Helpful Hints and Ideas About Your Next Project.

What is Your Business Card Saying About You?

What is Your Business Card Saying About You?

There’s a whole study of psychology around the value and importance of making a good first impression.  These impressions cannot be more important than in our professional lives.  How we present ourselves to people influences how they perceive our abilities to effectively do our work and the quality of services that we offer to them.  On a daily basis, most people make sure that their hair is perfect, brush their teeth, get manicures, put on makeup, and clothing all on point but do not think about the piece of them that is taken away from that first impression, the business card. The business card is the piece of the interaction that leaves your control and is given to the prospective client; it needs to be just as polished and put together as you were in that initial meeting.

  • What does your business card say about you?
  • Does your card stand out from the many that are handed out?   
  • Is it the best that it could be or are you just ok with it? 

With digital being so noisy these days, you need to stand out from the boring days of the standard business card.   In today’s standards there are many different sizes, textures, paper stocks, styles that can be used to make you stand out to simply hand someone your business card shows a lack of creativity and purpose in the cards. While there are many online companies out there that will print cards for discounted prices it is always good to go with a printer that you have developed a relationship with.  This person is the best person to help you make the concept of your marketing materials a reality and is able to produce the kind of cards that they think will represent your company style through their expertise that will make you stand out from the crowd.

In my business, I am going to make sure that I take the time to look the part and polished when I meet with potential and existing clients.   Why would I leave anything to chance?  My business card is my literal calling card; it needs to represent what I do just as much as I do.  My advice is to reach out to your printer that knows your style.  Talk with them; tell them what you are looking to do and the image that you want presented for you and your company.  They will be able to guide you through the new world of business cards and at the budget you have to spend.  Square, rectangle, plastic, transparent, weight of paper, painted edges, etc.; they will work together with you to help present the best image you can.

On a side note, not every printer can do every style, so ask them, they can always point you in the right direction as we all work together.

Autor: brian Posted: 27th June 2018 RSS: RSS 2.0

Tips to Know About Large Format Printing

Tips to Know About Large Format Printing

Large Format Printing is a process that is used for a wide variety of projects such as:  indoor/outdoor banners, posters, presentation boards (foamcore/gator board) trade show/exhibit displays, vehicle wraps or wall graphics.  The process is digital printing which utilizes toner based technology  which allows for use for many substrates medium.  The printers use the CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key Color Black) process and use UV-curable ink (dry when cured with UV light). The resulting prints are waterproof, embossed & vibrant. Any media material can be used in this technology, the ink is fade resistant and can withstand inclement weather which make it ideal to use for outdoor projects.

Here are some tips I suggest to get your print right the first time, every time;

Always Get Your Settings Right

If you are planning on taking a photograph and making a large format poster or board, make sure you change your camera settings to the largest image size with the highest resolution before shooting your image.  Most cameras will have a RAW format instead of JPG, I suggest you use that.

Set-up Your Files Properly

You should always know when it comes to printing, no matter how good a print looks on your screen it is impossible to predict how the image will translate to print just by looking at it.  You must calculate the maximum print size of the image, so in pixels divide the width and the height dimensions by 300.  For instance 7200 x 10800 pixels will result in a 24 x 36 inch print.  How we get 300 is it’s the minimum numbers of dots per inch (dpi) required for high resolution printing.

Don’t Resize or Scale-up Images

Never rely on PhotoShop or any photo editing app to resize your images.  When you do so, you will just make the image larger and the end result will lead to heavy pixelation and you will not be happy with your end product.  In addition the file will be too large to send or sometimes even upload.

Use the Correct File Type

When you are doing a large-scale project, it is important to use the right file for the image that you are printing.  For the best quality you should always send either a vector file created in Illustraor or export a print ready PDF File from the vector file.  Vector graphics are made up of “paths” instead of pixels that PNG and JPG, JPEG images are.  When blowing up these types of files, they lead to blurred, pixelated prints.  Also vector files can be easily scaled to extremely large or small sizes without losing the image quality.

If you follow these tips the first time, I am sure your end product will be exactly like you wanted to be.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions no matter how silly you think it is from your printer before sending off a file.  Printers prefer the questions then the phone call afterwards that the end result isn’t what you were expecting.

Autor: brian Posted: 27th June 2018 RSS: RSS 2.0

What To Do with Old Film, Video & Photos

What To Do with Old Film, Video & Photos

I hear it all the time that an older family member had passed away and people inherit old film, photos and/or videos.  They have all this media and do not know what to do with it all.  Or there was a storm their basement flooded and all their precious memories are gone for good.

Most people don’t realize that over time, film and analog tape (both video/audio) degrade as does the quality of what is recorded on them. If one can remember a cassette tape and when they played it over and over the sound quality started to get muffled, that also happens when it sits in a musky basement or hot attic.  I suggest that when you have a lot of old media it should get digitized into a file and be kept on a disc or in the cloud.  As time goes on the players which once played these reels or tapes are getting obsolete and they don’t last forever to play them over again.

By transferring your analog to high-quality, long-lasting digital disc, you can relive your special memories for a lifetime. If properly cared for, it is predicted that a disc will last more than a 100 years. Since your tape is transferred onto a disc as digital information, your precious memories will NEVER wear out. No matter how many times you play the disc, you will never experience one bit of picture or audio quality loss.  Some folks say that the disc players may not last as some laptops don’t have disc drives anymore.  I would have the files transferred onto a thumb or external hard drive.  From there, you can copy the files into your cloud and share the memories with other loved ones.

Photographs and slides are memories that have a rich and personal meaning and are very unique. If they are lost or damaged, the information they provide can never be replaced. Why not have them scanned and archived onto a disc or hard drive?  You can create a nice “slide show” and play them over and over and they will never lose their quality as well.  Again, once you have a photo digitized you can then share it on your social media or with friends and family.

Memories are priceless and it is very important to try and save them for you to see them over and over again reliving the experiences.  It’s nice to see your great great grandparent and see if you have resemblance.

Autor: brian Posted: 27th June 2018 RSS: RSS 2.0

Things to Consider Before You Print

Things to Consider Before You Print

So, you want to have t-shirts, business cards, CDs, posters, or banners made for your company, show or event.  You have the image or logo ready and you send if off to the printing company and that is it.  You are good to go, right?  WRONG!!!  What looks good on a computer screen does not always translate on print as well.  Understand that a monitor is a light behind some colors and print is ink on particular media.  Having a relationship with your printer is key as they “should” walk you through the process every step of the way otherwise you might not always get what you want.

Here are some helpful hints for you to know before you send off your project;

Resolution of your pictures and/or logo files:  Image resolution is the most important part of your print project.  The higher the resolution the clearer the image will print.  When sending images to print NEVER send a .jpg or a .png file (or anything from your social media pages) because they can only be used on the web and are generally not a high resolution enough as they are set up to make web pages load faster.  You will want an image that is at least 300dpi (dots per inch) on all files, if you send your logo, be sure to send a vector file.  That way it can be as big as it needs to be.

Size of your file:  The size of the product you want, the file should be designed/laid out to the specifications of what you want to print on.  Before randomly designing something, you should inquire about a template or specifications you need to set up the final file.  You should submit a PDF file for any print you need when it comes to full color.  When printing 1, 2 or 3 spot colors, most printers need a vector or a PDF file created in Illustrator or InDesign to separate the colors.

Using proper fonts; There are millions of thousands fonts everywhere and not all computers have the same ones.  Always remember when you output your file to a PDF file that you outline or rasterize your fonts so that they become an image.  Otherwise if you don’t and after you output a file to a printer and if they don’t have that particular font you chose the font will change to that person’s default font which could be Times Roman or Helvetica. So always remember to do that prior to output. 

Your files must have bleeds:  What are bleeds?  It is when the color extends past the edge of the trim. If you don’t have bleeds added, your files maybe cut in the wrong place and you will lose some of your image.  Another scenario would be that you will end up have a white box/trim around your printed file that you didn’t want. In general, depending on what you are printing, all bleeds should be 1/8th of an inch (.25″) past the edge of the trim.  Also keep in mind that you should NOT have text or image at the very end of the trim or it will get cut off.  Always give yourself at least .25” from the edge to where it gets cut. When cutting, the media may shift or slide a little so you want to make sure nothing gets cut off.

Crop Marks:  Most printers do not need crop marks added so do not add any crop marks to PDF files submitted for print it can incur editing fees for your project.   

Single page PDF vs. spreads:  When you layout your catalog or program, lay it out in single pages only and not in a spreadsheet.  Even though layout programs will give the option of spreadsheets and Facing Pages, ONLY USE SINGLE PAGE LAYOUTS.  Most printers will layout out your files in printer’s spread on their own to insure there is no issues. 

One PDF or Several Single Page PDF’s?  When you finally have your design done, make sure that it is sent as a PDF to the printer.  If the document is 2 pages or less send it as one document.  If over 2 pages send the document a page at a time in PDF format.

If you follow these steps, you should be good at printing whatever it is you want to print.  Always keep mind that  images from web are in RGB colors, print is printed in CMYK colors so there is slight differences in colors between viewing on a monitor and the final printed image.   Also please do yourselves a favor, either hire a professional graphic (not web) designer to help you with your project or at least use the proper design programs; InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop or Quark Express.  Never lay any graphic in Microsoft programs like; Word, Publisher or even Pages.  They are not programs designed for graphic and you will get a different outcome than what you want or think you will get.

Autor: brian Posted: 4th May 2018 RSS: RSS 2.0

What Guerrilla Marketing is and How to Design an Effective Campaign

What Guerrilla Marketing is and How to Design an Effective  Campaign

Guerrilla Marketing stands out because it offers experiences that are so different, out of the ordinary and memorable that prospective buyers are left in awe of the campaign and willing to make purchases.  The major keys of effective Guerrilla marketing campaigns are the use of imagination, innovation, and not just money.  The goals of such campaigns are

  • Developing or increasing brand recall
  • Developing new selling positioning
  • Increasing company profits

Guerrilla marketing is highly effective because they do not stick to the confines of typical marketing.  The only purpose of Guerrilla marketing is to surprise and intrigue the buyers. It focuses on eliciting emotions from the targeted audiences.  It nets you direct offline exposure via foot traffic that can be targeted as the location you choose, the more people the campaign reaches the more it will generate responses and encourage word of mouth publicity from those who have seen the campaigns. With Guerrilla marketing is not just about shock value it is also must be consistent. The difference between Guerrilla marketing and traditional marketing is the way that the messages are developed and how audiences perceive the campaign.  It can be a series of campaigns that all combine into one and build on each other.

If you are a start up company  do not be afraid of Guerrilla marketing.  The one positive of being a start up is that you are not as well known in your field as the key players and if the campaign is not that successful a lot of people will not know but if it is done and successful it has the potential to launch the company into the national spotlight. The same goes for musicians, the internet and social media is overwhelmed with ads that it is refreshing to be handed something, makes it more personal.  One of the best-known Guerrilla marketing campaigns was Cartoon Network’s 2007 Threat Level Aqua campaign.  This campaign not only brought high profile attention to the network’s new season of “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” but also got the attention of the National Security Offices. 

While going to this extent is something that few do this is the perfect example to show that with a little creativity anything is possible with a Guerrilla marketing campaign for your product or service.  When developing the campaign have a clear idea of your goal, location is always key so consider a heavy foot traffic area,  don’t annoy people or break the law, remember that consistency is key, identify ROI (remember Return on Investment), be sure to use it to compliment your online marketing and vice versa.

Some key guerrilla marketing items are as follows;

Door Hangers

Postcards

Stickers

Buttons

download cards

Autor: brian Posted: 19th April 2018 RSS: RSS 2.0

Making A Great First Impression With A “Leave Behind”

Making A Great First Impression With A “Leave Behind”

Making a great first impression on a potential customer is key to creating a fruitful relationship. You want to quickly show business value and help them understand and remember what you do best. That way, when they need the products or services you provide, they know exactly who to call. Arming your sales team with creative leave behinds is a great way to do this. It will get customers familiar with your business and help them remember who to call.

What are Leave Behinds?
Leave behind marketing materials are print or promotional products that you hand out or leave with a prospective buyer. These materials are great for sales call, trade shows, conferences, and meetings.  Anything you feel a buyer would want to know about your services and/or products you have.

Top 5 Leave Behinds
Business Cards
Business cards are effective and simple. They’re great for passing along your contact information to other people and one of the most common leave behinds. When developing business cards make sure your’s stand out from the other’s or otherwise they will get mixed with others.  It is great to be creative by choosing different paper options or a unique size, be sure  they include your sales team contact information  and your logo.

Brochures
Brochures are popular low-cost ways to inform customers of your products and services.  An eye catching design can contain all the information in a small format. They are extremely versatile and popular formats. You can always get funky and again choose different folding options along with a various types of paper.

Calendars
Everyone has at least two calendars. One on our electronic devices and one hanging in our office. Each year we replace the old with the new in an office tradition which makes printed calendars very popular and are a great option to produce as leave behind.  Month after month your brand will be featured in front of them on a daily basis. There are endless options for themes and images to be contained in calendars.  Many customers may even come to look forward to your calendar every year!

Notepads and Sticky Notes
They should include your company logo and contact information. With so many people using paper for notes, these are very effective as leave behinds. They’re often given to clients who are then reminded of you every time they make a written note.  A thick enough notepad ensures your name stays in front of your prospects throughout the year.

Letterhead
Another common and time-tested option for leave behinds is company letterhead. Make sure that you have stationary with your letterhead on it. Printing personalized letters are great way to send custom messages and make personal connections with current and potential customers.

I hope this helps you on your journey to making a great first impression with your potential customer.

Autor: brian Posted: 12th April 2018 RSS: RSS 2.0

What Type of Promotional Materials Should I Order?

What Type of Promotional Materials Should I Order?

You have decided that you want to give out some promotional materials.  You pick some cool items that you like and put your logo on it. That is all, you’re done, Right?   Well, you want to make sure that the materials that you are going to be giving away are useful to your customers or potential customers.  You want to receive a ROI (return on investment). The best way to facilitate your ROI is to have a clear idea of the people you will be giving your promotional materials to:  What do they do?    Will they be looking for your services?    Are they decision makers when it comes to purchasing your product or services?   Knowing these answers will help you effectively identify what types of promotional materials you will be using.

There is no doubt that promotional items can be key in driving repeat and new business to your company.  The true skill is the ability to effectively identify what items are the right items for your needs. With everything that is out there how do you decide on what you want?  A great way is to have an Idea Library. This is a folder where you keep pictures of items that you have seen other businesses use. Focus also on the potential customer.  What we might think is cool might not be something that your potential customers want or will use. Also, when developing promotional materials remember that the longer an item can be used by the potential customer the better. You want to keep your name in front of your potential customers as much as possible.

Here is a list of some DO’s for developing your promotional materials:

DO look at trends with among other businesses or acts similar to yours.

DO keep an idea library as an easy reference when brainstorming new promotional materials.

DO pay for quality promotional materials.  There are a lot of promotional companies out there.  Make sure that you use a company uses quality materials that are budget friendly. Someone you can have a relationship with is key as they won’t sell you just anything to make a buck.

DO know who you are marketing to…ex. Doctor’s, students, fans, athletes, etc.

DO develop a strategy for how and where you are going to be handing out these materials.

Trade Shows

Fundraisers

Customer Appreciation

Concert promotional events

Following these guidelines will enable you to have fun while developing the promotional materials that will set you apart from your competition.

Autor: brian Posted: 5th April 2018 RSS: RSS 2.0

Designing AMAZING Promotional Materials

Designing AMAZING Promotional Materials

In creating promotional materials, it is critical to know who your audience is and who you are targeting with the materials. Knowing your audience is important because it will determine how much time they are likely to look at your promotional material. This information will also help you when developing your design and text because throughout the process you can ask: does the text and design make sense to my targeted audience?

When designing your layout, you must decide what information you want your audience to see and in what order you want them to see the information.  No matter what, the first thing that your reader should see is the piece of information that is the most important piece of information of your promotional material.

•What

•When

•Where

•How Much

•Any additional information that your audience might need

When designing your materials, you need to keep the 3 second, 30 second, and 3-minute Rule in mind.  That is the time that you have to grab your audience’s attention. Let me break it down for you.

3 Seconds – Is the time you have to grab your audience’s attention. The title, which defines what the topic is, must be the most prominent. The title must clearly inform the audience what the topic is. Once you get the reader’s attention, they are more likely to review your information for the next 30 seconds.

30 Seconds – The time that the audience will review the when, where and how much information or your promotional material. During this time, you really want to grab your audience’s attention because then they may give you up to 3 more minutes of attention.

3 Minutes – During this time the audience will take the time to become more informed about your topic or product. This is also the time where they are more likely to want to learn more about your information and will go online or contact you for more information. The time in which you MUST grab your audience’s attention is a few short, precious seconds.   You only have a few precious seconds to grab the reader’s attention. Using the 3 seconds, 30 seconds, 3 minutes rule is vital in designing your design, text, and order of information.

Another important component to designing promotional materials is that More is Not Always Better!  Having white space is critical, I always live by the motto; Less is More.

What is White Space?  It is an area that does not have images, text or design elements. Many times people think white space is wasted space. White Space is very valuable to promotional materials because;

Allows the reader to focus on the important information of the materials

Balances the design of the material

Highlights your content

Allows the reader’s eyes to rest

Designs that do not have white space appear cluttered and are difficult to read. Studies show that when a reader is overwhelmed this way they bypass the information and focus on the clutter. Another way to avoid clutter in the design is to not use more than two fonts in your design. While they may be pretty, multiple fonts will not add dimension to your materials it will only confuse the reader and detract from the message you are trying to convey.

Once you identify the order of your information, follow the 3 second, 30 second, 3-minute rule, develop your design and allowing for white space your audience will look forward to receiving information from you.  Below is an example of an order of information to use as an easy guide to jump-start your process.  HAVE FUN!

____________________________________________

Event name

Date of event

Time

Location (Making sure to include street address, city, state, and zip)

Ticket price and where to purchase tickets, if applicable

A brief description of what the event is and what it includes (e.g. entertainment, fundraiser, and/or dinner).

Contact number and/or website URL to get more information

Autor: Promtional Blogger Posted: 29th March 2018 RSS: RSS 2.0