Preparing images to print can be a tedious task. Reducing image size won’t cause a problem because you’re only removing unnecessary pixels. Increasing image size can be a nightmare. To make an image larger, computer software has to create new pixels based on an analysis of the original image. Even with all the advances in modern imaging software, this process still creates artifacts (noticeable imperfections produced by a digital process). Higher end programs minimize this effect but it’s still not perfect. There are two options to overcome this issue:
1. Design your images as vectors. Vector graphics are images rendered through the use of mathematics. Instead of storing the actual image, a vector file stores a set of instructions on how to recreate the image. The benefit of this format is the ability to be enlarged without artifacts. Instead of creating new pixels, the calculations stored in the file simply adjust for the larger size. Other benefits include small file sizes and the ability to easily edit the image at any time.
2. Bitmap (raster) graphics are based on a grid of pixels which are square points on the screen that comprise the images we see on the screen. The bitmap file stores the information for each pixel within the image so the file sizes for larger images can take up a lot of space. The reason we rely so heavily on bitmaps is that they can actually display life-like images. Bitmaps do not rely on mathematical equations so they can replicate the intricate lines and colors that are too complex for vectors to calculate.
Despite the difficulty of enlarging bitmap graphics, they can accomplish details that vector graphics cannot. Bitmap files can store much more detailed information such as the vivid color patterns found in nature.
Vector graphics can’t replicate the complicated tones and arrangements that make images look “real-life”. Vectors graphics are best suited to less detailed designs, they work very well for logos and stylistic renderings.
Knowing the differences between the two formats will make it much easier to ensure that you get excellent prints.
For employees in the creative sector, producing great work day after day can be a considerable challenge. Sometimes it feels like your creativity is running on empty after a long week. So what is the best way to regroup and recharge? Sometimes the easiest route to boosting creativity is to observe the creative work of others in your field. Here are 5 of the best blogs to find collections of new creative content every day:
Everything about this website helps to boost creativity. The articles are well written. The topics are fun. Even the layout is sleek and artistic. One of the best features is their established posting system. They have themes for each day of the week: Minimalist Mondays, Tutorial Tuesdays, Web Design Wednesdays, Typography Thursdays, Fan Art Fridays, Surreal Saturdays, and Snapshot Sundays. They also intersperse random articles in between these to ensure that you never run out of material to read and view.
This website has a simple layout that is easy to browse. The articles range from fun to business professional. The real selling point for Design Beep is their “Tutorials” and “Freebies” sections. If you’re just getting into graphic design, marketing, or web design, you can quickly find some amazing free resources to rocket you through the learning curve.
From Up North is another highly artistic and creative inspiration blog. It does not have the pleasantly predictable schedule and tutorial section to match Youthedesigner, yet it offers more edgy and diverse posts. The articles featured on this website could really help your creative efforts push boundaries and get noticed.
Abduzeedo is one of the more popular sites for collecting inspiring and useful design resources. The articles are diverse and generally more laid-back. The daily inspiration posts keep your brain engaged with new ideas and images. The “Beautiful Houses” posts are certainly relaxing if they don’t make you drool with home-envy. The tutorials offered here are simple and can make you look like a pro in no time.
Lost and Taken is a new personal favorite. This site owner, Caleb Kimbrough is dedicated to providing amazing collections of textures for use with any design task. The textures are extremely high resolution files and can be useful for almost any situation. The resources on this site are free, though Caleb makes a humble request for a $4 donation for caffeine to help him keep working late on the impressive textures. Even if you’re only focused on the business side of marketing, you cannot deny that graphic design quality has drastically gone up. The textures here will help you keep pace with modern designers.
If you’re feeling burnt out or just need some inspiration to get past a creative block, spend 15 minutes on these sites and you’ll be bound to stumble across something amazing to get you through.
Document folding is a great way to add visual appeal or separate important sections of a printed document. Another benefit of folding is decreasing document size which increases ease of handling and transport. Some folds may require scoring (perforating along an edge) to ensure that the fold is smooth. Here is a list of the most popular fold styles you can use on your next print project:
1. Half Fold
The Half Fold is the most commonly used fold style. It’s perfect for cards and simple brochures.
The Z-Fold separates your page into a streamlined 6-panel document. The result is clean and easy to read which makes it well-suited for informational brochures and pamphlets.
3. Accordion Fold
Similar to the Z-Fold, the According Fold adds more panels while maintaining a functional and neat appearance.
4. Letter Fold
This fold is essential for business mail. Most mail and envelopes still maintain the standard letter size. The Letter Fold can also be used as a variation on the Z-Fold. The side panels open like shutters to get to the interior information.
5. Barrel Fold
The Barrel Fold opens like a spiral. You read the exterior panels before “unrolling” the document to get to the center. This is conducive to captivating the audience with exciting exterior panels and saving the labor intensive information such as contact details for the interior panels.
6. Gate Fold
The Gate Fold allows you to have a neat 4 panel document that opens up to a larger 4 page spread. This could work well for larger graphics that won’t fit on one panel while still providing separate smaller sections for text.
7. Two Parallel Fold
This fold allows for larger documents to folded into a more manageable size. Legal sheets can be folded to fit standard mail sizes.
8. Half + Letter Fold
This fold is perfect for larger paper sizes like 11″x17″ pages. They fit neatly into standard envelopes and are comfortable to handle.
9. Half + Z-Fold
This fold allows larger pages to be folded and opened neatly while minimizing the overall document size. This style suits maps, newsletters, and brochures with large graphics.
There are plenty of fold styles to choose from. Contact us today to discuss which fold is right for your project.
When searching for a print company to help with your printing needs, you will most likely notice the terms “offset printer” and “digital printer” being used everywhere. What’s the difference and which one is the best for your jobs? Fortunately most print companies provide both services and can help you make that decision. To help you with your print buying process, we’ve compiled some important facts to help you along the way.
Offset printing is a process that uses a set of metal plates and rubber ink rollers to transfer an image to a medium passing through the machine. This method of printing results in the most crisp, precise, and clear images with stunning color reproduction. The metal plates and rubber rollers press the ink firmly into the surface you are printing on. This pressure firmly bonds the ink to the material creating clean lines.
If you have opted for spot color printing using PMS colors (Pantone Matching System), the color will be correctly reproduced by mixing your specific color blend before printing. The ink on each roller can be adjusted to correct any imbalance in color.
Due to the linear nature of offset presses, extra rollers can be added to create special printing effects that other printing methods cannot replicate. Offset printing generally handles finer details better than any other printing process.
The initial cost of offset printing is higher than digital printing because of the extra setup time and materials needed to create the printing plates, prepare the ink, and align the machine. Short run jobs and variable data projects are not cost effective because of this restraint. However, large volume printing jobs are much more cost effective on an offset process due to the high print speed once the setup is completed. Offset printing also requires more personnel to operate the complicated machinery (which also adds to the cost of using offset presses). Quick turn-around times are not usually available for offset printers due to the extra setup time and special attention needed during the printing process.
Digital printing is an entirely different animal. This process involves directly transferring a digital image to a medium via toner, ink jet, or laser activated ink. There is minimal setup needed and the machinery is less complicated to operate, making digital printing ideal for short print runs with fast turn-around requests. Though it may not rival offset presses for ultra-fine detail, digital printers are drastically improving every year in both quality and versatility. Due to the ease-of-use and quick setup, digital printers are also able to make concepts like variable data cost-effective. You can print the exact number of copies you need and target specific sections of a printed piece for each group of your clients.
Though incredible quality can now be achieved through digital printing, an offset press will still produce a superior level of quality. Color matching is also more challenging in a digital environment as color is strictly defined by a combination of cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK); pre-mixed Pantone inks are not used. And while digital printing is incredibly affordable for short and medium volume print runs, the per piece price is going to be higher than offset for very high volume print jobs.
If you’re still unsure of which process is best for your order, don’t worry! Your local print shop staff will be happy to help you through the decision. At United Reprographics, we help our clients pick the process that will get them the best quality, best price, and most efficient turn-around possible.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis recently released their newest music video, “Can’t Hold Us.” It has already been viewed over 1.5 million times just one day after its release. The duo have been making waves in the music industry by producing a #1 single (Thrift Shop) and #1 album (The Heist) on the Billboard charts without a record label. This enormous success is unprecedented with independent music releases.
Macklemore and Lewis’ songs and videos often mention a great love for their native city, Seattle. The newest video for Can’t Hold Us features sprawling panoramic views of the Emerald City as well as a special feature atop the iconic Space Needle. Everyone at United Reprographics was ecstatic when we were asked to print a custom flag for the video. The flag displaying the artists’ album cover was flown at the top of the Space Needle for the video shoot.
J&D Foods are innovators in the seasoning market with their Bacon Salt products. Due the recent public fascination with bacon (and because it just tastes so good) business is booming. Founders Justin and Dave dream that one day, everything can taste like bacon.
As an April-Fools joke, the company made a spoof advertisement for “Baconlube” personal lubricant. They were quickly surprised by the amount of Bacon Salt fans requesting to purchase the Baconlube. J&D Foods stepped up to the challenge and turned Baconlube into a real product which is now for sale on their website.
Not to be outdone by their own creativity and audacity, they pushed the envelope even further by developing Bacon Condoms! These condoms are designed to look like bacon in addition to being coated in Baconlube before packaging. Clever slogans such as “Make your meat look like meat,” made the product even more amusing.
J&D Foods have been a long-standing United Reprographics customer. We have printed labels and packaging for their Bacon Salt products, Bacon Chapstick, and even their famous “Bacon Coffin.” Naturally we were happy to be a part of their newest venture by printing the packaging for Bacon Condoms.
Recently, Jay Leno featured Bacon Condoms on The Tonight Show.
Watch the episode here: Tonight Show 4/11/2013
The product is seen at 13 minutes and 25 seconds in.
A booklet is a great marketing solution when you need to convey more data than you can fit on a brochure. Catalogs, magazines, pamphlets, and manuals all fall under the booklet printing. Here are 4 tips to get the most out of your booklet marketing:
1. Integrate booklets into your overall marketing campaign.
Get people interested in your business with brief information provided on a flyer or postcard. Once you’ve captured their curiosity, provide the next tier of more detailed information in a booklet. This approach keeps potential customers and clients from being overwhelmed by information at the wrong stage in your business relationship.
2. Make your booklets look and feel amazing.
A huge reason magazines are still so popular (despite the prevalence of online magazines and e-books) is the production value. The printed advertisements and articles just have a wow-factor that the screen can’t seem to fully replicate. Seeing a product you really want on a high-gloss page just seems to make it more desirable. Use different textures, different paper stock, and different finishing options to make the booklet an experience instead of just a collection of text and pictures.
3. Keep things exciting.
You’ll be providing your customers and clients with a lot more information about your products and services. At this point, they are interested in your business but don’t lose sight of providing entertainment value (No sale is a sure-thing until it’s complete). Use images and fun language to keep your readers engaged as they absorb the important information necessary to move the business relationship forward.
4. Resist the urge to overshare.
Booklets provide you with a lot more room to work with instead of the one or two pages that flyers and brochures can offer. However, don’t feel like you have to use that opportunity to provide every single detail about your company and your products/services. Use the booklet to bridge the gap between your introduction and sales force. It’s best to give the information room to breathe. If you space out the important facts, people are more likely to remember the vital information.
Booklets can be fun, informative, and inspiring. More importantly, they can help you to prepare customers and clients for making a purchase or important business decision. Move your marketing forward with booklets today.
Marketing is a tough competition to get your name in the minds of consumers. The phrases used in marketing statements can range from simple facts to outrageous claims of grandeur. Everyone wants to make sure their products or services really shine. It’s important that we don’t stretch the truth to accomplish this. It’s unethical and consumers are too smart to let these practices continue to be successful. Here are 5 of those shady marketing practices that you should be wary of:
- Avoid meaningless broad boasting statements like, “We’re the best in America!” People hear phrases like that and automatically dismiss the statement as a cheesy marketing technique. They know that you have no way of proving that and are instinctively wary of any other statements you make after that.
- Avoid making claims that will instill false hope in your customers. Weight loss products are notorious for this when they say things like “She lost 30 pounds in two weeks with our supplement.” It’s a nice concept but when you look at the fine print, you see that they also state that the level of weight loss advertised is not the average amount and was attained through a rigorous workout schedule and a healthy diet. These scenarios will only lead to disappointed consumers.
- Avoid using explosive action words to explain a mundane product or service. Nobody wants to see the word “rockstar” used to describe something like a home cleaning service. You would be much better served choosing a word that conveys the concepts of reliability and professionalism.
- Avoid using phrases such as “virtually indestructible” or “near flawless.” Consumers are well versed in marketing techniques. They understand that these types of phrases usually mean the opposite of what they imply. “Virtually indestructible” really translates to “this product can break.” “Near flawless” translates to “there are imperfections in this product or service.”
- Avoid cliché phrases like “thinking outside the box.” Those sayings used to impress people but now every company makes similar claims. You need to let your products do the talking for you. If you truly “thought outside of the box,” your product’s innovative nature should be impressive enough to convey that idea without words.
The best way to beat the competition is through the use of honest and strong value statements. Provide quality products and services and only promise exactly what you can deliver. Consumers will appreciate and support the honest and direct approach.
United Reprographics is proud to sponsor an upcoming installment in Seattle’s art community:
Art Event: Myths, Fables & Legends!
When: Friday, April 19th, from 6PM to 12:30AM
Where: The Piranha Shop – 1022 1st Ave. S, Seattle, WA 98134
The Hive Gallery and Studios from Los Angeles and Seattle’s Piranha Shop present an exciting new collaboration between California and Washington’s alternative, urban and underground art scenes. The show features over 80 contributing artists, live music by Battlecat Mars, and Impending Past, as well as performances by Morgue and Circus Act by the Wreckless Freaks! Food and drinks will be available during the event.
Here are some samples from the featured artists for the event:
Isobel and the Mammoths
Arduinna The Huntress
Embodiment of Her Soul
Full list of artists:
13fingers * 179 * Aaron Jasinski * Alexandria Sandlin * Aliesha Larson * Archie Jones * Augie Pagan * Braden Duncan * Brandon Shea * Brian White * Bryan K Ward * Carlos Aguilar * Charles Wilton * Chet Zar * Chris J Olson * Chris Sheridan * Christa Jefferson * The Collagemonauts * Corey Skillman * Corey Urlacher * Curtis Ashby * Dan Broxon * David Enriquez * Dennis Turner * Don Deleva * Duffy * Echo Chernik * Ego * Elijah Wolff * Elizabeth Beronich Sheets * Gabe Marquez * George Jennings * George Long * Hallelujah Goat * Hera Won * Hillary Gore * I Niemand * Ian Douglass Ferger * Jacob Cass * Jason Soles * Jeremy Gregory * Joe Vollan * John Michael Gill * Jonathan MacKinnon * Jonathan Wakuda Fischer * Joseph Brooks * Julie Baroh * Julie Luke * Kat Houseman * Keegan O’Rourke * Kree Arvanitas * KRK Ryden * Laci Shaffer * Larkin * Laura Cameron * Levi Hastings * Maj Askew * Marc Tweed * Margaret Organ-Kean * Mark Romney * Mark Tedin * Mark Walker * Matt Savage * Matthew Hinshaw * Michael Leone * Michelle Boshart * Nathan Cartwright * Richard Olmsted * Ron Evans * Ronnie Taylor * Ryan Ebelt * Sam Hamrick * Sean Michael Hurley * Seb Barnett * Seth Kupchick * Siolo Thompson * Sonja Stockton * Stephanie Battershell * tnglr * Tracy Cilona * Wednesday Wolf * Wilky * Worm Morphology * Xavier Lopez Jr * Yoko Holbachine * Yvette Endrijautzki * Zeb Shaffer
Louie Gong is a multicultural artist and activist who has been making some impressive waves in the art community. He gained international recognition from his custom shoe artwork and rigorous touring schedule. Louie is setting out to change the way Native artists are perceived. We had the opportunity to speak with Louie recently when he stopped by to watch his new art feature print out on our large format eco-solvent color printer.
When asked about the inspiration for the new piece, Louie shared a story from his past to help explain what it meant to him. As a child, he had a fantasy of catching a bird. One day, he was walking in the woods and noticed a small bird near the ground. He quickly reached out and closed his hands. To his great surprise, Louie had actually caught the bird. “So this art is partly for that memory and also to represent my feelings about the success I’m experiencing now. I’ve reached out and caught what I thought was unattainable and now I have to decide what to do with that success.”
The art will be shown with the exhibit “War Baby / Love Child” which is presented to show the identity and struggles of mixed race Asian American peoples. More information on the exhibit can be found here: warbabylovechild.com.
Louie has been working with United Reprographics for the past 5 years. When asked what made us his printer of choice, Louie stated, “I’ve stayed with the company because of the great customer service and the ability to work with people who really care about the work they do. It’s also really inspiring as an artist to see the back end of the production process, to see my work as it’s being printed.” Louie also mentioned that he is very passionate about pursuing environmentally friendly production and that he can count on our “bend over backwards” guarantee to accommodate his requests.
We’re excited for Louie’s success and even more excited to see what he will accomplish in the future. Find more information about Louie at his website: eighthgeneration.com