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.

 

 

 

Universal Printing Blog Logo

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

It's about CHOICE! Digital Printing vs. Offset Printing

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Apr 08, 2011 @ 12:03 PM

Helping you decide between Digital and Offset Printing

One of the advantages of being in business for over thirty years, is that we've seen a lot of exciting changes in the world of commercial printing and graphics communications. Computer-to-Plate (CTP) systems have made a huge impact in traditional offset printing, providing better printing plates capable of amazing image quality.  Our chemistry-free plating system develops on press which adds an incredible environmental benefits as well.  Technology has lead to major improvements in the areas of digital printing and copying also — using faster, more precise RIPS, and producing higher resolution output in shorter periods of time. When you add our GRACoL G7 processes into the mix, you get dynamic color which is repeatable and matches across ALL devices. Exciting stuff!

As proven experts in both Digital Printing and traditional Offset Printing, we have a great deal of experience and advice that we're more than happy to share with our clients. First, let's take a look at the advantages of each printing method:

Advantages of Digital

  • Lower cost per unit for shorter runs (no money tied up in plates or make-ready)
  • Faster turn-around times (no drying time required.)
  • Variable Data printing so each page can be unique
  • Instant Proofing, since each proof IS a print
  • Less waste since there's virtually ZERO make-ready


Advantages of Offset

  • Lower cost per unit for longer runs (Unit cost goes down as print quantity goes up)
  • Better Quality with higher image resolution (especially when combined with CTP, like we do!)
  • More paper options (Most digital devices require special papers and smooth finishes, which makes linen and laid finishes challenging or not possible)
  • Pantone Spot Color and Metallic Ink options (Not all colors can be built from CMYK, no matter how hard you try!)


Making your decision...

Once you've weighed all your options, it comes down to the needs and requirements of each unique project.  Digital is clearly the best option for small runs needed in a hurry, as long as you don't need special papers or spot colors.  If you have time, need a bunch, and have special corporate colors to match, you can't beat traditional offset.

Fortunately, while the choice is clearly yours, you never have to figure it out all alone.  You're always welcome to contact one of our knowledgeable Customer Service or Sales Representatives. They will always be happy to help you choose the best solution for your project, while meeting your budget and time-line.

 

Universal Printing Blog Logo

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

 

Tags: commercial printing, printing services, digital printing, offset printing, G7, green printing, environmental responsibility, variable data

What Did YOU Learn about Full Color Printing Today?

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Mar 11, 2011 @ 02:42 PM

 

“All I need are minds for molding.” – Jack Black (as Dewey Finn in School of Rock)

 

School of Rock promo picIf you haven’t seen the movie School of Rock, it’s about a man named Dewey Finn, hard rock singer and guitarist, who is kicked out of his band.  He disguises himself as a substitute teacher at a private prep school and forms a rock band from his fifth-grade students in order to compete in the upcoming Battle of the Bands.

Ok, that being said:

… I’m not as crazy or edgy as Jack Black
… and I wasn’t working grade school kids
… and we didn’t learn anything about Rock Music

But we WERE working on one of my favorite annual projects. 

Each Spring we print posters, flyers, and other materials for the Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival, a four-day festival of art, music, and dance held in Chatham County, NC and features  bands from all around the world.  Our friends at Shakori Hills are proud supporters of the arts and of the community. One of the ways they demonstrate both is in their work with the Digital Print Production class from Alamance Community College, who creates and designs these pieces as one of their class projects.

Denise Archuleta, professor of Advertising and Graphic Design, takes great care to ensure these students understand how to design and build their files FOR PRINT!  Part of their class project includes a field trip to Universal Printing for a tour of our company and to take part in their press proof.  During their visit got to learn all about who we are and what we do.  We talked about how printing works, the importance of color, and also our status as a G7 Master Printer and our sustainable print initiatives that help preserve the environment. 

These students are generally interested in listening to what we have to share,  and they’re always curious to see the Art Department and all of the computers, scanners, and output devices.  Field Trip photos: Follow us on FacebookWhen we enter the plate room, they start to get a little more interested: Curious about how we image directly onto the aluminum plates and such.

But then, it happens…  my favorite part of the tour; and it happens the same way every year.

We enter the Pressroom: A large, wide open space with 30ft ceilings, the humming and whirring of running machinery, and the sweet unforgettable scent of fresh ink. Eyes widen, lips curl into smiles, and these eager young minds are now FULLY engaged and ready to soak it all in.  I can’t help but get excited when these students start asking questions. You can almost see their minds churning, wanting to understand and learn.  Sure, we can “talk” about process color and how it works, but to actually show them single pulls of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, and let them see the ink keys on the press and how they affect the color THAT is when it all makes sense. For the rest of their stay they are “all in.” Even when they leave, you can see their smiles and hear them talking about everything they saw and everything they thought. 

As I said… it’s one of my favorite projects each year. All I need are minds for molding.

 

Universal Printing Blog Logo

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

 

Tags: graphic design, commercial printing, printing services, G7, green printing, environmental responsibility, color correction, master printer, calibration

Happy Holiday Wishes from Universal Printing!

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Dec 17, 2010 @ 12:30 PM

Every year, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, all of us at Universal Printing get together for our annual Holiday Luncheon. The owners, Bob and Sandi, supply turkey and ham while everyone else brings in their favorite entree, side item, or dessert.

Universal Printing Holiday Luncheon - Food Table

Universal Printing Holiday Luncheon - Desert Table

This year, it seemed that some early morning snow and sleet might postpone our luncheon but our dedicated staff braved the elements and the feast went on!  We are so fortunate to have such a diverse group of people working here, and it seems like EVERY person on our staff is an amazing cook (or at least KNOWS one!)

Universal Printing Holiday Luncheon - Gift Table

After the feeding frenzy, we enjoyed a laugh-filled White Elephant Gift Exchange (also known by some as a "Yankee Swap" or "Dirty Santa.") The basic idea is that each person brings a small wrapped gift (or re-gift).  Numbers are drawn and everyone in sequence takes turns getting a present from the tree. The TWIST in the game is that as you go down the line, each subsequent person has the choice of selecting an unwrapped present, or stealing an opened present from one of the people who went before them. In that case, whoever has a present taken from them can steal from someone else or take an unopened gift from the tree. To avoid total anarchy, there is a "steal limit" where stolen gifts can change hands twice. The third "owner" of a gift is the FINAL owner of that gift. And to keep all things fair, the person who drew the #1 and went first, gets a final chance to exchange their gift with anyone whose gift is still able to be taken.

We also got another special treat: Owner and CEO, Bob Moura penned a special Universal themed Christmas poem which you can enjoy below, or on our YouTube channel.

Needless to say, we had a great time. It's nice to have a chance for everyone in the shop to come together and enjoy each others' company as a group. It's one of the best things about being part of a company where we are truly like one big family. Honestly, it's one of our strengths: Having an talented and dedicated group of like-minded people working together to achieve whatever projects we're working on from day-to-day. Just like Bob says in his message on our site, "The people who work at Universal Printing are friendly and seem happy to be at work... That's the Universal difference."

Tags: graphic design, commercial printing, Universal Printing, green printing

Printing with Soy Ink is NOT Green Printing

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Nov 05, 2010 @ 01:30 PM

We talk a lot about "green printing" and what it means to be environmentally responsible. This is a topic that has always been important to us. Universal Printing has been a leader and innovator in aggressive environmentally responsible printing practices for over 30 years.

This blog is dedicated to discussing the Soy Bean/Soy Ink "Bait-N-Switch." Some might wonder, "What did soy beans ever do to you?" Well sorry, little soybean... my problem isn't with you; It's with your most vocal lobbyist and cheerleader, the American Soybean Association.  For over 90 years, this body has worked to champion the rights of America soybean farmers, a noble cause that I find no fault with. Farmers are a vital part of our society, our history, and our economy.

But here is where the ASA went wrong...  when they tried to become a Brand.  During the 1980's, the ASA officially set their requirements for using their Soy Ink seal on products. In the case of printing ink, the requirement was that at least 20% of the oil used come from soy.  The rest can be whatever... petroleum or petroleum byproducts, anything at all... as long as 20% is soy. Granted, it was a step in the right direction, and that was 1980.  Now it's 2010, folks, and we can do better!

I'll hand it to the ASA, though. They've marketed their brand extremely well. Even still, we have customers that will talk about soy ink when they want to be "eco-friendly." Most people who work in the industry will even fall back on that old standard. 

But here at Universal Printing, we know there are better, cleaner, more reliable inks available.  Our inks are linseed oil based, like the linseed oil that's been used for centuries by artists and craftsmen alike.  It's 100% vegetable, fully biodegradable, and the pigments are allowed to remain bright and vivid. It's just great stuff.  It's helped is maintain our GRACoL G7 standards, allowed us to win national-level printing awards, and is a cornerstone in our environmental responsibility campaigns.

So, sorry soybean, it's not that you're bad: We're just not right for each other.  If it's any consolation... we may not like soy oil or soy ink, but we're still big fans of soy sauce! Hmm..  perhaps some Chinese take-out for dinner later. 

Tags: printing, commercial printing, printing services, business solutions, blog, Gracol, G7, green printing, environmental responsibility

Green Printing.... what does it really mean?

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Oct 22, 2010 @ 10:30 AM

We love paper... LOVE it!  Our slogan for the past 30 years has been "Making You Look Better On Paper, ON TIME!"  It's something we truly believe in and strive to accomplish daily. We also hope that it's something that all printers, graphic designer, and marketing professionals all agree on: Paper ROCKS!

When many of our customers approach us, they want to know how they can produce something that's environmentally responsible.  Some will be familiar with some lingo... throwing out terms like "chain-of-custody," "carbon footprint," "petroleum free," and "green printing." Though by-and-large the term most often mentioned is "recycled."

"I want recycled paper!"  

"How much post-consumer waste is in this paper?"

"Let's get some recycled paper and use a recycled logo." 

Let's look at a bigger picture though.  There's more to it than just looking at recycled content in paper.  One should look closely at the entire process.  Now sure, printing companies like ours play a part. For example, we have a very healthy environmental policy in place, and try to make long and short term business decision with environmental responsibility in mind.  But what's more important is to take a look at where the paper comes from. Where are the sources, how is it being made, and what are the ecological impacts of that process?

PrintGrowsTrees

We at Universal Printing have chosen our paper suppliers very carefully, and do our best to ensure that all of our suppliers have aggressive environmental policies in place. A great source of information is the Print Grows Trees site. It talks about how printing is good for trees, which makes a lot of sense.  After all, there are a lot of synthetic papers out there, and almost none of them of are as eco-friendly as good, old-fashioned, made-from-trees paper. Few are recyclable, and most have very high carbon footprints in their manufacturing process.

At the end of the day... it's really all about what's best for the environment, for our customers, and for our community. We like trees... and we LOVE paper.

Tags: G7, green printing, environmental responsibility, recycling, carbon footprint