February 7, 2017

News From

Idea of
the Week
Marketing Tip
Uncommon Product of the Week
Tech Tip

Visualize Success

Getting Back on Track

Three is Better Than Two

Perfect Your Proofing
A Message From
The Way I See It

Acres of Diamonds

An early 20th-century Baptist preacher told an inspiring story about the opportunities that are all around us. According to his story, a wealthy man named Al Hafed owned a large farm in India. He lived a happy life until an ancient Buddhist priest told him of the existence of diamonds, the world's most valuable mineral. Hafed became so obsessed with the thought of finding diamonds that he sold his farm and traveled the world searching for diamonds. He eventually spent all his money, became very depressed, and took his own life.

Meanwhile, the new owner of Hafed's property took his camel to the brook to give it a drink of water when he noticed a sparkling rock in the water. He took it home and placed it on his fireplace mantel. A few days later, the old Buddhist priest stopped by to visit and recognized it as a large diamond in the rough. The property was discovered as one of the highest quality diamond mines of all time.

Here's the way I see it: The opportunities we seek are often closer than we think. Rather than constantly seeking a better opportunity or fortune, if you take the time to dig a little further, you'll often find treasures within your current job, family, or circumstances. We hope you'll give us a call the next time you need help finding a diamond in the rough with your printing projects! Remember, other printers may be nearby, but nobody comes close.

Idea of the Week
A Metaphorical Idea

Good visual communication says the things you want to say without words. It makes people feel something. It invites associations. One of the best ways to accomplish that sort of quality design starts with figuring out what various images mean to you. It all starts with a process called visual ideation.

How to Start with Metaphorical Thinking

A simple ideation exercise can last anywhere from 10 minutes to many hours over a period of more than a week. Start collecting media that reflects the sort of ideas and imagery that you want to invoke. Your sources can include videos, Instagram accounts, newspapers, magazines and other visual media. Think hard about why certain images draw you and how their qualities can be woven into your project.

The images you gather at this point do not have to be cohesive. It is natural for things to be a little chaotic at this point. Unstructured thinking is vital for creativity and finding new ways of communicating. Do not get attached to any one image; instead, look at the qualities that make each compelling.

People working at table

Working with a Group

Another way to get started with metaphorical thinking involves a group of three to five people, five sheets of paper, and a single pen. Set a timer and challenge the group to come up with 20 ideas in 20 minutes. The ideas don't have to be good, nor do they have to be solid or well-formed. The pressure of the exercise will push you in new directions. After you are done, you may find ideas or fragments of ideas that are worth keeping.

The Visual Matrix Exercise

This exercise follows the ones above. Gather all of the materials that you generated during those steps and identify five top attributes of your brand. You can focus on community, excellence, speed or others that fit. Then, identify five simple words: tree, tool, house, person and science are all good, but you can choose whatever others speak to you. Then, draw a chart with the five simple words going across the top and the five attributes you chose going down the side. Where each meets, draw a small doodle that fits the brand and the idea. You will find when you are done that you have 25 possible visuals.

graph of icons

When you are in the early stages of ideation with any of these exercises, do not get too caught up in the process of refining ideas. The purpose of the exercise is to come up with as many new ideas as you can. Have the discipline to put them aside and keep going. Once you have many good ideas available, you can go back and set aside the ones that will inform your final project.

See more great ideas like this!
Click here to visit the Ideas Collection.

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Marketing Tip
Post-Holiday Marketing Ideas

While the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year for many businesses, they are often followed by a sales slump and struggle to regain traction in the new year. Here are a few post-holiday marketing ideas to help boost sales:

  • Focus on products for customers who want to improve their lives or enhance their health in the new year, such as fitness items, tax preparation, cleaning products, travel books, musical instruments or lessons, stress management items, shoes, home security, and much more.

  • Keep your sales going with creative promotions. Consider winter clearance sales, offer a free gift or free upgrade, bundle items together for bigger savings, or offer a tiered savings approach (10 percent off a $50 purchase, $20 off a $100 purchase).

  • Reinstate a holiday promotion by saying something like, "this offer is back by popular demand."

  • Create a thank-you campaign with exclusive offers for loyal customers, or plan a customer appreciation event.

  • Increase your customer base by offering exclusive specials for first-time buyers.

  • Create coupon statement stuffers that are included with all of your regular mailings, such as invoices or newsletters.

  • Create a loyalty program, or increase the incentives on an existing program. Offer perks, such as a rewards punch card that encourages customers to return again and again.

  • Offer a coupon booklet of monthly or weekly specials.

  • Educate customers by promoting a lesser known product that they may not be familiar with.

If you need help spreading the word about your post-holiday promotions, our printing team has some great ideas you’re sure to love. Give us a call today!

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Uncommon Product
Tri-fold Postcards

Tri-fold postcards are a creative alternative to traditional brochures. They feature many of the same benefits of a popular brochure, but they are printed on heavier stock and are designed for easy mailing.

The uses for tri-fold postcards are endless. For example, they offer a convenient way to provide your warranty policy or service department information for quick and easy retrieval, promote a new or updated website, introduce a customer loyalty program, and much more.

The three-panel marketing real estate is great for providing a tear-away coupon, calendar, events schedule, or industry tips. Because tri-fold postcards are printed on heavier stock, they are also ideal for including a perforated response card that can be designed as a smaller postcard and dropped back in the mail.

Tri-fold postcards are available in a variety of sizes, paper stocks, colors, and finishes. Give us a call if you’d like help creating the perfect tri-fold postcard your customers will love!

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Tech Tip
Reviewing Your Proofs

The proofing process is one of the most important steps to ensure a quality, error-free print product, and is a safeguard to help avoid costly mistakes. Rather than simply glancing over a final proof, here are a few proofing tips we recommend to our customers to ensure a great final product:

  • If you receive a digital print, print it out for a better visual than glancing at your computer screen.

  • Proof your document for more than just spelling errors. Double check your fonts, text sizes, spacing, and readability. Also proof the images to check the size and resolution.

  • Compare your original document artwork to the proof to ensure all pieces have been converted over into the final print format and nothing has dropped off or is missing.

  • Compare and confirm colors are accurate.

  • Ensure your bleeds and crop marks are where you would expect.

  • Review the registration lines to ensure everything is aligned. Even the slightest shift can cause cut-offs or uneven folds.

  • If you are unsure about what your colors or details will look like on an unfamiliar paper stock, such as metallic, you may want to request a hard proof. There is often a small cost in ordering a hard proof, but you can rest easy knowing what to expect when your order is delivered.

If you'd like help knowing what to look for in the proofing process, one of our printing experts would love to help. Stop by or give us a call today!

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