Archive for September, 2008

-Fast Loading web site – This is the number 1 tip that every web designer should follow. You might design a web site that looks fantastic but few people are going to see it if it takes a long time to load. Your designs should be optimized for the web and should not take more than 15 seconds to load.

-Navigation must be clearly planned – Once a visitor has come to your site you need to make them go through your site. To do this you need to have clear navigation. Make sure all your important links are at prominent places. Make use of menus on the right and the left. Try to link to as many pages of your site. Let your information be accessible from all parts of the site.

-Setting Resolution – Today, there are computers with all kinds of resolution. They range from 640 x 480 to 1024 x 768 and go even higher. Your job is to design your site for all these resolutions. The best way to do this is to design your site in terms of percentage and not pixels.

-Compatible with all the browsers – Make sure your site is browser compatible. Your web site should look good in Netscape as well as in Internet Explorer. Don’t stop designing your site as soon as you find that it looks great on IE. Usually Netscape gives some problems, especially when you try doing complicated HTML designs.

-Fonts play a huge role- If the font you use is not available in a visitor’s computer the web site will use the default font of your computer which is much worse. So try to keep to common and professional web fonts.


ProjectCenter is a single-source service company providing marketing and document solutions to small, medium and large-sized businesses in the U.S. area. ProjectCenter is based in Phoenix, Arizona and its services include graphic design, web design, printing, copying, scanning and mailing. For more information, please call (602) 252-6655 or visit


In the printing world “Four Color” is FULL color. The four colors are the primary colors used to “mix” thousands of other colors in the spectrum. Imagine your old box of crayons: Red, Yellow, Blue, Black and White. With the first three you could mix Orange, Green and Purple. By adding Black you could darken any shade. By adding White you could lighten any tint. By mixing a primary (like Red) with its complimentary secondary (Green) you could get a Brown.

In printing, instead of crayons, we have Cyan (a light blue) Magenta (a cool red) Yellow, and Black inks. Where’s White? It’s the paper color. So we use these four colors (plus the paper) to visually “mix” all the colors in a full color photo or graphic. CMYK is the shorthand for these four “process colors.” If we mix all the inks together you head darker and darker. Less ink coverage allows the “white” to show through from the paper. This is where we get light pastel tints.

Go back to your box of crayons; all the special colors–including silver, bronze, and that cool gold one–can be considered “spot colors.” These colors we create by premixing a particular supply of ink; green, pink, tan, brown, teal, adobe, maize, metallic, pastels, etc. If you absolutely positively have to have a certain color, you pick one of these “spot” colors from the Pantone color chips.

If you need certain chartreuse we can direct you to a Pantone color chip. These are good for printing one, two or even three colors. Once you get to four specific Pantone colors you want, you might want to get a quote on going with the cheaper, process equivalents (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black). If you have to have a particular color, not easily recreated with the process inks, and you need a full color photograph too, you might be heading into 5- and 6-color land. Be prepared for higher costs.

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Helvetica and Arial- two reasonably good san serif fonts that are often mistaken for one another. Here are a few hints to keeping them separate in your mind.

A little bit of history to begin with:

Helvetica was born in Switzerland in the 1950s. Created by the Haas Foundry, it was quickly adopted as the “new modern and clean” typeface of the corporate world.

More people have PCs than Macs and suddenly Arial is more popular than the “original” Helvetica.

Some other tips:

-The capital C in Helvetica has horizontal cusp ends. Arial’s are angled.

-The capital R in Helvetica has a curled leg. Arial has a straighter (though variable weight) leg.

-The lowercase t in Helvetica’s top is straight. Arial’s is trimmed at an angle.

-The number 1 in Helvetica has a flat underside to its “nose.” Arial is a simple stroke.

-The ampersand in Helvetica has a slightly taller end arm. Arial’s is a snip tighter.

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Some of the tips and tricks about the blue in printing:

-What’s A Blue line?

It’s a tool for proofing your printing project before going to press.

-Why is it blue?

The yellowish paper is photosensitive. When exposed to UV light, unprotected areas turn blue. In the olden days, proofs were made that produced images in brown. They were known as Van Dykes, as in Vany Dyke brown.

-How come my multi-color piece is just various shades of this blue color?

The various negatives that will be used to actually print your project are each exposed to the same piece of blue line paper, one at a time. The lighter inks that will be used get less exposure time, revealing a lighter blue.

-Why isn’t it the same as a color proof?

Color proofs can be made from the negatives, but they are far more expensive and time-consuming. Bluelines are cheaper and faster. The trend is actually going to imaging color proofs to the same matrix as the film or plate creation, but using toner and special paper. Running to an average deskjet or laserprinter isn’t as accurate.

-What should I look for on a blueline?

Bluelines were originally best for making sure the printer’s mechanicals included all the text and graphics you wanted. And to make sure all your photos were correctly scanned and placed into the right position.

Now, with desktop publishing and deskjet proofs provided by the client, bluelines are to make sure no fonts were left off (resulting in Courier instead of your desired typeface), to check that multi-page projects are correctly ordered, and that the job is correctly trimmed.

-What should I not be concerned with on a blueline?

Well, it’s the worst time to reconsider your content (unless you really want to repay for all new film and a new set of film).

It’s also not good for checking ink coverage, color separations, nor exact trapping. Bluelines aren’t extremely accurate for paper choice, since the paper used is in no way accurate to what stock will be used on the presses. The texture and thickness also has nothing to do with the final paper stock that will be used.

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So many people want to set their sights on online printing. Reasonably, clients find the idea of online printing more efficient and easier. Why should a client have to talk to someone? Why not load up some artwork and press a “submit” button?

This experience sounds wonderful, but what happens when the client doesn’t send the files in the right format, or provides files that are inherently flawed? Depends on the printer, but some will just print what they receive and blame it on the provider (a.k.a. the client). Some will do the right thing, and work with the client.

Printers like the online world because it allows them to put the responsibility on the buyer. The problem here is that there is still such an incredible lack of  knowledge of the print world that it is ridiculous to put the blame on the buyer. As an example, there is still a vast amount pf people that believe that they can create artwork in any software and expect it to print with quality. This myth alone creates around 50% of the printing problems today.

Companies that care about their marketing should strongly consider having a graphic artist, print broker and/or tested printer to help them along with their projects, rather than settling for the online experience.

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Rumor has it that, at the very least, information about the new version of Photoshop (Photoshop CS3) will be on the Adobe website ( on September 23rd.

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A Pillow Pack is a form of packaging that can be printed on and is often used in marketing scenarios and/or gift giving.

Pillow Pack Packaging

Pillow Pack Packaging

A Pillow Pack is very attractive in its style, and is very easy load and unload. Thus, it is often used by outfits that want to represent themselves as high quality establishments.

There are important items to note regarding the Pillow Pack: 1) Make sure the printer is setting up the job so the paper grain goes the length of the box once it is cut; 2) Make sure the printer is using or recommending the proper paper stock; 3) Make sure that, if the printer is not also the die cutter, that the both the printer and broker are in close communication with the die cutter, because a die cutter knows exactly what needs to be done in order for the job to be perfect.

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Providing a scanning estimate while on the phone is difficult, mainly because an estimator cannot determine the condition of materials that need to be scanned. The condition of the materials is what determines the price per unit from a scanning service provider.

As an example, the lowest price per unit would be for a job that has all 8.5 x 11 sized paper, all the same color (black & white or color), that are unbinded (i.e. no staples), with no rips or crumbled conditions. In other words, a scanning company would only have to set stacks of a job on an ADF (automatic document feeder) and allow the scanning machines do the rest of the work.

On the other hand, it is very common to get jobs that have different sized paper (i.e. 8.5 x 11 and 11 x 17 and etc.), pages where some are black & white and some that are color, batches that have been stapled and/or binded, and so on. In these scenarios, there is a lot of preparation that needs to take place before a job can even be scanned. Thus, the price per unit goes up as the job becomes more difficult.

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