Personalized Bandanas: Paisley, Personalized, Print to Order

 

Custom Paisley Silkscreened Bandanas

GREAT IDEA – why not put your logo and tag line on a bandana! They make a great as promotional products or swag gifts for customers, or to display for sale. The classic bandana with a paisley pattern seems to never go out of style. (You can read about the facsinating history of the bandana here.) We love these custom printed bandanas that incorporate a customer logo seamlessly into that classic design. They are lightweight woven cotton with screen printing in white and come in the whole rainbow of colors you would expect. We’d love to help you get set up with your own – to get started just click here or give us a call: 828-684-4512.

Pet Bandanas

The pet bandana version is also pretty awesome – a triangular shape makes it easier to tie around your best friend’s neck. They come in different sizes to fit the tiniest dogs or cats or some king-size buddies. The entire imprint area can be designed with your repeating logo or with some other shape or design of your choice. You can find this item here (along with thousands of other promotional products you can browse and order).

Color assortment of custom printed bandanasYou’ll need a version of your logo that works reversed out in all white with no screens – and we can help you with that. In our large bandana sample here, we used the logo at a larger size in the center, and then in four smaller imprint areas on each of the four corners. When folded, you’ll always see one of the logos. You might want to include a tagline or web address as well if the imprint area works better with that information.

Developing your logo in different variants is important for multichannel marketing. Never settle for one “FINAL” version of your logo from your designer with the idea that it can multitask for every need. Your mark can exist in different “flavors” that will be versatile enough to work in full color, single color with screens, spot color and at different sizes from tiny imprints to billboard size, offset to online. The standard full color logo that looks just perfect on your letterhead may not be the version that works for embroidery on uniforms, screenprinting, promotional products, black and white forms, single color designs, or wide format prints. For versatility of use, it’s also great to have your logo designed in a “Tall” (portrait) and “Wide” (landscape) version. Think about it: what might look good on a round coaster might look pretty tiny if you decide to print it on the side of a pencil!

 

 

Call us at 828.684.4512 to order your bandanas, or for any marketing needs. As a printer, we understand communication and design. Your printer should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmentally responsible printing. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

ImageSmith is now partnered with Extreme Awards & Engraving – our in-house partner providing custom engraved trophies and awards for employee recognition programs, sporting events, and promotional needs. With our new sister company, we will be sharing space, resources and expertise in a collaboration designed to further provide you with one place to meet all of your marketing needs… Under One Roof! Visit them online at www.extremeae.com or call direct at 828.684.4538.

 

 

Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.

Foil Stamping Shines – More Options from Metallics

Foil Stamping - Hot, Cold and Digital

Foil stamping is a great way to add eye-catching shine and metallic glow to your print projects. Even a small touch of foil on a printed piece can bring it alive in a way regular inks never can. Foils have been around a long time (having once been done by hand) and today there are also several new digital and toner-based processes that can help meet the demands of any print budget, deadline, or run length. From the design side, defining the foil stamp area is generally no harder than defining a new spot color in your layout.

Probably the most well-known foiling process is Hot Foil Stamping. It requires a special metal die that is heated and pressed into the paper, creating a nice indentation in the finished piece. The hot foil process uses only one color of foil at a time, and is generally too costly for short runs. The final effect, however, elevates any print piece from average to classic – in other words, perfect for that customer who always says to “make it pop!”

Sample Foil Swatches Cold Foil Transfer is accomplished on a 6-color press. The first 2 units apply adhesive and foil, the other 4 are for CMYK printing. Overprinting CMYK onto the foil creates a whole gamut of metallic colors that would not be possible with one-color hot foil stamping. Besides gold, silver, and copper foil, there are also holographic foils which reflect a broad spectrum of colors back to the eye, as well as matte, gloss, pearled and pigmented foils from which to choose. Again, this can be a costly process, is often limited to coated stock only, and is not a great fit for a short-run budget.

New digital processes use either toner or a polymer varnish to attach the metallic foil, and can be cost-effective on short or medium sized runs. Also, metallic foil substrates are a great option – opaque CMYK inks are illuminated by the metallic media, and white can be under printed on specific elements to retain true or non-metallic color where desired. PaperSpecs has a great “Foil Cheat Sheet” you can download free here, outlining all the current processes.

InDesign Layout for Foil Stamping

To define the foil stamp area in your layout, just make all those objects be a new spot color – name it “FOIL” if you choose. You can get clear specs from your vendor or PSP, but in short they will need a separation from your design that only contains the area to be “foiled.” Foil stamping is also a great option when choosing from the huge variety of promotional products that can be branded for your marketing. Foiling can be used on most items from keychains to coffee mugs – in a wide variety of colors and finishes.

And speaking of varnishes, spot UV varnish coatings can give a flash of highlights to a printed piece in much the same way a metallic foil does. When the paper catches the light, these elements shine and give the illusion of depth and dimension but in a more subtle way than a metallic ink or foil. They too are simply defined in prepress as a spot color separation in the same way the foil is setup.spot UV coating adds gloss to print

So the options are out there today for employing great metallic foils and effects without any extra hassle for design, prepress, or budget concerns. The main limitation is often envisioning what the final product will look like — you will not really be able to create a digital or hard copy proof that will accurately preview the often stunning effects foil stamping can create. Perhaps the best way to do that is to ask your print provider for a sample of previous projects that successfully used foil. They should be happy to help you out.

In fact, rely on your printer for advice and direction with all of your integrated marketing. They should be able to provide you with everything from encouragement along the way to complete design, layout, copywriting, production, multi-purposing, online implmentation and distribution of your marketing outreach. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.

Print and Direct Mail Still Drive Integrated Marketing

Direct Mail Works

Just like fashion or the weather, trends in marketing tend to be cyclical – a decade or more ago the old chorus of “Print is Dead” was being sung by many in marketing looking toward the future. The excitement over the power of email, big data, social media, and online advertising worked to diminish an appreciation of the usefulness of paper, printing, and direct mail. And just like the weather, that excitement has been tempered over time with the realization that a mix of all these marketing tools will always be the most effective – and that print/direct mail has unique properties that can drive customer decision-making in ways a phone or laptop screen never will.

The nice part about this for the small business is that this holds true for their local outreach just as much as for the huge corporate players or the tech-savvy, flashy startups with national campaigns.  A recent Vox article explored “Why so many hip startups advertise with snail mail.” They note the cyclical trends of marketing and that print is making a comeback (even among the hip!) due to a combination of rising digital pricing and oversaturation of email/digital ads. The Vox article hesitates to actually praise the time-tested value of print advertising too readily:

“Are mailers more effective than online advertising? That’s certainly up for debate. No company Vox spoke with for this story would share numbers that compared the response rate of mailers to digital advertising.” link

 

Luckily, we don’t really need them to share that in order to see how a multi-channel approach to marketing harnesses the power of both print and digital (and we can check with the DMA for that data). The exact mix of those two that will prove most cost effective and successful varies based on business size, budget, location, goals, etc.

In the non-profit world direct mail has consistently been a staple to fundraising and survival. Check out these stats:

  • Direct mail increases online donations by 40%.

  • In 2012, US companies generated incremental sales through direct marketing to the tune of $2.2 trillion.

  • Advertisers in the US spend $167 per person on direct mail, earning $2,095 worth of goods sold. That’s a 1,255% return on investment.

  • Non-profits gain 78% of their donations from direct mail.

Source: PrintisBig.com
 
 

Yes, direct mail requires an investment upfront that can be larger than digital, but the longevity, focus, and the physical qualities of print reap larger rewards with name retention, response rates and ultimately ROI. The Digital Marketing Association reports that their 2017 research shows:

“Once again, direct mail response rates rank stronger than digital channels, sometimes exponentially: at 5.1% for house lists and 2.9% for prospect lists, mail response rates consistently exceed the 2% response rate of all digital channels combined.”

Rather than seeing an EITHER/OR situation between direct mail and new digital alternatives, embrace the opportunities of mobile marketing, qr codes, email, social media and website e-commerce as a whole new box of tools to get our your message and/or drive sales. To abandon print and it’s proven effectiveness in that transition will prove costly!

Rely on your printer for advice and direction with integrated marketing. They should be able to provide you with everything from encouragement along the way to complete design, layout, copywriting, production, multi-purposing, online implmentation and distribution of your marketing outreach. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.

Nonprofits, Charities Face Challenges of New Tax Law – Will Direct Mail Come to the Rescue?

Volunteer with donation jar

The new tax law passed by Congress in December 2017 has charitable fundraisers and nonprofits from the local level to the international level concerned. According to some estimates, the changes will potentially drain from $16 billion to $24 billion from the nonprofit sector each year. The reasons are clear: the law doubles the standard deduction for individuals and couples, making it unreasonable for millions to itemize their deductions and therefore eliminating an incentive to make or increase charitable contributions. Also, by raising the estate tax, the law erodes incentive to receive tax benefits by leaving bequests to charitable foundations. Many feel that smaller, locally based charities will be hit the hardest.

Of course, the generosity of Americans will not be diminished by changes in tax law (and not all of the changes are necessarily bad news for nonprofits). But the concerns overall are very real, and highlight the importance of giving now more than ever. Brian Gallagher, president of United Way International, feels that while people will still give they will not give as much. Why? Charitable contributions for the majority of people will be taxed.

These developments mean nonprofits will be more eager than ever to take advantage of smart, proven marketing/fundraising strategies. The strategic use of quality direct mail for charities and nonprofits is a proven winner, and should not be overlooked in marketing strategy plans for the years ahead.

Over at PrintisBig.com, you will find some eye-opening statistics about the print industry, and specifically about the power of direct mail – yes, good old-fashined direct mail, even in a digital age. While I would attribute part of the continued effectiveness of direct mail campaigns for marketing to their integration with other online and offline marketing methods, it looks like the preference of consumers for the physical nature of printed matter still pays off in increased conversion rates and marketing ROI. Also, small companies and non-profits are reaping the benefits of VDP personalization in increasingly targeted campaigns that drive up response rates as their database management matures. A couple of the stats from PrintisBig:

  • Direct mail increases online donations by 40%.

  • In 2012, US companies generated incremental sales through direct marketing to the tune of $2.2 trillion.

  • Advertisers in the US spend $167 per person on direct mail, earning $2,095 worth of goods sold. That’s a 1,255% return on investment.

  • Non-profits gain 78% of their donations from direct mail.

Source: PrintisBig.com
 

Rather than seeing an EITHER/OR situation between direct mail and new digital alternatives, embrace the opportunities of mobile marketing, qr codes, email, social media and website e-commerce as a whole new box of tools to get our your message and/or drive sales. To abandon print and it’s proven effectiveness in that transition will prove costly!

Current wisdom seems to say that millennials are less influenced by traditional print marketing in favor of online, digital ads. But the facts dispute this. Direct mail for millennials is still a trusted, welcome source of information and studies are showing that the most effective strategies always involve a mix of print and digital. Many who eventually donate online will have found you because they were first interested in a direct mail piece which directed them to the convenience of online giving.

As a nonprofit or charity fundraiser, rely on your printer for advice and direction with integrated marketing. They should be able to provide you with everything from encouragement along the way to complete design, layout, copywriting, production, multi-purposing, online implmentation and distribution of your marketing outreach. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.

The Rebirth of Brutalism – Graphic Design’s Edgy Experiment

Virgile Flores, Art direction, Graphic design

Playful or angry? Radical or bland reproduction? Utilitarian or chaotic? Brutalism in graphic design thrives on uncertainties.

A common goal of design, especially in a print marketing or web commerce environment, is to stand out from the crowd – to grab attention. As a result, the current or hottest trends in the design world are often reactionary… an effort to gain notice by their difference, unique nature or even shock value. While this may not be a good fit for everyone’s brand message, it can convey the spirit of innovation, freshness and creativity that just following the norms can never accomplish.

Brutalism---Just2

The latest trend, according to many experts in the design world, is a current reimagination of the genre of Brutalism. Brutalism is based in the modernist architecture movement of the 1940s-1970s, closely associated with the work of Le Corbusier. The word itself is from the French for “raw,” as in the raw exposed concrete used on much of the buildings’ facades. Think stark, rugged, cold, institutional – much like the architecture that comes to mind when you think of gray cities in eastern Europe during the Cold War era. The structure and utility of the object is shown, not hidden. There is little room for ornamentation. Perhaps the best way to describe Brutalism is to define what it is not: the goal of a brutalist approach is not to appear easy or comfortable. It is not light, fun or friendly.

Brutalism - WildTurtles

Brutalism web design

A great place to get a feel for the range and style of a brutalist aesthetic is the Washington Post’s gallery of Brutalist Websites. The Post describes the genre in this way: “In its ruggedness and lack of concern to look comfortable or easy, Brutalism can be seen as a reaction by a younger generation to the lightness, optimism, and frivolity of today’s web design.” Brutalism - retroOften it bears a resemblance to the images of the early days of digital graphic design and the internet – pixellation, jarring color combos and clunky typography – a partial nod to the retro or nostalgic approach.

Check out the creative work all over the internet now and see if your brand or marketing might benefit. It will mean breaking a lot of rules design school taught you never to attempt – in color choice, font selection, imagery, content and even the coding of webpage development.

(For a humorous take, look at ux.design.cc for their idea of what an imaginary framework for what a brutalist design process might look like.)

Brutalism - roTopo

Brutalism---SportsTragedy

Vitelli website

 

Call us at 828.684.4512 for any marketing needs. As a printer, we understand communication and design. Your printer should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmentally responsible printing. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

ImageSmith is now partnered with Extreme Awards & Personalization – our in-house partner providing custom engraved trophies and awards for employee recognition programs, sporting events, and promotional needs. With our new sister company, we will be sharing space, resources and expertise in a collaboration designed to further provide you with one place to meet all of your marketing needs… Under One Roof! Visit them online at www.extremeae.com or call direct at 828.684.4538.

 

 

Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.

The Campus Arboretum of HCC Celebrates First 50 Years with Beautiful Print Exhibit

HCC display

Celebrating the beauty of a “living laboratory” calls for a beautiful exhibit. The Haywood Community College Foundation in Clyde, NC is doing just that for the anniversary of the HCC Campus Arboretum and “First Fifty Years of Stewardship” in their exhibit Forest, Farm + Garden, 1966 – 2016. Through a mix of print, mounting and lighting techniques, the exhibited historical information and images combine to engage and inform visitors in a museum-quality experience. Visiting is a great way to learn more about local landscapes and horticulture – as well as check out in person some quality print examples, substrates and display ideas.

The landscape, gardens and collections of Haywood Community College and its Campus Arboretum are recognized as “one of the most beautifully landscaped areas in Haywood County.” The current exhibit honors the original vision of landscape architect Doan Ogden as well as the years of continued stewardship over the campus and its collections: greenhouses, a dahlia garden, orchard, working vegetable gardens, rhododendron garden, mill pond and grist mill. The HCC campus today stands as a “tapestry of landscapes that together capture the heritage of he Southern Appalachian Mountains and its people.” This HCC display is made possible through generous gifts from the Charitable Foundation of the International Dendrology Society and individual society members. Proceeds from the sale of exhibit catalog, photos and posters will be used to further education, outreach and stewardship of the Campus Arboretum.

HCC Mill Pond
Photo by Benjamin Porter

The exhibit is located in the Mary Cornwell Gallery of the Creative Arts Building on the HCC campus, and will be open from October 1 through November 19, 2016.

Forest, Farm + Garden, 1966 – 2016 employs a blend of different print, mounting and display techniques to tell the story of 50 years of stewardship on the HCC campus. New photographs by Benjamin Porter as well as historic plans, photos and maps from the founding director John Palmer’s records bring to life the history and achievements. Check out below some of the print techniques that can be used for any permanent or temporary display to engage viewers.

Campus Arboretum HCC display

 

Dye-Sublimation Fabric Printing – colorful graphics and text come alive on the rich texture of fabrics through a process known as dye-sublimation, or “Dye Diffusion Thermal Transfer Printering.” This “soft signage” preserves the drape and texture of fabric, and has the bonus of being lighter in weight and less expensive to ship than heavier traditional signage.

Mounted, Adhesive Vinyl, Wide Format Prints – sharp photographic quality prints on glossy vinyl are great for any large-scale display. The adhesive vinyl substrate provides high quality, colorfast output with vibrant colors. Mounting the finished prints onto foam core, corrugated plastic, or PVC backing provides depth and relief to a wall-mounted display in the same way traditional framing does, but without the expense or hardware.HCC display

Flatbed UV Printing – signage can also be printed directly onto substrates up to 6 inches in depth on a flatbed printer, eliminating the need for mounting. UV print bonds directly to the surface of the substrate and provides clear, full-color output in one step. Print pre-mounted plastic, wood or metal surfaces or even pre-stretched canvases for a stand-out wall display.

Contour Cut Vinyl Lettering – for a great visual display of the written word, contour cut vinyl lettering combines great typography with mountable adhesive for an exhibit with a  museum-quality finish. Letters are laser cut from any color of adhesive vinyl, the excess areas “weeded” away, and the text can then be mounted directly on a wall or display. Printed in reverse, the letters can be mounted on the back of glass or other clear substrates for a see-through effect as well.

Talk to your printer about these and more great ideas to create your own one-of-a-kind exhibit or display for everything from an event or opening to a tradeshow or retail window or lobby display.

 

Call us at 828.684.4512 for any marketing needs. As a printer, we understand communication and design. Your printer should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmentally responsible printing. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

ImageSmith is now partnered with Extreme Awards & Personalization – our in-house partner providing custom engraved trophies and awards for employee recognition programs, sporting events, and promotional needs. With our new sister company, we will be sharing space, resources and expertise in a collaboration designed to further provide you with one place to meet all of your marketing needs… Under One Roof! Visit them online at www.extremeae.com or call direct at 828.684.4538.

 

 

Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.

5 Bright Ideas to Inspire Your Creativity

 

Scientist in lab with paper airplanes

Creative thinking is a valuable skill in any line of work. Inevitably we all have days where that creative spirit seems to be missing, or we fall into work habits that ignore the benefits and fun we experience in exploring our creative thoughts. Here are five ideas to boost and foster creative thinking and problem-solving.

Play More

Navy pilot with paper airplanePlay isn’t just for kids. According to The Leadership Guy, Peter Economy, writing for Inc., creative people revisit their inner child on daily basis, finding opportunities to play both at home and at work. A variety of research studies have shown that play has a large impact on the way we think and work creatively. One body of research dates back to 1967. In this study participants were given the task to imagine multiple uses for one object. Results showed that the participants were more likely to come up with more ideas if they were first allowed to tinker or play with the object first. For graphic designers, the process of doodling – playing around freely with ideas –  often frees the mind to wander and begin exploring the options that form the basis of a great design. If you’re looking to spark creativity, take some time to play first. And if you want to keep the creative juices flowing, you must promote and accept play as well.

Don’t Be Afraid to Daydream

Clouds in a blue skyTake time from your day to let your mind wander. This act can significantly impact your creative thinking. According to Inc., research shows daydreaming can bring out the best in our creative selves, as it stimulates connections in our brains and allows us to consider ideas we may not have initially considered. Additionally, allowing your mind to wander enhances your ability to problem solve, reports Psychology Today. A study from 2009 out of the University of British Columbia found that daydreaming can help solve problems. Creativity itself is often defined as, at its core, a process of solving problems. Taking the time to relax and let your mind wander is a healthy habit, but far too often is characterized as an impediment to production. On the contrary, it can restore and re-energize.

Travel Often

Suitcase with worldwide travel stickersExperts say that if you want a more creative brain, the answer can be found in traveling more often. Experiencing the world can open the mind to new ways of thinking, reports The Atlantic. Both psychologists and neuroscientists believe that traveling can affect a mental change, changing and revitalizing the way our brains are wired, opening up our minds and allowing us to think creatively. All of this comes from sights, sounds, even smells of the places we travel, which spark different synapses in our brains. Whether you take up residence in Washington D.C. or travel across the globe, you’re likely to come back more creative than ever before.

Take up a Hobby

Painting on a canvasWhile work is important, it’s equally important to have a hobby or activity that you’re fond of outside of the office. Whether you prefer painting on canvas, posting a blog or cooking in the kitchen, having a way to express your creative side through a hobby or side project can impact your everyday creativity. Fast Company reports that having a hobby can make us better at many aspects of our lives. Still skeptical? When Google began its 20 percent rule, which allowed employees to spend 20 percent of their time exploring creative side projects, they were surprised to see an 80 percent increase in both productivity and creativity at work.

Be a Risk Taker

pair of dice showing 7Being creative and taking risks go hand-in-hand, as most creative thinkers are big, big risk takers. To envision a product, bring the product to life and then put it out there for the world to see is quite risky. But the rewards are plentiful. Imagine, where would we be if nobody ever took a risk?

 

Also – be sure to regularly take time to check out the creativity of others. In every field, people are continually pushing the boundaries in unique ways. Admiring what others have created will often nurture your own creative spirit with new ideas and excitement.

 

Call us at 828.684.4512 for any marketing needs. As a printer, we understand communication and design. Your printer should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmentally responsible printing. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

ImageSmith is now partnered with Extreme Awards & Personalization – our in-house partner providing custom engraved trophies and awards for employee recognition programs, sporting events, and promotional needs. With our new sister company, we will be sharing space, resources and expertise in a collaboration designed to further provide you with one place to meet all of your marketing needs… Under One Roof! Visit them online at www.extremeap.com or call direct at 828.684.4538.

 

 

Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.

Print Housecleaning: Stirring Up the Digital Divide

 

Office cleaning

The turn of a new year is always time for some housecleaning here at ImageSmith. And, as usual, amid the dust, paperwork and clutter that accumulates in any production environment we always find a few surprising reminders of how quickly and drastically times have changed.

The print and marketing world found itself on the cutting edge of change very early in the desktop computer revolution of the 70s and 80s. As prepress and print digitized – altering the methods of how print had been produced for centuries – the ensuing communications revolution altered the very core processes of how businesses function and market themselves. The speed of that change, in hindsight, is truly astounding.

Zip Disks stored digital print jobsZip Disks: remember these? From the iOmega company in 1994, Zip disks were a removable, read and write storage device – the successor to the floppy and the short-lived Syquest disk – that held 100MB of data. Print jobs were still in the process of becoming all digital (no longer relying on physical photography, paste-up, or typesetting for plate-making), and the resulting were increasing rapidly as computer graphics software grew more sophisticated. Floppies were no longer big enough to hold even one job. You needed an external (or for a time, built in) Zip disk and drive. iOmega was proud to tout the drag-and-drop storage capability: “Share large files with co-workers, friends and clients” and “Consolidate 70 floppies onto a single Zip disk.” Before CDs, DVDs, zip drives and cloud storage, we gladly adopted the Zip disk as a storage device, and it was common for customers to bring in their work on a Zip disk. (Just remember, they wanted it back.) They also fit neatly into a CD holder.

Dynamic Graphics magazine and CDs, circa 2000Before online subscription services and Google searches could bring you almost any image or artwork imaginable, Dynamic Graphics brought art departments out of the days of clunky clip art to a more modern world of increasingly sophisticated digital graphics and stock photography. In the 90s, that process happened through the US mail – with a monthly CD of artwork, and a printed catalog/index that showed you what the CD contained. Without an online search function, how else were you going to find the right photo to use on your ad layout? Flip through the monthly magazines searching for your keyword – think manual, and time-consuming, Google search. The photo to the right is of the January 2000 cover from Dynamic Graphics publication Concepts & Designs. 2000 doesn’t seem that long ago but the dated layout and imagery in this cover design reveal how quickly styles and the times have changed.

Finally, we found our company Christmas card from 1996. No digital version existed – it was tossed out in the great floppy disk purge of a few years ago or possibly during this year’s Zip disk purge. But one lonely print copy remained. Santa at his Mac (the Power Macintosh 8500) is checking our old America Online email address under the heading “High Tech Solutions.”  For the inside of the card, we used PhotoShop (version 4.0 had just come out) to impose our Christmas card message onto Asheville illustrator and artist Orrin Lundgren’s original elves-on-the-press artwork – a very high-tech maneuver for us at the time.ImageSmith christmas card, circa 1996

Can’t help but wonder how quickly and how far out of date our email, mobile app and online communications will appear after the next fifteen years. Back to housecleaning.

 

Here’s a link to some helpful tips on how to properly dispose of old computer equipment and other e-waste from the National Resources Defense Council. If you live in our local Asheville area, here is a link to Asheville Greenworks schedule for Hard-to-Recycle events in 2016.

 

Call us at 828.684.4512 for any marketing needs. As a printer, we understand communication and design. Your printer should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmentally responsible printing. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

ImageSmith is now partnered with Extreme Awards & Personalization – our in-house partner providing custom engraved trophies and awards for employee recognition programs, sporting events, and promotional needs. With our new sister company, we will be sharing space, resources and expertise in a collaboration designed to further provide you with one place to meet all of your marketing needs… Under One Roof! Visit them online at www.extremeae.com or call direct at 828.684.4538.

 

 

Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.

Print Surprise: Optical Illusions at the Press

 

 

Optical illusions – where the perceived reality of a viewed object is different than the actual physical attributes being viewed – are interesting phenomena. Occasionally an unintended illusion will pop up in the print work here at our shop, and it usually takes a little convincing to prove to our press operators and art department that the problem is in the viewing…not a mistake in the print files or print process itself.

Gradients Can Trick the Eye

Optical illusion on press sheets

Above is the press sheet layout for a 4-up printed card which will later be cut out and folded in half. However, coming off the press, the 4-up sheets appear like the left side is darker than the right, especially on the outer side of the card. (In person, the effect was even more dramatic than it shows up here onscreen as it was printing on a metallic paper.) We were stumped at first as to what could cause this – the pdf file was preflighted, all the images were rendering correctly. We wondered about a problem with the press, the imagesetter, the layers within the pdf file. Finally, it took cutting a finished sheet apart by the crop marks to see that once separated, the gradients looked fine. Placed next to each other, the light to dark gradient tricked the eye into thinking one side of the press sheet was darker.

Gradient optical illusion

 

 

 

Repeating Patterns and Distortion

repeating pattern optical illusion

The 2-up sheets printed above have a decorative border with a repeating pattern that flows in one direction to the halfway point and then reverses its orientation for the second half on all four sides. If you let your eye wander slowly along the borders, especially the longer vertical sides, it appears that the borders are bent and not a perfect square shape overall. The eagle eyes of our press operator noticed the subtle “bend” in the lines and decided that either the file or the imaging plate itself was somehow warped. Placing a ruler or straight edge on the press sheet reveals that, despite what your eyes are telling you, the line is perfectly straight across all four sides of the paper.

Optical illusion of a square decorative border

You can read more about optical illusions and view galleries of them at a surprisingly great number of websites as many people find the tricks our eyes can play on us to be a fascinating topic.

 

Call us at 828.684.4512 for any marketing needs. As a printer, we understand communication and design. Your printer should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmentally responsible printing. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

ImageSmith is now partnered with Extreme Awards & Personalization – our in-house partner providing custom engraved trophies and awards for employee recognition programs, sporting events, and promotional needs. With our new sister company, we will be sharing space, resources and expertise in a collaboration designed to further provide you with one place to meet all of your marketing needs… Under One Roof! Visit them online at www.extremeae.com or call direct at 828.684.4538.

 

 

Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.

Great Balls of Fire: Two Great Stories on the Longevity of Print

Civil Defense brochure found in Dictionary

Print has a way of sticking around.

And while it can often be neglected in the excitement surrounding digital and cutting-edge communications today, print continues to thrive and surprise. It’s very physical, tactile nature is the reason for the powerful impact and longevity of print. Two great illustrations of that popped up on the same day.

Here at the print shop sat an old dictionary from the mid 1950s, purchased at Good Will, and gathering dust. Yesterday our bindery manager discovered, tucked back inside the pages, a Civil Defense brochure from 1959 outlining the emergency drill in case of a direct nuclear attack on Asheville or Buncombe County. Seems our proximity here to the Oak Ridge facility in Tennessee put us in harm’s way. Interesting reading – a great insight into the mindset of the Cold War days. The brochure, printed in patriotic red and blue, had hardly ages at all, well preserved between the dictionary pages.

Great Balls of Fire Brochure

And the same day we stumbled across the story online of a rediscovered typeface – Doves Type – that had spent almost 100 years at the bottom of the Thames River in London. Designer Robert Green led the search for the type which had been thrown off a bridge into the Thames in 1917 in an attempt to settle a dispute over it’s usage. Green’s team retrieved about 150 metal type  pieces, rediscovering what was once a lost typeface. (Watch a short BBC film about the story below.) And to bring the story totally up to date, you can now follow Doves Type on Twitter @thedovestype.

So you never know where you might find a lost piece of print history – tucked in the musty pages of a forgotten book or at the bottom of a river. Either way, print can surprise you, proving itself to be influential long past your wildest expectations.

Doves Typeface on Twitter

 

Call us at 828.684.4512 for any marketing needs. As a printer, we understand communication and design. Your printer should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmentally responsible printing. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

ImageSmith is now partnered with Extreme Awards & Engraving – our in-house partner providing custom engraved trophies and awards for employee recognition programs, sporting events, and promotional needs. With our new sister company, we will be sharing space, resources and expertise in a collaboration designed to further provide you with one place to meet all of your marketing needs… Under One Roof! Visit them online at www.extremeae.com or call direct at 828.684.4538.

 

 

Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.