Category Archives: Guides

Bulk Mail & EDDM Postcards

Maybe you’ve heard of EDDM, but didn’t know what it was. You’ve probably heard that it can help your business grow and that it is pretty good at spreading the word, but still don’t understand exactly what it is. EDDM stands for Every Door Direct Mail and it lets you pick the USPS route that will best apply to your business marketing. That’s right, you can send out postcards or mailers without the need for a specific address list! No need to pay for an expensive list? Mind blown.

The mail carrier delivers your advertisement to EVERY house on their route, thereby getting your message out to as many potential customers as possible! “What’s the catch?” you may ask yourself. Well, the truth is that there are very specific rules for card sizes and layout guidelines that you must follow when setting up your mailer. The good news is that our experienced designers can help you make that eye-catching mailer that conforms to the post office requirements.  We know the rules and best practices so you don’t have to! Call us today!

Here’s some more information on EDDM from the USPS.
EDDM Mail

Binding Your Documents

Do you have a manuscript or report that is just a stack of loose pages? Let us pull those sheets together with one of the many binding options at P&B Print. Not all options are right for all types of bound materials, so here are just some of the possibilities we can use for your project:

Coil Binding / Spiral Binding

Probably the most common binding choice you’ll find at your local printer is coil binding, also known as spiral binding. It consists of a coiled strip of plastic that loops through holes punched into your paper. It is available in a variety of colors and sizes and is a sturdy and secure option for both thick and thin books.

Coil Spiral Binding Options

Comb Binding

Comb binding (or GBC) is composed of a set of plastic “teeth” that are hooked into a set of square notches punched into the paper. You don’t see comb bound books as often, but they can still be found in the wild. The main advantage to this type of binding, is the ease of page removal and you can add new pages to the bound set without destroying the binding. The downside is that it isn’t the most secure of the options available to you. Books bound in this fashion lay flat when opened and it is best for thick books.

Comb Binding Options

Tape Binding

The least secure of these three types of quick binding is the tape bind. It is a thin strip of book-binding tape that is coated in glue. The tape and the stack of pages are put into a machine that heats the glue on the strip and adheres it to the spine of the soon-to-be-book. Once it’s cool and dry, the glue holds the pages in a similar fashion to a book you might find in a store. The downside? You can’t really lay a tape bound book open flat. If you force it, the spine can crack and the glue could release some of the pages. Tape binding is good for manuscripts or something where a plastic spine would normally get in the way.

Tape Binding Options

Saddle-Stitch

You’ve probably seen this type of binding in instruction manuals or small magazines. A large stack of printed paper is folded in half and then stapled at least twice along the spine to hold it together. This binding option is usually the cheapest and fastest, though it typically only holds around 20 sheets of larger paper (which translates to a 40-60 page document). Saddle-stitching is relatively strong and can lay flat when opened completely, though it will take a little smoothing out at first.

There are a few variations of these binding types that we haven’t covered, such as Perfect Binding and Wire Binding. They are basically more durable versions of tape binding and comb binding, respectively. These types are better, but harder to come by and are usually more expensive.

We hope this little primer helps you to choose the best option for your bookbinding project!

Pantone Color of the Year 2018

It’s that time of year again when a color is chosen to frame what Pantone sees as the next year’s story. 2018 is shaping up to be a year of retro-future aesthetics with their pick of “Ultra Violet” as their Pantone Color of the Year. It conjures images of deep space nebulae and 80’s retro-wave, as they invoke Prince and David Bowie in their description of this bright and bold color.

photo by Pantone

This particular shade of purple quite a contrast from 2017’s bright green, so start thinking about incorporating it into your collateral or marketing pieces now. Just because it’s a darker color, doesn’t mean it can’t be fun:

Make a list and check it twice

Whether you are preparing for an event, a party, or just trying to make sure you don’t forget anything on your vacation, you’ll need a list. Lists are a great way to keep track of items or tasks when you’re under a time crunch. I ALWAYS forget at least one thing when packing for a trip or going to the grocery store. Because of this, I started to make lists as I thought of something I would need to remember or bring. List-making is not only a useful practice when it comes to preparing for dinner, but it has also been an important part of business.

When you are getting everything together for a trade show your company will exhibit at, you will need to make sure you don’t forget the accouterments necessary for a successful show. Start with the big picture needs and get those off of your mind. Here’s an example:

  • Secure booth space
  • Book hotel room
  • Rent a car

Next, start to drill down on the smaller and easier to forget items:

  • Print booth banner
  • Print business cards/handouts
  • Create promo products
  • Email signup sheets

Lastly, take it to the most granular level and make sure that you don’t forget the toothpaste, phone chargers, or your driver’s license.  Using this “Top Down” approach will help you get the easy-to-remember things out of the way and clear space for the smaller (yet equally important) needs. Once your list is started, add to it as things just “pop” in throughout the day. By the time you leave for your event, you’ll be as prepared as possible. You may still forget that extra pair of socks, but you’ll be better off than if you hadn’t outlined your needs.

We can help you with part of your list, too. If you need any printed materials or promo products, just let us know. We have a TON of different options at affordable prices and we may even be able to thing of a few things you forgot.

Here’s a great article that stresses the importance of list-making and gives you ideas for a few other important lists you can make.

 

Beginner’s Guide to Mailing

A quick Guide to Mailing

Mailing something seems easy enough. You put a letter in an envelope or buy a postcard, stick a stamp on it and drop it in a mailbox, right? Well, a stamp is good for most things, but what if you need to send out promotional cards or invitations to a wedding of 500 people? There can be a cheaper way to get the word out, if you know some of your other options. Here is our quick beginner’s guide to mailing…

When First-Class Isn’t Good Enough

When you buy a stamp at the post office or grocery store, you are pre-paying for the ability to mail a letter via “First-class postage”. It’s the basic way that most personal mail travels through the USPS. The rate increases almost yearly and it assumes you’re not mailing something over a certain size or weight (typically nothing larger than a standard envelope, and nothing heavier than a few ounces). First-class mail is usually the best (if not the easiest) option, but when you need to send out large numbers of letters or postcards, something called “Bulk Mail” can save your wallet. Bulk mailing has more restrictions than First-class, one of which is you need to have an account with the post office. Once you’ve registered your account, you are given an account number. This number is required to be printed on all of your mailing pieces, typically in the area that a stamp would normally go. This box in the upper right corner of your mailer is called the “indicia”. It indicates to the post office that your piece has been approved to be mailed at the cheaper rate, and it gives the USPS your account number so they can deduct the cost of postage from your account.

Like a regular stamp, bulk-mail is PRE-PAID. Instead of having to stick on all those pesky stamps, however, you can just pre-print your indicia on every postcard or envelope as they are produced. This saves you time and the postage cost is usually significantly cheaper than that Forever stamp.

guide to mailing
Different types of indicia (via USPS)

In general, your printer or mail house of choice will need to process and clean up your mailing list (the list of people you want to send your mailer to). This guarantees to the USPS that all of the address are correct and that the people you expect to be living there are actually still there. Normally the post office has to do all this sorting and list cleaning themselves, which is why the First-class stamp is more expensive than most other forms of postage. They want to get paid for all the extra work they have to do because their automated machines can’t read the pink glitter ink you used on the letter to grandma.

If you “pre-sort” your mailer for them, they are much happier and are willing to give you a discount on the postage price per piece, as long as you are guaranteeing a certain number of pieces to make it worth their while (typically over 200 pieces). Whew! And, there can be even larger discounts if your company is a non-profit, or the pieces are smaller.

There are a ton of ways to save money on mailing if you are willing to do a little extra work. Here is an article by the US Postal Service that fills in the blanks a little more.  If you aren’t sure where to start, come and see us! We’d love to help you understand your options for sending out your own postcards and flyers!

Custom Cards Make It Special

Custom Cards and greetings from Austin, TX

While it may be too early for some to be thinking about Christmas (we haven’t even had Thanksgiving dinner, yet!), it’s not too early to think about creating custom cards for you to send.

We’ve all been at the stores looking over the designs, trying to find the perfect cards to send. Why not spend that time with us working together to create the look and feel that’s personal to you? We can add family photos to the design, pictures of recent weddings, anything you want.

Let us help you create something special for your loved ones.

Resolution, DPI, PPI, and You

Resolution, DPI, PPI, and You

When having your photos or artwork printed, it’s not enough to just hit “Print” and hope for the best. The resolution of your finished image is probably the most important aspect of producing a high quality print. You have probably heard the terms DPI or PPI from your local print shop and thought they were speaking another language. The truth is, these initialisms are relatively simple concepts that, once learned, will help you become the master of your own destiny in print and on the web. Here are some quick definitions:

DPI vs PPI

Though the terms DPI and PPI are often used interchangeably, they actually have a very subtle but important difference.

DPI stands for “Dots per Inch”, and refers specifically to the number of dots in a printed inch (versus on the screen). The more dots that are packed into a square inch the better the detail and sharpness.

PPI means “Pixels per Inch” and is most commonly used when talking about the pixel density of a digital screen (monitors, phones, etc.).

Resolution is the measure of the number of pixels in a display, measured in width and length (1920px x 1080px, for example). The higher the resolution, the more detail, and the higher the DPI the higher the resolution.

Print vs. Web

For printing, your images need to be at least 300dpi if you are looking for the best quality.  Depending on the size of your finished piece, you could go down to 150dpi if necessary, but never lower. 150dpi is typically acceptable for banners or oversize posters, since they will be viewed from a distance so the the printed dots don’t need to be packed so tightly. Anything that will be viewed up close should be 300+ dpi.

On the web, DPI doesn’t really apply. The resolution of your image is most important. Remember, the larger the better! You can always reduce an image’s size without affecting the quality, but you can NEVER increase it’s size without some loss in clarity.

These are just the basics, and there is a ton nuance in preparing files for print and web; but these tips should put you on the right track to getting beautiful images in any format. If you need any help or have any questions about DPI or PPI, just let us know! We’d love to help you take the mystery out of your files.