Experience Piles on at Universal Printing

Posted by Universal Printing 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

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

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

Why In the WORLD would I go to a Printing Company for Graphic Design?

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Nov 11, 2011 @ 11:45 AM

Universal Printing takes great pride in offering the best of all graphic communication worlds: Award Winning Graphic Design, G7 Master Printer level digital output and commercial printing, and the latest in Direct Mail, featuring variable data and cross-media marketing solutions.  Over the years, we’ve worked with a lot of clients and companies who find themselves getting into a 2- or 3-prong approach with their projects: One company for design, another print, and sometimes even a third to handle the mailing.  Not a very efficient process, in our opinion.  WE always want to focus more on what is in the best interest of our clients.  Here’s a few reasons why a “single source solution” makes sense.

Design + Print is time-tested!

Universal offers Graphic Design, with or without LatteThis concept has been used time and time again in the construction and manufacturing industries, known as Design/Build.  We apply the same same principles at Universal Printing. When the people who are designing a piece are the people who are producing the piece, “unexpected surprises” just disappear!  All of our Graphic Design professionals work closely with other members of our production team, giving us the advantage of keeping current on the latest printing techniques, being familiar with folding and finishing requirements, and also having direct access to paper merchants and their pricing models.

“Less Expensive” is
NOT the same as “Cheap”

Often time, our Design quotes are significantly lower than Agency prices.  Some might think that it’s about the talent of our staff or the quality of our product.  “More expensive” must mean “better,” right?  WRONG!  Our Graphic Design team has won several regional and national design awards, and is comprised of graphics professionals from the fields of advertising, magazine production, and Fine Arts.  The reason WE can offer such aggressive pricing is because we don’t have to cover many of their overhead costs.  They need to pay for their office space, utilities, equipment, and the occasional latte or two. Why help pay for the rent and electricity of THREE buildings?  OUR staff is in our own building, using our digital prepress equipment, so keeping everything under one roof keeps our cost down, which is passed onto you.  It’s just that simple!

It’s all about the Bundles!

Contractors do it. Restaurants do it. The cable TV and satellite companies do it. Insurance companies do it.  EVERYONE recognizes the power of bundling products and services. WE are no different.  When you bundle together design, print, and direct mail, you only have one point of contact to deal with.  One person to coordinate with keeps you off the phone and out of your email inbox, and lets you deal with all the other aspects of your job.  “One call does it all.”  “Set it, and forget it.”  “Have it your way.”  We can’t actually use those slogans, but you get the idea.

No More Finger-Pointing!

Keeping everything under one roof keeps it simple and eliminates unnecessary “he said/she said” or “finger-pointing.” Ever dealt with any of these scenarios?
  • The Mailer says the Designer didn’t setup the address panels properly
  • The Designer says the Mailer stuck unnecessary labels or tabs all over the finished piece
  • The Printer says the Designer didn’t set up their files correctly
  • The Mailer says the Printer didn’t supply enough finished pieces to process the mailing

These problems all go away when the Designer, Printer, and Mailer are all under one roof. We know, understand, and can implement those ever-changing Postal requirements at the Design stage.  Our files will always print without surprises and we’ll always print enough to ensure your entire mailing is processed timely and efficiently.  Not only will we save you time, save you money, and reduce your stress; who knows, maybe we'll even throw in a free latte.

 

 

 

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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: commercial printing, digital printing, Graphic Design Durham, graphic design raleigh, green printing, internet marketing, email marketing, emarketing, direct mail, multi channel marketing, Adobe Photoshop, variable data, cross-media marketing

Tips & Tricks for your Graphic Design Portfolio | InDesign Columns

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Jul 08, 2011 @ 04:37 PM

Adobe InDesign continues to refine and improve it's tools. The video below is a review of the Column Splitting and Spanning feature, which helps eliminate the need for multiple text boxes.  This is ESPECIALLY handy for magazine and newsletter layout, where you might have multiple headers and the potential for far too many text boxes.  If you've been doing Graphic Design and Page Layout for very long, you've no doubt already dealt with clients or editors who've made very substantial changes, maybe even massive re-writes, which requires a major amount of reflowing and rearranging of your layouts.   Life will be so much easier if you use this simple and handy technique to eliminate unnecessary text boxes and keep things neat, tidy, and easy to rework if needed.

Another important point to make is this: The faster and more efficient you can work and rework your projects, the more time you'll have to take on more.  Your clients will be happy with how quickly you can turn out their projects, and you'll be happy with the time you'll save.  Just remember, when everyone is so happy, that Universal Printing was here for you the whole time, sharing our tips, tricks, and experience, to help you become a better designer and have better files for printing.

And as always, 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, Adobe InDesign tips, tips and tricks, setting up your files, commercial printing, CS5 tutorials, product reviews

Understanding Paper Weight... Mysteries Revealed!

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Jun 17, 2011 @ 02:27 PM

A few months ago we posted a 2-part Blog about Choosing the Right Paper but we still get a lot of questions about one VERY confusing topic:  Paper Weight and Thickness.

FACT: It’s complicated!

ANOTHER FACT:  It’s complicated for NO GOOD REASON!

Don’t feel bad if it doesn’t make sense.  There’s nothing wrong with you…  it’s just that there are a lot of terms used in the world of paper. Some of them mean the same thing, and some of them don’t.  But here’s the good news!  Universal Printing is FILLED with people who love paper, know paper, understand paper, and deal with paper DAILY; and we’re more than happy to share anything we know about it with YOU!

Paper Weight Comparison Chart

Here’s a handy-dandy comparison chart to help you figure which paper weights are equivalent.

Universal Printing's Paper Weights Chart 

Dying to know more?

For the sake of this blog, we’re not going to talk about color, shade, texture, finish, or anything else like that.  We’re JUST talking about weight and thickness.  But to start, we’ll break it down to 2 main categories:

Text  
“Regular” Paper

Bond
Writing
Ledger
Book
Offset
Multipurpose
Text

Cover
("Cardstock")

Cardstock
Cover
Index
Board
Bristol
Blanks
Tag

Weight and Thickness are DIFFERENT

The different classes of text or cover each come with their own “weight” determined by Basis Weight.  Basis Weight is the weight of 500 sheets, at the base size for that type of stock.  Bond or Writing paper has a Base Size of 17” x 22”, so if 500 sheets weighs 20lbs than it’s called 20# Bond or 20# Writing no matter what size it’s cut down to.  Offset and Text sheets have a Base Size of 25” x 38”, so if 500 sheets at that size weighs 50lbs, than it’s called 50# Offset or 50# Text.

You’ll notice, that in our comparison chart further down, the 20# Bond and 50# Offset are the same thickness, which now makes perfect sense, because the Base Size of Offset is over double the size for Bond… so the Basis Weight for Offset will also be more than twice the weight of Bond.

GSM – Grams per Square Meter

Whether you’re familiar with the metrics system or not, you probably know that it one of the principles is to keep the math simple and make all things equal.  GSM is the metric systems classification for paper, because they don’t care about how it’s made or what it’s used for. They just want to know a simple way to determine volume.  So one sheet of these same papers (20# Bond or 50# Offset) cut to 1 meter x 1 meter, will weigh 75 grams  (which is 75gsm…  grams per square meter).  Again, this isn’t a measure of thickness…. but generally speaking, the more grammage a single sheet has at a fixed size the more density it has, which often relates to thickness of the sheet (but can also involve bulk and manufacturing process).

Again… it can get very complicated.  If you’re interested in knowing even more, you’re welcome to explore some of our past blogs about paper.  Or you can always speak with any member of our helpful staff.

 

 

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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, tips and tricks, commercial printing, printing services, business solutions, digital printing, offset printing

Tips & Tricks for your Graphic Design Portfolio | Coils and Spirals

Posted by Universal Printing on Thu, Jun 09, 2011 @ 03:36 PM

Adobe Illustrator has also been the Graphic Designer's "go-to" program for creating and manipulating vector based artwork. It's withstood the test of time, and each release keeps getting better and better.  Granted, some people will always defend their personal preference (Like those die-hard, loyal CorelDRAW fanatics, who are convinced their program is the best.)  Personally, I actually enjoy illustrating with Flash because I think Bézier curves are a bit archaic and Flash handles line art in a more fluid and hand drawn manner.... but that just MY opinion.

The point is: regardless of personal preferences, Adobe Illustrator is top of the pack and rightfully so.  Also, no matter how long you've been using Adobe Illustrator, there's a good chance that you've barely scratched the surface when it comes to all the neat effects and features they've packed into it.

This week our Art Director, John Francis, shares a couple of very cool features: 3D revolving and surface mapping.  Check it out and have fun playing with these effects. In our example, we're making coils and spirals, but you can use the same process to make all kinds very cool 3D patterns and objects.

More tutorial videos like the one shown 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, commercial printing, digital printing, CS5 tutorials, product reviews, Illustrator Training video, training video

5 MORE sites every Graphic Design & Printing Professional should know

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, May 20, 2011 @ 03:24 PM

Our previous blog (6 sites EVERY Graphic Designer or Printing Professional should know) was so well received, that we decided to share five MORE. Check out these sites for even MORE tools and information!


dafont.com

If you're looking for JUST the right font for your next printing or graphic design project, your first stop should be dafont.com.  They are like the Facebook of Fonts, with a cool community atmosphere where typographers can share their latest creations and talk about type.  The Forums section allows you to interact with peers and professionals for help recognizing a font, or getting feedback on new fonts and logotypes. Plus, their grouping and categorizing of all those fonts makes it SO easy to find what you need.

 

graphicdesignforum.com

Maybe we're a little biased... but these guys have been linking to our templates and resources for years. It's an online community of talented designers and prepress professionals that share a wealth of knowledge. You can also get critiques on your current or past design projects. But it's not for the faint of heart; These guys are tough, fair, sometimes harsh, and the occasional newb will get pwned! But still, it's a great resource for finding answers to just about any question.

 

designiskinky.net

If there's ONE thing better than an irreverent Aussie, it's MANY irreverent Aussies that knows a helluva lot about ART! These guys have daily updates about anything and everything going on in art, print, web, and design. Just this past week they covered events in their native Australia, over in Morocco, an all the way up to Portland, Maine! They don't miss a beat, and neither should you!

 

howdesign.com

Most every design professional either currently HAS, or HAD a subscription to HOW Magazine. All of us at Universal Printing are proud supporters of paper; so while there's no substitution for the printed magazine in your hands, we can't deny the shear awesomeness of HOW's online presence. They have forums, blogs, tools, lessons, lists of events, and so much more.

 

psd.tutsplus.com

Who doesn't love Photoshop?!  EVERYONE knows how cool it is, but let's face it... unless you're a graphic designer or prepress professional with at least 5 years of solid experience, then you haven't even STARTED to scratch the surface. (And sorry, you Photoshop SE and Photoshop Elements users, but you're even FURTHER behind!) Fortunately, the folks at Psdtuts+ have a TON of easy-to-follow tutorials on every possible effect and technique. Definitely a "Must-Bookmark" for your browser.

 

 

 

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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

 

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