ProjectCenter

www.MakePaperEasy.com

Advertisement

Archive for the ‘ Printing ’ Category

We are very pleased to announce that ProjectCenter made its way into the 2011 Ranking Arizona magazine (“The Best Of Arizona Business”). We were ranked Top 10 of the Copy, Duplicating & Printing category.

We want to truly thank our clients, as this is an opinion publication that is strictly based on voters’ opinion. Ranking Arizona Magazine is published annually and consists of controlled mailed distribution to primarily upper management executives, presidents, principals and small business owners.

Ranking Arizona’s Web site, rankingaz.com, includes company names in 175 different business and leisure categories. Participants can vote for the ‘best’ in each Ranking category.

Find more at the Arizona Big Media website.

ABOUT PROJECTCENTER:

ProjectCenter is a single-source service company providing marketing and document solutions to businesses nationally. ProjectCenter’s services include graphic design, web design, printing, copying, document scanning, etc. For more information, please visit these fine online establishments:

Home Website

Online Printing

Twitter

Facebook

ProjectCenter’s Facebook Page

ProjectCenter's Facebook Page

Promote Your Page Too

It is safe to say that packaging is a category unto its own, mainly because of the planning that is involved during the life cycle of such a project. So many important requirements are clearly not recognized or can be overlooked, and without the consultation of a service provider, a project can easily become trash and a waste of money. So this post is to exemplify the intriguing process of package design and assembly.

This project started from a request we received on March 2nd, 2010:

“Project Description: We need an estimate on graphic design for a logo, brochures, a website, and a design for a custom packaging box.”

Step 1: LOGO DESIGN

We begin, first and foremost, with the logo. The logo is essentially the brand of a company. There are a lot of people that don’t mentally tie together brand and logo, but take for example the logo from Target department stores, and the brand/logo strategy becomes quite clear. In this case, the client understood the purpose of a logo, so that made this first step of the process easier to achieve. During this phase, it is important that a service provider maintain a solid consultative approach, so we always offer our clients this questionnaire for the best results:

1. Business name as you would like it to appear for the logo (include any L.L.C., Inc. or taglines if applicable). Business type? Do you have any preference as to if the logo appears with upper and lower case? All caps? One or more lines? Horizontal or vertical?

2. What type of company philosophy or mission do you have? Do you employ a corporate or casual environment?

3. Describe your company in 3 words or less.

4. How was the company formed? Is there a unique story to it’s formation or mission?

5. Who are your competitors? Please provide URLs. What do you feel makes you different/better?

6. How would you liked to be viewed within the market? Where do you see the company in 2 years?

7. Do you prefer a strong text designed logo or one with a graphic? Please provide samples of logos you really like or dislike and why.

8. Do you have preferences (or strong dislikes) for type styles (Serif fonts like Times New Roman, SanSerif Fonts like Arial, Scripts, or more creative fonts)?

9. Do you have any preferences or strong dislikes regarding colors?

10. How will you judge the success of this project?

After a few rounds of changes, we ended up with this:

Logo Design

—————————————————————

Step 2: DIE CUT DESIGN

At this phase, most people would naturally want to begin doing the graphic design for the box, but that is a huge mistake. The project actually needs to start at the end and work backwards. What is meant by that is that everyone (client, graphic designer, printer and die cutter) needs to understand what is going into the package. The client needs to provide the physical product, so the service provider can create rough drafts (drawings) on how the package will be laid out to accommodate the product. In this case, various wrist splints of different sizes, an instructional DVD and therapeutic putty were the items in question.

A graphic designer cannot typically come up with these particular rough draft drawings. You need an experienced die cutter to come up with the designs and measurements. Die cutters will often have some kind of experience in their past such as a drafting education, etc. It is crucial to work with a die cutter because if a measurement is one millimeter off, the project is dead. As an example, envision a box of Advil bought from the grocery store. Imagine how the tabs can be flipped open and the box can easily collapse, and vice versa. If a single measurement was incorrect, that box would not be able to close appropriately because it would not line up.

Here is a rough draft we agreed on:

Rough Draft Drawing

———————————————————–

Step 3: MODELING

Modeling is where you simply create physical samples of the die cut design. It may be obvious, but the reason for this is to make sure that the items fit in the package as they were meant to. If for some reason the items supplied by the client did not fit appropriately or the client simply did not like the item arrangement, the service provider would need to ‘go back to the drawing board’ so to speak, come up with a new approach and redesign accordingly.

This case is great example of redesign. At first we were given a set of items as described above (splint, putty, DVD). What no one (client nor provider) accounted for was the different sizes of splints that were tied to the different therapeutic options the client was offering to the consumer. Thus, we had to ‘go back to the drawing board’, and on the second round we decided to use the largest splint (wrapped tightly) in the redesign, knowing that the smaller splints would fit just fine.

Here are some snapshots of the modeling process:


—————————————————

Step 4: PACKAGE GRAPHIC DESIGN

When the physical design of the package is approved, then we receive a dieline template (an unfolded drawing with measurements) from the die cutter:

Box Draft

The graphic designer will use this dieline to begin designing the artwork for the package. However, before the designing begins, a good service provider would repeat the process of the questionnaire in Step 1 to determine the types of designs they will venture into. There is a lot more to consider at this point of the graphic design phase, like logo placement, instructions, pictures, disclaimers, etc. With that comes a lot of revisions to perfect the vision of the project.

We ended up with this:

Box Design

————————————————————

Step 5: PRINTING

Like at any other step, the project can go horribly wrong at this point. It is absolutely critical that the communication between customer service, the print department and the die cutter remains consistent and undying. Essentially, the die cutter is calling the shots- the kind of paper being used, what size the sheets need to be when they reach their facility, etc. So everything that the printing department plans to do has to be reviewed by the die cutter. Lack of review and one silly mistake will have the printing department re-running the job and losing money for the company.

———————————————–

Step 6: DIE CUTTING

From this point, the project gets printed and is then sent to the die cutter. The die cutter will then cut, score, fold, glue (glue can be done by machine, but in this case it had to be done by hand) and pack the product (in flat form) into boxes for client delivery.

Written by Kak

——————————————————————–

ABOUT PROJECTCENTER:

ProjectCenter is a single-source service company in Phoenix, AZ providing marketing and document solutions to businesses nationally. ProjectCenter’s services include graphic design, web design, printing, copying, document scanning, etc. For more information, please visit these fine online establishments:

Home Website

Online Printing

Twitter

Facebook

ProjectCenter’s Facebook Page
ProjectCenter's Facebook Page
Promote Your Page Too

It is not unusual that someone, who may not be familiar with printing or marketing, expect that the total price of a printing project adjust congruently to the adjustment of quantity. As an example, the thought would be that if you have  a particular total price and quantity, cutting the product quantity in half reduces the price in half.

Unfortunately, that is simply not the case. In the world of printing, there’s really no such thing as half the cost for half the product. The pricing per unit always go up as the quantity goes down, and vice versa. This is due to the fact that there is always a setup cost built into the pricing that people often forget about. Every run has a setup cost that may include the actual setup of the printer, overhead items such as leases and utilities, payrolls costs , etc (in other words, the expenses that keep the lights on). Because of this, the setup cost rarely changes until the printer’s internal business environment changes.

To help understand how the same setup charge within every print job effects pricing, here is an example with rounded numbers:
Setup cost: $300
Cost per unit: $1
Quantity 1000 total cost: $1300 ($300 setup + $1000)
$1300 divided by 1000 equals $1.30 per unit
Quantity 500 total cost: $800 ($300 setup + $500)
$800 divided by 500 equals $1.60 per unit

You can see above that this is definitely not half the price with half the amount of product.

Setup costs are always built into the pricing. In other words, you very rarely see setup charges as a separate line item on an estimate. This is because clients would naturally want to negotiate that pricing, but that’s not necessarily a charge not can be negotiated due to business limitations.

ABOUT PROJECTCENTER:

ProjectCenter is a single-source service company in Phoenix, AZ providing marketing and document solutions to businesses nationally. ProjectCenter’s services include graphic design, web design, printing, copying, document scanning, etc. For more information, please visit these fine online establishments:

Home Website

Online Printing

Twitter

Facebook

ProjectCenter’s Facebook Page
ProjectCenter's Facebook Page
Promote Your Page Too

Already, 30% of the direct mail and marketing campaigns handled by ProjectCenter incorporate Quick Response barcodes. Given the advantages they present, we expect the number of clients utilizing QR barcodes to skyrocket this year, and here’s why:


This one image can contain 200 times the information held on a standard barcode, and people are getting very creative in its use and applications.  The key is that mobile phones can read and collect information from these barcodes. When you (or your client) receive a brochure or postcard,  you can simply use your iPhone or Blackberry (and others) to scan the barcode. This action automatically instructs your phone to:

  • Go to a website
  • Show a Google map of a location
  • Automatically ring a number or send a text to a number
  • Send a business card
  • Download an app
  • Display text

In short, any print materials such as flyers, posters, invites, postcards and such can now contain:

  • product details
  • contact details
  • offer details
  • event details
  • competition details
  • a coupon
  • Twitter, Facebook, MySpace IDs
  • a link to a YouTube video
  • audio files
  • directions

The possibilities are endless. QR Barcodes provide you highly creative, custom tailored and increasingly effective ways to launch your marketing into the mobile world. They are easy to design and implement without licensing or usage fees. ProjectCenter has been suggesting that our clients adopt and use it on all their marketing as we feel the QR barcode will be the glue to bind your print campaign with the benefits and volume of data offered digitally.

Watch for a “QR Barcode” button on our website in the coming days or contact Matt Shearer (matt@makepapereasy.com) for a sit-down discussion.

ABOUT PROJECTCENTER:

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 designweb designprintingcopyingscanning and mailing. For more information, please call (602) 252-6655 or visit www.makepapereasy.com or follow us at Twitter.

ProjectCenter’s Facebook Page
ProjectCenter's Facebook Page
Promote Your Page Too

ProjectCenter and EAR CANDY, a non-profit music organization, have teamed up in the 2010 Instrument Drive. ProjectCenter donated over 15,000 units of printed marketing materials, and will continue to support them as they devote themselves to providing children access to music education.

Arizona is ranked last in per-person educational funding, and arts programs are typically the first to be cut from a school budget.

“A year ago, I had an aspiration”, reflects Kak from ProjectCenter. “How could I combine my love for music, my desire to be a part of a charity (something my wife has always been good at) and have it be a part of my business? A year later I ran into Nate Anderson at a convention in California and here we are today.”

For more information on how to get involved with Ear Candy, visit their website at http://www.earcandycharity.org/.

ABOUT PROJECTCENTER:

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 www.makepapereasy.com or follow us at Twitter.

ProjectCenter’s Facebook Page
ProjectCenter's Facebook Page
Promote Your Page Too

A Line Screen is the measure of how many halftone lines are printed in a linear inch. The value is expressed as Lines Per Inch (LPI), which usually seen in lithography, screen printing and more. This important measurement related to the way printers reproduce photographic images also defines the necessary resolution of an image. The LPI is dependent on the output device and the type of paper.

Common numbers of line screen measurement seen in sheet fed printing are 130, 150 and 450 (ProjectCenter offers 450 line screen printing). The higher the number, the better the quality. People in the business of photography find this measurement to be very important to the quality of their work, as you can see here.

ABOUT PROJECTCENTER:

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 www.makepapereasy.com or follow us at Twitter.

ProjectCenter’s Facebook Page
ProjectCenter's Facebook Page
Promote Your Page Too

ProjectCenter has been recognized by Google as a “Favorite Place“. Between July 1st and September 30th of 2009, Google users found the ProjectCenter business listing 2201 times, and requested driving directions or other information about ProjectCenter 504 times.

ABOUT PROJECTCENTER:

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 www.makepapereasy.com or follow us at Twitter.

ProjectCenter’s Facebook Page
ProjectCenter's Facebook Page
Promote Your Page Too

We now offer Green alternatives for your printing. We use recycled papers, soy/vegetable inks and Zero VOC solvents in order to reduce pollution and improve employee safety. Let us know if you want to go green!

Go Green

ABOUT PROJECTCENTER:

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 www.makepapereasy.com or follow us at http://twitter.com/ProjectCenter.

ProjectCenter’s Facebook Page
ProjectCenter's Facebook Page
Promote Your Page Too

ProjectCenter now offers printing services online to further enhance and round out their portfolio of services and purchasing options. “Our goal was to be a single source of printing services for clients, and this allows us to open up our client base outside of Arizona”, commented the owner of ProjectCenter.

ProjectCenter’s online website can be found at http://www.makepapereasy.com/printing-services/ and http://www.makeprintingeasy.com/.

ABOUT PROJECTCENTER:

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 www.makepapereasy.com or follow us at http://twitter.com/ProjectCenter.

ProjectCenter’s Facebook Page
ProjectCenter's Facebook Page
Promote Your Page Too

Maybe you’ve heard these terms from your printer, designer, or marketing manager but you still aren’t sure exactly what they mean. You’ve come to the right place, by the time you finish this article you’ll be a pro at understanding the differences and importance of these graphic art terms.

Raster Art is something you’ve seen quite a bit of, and in fact most computers, both Mac and PC, come with some form of a raster based program like Adobe Photoshop. Digital photos, for example, are raster. The image is made up of tiny boxes of color and each box contains only one color. Having thousands of boxes, each slightly different shades of one another is what makes up a photograph. When there are many boxes per square inch (aka, high resolution or high dpi – dots or “boxes” per inch) then the image appears clear and smooth. But when a raster image is enlarged (or when it doesn’t have many boxes per inch, aka low resolution) the image will look jagged and unclear. You’ve probably noticed this if you have ever printed a copy of a webpage or any other graphic from the web, as those graphics are usually only 72 dpi (high resolution printing requires 300dpi.)

Vector Art is drawn imagery such as many illustrations or logos and is a little more conceptual to understand. With drawing programs (like Adobe Illustrator) there are no “boxes” of color. Instead, you draw your image using points, lines, and curves. The program takes note of the coordinates of every point created and calculates the exact curve between each pair of points. It’s all mathematically designed. Because of this, if you shrink or enlarge a piece of vector art, the program simply recalculates the math and the image remains crystal clear.

So, why is this important? Well, whenever you design using raster art you will want it to be the appropriate dpi so you image is clear (and so your piece portrays the professional, quality company that you are). That means, for web based designs you will need your artwork to be at least 72dpi at 100% of the usage size. With print, you will want at least 300dpi. In addition, certain graphics are better designed as vector art. Logos designed as vector can be enlarged to create building signage, vehicle graphics or sized down to create embroidered hats and company logo pens. You are never limited by the quality of a vector graphic, and it can always be converted to raster if needed for certain print and web applications (however, raster cannot be converted to vector).

Post written by KRSmith at www.khrysser.com.

ABOUT PROJECTCENTER:

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 www.makepapereasy.com or follow us at http://twitter.com/ProjectCenter.

ProjectCenter’s Facebook Page
ProjectCenter's Facebook Page
Promote Your Page Too

One way to add interest and elegance to your business card or brochure is to use a spot varnish. You’ve seen spot varnishes before – with business cards that when you turn them in the light part of the card has a gloss or shine over it. When used in something like a brochure it could add dimension to images and logos and help them really jump off the page!

 

It’s a simple procedure to utilize spot varnishes in your designs. You create the brochure or other piece to the usual specifications. After the piece is designed, silhouettes of the areas that are to be varnished are created and set up as alternate pages or color separations. Try adding varnishes to just part of a photo – the differences in texture give the image a sort of three dimensional effect. The printer will print your project in the approved colors first, then they apply the varnish over the top in the areas that were designated.

 

The cost could be slightly higher for this added feature, but the price may be worth it if your card impresses the client as much as you do!


Post written by KRSmith at www.khrysser.com.

 

ABOUT PROJECTCENTER:

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 www.makepapereasy.com or follow us at http://twitter.com/ProjectCenter.


Here we are again, speaking about this concept of clients seemingly finding more comfort dealing with a printer direct than a broker. For the brokers, I am providing some great responses and differentiators to help you overcome the common objections of brokered print services. Keep in mind that these responses assume that you are what I call an ‘above board’ broker, meaning that you state that you are a broker to your clients before doing business with them.

1)      All printers are brokers at some point- The simple fact is that there are virtually no printers out there that do everything ‘in-house’. At some point, in any given project, the printer will need to outsource the work to someone else, whether that is for coating, binding, die-cutting, etc.

2)      Printers often have a higher overhead than brokers- This is a good one, because once in awhile a client will ask to tour someone’s facilities. Now we know what that means- the client wants to see how ‘big’ the machines are, or be ‘wowed’ by the organization of the facility. The fact is that bigger machines and bigger facilities means more people, more bills, bigger lease- otherwise known as bigger overhead. It does not mean that printers cannot be competitive, but the broker has more flexibility to source jobs to what they deem to be the ‘best’ printers.  In fact, it is very common for brokers to work with niche outfits, as they don’t typically have as much overhead, to help reduce overall cost to the client.

3)      Relationship is everything- I am making the assumption that we are talking about brokers that have been around awhile. If that is the case, then it is likely that the client has seen their printer reps come and go, while you continue to help them time and again.

So there you have a few statements of reference to help educate your clients, and overcome the prospective client that hisses and forms a cross with their fingers. It is important to note that you should not act inappropriately (i.e. cocky, smug, brag) when making these statements, because no client really appreciates it when someone denounces the competition, and equally important, the printer they are using could actually be one of your vendors.

 

ABOUT PROJECTCENTER:

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 www.makepapereasy.com or follow us at http://twitter.com/ProjectCenter.

I have had clients ask what the most common sizes are for postcards. So here I have created a list for your referencing pleasure:

1.5″ X 7″;
2″ X 8″;
2.5″ X 2.5″;
3″ X 4″;
4″ X 4″;
4″ X 6″;
4″ X 9″;
4.25″ X 11″;
4.25″ X 2.75″;
4.25″ X 3.66″;
4.25″ X 5.5″;
4.25″ X 6″;
5″ X 7″;
5.5″ X 2.125″;
6″ X 11″;
6″ X 9″;
8″ X 5″;
8.5″ X 2.75″;
8.5″ X 3.5″;
8.5″ X 3.66″;
8.5″ X 5.5″;
8.5″ X 6″

ABOUT PROJECTCENTER:

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 www.makepapereasy.com or follow us at http://twitter.com/ProjectCenter.

I recently saw an opportunity via a LinkedIn group, where a seeker of printing services asked if the responder of her request was a broker. When the responder said “yes”, the seeker said “I already have one of those”. 

Hmmmm……”those”. An interesting statement.

I had been in the technical reseller business for 11 years, and can tell you through experience that resellers are sometimes the only people you can rely on in tough times. I’ve seen manufacturers of products come and go, while the resellers is always there to help the client. End users believed for a long time that the best service was through a direct relationship with the manufacturer, and the result was that a client would eventually become disenchanted, or the manufacturer would make changes to their product line, or the manufacturer would simply go out of business. Who was left? The reseller who was nimble enough to have different but equivelent solutions.

So the big questions are…..

Are brokers all that bad to have during these economic times?

Is it possible that we will see printers go out of business?

Is the printing business somewhat economy-proof?

 

ABOUT PROJECTCENTER:

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 www.makepapereasy.com or follow us at http://twitter.com/ProjectCenter.

So you want to create an ad, postcard, or brochure for your business and you don’t have any pictures you can use. You have a few options depending on the number of images you need and your budget for acquiring the images.

Hire a photographer.

Your location, image needs, subject matter, model needs, and timeframe will all be factors in deciding the price of custom photography. Most times, product still-life photos can be done in a photography studio quickly without a rush status for a reasonable fee. And it will save you the headache of doing it yourself.

Take the photos yourself.

If you have a digital camera that you know how to correctly use it, then go for it. Have the patience to adequately light your images, or better yet, take them outside in natural light if you can. If you are taking photos of a product outside, be sure to do it in a setting that will look nice when placed in your brochure. Don’t take the photos of your product in the grass then ask an artist to retouch the photo (photo retouching can greatly increase the cost of your project). Be mindful of reflections on glass – it can be costly to accurately retouch those as well. If you are taking a photo of a location, be sure to do it on a nice sunny day and when the sun is overhead, not directly shining into the camera. If you have the patience and know how this can be a super cheap option for you!

Use stock photography.

Sometimes artists and agencies can offer stock photography for free, but this is often very limited in subject manner. Instead I encourage you to check out the numerous options online for stock photography subscriptions. In some cases for a few hundred dollars you can get unlimited downloads from a stock site for a limited period of time. If you only need a few really good photos check out some of the pay per image services where individual images generally cost about $10 each. You can often find highly specialized and creative images on these sites for a low standard cost.

Ask your manufacturer.

Many manufacturers of things like windows and siding (to name a few) will allow you to use their corporate photography if you are a dealer or reseller of their products. This is often free and can yield some excellent custom photography images, all you need to do is ask them for it!

One thing you generally can’t do is take images off of published websites. Not only are these images too low res for your printing needs, but they are almost always copyrighted. So when in doubt, just steer clear of these or you may end up ultimately paying the price with a lawsuit!

Post written by KRSmith at www.khrysser.com.

ABOUT PROJECTCENTER:

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 www.makepapereasy.com or follow us at http://twitter.com/ProjectCenter.