Welcome to the developer's blog. Here is where we will keep you up to date on some of our most recent projects and experiences. Our goal is to post a new blog every Monday so keep checking back for more articles.
"What is Large Format Printing?"
Jaclyn Strain, Graphic Designer | 8-8-2016
Lately we have been trying to bring awareness to large format printing because frankly, not many people know what it is. Large format printing is the general term for anything printed larger than 13”x19”. This covers a wide variety of things; such as posters, banners, tradeshow displays, table cloths, and so much more.
These are great advertisement pieces but can also be used for home décor. Have a drawing/painting you made and want to get it enlarged and printed on a high-quality photo-gloss paper large enough to mount on your wall? Look no further. That is just one of the services that qualify under large format printing. That same drawing/painting could also be printed onto a fabric banner for a more long-lasting display.
One of the most common uses for large format printing is tradeshow displays. This ranges from table covers to banners. The banners we offer come in either fabric or vinyl depending on the use you require it for. Having a banner and table cloth might be a costly investment but it’s sure to pay off when it gives your booth a professional appearance and drives people to your stand. If your stand has nothing more than a hand-drawn sign, most people will keep on walking. But with an attractive, high-quality tablecloth and banner, more people are likely to stop and hear what you have to say. Most importantly, the quality of these items is such that they can be used again and again.
How does large format printing work? That is an excellent question. Most all large format printing is run through specially designed large-format printers. Instead of inserting stacks of pre-cut paper like you would use at home, the paper is fed using large rolls of paper or fabric. The roll of paper is fed across a flat surface while a print head speeds along a rail, spraying the ink through nozzles onto the media. Most large format printers use the standard cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink system but there are specialty printers that use other inks.
The product that comes out the other side of the printer is still in roll form until it is cut down to the desired size. Though the media might get further treated before it is complete; such as a UV lamination. Other finishing options vary from pole pockets to grommets and other ways to display your product. All in all, large format printing is quickly growing in popularity as a less expensive solution to other methods like screen printing. For more information on types of large formatting printing, visit out ‘Products’ page.
"Business Card Design"
Jaclyn Strain, Graphic Designer | 8-1-2016
Last week I spoke about the importance of business cards from a professional point of view so now I’d like to touch on the design and layout of them from a designer’s point of view. Whenever I personally design a business card, I first get all the information needed from the customer and ask them if they have any ideas on layout in mind. If they do I make sure to incorporate those in. If not (sometimes even if they do), I like to get a little creative.
First thing I always look at is the logo and see what inspiration I can draw from it. I’ll take the colors or styles and incorporate them into the business card. If there is no logo, I’ll ask if the customer wants me to design one for them. This may add to the cost for the first run, but then they also have a logo they can use on any future projects. For instance, I had a customer that had a basic idea on the layout he wanted and described it to me. He even went so far as to sketch it.
Taking the sketch as inspiration, I drew up exactly what the customer asked for but when doing so I realized it looked a little plain and boring. My next step was to take a look at the name and what the company did. The company worked in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). Looking at the basic concept he gave me, I improved upon it by adding some design elements that represented an air conditioning unit and air duct. I kept the design simple and didn’t spend too much time on it so that if he didn’t like it, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. Turns out, he really liked the design and asked me to send him the logo so they could make shirts out of it.
By just investing that additional fifteen minutes, which equates to roughly twenty dollars in design time, for the first round of business card, my customer got a design that he is very happy with. It’s appealing to the eye and at a quick glance gives you an idea of what the company does. That’s what makes the design of a business card worth the money. When I give a quote on a design, I always lean towards the higher side to give myself time to design an eye-catching piece that will bring people to your door.
On another design I had, a customer sent me a design that they were already using and said she was really not happy with it. It was too plain and boring. All their information was on there but quite frankly, it looked like something a toddler had put together. She expressed the fact that they wanted to keep the color scheme and the logo but they were completely open to new ideas. Their logo was quite simple, a couple of arrows. Taking that into account, I wanted to express movement in the card. I nestled the name of the company into the arrows with a font that conveyed movement and then put all the information underneath. To make it really pop, I used the same colors from the logo to design a border across the top and bottom of the card and overlaid a screened image to just the borders. The finished piece flowed well together and again, tells the customer at a quick glance what the company does.
"Why Do I Need Business Cards?"
Jaclyn Strain, Graphic Designer | 7-25-2016
Business cards are so old school. No one uses those anymore, right? Wrong. Every day we have new customers walking in the door looking for a well put-together business card. Everyone from your big corporate head to the guy down the street that teaches guitar lessons out of his garage needs business cards.
So what’s the point? If everyone has them, why bother? Business cards are a quick and efficient way to get your contact information into the hands of a potential client. Say you’re out at a social convention and strike up a conversation with the person standing next to you. They mention something about really needing to get their lawn mowed. What luck, you just so happen to be in the lawn-mowing business. What are you going to do? Will you just grab a napkin off a passing waitress and scribble down your information in hopes that the person will give you a call in the morning? No, that’s just not professional. If anything, the person will find the napkin later, forget your information is on it and toss it in the trash. No new client for you.
If you had a business card in your pocket you could have handed that to the person and potentially made a new client. A business card is great because you never know when you might run into a potential client and need to appear professional to get their business.
What should be on my business card? We get this question a lot. It seems so straight forward and yet the task of deciding what to go on your card can be a daunting one. When in doubt, stick to the basics; Company Name, Your Name, your position within the company, Company logo if you have one, and phone number. These are the bare-bone basics of what should be on the card. It tells them who you are, who you work for and a way to contact you. If it’s important to drive people to your physical address, put it on there too. That way they know where to go to find you. Have an email address? Put that on there as well. You may even want to put a web address on there.
Hey now, you’re starting to get a lot of stuff on there, this is a small card, won’t all that information just confuse someone? Potentially, yes. That’s where the well put-together design comes in. You can have a lot of information and when it’s put together right, your eye will be drawn to the information you want them to see. You prefer them to call rather than email or go to your physical address but still want those on there? Fair enough, bold the phone number, make it a point or two larger and your eye will be drawn to the phone number first. It’s all about the layout. A catchy design could make the difference between a glance and a re-examination. Don’t get too extravagant with the design though; you still want the information to be legible.
"Why Should I Hire a Printer, I Already Have a Copy Machine?"
Justin Koback, Owner | 7-18-2016
Each day during my sales effort I hear someone say “Oh, I already have a copier, thanks though”. What most people do not understand is that many copy machines can not print envelopes, carbon-less forms or other commonly used business materials. It is not uncommon to overestimate what a copy machine is capable of, so often times people believe that the materials they use every day can be easily reproduced from their office copy machine.
So what is it that printers do that most office copy machines can not? The first and most important is that printers bring professional experience to you. They offer the products that your copy machine can not produce. Products like envelopes, multi part carbon-less forms or any product paper you use in large quantities.
Most business offices have a copy machine available to them; some lease and some buy the machine. What are the costs involved in owning your own copy machine versus buying the products it produces for you from a printing company? Costs include toner, repairs and maintenance, the charge that is assessed each time a piece of paper passes through the machine, the cost of that paper and last but not least, the time the individual spends making those copies. With a printing company, your cost is simple. A cost per copy of letterhead, per envelope or per brochure. The more you print, the less each one costs, unlike with copy machines that have a set price for each copy no matter how many you make.
Now that you realize a printing company can save you money and will provide you a product that appeals to your targeted audience or will just be easier for you and your co-workers to use, let me finish with this. Copy machines are a great tool for every office, however if you do not spend the time comparing cost, quality and the many other advantages to using a printing company, you might just be costing yourself more money than you know while at the same time appearing “cheap or unprofessional” to your customer. All this because “I already have a copier”.
Jaclyn Strain, Graphic Designer | 7-11-2016
It’s summer time and that means that we here at American Printing and Copying are busy little bees. Every time we sit down to work on one project, the phone rings or the door opens and a new customer walks in. That’s just the way we like it though. Despite the constant thrum of excitement around the place, we are keeping on top of things and finding enjoyment in the projects walking in our doors. Every time I sit down to work on a new project as I can only imagine where it will take me.
Last week I had a customer come in and ask for a business card to be made. He had never had his own business card and had no ideas on what he wanted for a design. While he was standing at the counter I sat and talked over prices and designs. I showed him some sample pieces of cards I had done as well as cards done by the company. Finally we were able to get a rough idea of what he wanted and I sat down at my desk. Without going into much detail I will just say I looked at what we talked about and then started designing. Before I knew it, a design had blossomed on the screen in front of me. I thought it was a well put together piece but there was just something missing. My solution? I created a second layout but with one major difference. Instead of the traditional horizontal layout, I turned it into a vertical layout.
I sent both proofs to the client to look at and my shot in the dark paid off. He liked the vertical layout! It always fills me with pride when I send a client a piece and have them approve it in one go. It means I understand what they want and can achieve it without him-hawing the results. Not only does that make for a happy client, but it leaves me more free time to work with other clients.