Experience Piles on at Universal Printing

Posted by Fred Midgett on Mon, Sep 30, 2013 @ 04:11 PM

Bob and Sandi MouraUniversal Printing is Durham's most respected and reliable resource for graphic products like banners, printing and mailing. Over the past 33 years Bob and Sandi Moura have recruited a versatile team of graphic professionals who provide fast, reliable results from the heart of RTP. So it's no surprise to learn that even more experience has recently joined the Universal team.

Fred Midgett Fred Midgett recently came aboard with the title of Project Manager. Fred has life-long roots in the community and a long history of printing excellence. Born in Durham NC, Fred is a graduate of Chowan University in Murfreesboro NC. With over 37 years of industry experience, Fred brings a wealth of expertise in a variety of areas. From prep to presses, marketing to mailing, he has a knack of helping clients find successful ways to communicate their message. We aren't sure if the the title adequately fits all that Fred brings, but we are sure Fred is a great addition to Universal Printing.

Reagan Register Reagan Register joined our roster this summer as as Account Manager. Like Fred he has a heaping helping of experience in the print industry and all of it right here in the triangle. Reagan is a graduate of Wake Tech, and spent a few years in mechanical drafting before that spun off into a printing career - now 24 years and counting. If you haven't met Reagan yet be prepared for some knowledgable and courteous service... with a big smile.  If you're lucky, you've already had the pleasure of working with Reagan. One thing's for sure, we're mighty lucky to have him on our team.

Fred and Reagan were both mentioned in the people section of the Triangle Business Journal. They're just the two most recent additions to the deep well of experience and know-how that is Universal Printing. Next time you need printing, banners, posters, envelopes, mailing or just about anything ink-on-paper, contact us or give us a call. We're right around the corner.

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Tags: commercial printing, Universal Printing, digital printing, offset printing, blog, cross-media marketing

Graphic Design Tips: Copyrighted Images vs. Royalty Free Images

Posted by Universal Printing on Thu, Aug 23, 2012 @ 09:57 AM

We’ve said it before, and will probably say it again:  Technology changes EVERTHING! This is especially true in the field of Graphic Design.  The growth of personal computers and desktop publishing software made EVERYONE an amateur graphic designer. Now, the internet has become a wealth of knowledge and resources; especially for people looking for photos. This brings us to a VERY important topic: Image Use and Copyright Law.

While most professional graphic designers already know all about this, the constant influx amateur freelance designers are often completely unaware.  Here are a few VERY important things to know.

  1. UP copyright blogGoogle is NOT “Public Access to Free Pictures!”
    Google, and other search engines, are exactly what they claim to be:  Search Engines.

    If something exists on the internet, Google WILL find it.  Unless you’re savvy enough to clearly keep your photos offline, or only available to restricted groups of people, Google will catalog and reference every image it finds.

  2. ALL photographs are owned by SOMEONE.
    ALL images are initially owned by their creator, whether it’s a photograph or digital art. The creator is the person who must give permission to use the image.  There are exceptions, of course, like those cases where a company or organization has hired an artist or photographer. These images then become the property of those who bought the rights.

    Sometimes a photographer will sell the rights with a company that deals with “Stock Photography,” which means they make these images available for public use. Sometimes these images are available for free, but more often they will charge per use or require a subscription to their service.  Either way, this becomes a reasonably affordable AND very legal way to have access many images.

  3. “I didn’t know” and “I’ve done this before” are not valid excuses.
    Laws regarding Copyright and Image Usage Rights are just like every other law; not knowing you’re doing something wrong doesn’t make it legal.  You certainly don’t want you OR the client who paid you to create something, to suffer the consequences if your choices.

Help is on the way!

As we mentioned, there are a bunch of Stock Photography options available online. Below are just a few that we’ve used for some of our projects:

bigstockphoto.com        

photospin.com

istockphoto.com

freedigitalphotos.net

BUT… if you REALLY think Google is the best option, there’s a way to help find those images which are available to use commercially.

Step 1. Go to Google and search for what you’re looking for (for example “Cool Cars”)

Step 2. Select “Images” (just like you normally would) but this time click that little gear icon on the right, and select Advanced Searches.

Step 3. Under the Advanced Search options, find the “Usage Rights” dropdown, and select the appropriate “free to use” option.  If you need images for commercial use, like advertising or marketing, make sure you chose one of the “even commercially” choices.

Step 4. Click the Advanced Search button and you’ll still see several images, but this time they are all images that can be used with permission of their owners.  NOTE:  You may still need to credit the owner, which will be noted with you click the images you chose.

For more information about Copyright Law, Fair Use, and general Graphic Design ethics, check out this site:  ethicsingraphicdesign.org   They have a ton of resources and information to help you AND your employer or client.

 

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

Tags: graphic design, tips and tricks, commercial printing, business solutions, Graphic Design Durham, Photos

Learn How Small Businesses Can Vastly Improve Their Sales and Marketing Response Rates By Completing the Simple Exercise Below.

Posted by Robert Moura on Fri, Jul 06, 2012 @ 01:30 PM

Are you clear about what value you bring to your clients?

Do you speak your customers language?

Most of us speak in our marketing and presentations about what “we” do and the great tools “we” have to do “it” with.

Consider what drives you to buy from Vendor A over Vendor B.

Universal Printing Understanding Client NeedsIs it about them and their tools, or is it about you and how their tools solve your problems?

Consider the following when preparing your sales and marketing campaigns:

Speak in Your Clients Language

  • Understand their needs
  • Use their language and terms
  • Tailor the pitch to their business
  • Propose a solutions that solves their problems and needs, not yours

Here's the Simple Exercise:

Can you fill in the information (in parenthesis) below regarding your company?

How (who you sell to) can (insert verb) (insert problem) through (insert solution).

Universal Printing example for pharmaceutical marketing:

How (leading Pharmaceutical companies) can (improve their patient recruitment results and lower cost) thorough (leveraging the benefits of QR codes, mobile optimized web sites and social media).

Now do this exercise for your company and your customers and watch your results soar.

PS: Did you notice that the title of this article conforms to the exercise? Got your attention, didn't it?

Keeping it Simple and Clear -

Happy Sales!

Bob Moura

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: tips and tricks, business solutions, Tips for improving direct mail and email marketing, emarketing

Commercial Printing Tips: Understanding Ink Coverage

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Apr 20, 2012 @ 03:00 PM

Here at Universal Printing, we love "Good Design."  Thank You Mr. Puppy, for helping us underand Total Ink CoverageNot only do we have our own talented Design professionals in-house, but we've been fortunate to work with a number of amazing Ad Agencies and Independent Designers from around the country. Everyone has their own style and work habits, but almost all of them have one thing in common: They always want tips, suggestions, and feedback from their Printing Partner. 

One of the easiest and most helpful ways to improve the design, runability, and final impact of a piece, is to avoid unnecessary ink saturation.  Too much ink an any one spot can lead to printing and drying issues, which in turn effect everything from how quickly your project can be printed, to possible issues in the cutting and finishing of your project. Too much ink layered on top of each other can lead to other prblems like "plugging" or "muddying" your photos.  But don't fret — we're here to help!  Let's start with this adorable puppy in a tiny rocking chair in the above image. He looks like he could sell something, or at least make sure your target audient give him a second look!  Time to figure out how to maximize his impact, and keep is adorable little puppy face neat and clean! 

What is Total Area Coverage? 

Ink Coverage Puppy AnimationFor Black & White, or Monochrome images, this is easy to understand.  Dark shadow areas might be in the 90% tint range, while Highlight areas may fall more into a 5%-15% tint.  With Full Color images, things get more intense! You now have 4 different ink colors, all piling on top of each other.  If you piled have 4 layers of ink, all at 50% screen, you'll get a total of 200% Total Area Coverage in that area.  If those layers are 80% each, you'll have a combined 320% Total Area Coverage.  As a general rule, 280% is about as high as you want to go, depending on paper type and finish. We usually flag anything above 260% total ink.

Fortunately, with the latest Adobe products, checking your Total Area Coverage has become a simple few clicks of the mouse.  Take Adobe Acrobat, for instance:  You simply open your image or PDF file, and then open the "Output Preview" window under the "Print Production" tools.  Under the window showing your Separations, you'll see a "Total Area Coverage" checkbox.  Click it, select your highlight color (green in our example below), and select 260% in the dropdown box.  You'll see that Mr. Fuzzy-Face has a TON of ink in the background, all over his chair, and most importantly his eyes and nose. Those eyes are where he makes his money, so next we'll see how to adjust for that!

Puppy Ink Coverage

Fixing the Issue in Photoshop

Generally speaking, there are several ways to adjust for the Total Ink Coverage in your images.  The fastest and easiest is in Photoshop, assuming your images are still RGB.  We’re going to rely on Adobe’s built-in GCR (Grey Component Replacement) process.  GCR is simply this: We want to take those super saturated built blacks, which are causing all of the excessive ink buildup, and transfer some of the built shadow to the Black channel.  In this case, Pup-Dizzle’s eyes and nose and chair, start at almost 300% (C=78% | M=70% | Y=63% | K=85%).   We want to lower the C, M, Y channels proportionately to not affect the hue, and enhance the black to enhance the darkness.  

Universal Printing GCR settings for Adobe Photoshop

Start by opening your RGB image in Photoshop, and select “Color Settings” from the Edit menu.  Next, choose “Custom CMYK…” under the CMYK dropdown in the Working Spaces section of the window.  Set the Separation Options to GCR, with Black Generation set to “Heavy” or “Maximum”, and put “260%” in the Total Ink Limit field.  

Name this setting and click OK to apply it and also save it for future use.  Feel free to toggle the Preview on and off before clicking OK again, and you should notice that in most images, there is very little visual change, but when you set your color mode from RGB to CMYK, most of the shadows are pushed to the Black separation where they belong, and the Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow are simply making the colors colorful.  Visually, the picture is almost identical to where it started, but now those shadow areas build differently (C=61% | M=50% | Y=48% | K=95%) with a more manageable 254% Total Area Coverage.

By controlling your Total Area Coverage, you can ensure the best possible results from your photos and graphics. You’ll also run into fewer color shifts, delays due to drying time, and possible quality issues during the finishing process.  For more information about how to prepare your files for print, feel free to browse our blog, or contact any member of our helpful staff.  Our Customer Service team is always available to point you in the right direction!

 

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: graphic design, setting up your files, commercial printing, offset printing, Gracol, G7, Adobe Photoshop, color correction

Printing Ink 101: Why Reflex Blue makes people CRAZY!

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Mar 02, 2012 @ 12:35 PM

Here’s a simple “fun” fact about printing: Printers CRINGE at projects with dark blue ink!

“Why?” you ask.  True simple words: REFLEX BLUE

Colbalt is one mineral that keeps Reflex Blue from drying.In a previous blog post, Spot Color vs Process Color, we talked about the 14 Pantone mixing inks that are used to build all other Pantone colors.  One of these colors is Reflex Blue, which is a color best described as a deep blue-violet hue.  It’s much richer than its closest mixing ink, Blue 072.  Reflex Blue gets its rich color from a family of pigments referred to as Alkali Blue pigments, which includes the mineral cobalt.  These mineral are VERY strong in color, and give Reflex Blue it’s rich deep hue.  But like most of other alkaline minerals (like limestone and soapstone) they are very porous, even at the granular level. In short, the thing that makes Reflex Blue look like Reflex Blue, are minerals that act like lil mini sponges.

So… for those not familiar with printing, the process is best described as a balancing act!   All press operators are constantly juggling 4 parts:

Image (generally on a metal or polyester plate)

Ink (the liquid, oil-based color that’s being printed)

Water (pH specific water and other additives to aid with conductivity, release, and drying,
typically called “Fountain Solution”)

Paper (the text or cover stock you’re running, along with its thickness and finish.)

Once the ink is transferred onto the paper, it’s very wet and easily smudged or smeared. Before it can be handled, or even printed on the second site, the ink needs time to dry.  Certain colors dry faster. Generally lighter colors will dry very quickly, darker colors take a bit longer. And then there’s our good, old-faithful Reflex Blue:  Remember all those lil mini sponges that make it such a great color?  Yes… these also work VERY hard against the drying process, Depending on the surface of the stock, and the amount of coverage, there are some experts that will say Reflex Blue NEVER really fully dries.

Wait… there’s more!

We got the blues!For any of you that are lucky enough to have a Pantone book, you may notice that most of them have mixing formulas.  Let’s look at a very standard Royal Blue color: Pantone 286. The formula for mixing that is 25% Process Blue and 75% Reflex Blue. As a result, it’s going to take a while to dry. Compare that to Pantone 2747, which appears to be a darker, deeper navy blue. That formula is about 94% Blue 072 and 6% Black NO REFLEX! A slightly different set of minerals allow this color, which appears deeper, to actually dry faster.  Strange, indeed!

Why does this matter? 

It’s important to know at the design and project planning stage what inks you’re dealing with.  If you or your clients have their hearts set on an ink made with Reflex Blue, you may want to consider a coating or varnish option to help with handling the finished pieces.  You also may need to factor in additional production time into the printing of the piece.

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: printing, graphic design, commercial printing, offset printing, G7

Understanding Resolution – Digital Printing from Digital Photos

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Feb 10, 2012 @ 03:48 PM

In our previous blog post, we started our New Year’s Resolution of “Understanding Resolution” (if you missed it, just click the link to check it out.)  This time, we’re helping you put this information to good use by helping you get better images from the very beginning, starting with your Digital Camera.  Maybe you just got a new one over the Holiday Season, or perhaps you’ve had one for a while now.  It’s never too late to review your settings and make sure that your getting the best your camera can offer.

How MEGA are YOUR pixels?

Guess what?  Megapixels don’t matter!  That’s right… I said it, and I’ll stand behind it.  Of course, we need to really know what a “megapixel” is.  “Mega” stands for million, as in 1 million “bytes” is 1 “megabyte.”  So 1 million “pixels” is 1 “megapixel.”  The digital cameras of the late 80’s / early 90’s started out as 640 pixels X 480 pixels (i.e. 640 x 480 = 307,200 pixels). 

So now, let's consider your amazingly impressive HDTV.  Maybe you have a 38" screen or even a 50" screen.  The size of the screen doesn't matter, because it simply means larger pixels.  Even at the highest 1080p, you're looking at 1920 pixels wide, by 1080 pixels high. So you're amazing HDTV, which is sharp, clear, and crisp in your living room, is only supporting an image that's... wait for it... (1920 x 1080 = 2,073,600) 2 megapixels! 

Camera manufacturers know that any print larger than 12" x 18" is going to be viewed at some distance.  It's generally understood that anything over 3 megapixels is adequate at that size, so when we start talking about 5 megapixel, 6 megapixel, 8... and so on; it's more about the hype and sounding impressive.  At the end of the day, it's really all about the quality of the image.    I GREAT photo taken with a 3MP camera will always outshine a blurry, unbalanced, unfocused photo taken with a 12MP camera.  For another point of view on this check out this blog by David Poque of the NY Times.

Get the best resolution from your camera:

If you have not yet taken the digital image, adjust your camera to the highest quality setting.

Taking the photo on the highest setting will maximize both the quality of the image, as well as the range of sizes at which you will be able to use it in printing projects. If possible, save your image as a lossless TIF or EPS file before doing any editing to best preserve color and sharpness.

Determine the resolution and maximum usable dimensions for any images you want to use in your project. Images should have resolution of 300 dpi at their final size in the file; 400 dpi if the image includes text. Resolution and image size are inversely proportional to each other. In other words, enlarging an image will decrease the resolution and shrinking an image will increase the resolution.

2 x 2" image @ 300 dpi = GOOD

...enlarged to 4 x 4" = 150 dpi = BAD

17 x 13" image @ 72 dpi = BAD

...reduced to 4 x 3" = 300 dpi = GOOD

To determine resolution from pixel dimensions, divide pixel width and pixel height by 300. This will give you the maximum size that you will be able to use your image, while maintaining a quality resolution of 300 dpi. Divide by 400 for images that include text.

Example:

  • Start with 1200 pixels x 1600 pixels as the dimensions for an image with no text.
  • Divide your dimensions (1200 ÷ 300 = 4 and 1600 ÷ 300 = 5.33). If the image included text, then you would divide by 400 instead.
  • So, the maximum usable dimensions for the image are 4" x 5.33". It will print crisp & clear at this size or smaller.

Digital cameras primarily use the RGB color space. To print on a four-color printing press, all RGB images need to be converted to CMYK.  When we receive RGB images, we do a standard-value conversion to CMYK, which may not be perfectly to your liking. You're welcome to convert it yourself to control the color in ways that matter more to you.  For a better understanding of the differences between RGB and CMYK images, check out More About Color: RGB-vs-CMYK

 

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: graphic design, business solutions, digital printing, Graphic Design Durham, Digital camera, cross-media marketing, Photohop

Your Printing New Year’s Resolution... Is To Understand Resolution!

Posted by Universal Printing on Tue, Jan 03, 2012 @ 04:16 PM

DPI… PPI... dots per inch... points per inch... pixels per inch... No matter how you say it, it all comes down to one simple thing: RESOLUTION. In order to get the BEST print quality from your images, you need to know it, understand it, and never take it for granted.

First off, we need to know what resolution means. Resolution is how many dots/pixels fit into one inch. The term “dots per inch” (dpi) and “pixels per inch” (ppi) are often used interchangeably. The fewer dots or pixels per inch, the larger each one is, so low resolution images will look jaggy and chucky.  Images used for the web will be LOW RESOLUTION (referred to as “Low Res”) at about 72 – 95ppi. For digital or offset printing, we suggest that you use images between 300 – 400dpi. The higher the resolution, the sharper and crisper your printed image will be. Who wouldn't want that?

High Resolution vs Low Resolution

When dealing with images for print, here are a few simple rules to follow:

  1. Resolution and image size are directly related to each other. Enlarge an image, the resolution decreases; reduce an image, and the resolution increases. For example: a 2 x 2" image at 300 dpi (awesome) enlarged to 4 x 4" has a new resolution of 150 dpi (lame). To help you figure your enlargement/reduction resolution, check out our Resolution Calculator.
  2. Photos should be at least 300dpi at final production size in the layout.
  3. Graphics that include text should be at least 400dpi final output size (so the edges of the type remain clear.)
  4. You can always be taken away, but it can NEVER be added. True, you can shrink your image, but to get HIGH RESOLUTION images, the resolution needs to be set during the initial creation of that image. So if you’re scanning, shooting with a digital camera, or creating from scratch, what you start with is the most you’ll get.
  5. What you see is NOT what you’ll always get! Computer monitors generally have a display setting of 72 dpi. This is WAY lower than the 300-400 dpi we expect for print production. If we ever tell you that some of your images are low resolution, they may not look bad on your monitor but will likely print blurry or jagged.

Things to avoid:

Web images are predominately low resolution (72-96 dpi) GIF or JPEG files. This resolution is great for quick transmission over the internet, but not for printing. They will just look BAD, so don't do it.  Just don't!

“Upsampling” is when a low resolution image is saved to a higher resolution with no changes in dimensions. This simply adds more dots per inch (dpi), but creates blurry images, ugly blocks of color, and high contrast in images. The only way resolution can be improved is by decreasing the image size, or by recapturing the image at a higher quality setting. Again, don't do it.  It won't fool ANYONE!

Now you are starting to understand what "resolution" is, and you're eager to learn more!  Maybe you're curious on how to put this new found knowledge to use.  Maybe you got a really cool digital camera or snazzy smart phone for Christmas, and are ready to take amazing pictures and use them for your design projects.  Come back NEXT week to see how to set your devices to get the best resolution from your digital photos!

 

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: graphic design, setting up your files, Adobe Photoshop, Photos, Digital camera

Commercial Printing 101 – Yes… you have time to bleed!

Posted by Universal Printing on Thu, Dec 15, 2011 @ 03:35 PM

Say what you want about the movie Predator, it’s consistently rated on MANY lists as one of the best SciFi/Action/Adventure/Bang-Bang-Shoot-Em-Up movies of our time.   It also features on of the best movie quotes of all time (in my humble opinion.)

 

Blaine Cooper (played by Jesse Ventura) is told by his cohort Pancho, “You're bleeding, man. You're hit.”

Blaine’s reply: “I ain't got time to bleed.”

Of course in the wonderful world of printing and graphic design, BLEED takes on a completely different meaning.

So… what is BLEED?Universal Printing provides an example of page bleed

In printing, the term “bleed” is used to describe any time that the printing goes all the way to the edge.  This can be photos, background color, bars, shapes, borders, clipart; pretty much ANYTHING that runs off the edge.

In order to make this happen, printing companies will ALWAYS print the job on a press sheet larger than the final size of the piece.  When the files are created, they need to be presented to us oversized, with trim marks and bleed.  In the example to the right, you see that the crop marks show the cut lines inside of the total image area.   Rather than cutting your final piece SMALLER, it’s best if you provide the image LARGER, so that final sizes are accurate.

Why do printers need bleed?

Depending on the type of equipment any printing company is running, there is a possibility of some “bounce” or movement from sheet to sheet.  The sheets will always be the same size, but the position of the image can vary slightly.  Some digital equipment, for example, might have a tolerance of 1/32" of an inch in any direction.   Doesn’t sound like much, but if one sheet is 1/32" to the left, and another is 1/32" to the right, that’s a difference of 1/16" from one sheet to the next.  When these sheets get cut down, there could be white showing on 1 or more edges from sheet to sheet, as seen below.


This is what COULD happen without bleed!

How do I make sure bleed happens?

Depending on the program you’re using you, you’ll need to do TWO things to ensure that your files include bleed.

1.  Make sure your page size correctly.

If your program uses “Artboards” or “Pasteboards” (like Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, MS Publisher, Quark, etc.) then you’ll set your page size to the ACTUAL finish size.  Your program will allow you to set your bleed area later.  

If your program does NOT use art boards (like MS Word, MS PowerPoint, Photoshop, etc.) then you’ll need to set your page size LARGER (knowing what we’ll need to cut the edges off…. So if you want it to be 8 1/2" x 11 inches, you could make your page size 9” x 11 1/2" and know that we’ll cut 1/4" from all sides.

2.  Set guides and margins for trims and “safe areas”

Even if you have bleed set up for your files, you’ll want to keep live type and important elements away from the trim edges.  You should keep these things at LEAST 1/8" away from the trim edge, but 1/4" is preferable

3.  Extend your bleed elements and images

Make sure ANYTHING that bleeds off the edge, is extended at LEAST 1/8" past the final trim area.

4.  Producing your final files

Whether you are printing to a PDF, exporting, saving as, or whatever method you are using, you’ll want to ensure the final page size is large enough to include the extended bleed elements.  If possible, crop marks and bleed marks should be added, too.

 

The point is, no matter WHAT program you’re using, bleed is possible and should be provided.  When you are reviewing your files, whatever your final size is, the pages should display slightly larger, as shown above.  

Bottom line:  If you want to get the best printing results, you need to start with good files.  Jesse Ventura may not have time to bleed…  but you or your graphic designer do!

 

If you need further help understanding how to prepare your files for print, feel free to browse our blog, or contact any member of our helpful staff.  Our Customer Service team will be more than happy to give you any guidance.

 

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: graphic design, Adobe InDesign tips, commercial printing, Graphic Design Durham, graphic design raleigh, CS5 tutorials

Top 5 Direct Mail Marketing Do's & Dont's

Posted by Robert Moura on Tue, Dec 13, 2011 @ 10:30 AM

Top 5 Direct Mail Marketing Do's & Dont's

Hitting your Marketing Target

The Basics...

  • Learn the basics of direct mail marketing because mistakes are expensive.
  • Keep it SIMPLE!
  • Identify your target. Invest in quality lists, copy, creative and printing.
  • Postage is expensive, you don’t want to waste it.
  • Measure, Measure, Measure.

 

Do

  1. Communicate benefits—early, often and clearly.
  2. Test lists, offers, copy, creative.
  3. Create a sense of urgency with deadlines and/or incentives
  4. Commit to a regular mailing schedule. Don't be a one shot wonder.
  5. Make specific goals (3 new customers) and objectives (increase product awareness) and calculate ROI (return on investment)

Don’t

  1. Buy cheap creative from someone that doesn't know direct mail
  2. Forget that a good list and a good offer are the main ingredients of your campaign’s success.
  3. Neglect to create a strong, clear obvious call to action.
  4. Make it hard for recipients to purchase or respond, give them options - e-mail, web, call 800#, landing pages, text messages.
  5. Forget to put several “seeds” on every mailing list.

Bonus Information

Personalization Improves ROI. Frequently by 2X to 5x the response.

An Info Trends study indicated personalized direct mail resulted in:

    • 34% faster response rates

    • 48% percent more repeat orders

    • 25% average order value increase

 

The Key is to personalize with RELEVANCE!

 

 

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: Tips for improving direct mail and email marketing, response rate, Symphony, Direct Mail tips for sucess

Graphic Design Tips & Tricks | Easy Holiday Snowflakes

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Dec 09, 2011 @ 11:30 AM

Happy Holidays! Have you been preparing your Holiday cards, or winter print ads or marketing materials?  Nothing says "Winter" like the image of snowflakes, and if you want to know how to create your own original custom snowflakes quick and easily, you've come to the right place!

SnowflakesBefore we start, let me just say: There are a LOT of things to love about living in the Triangle (that region of North Carolina which includes Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and surrounding towns and communities.)  We're so lucky to be smack in the middle of the best in college sports, amazing hospitals and medical research facilities, some of the finests Colleges and Universities in the country, access to the best in Arts & Entertainment, and truly outstanding shops and activites.  What's even better, is knowing that we're just a short drive from sandy ocean beaches, but still just another short drive away from lush forested mountains. We even get to experience all the seasons.  True, the summers can be long and hot, but the winters are short and mild.  We get to ENJOY snow, but we don't have to DEAL with it for very long. Still, there's something magical about snow:  Every snowflake is unique, symetrical, and beautiful.

Our Art Director, John Francis, has put together this short instructional video, on a very cool and incredibly simple way to make unique custom snowflakes SUPER FAST.  Why bother browsing through clipart, or using canned templates, when you can create something custom even faster? 

 

 

Many more tutorial videos like the one above can be found on our YouTube channel.  Let us know which tips and tricks you'd like to see!  Leave your suggestions in the comments field below, or leave a comment or video response on any of our YouTube tutorial videos.

 

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: graphic design, tips and tricks, Graphic Design Durham, Illustrator Training video, training video