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

6 Great Fonts for Graphic Design (plus 2 that just shouldn't exist!)

Posted by Universal Printing on Thu, Dec 01, 2011 @ 02:39 AM

 

Universal Graphic Design Blog - Myriad
[1992 - Robert Slimbach & Carol Twombly]

Ligatures &  ItalicsLike most sans serif fonts, Myriad robust, very open, and easily readable; but two of my favorite things about Myriad probably don’t matter to anyone but me.  First off, it has its own very nicely designed ligatures (which are certain letter pairs that actually change their shape for better flow and readability... see example to the right.)  Myriad is just a nicely kerned font all on its own, and having some well thought of ligatures just make it nicer to work with.  Secondly, I have great respect for folks who design their italics in ways that aren’t just “slanty versions” of the standard “roman” upright version.  Myriad uses this concept in several of its characters, like the “a” and “e” shown to the right also.

 

Universal Graphic Design Blog - Helvetica

[1957 - Max Miedinger]

Oh Helvetica, you timeless old B*[email protected]^&!  You are easily the most used font EVER!!!  Most people assume Arial is the same thing (which it’s not; Arial was loosely based on the letter shapes of a type called Monotype Grotesque, but I digress…) Helvetica really came into its place within the Pantheon of Fonts during the age of letraset type, and easily crossed the bridge to the digital age.  It’s now the “go to” font for people who don’t want to think about what font to use.

 

Universal Graphic Design Blog - Univers

[1954 - Adrian Frutiger]

Adrian Frutiger, you say?  The creator of the typeface actually CALLED Frutiger?  Yes, true, although of all Frutiger’s fonts, this is my favorite.   After all, with more than 40 variations (actually up to 63 if you consider the slightly retooled Linotype Univers series) it has all of the weights, widths, oblique sets, and positions you could ever need for clean, but bold design.  It also has a few characters with some visual appeal that makes it easily distinguished from other sans serif fonts; such as the capital “G” without it’s tail, the capital “Q” whose tail slides along the baseline” or the small “t” with a slight angle along to top.

 

Universal Graphic Design Blog - Garamond

[1530 - Claude Garamond]

Unlike French Fries and French Toast, Claude Garamond was actually FROM France!  There are a crazy number of versions of Garamond around, but the most widely used is the version from Adobe (Adobe Garamond or sometimes AGaramond).  Claude also was the creator of Sabon, which is another really classy serif font, but just because of the shear popularity of his namesake, it had to go on the list!

 

Universal Graphic Design Blog - Rockwell

[1933 - Frank Hinman Pierpont]

Originally released as Lithos Antique around 1910, Rockwell was updated and released in the early 1930’s in the robust form we know today.  Unfortunately, some early graphic arts publications incorrectly identified it as Stymie Bold which has similar traits but is kerned much tighter.  Rockwell was one of the early “slab serif” fonts referring to its blocky serifs that you can rest a dinner plate on.  It has a distinct geometric quality that really makes it stand out, and has been used for years by the New York Times Sunday magazine and for a while by the Guinness Book of World Records.

 

Universal Graphic Design Blog - Duty

[2002 - Lee Fasciani]

Duty has all the roundness and richness of other classic fonts like Gill Sans or Futura, but with several more weight options and a few interesting flairs here and there.  I’m also a big fan of Lee Fasciani, a young British designer who has done the unthinkable, and proven that Typography is not dead, but in fact can still be a viable art form.

 

And 2 that shouldn’t have been made…

 

Universal Graphic Design Blog - Old English

This is a cheesy knock-off of Linotext, which already shouldn’t be used for ANYTHING.  Yet this font seems to appear in random places, and what’s worse is that you’ll occasionally see it in ALL CAPS.  Seriously, folks…  the 1400s called and they want their font back.  Sure, all you Medical School and Law School Graduates, we get it; you’re prestigious.  But don’t think for a minute that just because little Jimmy or Suzy graduated from the Third Grade or successfully played soccer for a season, that I actually believe that a team of Monks were sought out to hand scribe their certificates just because you thought it would be cute to use some old-timey font.

 

Universal Graphic Design Blog - Critter

Seriously?!  Animal letters?  I understand the need for Dingbats and Wingdings; but fonts as clipart are just silly.  While Giddyup Thangs and Lil Pics are both particularly annoying, Critters takes it to a whole new level because it tries to be clipart, alphabet, and nature lesson all in one!  “Look kids… the ‘R’ is a Racoon, and it LOOKS like an ‘R’ and ‘C’ is a … wait… what?”  Yes... you guessed it “C” is for Catfish.  Adorable… NOT!

 

 

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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, tips and tricks