three Ps – it’s time to find someone who has changed with the times. Give us a call, we’ll print your job.
What table are we talking about? The marketing table. Many printers no longer just print. Many, like us, are well versed in marketing strategy and can bring valuable expertise to the table during the conception and design stage. Utilize their expertise, pick their brains and bounce ideas off of them. We’ve seen thousands of marketing pieces and know the ins and out. We can provide valuable input and offer suggestions that can result in better responses and more return for your marketing dollars. We know the mail standards, the best practices to get your piece noticed and of course know the pitfalls of a well intentioned but poorly designed piece that adds expense to your production costs. Our investment in integrated cross-media technology can enhance your marketing campaigns and provide increased marketing ROI. That’s what our partnership is all about–bringing success to YOU our clients.
This morning, like most I got up early to get a little workout in. Same routine as usual for me, but what I noticed when I got to the gym was shocking. All the treadmills were filled, the elipticals full and there was a buzz going on like never before. I call this the, “uh-oh phenomenon” and after a year of bad habits everyone is going to change those habits overnight by joining the gym. I know a month from now everything will calm back down and that statistically over 90% of all New Year’s resolutions fail, but we should focus on the 10% success rate. If you received a 10% response on your last marketing campaign you would jump for joy, not be disappointed that 90% of your recipients did not respond. With direct mail response rates often lucky to reach 1%, and many companies abandoning direct mail now is the time to jump on the opportunity. New cross-media campaigns are achieving staggering results and our latest marketing campaign generated a 9% response rate. Our initial mailing generated a very respectable 2.5% response, but layer in the multi-touch campaign and our results skyrocketed.
Posted in Cross-Media Marketing, e-Solutions, Fulfillment and Distribution, Personalized Printing, Printing Tips
Tagged campains, cross media, cross media campaign, digital print; personalized print; variable data print; one-to-one marketing, direct mail campaign, email marketing, tony johnston, velocity print, velocity print solutions
The answer is….sometimes. This is a common problem and when designers go to choose colors for a job a swatch book not only gives a pantone color, but also the correct blend of cyan, yellow, magenta and black to “build” that color. The problem is that rarely is this an exact match to the actual print ink. When we print a PMS color offset we order a premixed ink in the exact PMS color specified and it is always spot on and that ink is loaded directly in the press and an accurate color output is achieved. In 4-color process, the match is a blend of colors that will produce the closest possible output, but it rarely is an exact match to the PMS colors. Even with today’s high end digital devices achieving an exact PMS match is virtually impossible. Typically 4-color process builds tend to mute the color or flatten them out and the reality is that the recipe of these builds are not the exact match to the actual PMS recipe. The results of a 4-color build are often ok if you are not trying for an exact PMS color match and often there is a cost savings in not using PMS inks. There is a PMS “Color Bridge” book that will show the spot color and the 4-color build of that PMS side-by-side. This can be very handy in trying to determine which 4-color builds are acceptable and when it is necessary to print using a PMS color.
Want to get someone talking about your company? The answer is actually pretty easy, give them an unpleasant experience. Studies show that a customer that has a bad experience will share that with up to 20 other people…..unfortunately if they have a good experience they are only likely to share it with 2-3 people. Did you ever wonder how a thriving business can go downhill so quickly, but building a successful operation takes so long. Word of mouth travels and obviously goes in different speeds. Mess-up and it spreads quickly, keep your clients happy and the word spreads at a much slower rate. After 25 years of success we continue to work hard and bring value to our clients’ everyday. If you are not focused on understanding your clients needs and adding value to their business then someone else will.
It’s Wednesday and I’m looking for an inspiration for today’s post and voila…I stumble upon our Company video. I click the take a tour and up it pops, with no sound since I have my speakers off. Did you ever notice how different something can be interpreted when you don’t listen? I see my boss’s lips moving and smile because it reminds me of previous meetings I have had. The lips are moving, my mind is wandering so I don’t absorb a word. This is all part of the clutter that makes up our daily lives and the challenge of making a memorable impression. According to a recent study we encounter over 2904 media messages a day and we only remember 4 of those messages. Sure makes you want to run out and advertise when you hear such great statistics. The answer is you have to be one of those 4 messages and to be memorable you have to be relevant. This challenge is not so daunting when you break it down to 3 simple steps…the design, the database and the offer. If you create a functional design that effectively communicates your message, send the message to the right people, and have a dynamite offer you can achieve staggering results.
To start today’s post, I have to admit that I am a bit of a procrastinator. There is a non-profit organization for which I regularly donate and attend fundraising events. This non-profit, like many others send regular mailings looking for donations. Well, I received a request from them in the mail a few weeks back and I must first give some details. The letter was very well written and tugged at my heart as it described the tragic story of one of their members. I read the story and thought, there has to be an answer. At the bottom of the letter, was a message looking for donations followed by a form to be filled out. All in-all this ended up as one 8.5” x 14” sheet of paper that included a tear-off on the bottom for the donation. I set the piece aside and 2-weeks later it continues to sit in my to-do pile. Why did I not act on something that I feel strong about? Well, to pass the blame a little, they did not make it easiest enough for me. First, the donation form was not perfed on the page so I would have to track down some scissors to cut the donor portion off. Second, and most important, the donor part was completely blank. I need to enter my name, address and information requested. As a past donor, I think the form should already be populated and I just need to include a check. Third, there was no return envelope. I wouldn’t expect the postage to be paid, but at least stick an envelope in so I don’t have to write the address on it. If the organization would have went the extra mile and merged my information on the sheet it would have made it much easier for a potential donor to make an impulse decision.
This is another way to use variable data printing. Make the transaction as simple as possible and the results will improve. A great cause can suffer from lackluster results if they do not execute their campaigns efficiently. Variable data campaigns are very simple to execute and the more personal the campain the better the results.