Tag Archives: Print and Graphic Design

Banners for Spring

The spring equinox is here, bringing warmer weather, blooming flowers, and a sale on our over-size marketing solution: vinyl banners! Get the word out with a large, yet portable, signage solution that won’t get rid of all your green.

Outdoor vinyl banners

Until the end of March, you can get our 15 oz indoor/outdoor banners for 20% off! Also, you can choose from our most popular sizes. If you don’t see the perfect dimensions for your needs, just let us know!

Our banners are printed with high-quality equipment and come with or without grommets. You’re going to love them!

If you’re not sure if a banner is right for you or your business, here are some common uses of vinyl banners:

  • Trade show signage
  • Farmers’ market booth
  • Art/Craft show booth
  • Temporary marketing event
  • Promotion of sales or specials
  • …and much more!

There are a ton of reasons why you might need a portable banner for your business, and they aren’t limited to the list above. Therefore, anywhere you need to convey a message that can be seen from a distance is the perfect place for a vinyl banner this spring.

Gift Cards and Gift Certificates

Give the Gift of You

Now that the kids are back at school and Halloween is fast approaching, Christmas will be here before you know it. You can start planning now for the annual boost in business that the holidays brings by creating gift cards and gift certificates for your customers. Whether you own a spa or a retail shop, gift cards and certificates are the perfect way to not only make money at the time of purchase, but also make money when they are redeemed. Bringing new customers in the door should be a priority, and you can easily bring in those new people by word-of-mouth from your current customers via gift certificates.

We can help you plan and create custom gift certificates to use for your business. We can pre-print them for you in any denomination you’d like, or set them up so you can print the value on them yourself as you sell them. If you are looking for something a little fancier, we can also create plastic gift cards or discount cards that will really impress your clientele.

Whatever option is right for your blossoming business, we will walk you through every step. This holiday, give the gift of your product or service and watch your sales flourish!

Adding photos to your marketing

Preparing marketing materials for your business is more than just figuring out what you want to say and who you want to say it to. You’ll need to consider the entire feel of the piece when you start designing. Whether you are designing it yourself or having us do it for you, the stock photos you choose for your collateral can often speak louder than the text.

You can find stock photos on many websites, where you pay for the rights to use a particular photo commercially (in advertisements, on websites, and printed materials). While paying for a stock photo will often give you the best selection and highest quality pictures, it may be an added expense that you can’t afford right away. It doesn’t mean you have to give up and ditch the idea of having a great photo to accompany your expertly crafted text. There are plenty of royalty free stock photo sites that are actually free.

Most of the time, you just need to credit the photographer when using a free stock photo. Sometimes, however, you can find photos published under the Creative Commons license. This means that you can use the photo for free in your commercial endeavors without needing to credit the author. Keep in mind this policy can vary depending on the site you download the photo from.

One site to check out in your quest for free stock photos is Pixabay.

Pantone Color of the Year

Courtesy of Pantone Color Institute
The dream of Spring may be long gone, and the threat of Summer is alive and kicking, but Pantone’s official “Color of the Year” can still soothe your soul like those April showers of distant memory. Every year, the Pantone Color Institute chooses a color that will represent the year ahead. This year, the honor went to Greenery (PANTONE 15-0343) and it highlights the promise of growth and a renewed optimism over the previous year. So whether you’re enjoying the scorching Texas temperatures or are longing for the cooler breezy days of Autumn (though not MUCH cooler, am I right?), you can use Greenery to spruce up your back-to-school marketing materials.

Pantone even offers a library of colors that compliment this year’s star shade on their website. Head over there now and get designing! When you’re done, give us a call to help you grow that idea into a reality.

Avoiding the Summer Slump in Your Business


5 tips for battling the summer slump

Did you know that 25% of workers feel less productive during June, July and August than in the rest of the year? Check out this infographic about the office summer slump. Depending on your business, your sales may be experiencing a summer slump, too. Here are some tips to battling the summer slump:


1. Boost morale in the office!

— When’s the last time you did some team building? Brought donuts for the team? Gave positive comments to your staff? It’s the little things that mean a lot, and will energize your team.

2. Brainstorm

— Hold a brainstorming session with your team. Let them feel free to offer any suggestions to improve sales or reach. Don’t knockdown any ideas, write them all down, and let them know you’ll review them, or if you immediately like it, let them run with the idea. Give your team ownership, make them really feel apart of the company.

3. Reach out

— Reconnect, or connect for the first time with your clients. Do you have a newsletter? Now’s a good time to start one. Did you know it takes 7 “touches” to get a client to make an action? Send your clients a survey ask key questions so you can improve.

4. Network

— Join local business groups, go to a meetup in your industry, make sure to have business cards and / or promotional items to give out. Interact with your community to build your reach.

5. Social Media

— Maybe you don’t “get it”, or don’t have time for it, but in this day and age it is a vital part of promoting your business. We can help you with custom graphics, if you don’t have a designer.


We hope this post will get your wheels turning and help you beat the summer slump.

EDDM Direct Mail

EDDM is not some new type of dance music, it stands for Every Door Direct Mail. EDDM lets you pick the Post Office’s route that will best apply to your business marketing, and send out postcards or mailers without the need for a specific address list.  The postal carrier delivers your advertisement to EVERY house on their route, thereby getting your message out to as many potential customers as possible! Let our experienced Graphic Designers help you with making 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 Mailbox

Setting Up Bleed in your Artwork

Bleed for Print

One of the most difficult concepts to understand in printing is Bleed. Don’t worry, it’s not as dangerous or messy as it sounds. It’s a way of planning for the inherent imperfections in the process of turning your files into printed products.

P&B Spot Business CardsIf your design has color or elements that run off the edge of the page, you’ll need to add a BLEED to your document. Think of it as the extra bit around the edges that can be cut away without affecting the design. Printing is ultimately a mechanical process; paper enters a machine (in this case a printer or press), ink is applied, and it comes out the other side. Every sheet of paper that runs through the machine can shift and move by a sixteenth of an inch or more because that paper has such a long path to travel.

This is oversimplifying a bit, but the basic idea is there. If we didn’t take these shifts of paper into account, when the sheet is cut out, you may see extra white paper around the edges of the offending sheets. To avoid this, we want to stretch the color of the design out past where we want to cut it. This way, even if it shifts, we won’t see it.

NOTE: Another tricky-wicket when designing can be borders. If you have a solid border around your artwork, you’ll want to make sure that it extends INTO the Safe Zone of your design by at least.25″. This way, when your print is cut the border will appear even despite the variances in printing. Otherwise you could end up with a lopsided border that isn’t consistent throughout the run of prints.


Bleed Guide

Cut Edge: This line represents the finished cut edge of the piece.

Live Area (Safe Zone): The area that is considered safe to keep information or important elements within.

Bleed Area & Edge: The more bleed, the better. This area is the overage you need to provide if the color of your design goes all the way to the edge. Keep in mind anything in this area will be cut off, but you need something here so you don’t get white space at the edge of your finished card. Printers tend to shift minutely when printing, so not every sheet is always perfectly aligned, this extra space accounts for that shift.

The absolute minimum bleed you need for a printed piece is 0.125 in (1/8 in) per edge but some pieces require more than that. So if you are working with an image in Photoshop or Illustrator and placing it in InDesign for print preparation, keep in mind the area you might need to use for the bleed.

Crop Marks: Indicates where the print shop with cut the paper to create the finished piece.

Personal Calendars

personal calendarThe New Year is right around the corner, which means you’re probably in the market for a new wall or desk calendar. Why buy a pre-made boring calendar when you can let us create a custom calendar for you! We can add your special dates and holidays, like birthdays, anniversaries and even those “National Donut Day” type holidays!

Calendars aren’t limited to the standard 12-months, either. We can add as many months as you want and the photos to match. 14, 16, 24 months…the sky’s the limit!

One gift that I like to send to family members is a custom photo calendar. You can collect the best photos of the year and put together a functional scrapbook that Grandma will love! It’s an easy and very personal gift that you can’t just pick up at the grocery store on Christmas eve. Just send us the photos, let us know what dates are special to you, and we will do the rest!

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 Water Bottles and Dudley & Bob Shout Out

We recently produced some custom labeled bottled water to give to a local radio station, and we just wanted to show them off! They turned out great and it shows how you can customize nearly ANYTHING if you have the notion.

Dudley & Bob Water

We are proud at how these turned out, and the folks at the Dudley & Bob show on KLBJ liked them too. They gave us a couple of shout-outs during the show! Take a listen below, and call us if you want to create your own unique bottles for your next party or event.