5 Ways to Care for Our Community During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Asheville Skyline Working Together to face COVID-19

Here in Asheville and around the nation, we are still in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic and are struggling to understand its impact on our community. Times are stressful to say the least. One of the best ways to alleviate anxiety during uncertain times is to look for ways to be of help and service to others. Many people and businesses in our local community will be heavily impacted by this disease in the weeks to come – here are 5 quick ideas how we can all easily help out right now:

BUY LOCAL – more than ever, community businesses and their employees will need our support to stay open. Shop local, and consider buying gift cards for later use from your favorite shops.

ORDER TAKE OUT – local restuarants have been hit first and hardest in this new world of “social distancing.” If you want to help your favorites and their employees, order take out and let them know you’re on their side.

CHECK ON YOUR NEIGHBOR – the elderly and others at high risk are espcially vulnerable now. Offer to do shopping or run errands for those you know who may fear being in public.

Severe Blood ShortageBE GENEROUS – donate to food banks, churches, animal shelters, or your favorite charity. The needs they work to meet are more critical now than ever. Donating blood is also safe and urgently needed.

POST POSITIVE – we are all inundated with frightening facts and negative speculation about the future. Help others to remember that we will get through this together – your words online can be just what someone else needs to feel stronger!

Of course, follow all the advice from the CDC and your health professionals about how to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy during this time. The official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 website is here. For an easy recap, the White House and CDC have released official Coronavirus Guidelines for America as of March 18, 2020, which you can see below.

Official Coronavirus Guidelines for America

Call us at 828.684.4512 for any marketing needs. As a printer, we understand communication, design, and teamwork. 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.

 

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.

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 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.

Smash Gives Creatives What They Want: Easy, Unlimited, Ad-Free File Transfer That’s FREE!

 

Smash File Transfer logo

Free? No registration? No size limits? Mobile friendly? And specifically designed for designers?!!

SMASH is a new digital content sharing service based on a model designed to truly give users exactly what we all want when sharing digital files: free, unlimited file size, drag-and-drop simplicity. Throw in mobile accessibility, and easy previews with absolutely no ads and Smash can win you over with one use.

Smash landing page

The idea for Smash came out of a group of creatives in Lyon, France who wanted an easy, no-limits, user-friendly file sharing service that would also bring creatives into closer collaboration. While waiting for your files to transfer, the screen showcases creative works and gives useful information about exhibits and events of interest to creative professionals. The potential here for other great collaborative ideas is huge and the founders are still incubating ideas.

Smash lays out in their news release the benefits and unique characteristics of their file-sharing site in a few simple points:

  • No registration (and no fees, ever!)
  • No size limit on transfers
  • Secure
  • Aesthetic interface (with no ads!)
  • File preview
  • Mobile device access
  • Ability to preview all, then select which files to download

The process is perfectly intuitive: drag and drop files, enter your recipient’s email and a message if desired, then they receive an email with a link to the files where they see previews and can choose what to download. You receive a confirmation email with the links as well, and another notification once your recipient downloads files. The files stay securely on the Smash servers for 7 days and are then deleted. Sweet!

Smash email notifications

 

Launched in February 2016, SMASH encourages a growing community of artists, designers, architects and creative professionals to get involved – showcasing works in their Artist’s Corner, and as a work in progress, the site also encourages suggestions for additions/new features/capabilities for Smash in the future at Smash Ideas.

How can they afford to do this with an ad-free interface? Smash answers: “Smash is free… and will always stay this way! In order to finance Smash, we are working on a new offer that would include many more features, so stay tuned!”

Smash link
Your recipient will see a preview of the attached files and can choose if and which to download.

Give Smash a try and see that file transfer can truly be easy, seamless and free of charge. I hope they are successful and can maintain that model and reach their goal of being able to “impact crucially the creative world.”

Find them at about.fromsmash.com or on Facebook and 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 & 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.

What the Success of Snapchat Means for Marketers

 

Snapchat

Content is king. It’s a phrase so overused that you may have nixed it from your digital marketing vocabulary completely. With hundreds of social media platforms sharing content at breakneck speed all over the world, how small business marketers continue to evolve and stand head and shoulders above all the chatter? The answer is content, but not just any content. Consumers are savvier, smarter and have higher expectations than ever. The content that will get you a gold crown has to be relentlessly consistent and inherently personal. If you have any doubt, look at how Snapchat has changed the face of social media with over 100 million active users and 7 billion daily video views.

Behind the Scenes Is Where It’s At

Brand consistency gets a lot of hype, and for good reason. Your audience has to feel like they can rely on the brand they love and trust. But in a fast food, first-come first-served, fight-for-your-right-to-party kind of world, consumers are now looking for more than a Coke and a smile. They want to see a brand evolve. They want to see behind the scenes. In fact, they expect it.

Snapchat is used by the masses, but it’s also used by the White House, professional sports teams, Amazon and CNN, all showing a more informal, humor-driven side. This adds dimension and relatability, which engages audiences on another level. Unlike the beautiful and professional images of Instagram and the carefully curated Facebook content planned out in advance on Hootsuite, Snapchat is instant, impermanent and truly of the moment. It’s also proof that consumers are interested in unpolished, real-life appeals.

Make It Easy and Make It Personal

Snapchat is the first social media platform to give users their own QR code as an inherent part of the user profile. While many businesses have used QR codes to drive traffic to a social media platform, website or microsite, Snapchat puts the focus on the user by giving them a code they can use to gain followers and connect with new friends. Both Elle Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar have changed their Twitter profile pictures to their Snapchat QR codes. All their followers have to do to follow them on Snap is take a screenshot of their profile picture, open Snapchat, go to add friends, tap add by Snapcode and select the screenshot. Easy, fast and no typing required.

Always Be Pushing Content

If there’s one thing to take away from the Snapchat revolution is that it’s OK to get real with your target audience. The fact of the matter is that perfectly polished content takes time and money, both of which are going into the pockets of your competitors while you’re perfecting every Instagram post and analyzing all 140 Twitter characters.

Get a cellphone with an impressive camera, like the HTC One M9, so you’re always ready to capture the moment. Get a cheap, phone-friendly tripod or camera stabilization equipment made specifically for shooting video on your cellphone for less than $30. Just don’t forget that it doesn’t have to be perfect, edited or directly related to your product to hit home with your audience. Just give them a warm and fuzzy feeling when they think about your brand.

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 a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. 
Contact us at ImageSmith.com or call us at 828-684-4512 for quotes on all your print and marketing projects.

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.

Making the Most of Your First Trade Show: 5 Essential Tips for Success

Trade Show Image

 

One out of every two trade show attendees is planning to buy at least one product exhibited as a result of attending trade shows, according to Exhibit Surveys. Attending a trade show can connect you with eager buyers, give your business a boost and turn your product into a household name. But finding the right trade show and earning success takes careful planning and a winning strategy.

Find the right trade show

Going to the trade show as an attendee is the fastest and most insightful way to figure out if the show is right for you. It’s not enough to simply book a trade show and arrive with your booth and supplies in hand. The ultimate goal is to raise brand awareness and nail the sale, but not every trade show is created equal. Showing up with a complex, high-end kitchen gadget to a trade show exhibiting economical and simple dinner tools will only lead to failure and make you stick out like a sore thumb.

Use an online resource like Trade Show News Network to narrow down your trade show options. Look for your target audience, as well as the cost of the show. Forking over several thousand dollars for a deposit for a trade show that just doesn’t fit your product or goals is a waste of everyone’s time and your money. A trade show also can’t give you much return if you’re going into the red to pay for the event. Set aside some extra money in advance to pay for marketing your booth and travel expenses.

Take networking to a new level

It’s a no-brainer to talk to as many people as possible at your trade show and carry extra business cards with you at all times. But there are other ways to network than just chatting up a prospective buyer. Take advantage of a captive audience and use this as an opportunity to meet as many new people as you can. Follow the lead of o-ring manufacturer Apple Rubber, who attended the MedTech World’s Medical Device & Manufacturing West Expo earlier this year. They sourced an entire list of exhibitors before heading to the show’s host city in Anaheim to see who was coming and what ideas to share, as well as downloaded the trade show’s app to keep up to date with news and events from the show.

Apple Rubber also took advantage of the first annual Anaheim Booth Crawl for attendees, which served as a great opportunity to meet exhibitors while enjoying free food and drink. The event gave attendees an excuse to mingle longer without skipping out to eat and helped break the ice.

Trade show pop up booths and equipmdent

Make the Right Visual Impact for Your Brand

Trade show booths, graphics, displays and materials have never been more affordable or easier to brand with your logo, colors, and message. Talk to your printer about the huge array of designs and styles in easy to carry or ship, set up and reuse trade show booths and hardware. From pop-up display systems and retractable banners to table cloths, signage, printwear for employees, collateral handouts and promotional items, make your booth stand out from the crowd with you own unified look.

Devour constructive criticism

Learning how to embrace constructive criticism as a means to refine your product is essential for any trade show attendee, but especially for a first timer. Retail buyers and sales reps know what sells and why. This feedback can provide valuable insight about your product you won’t get anywhere else. A good trade show will draw in hundreds or thousands of experienced industry insiders. Rebuking their advice is a missed opportunity to devour high-level feedback and compile more market research data.

Nail your pitch

Master your elevator pitch. Highlight your product’s benefits, features and a short and sweet explanation of how it works. But to really stand-out from the crowd, you need to wow the attendees with what your product can do to solve their problem.

AquaPodKit experienced this first hand at a recent trade show. Entrepreneur reports that AquaPodKit saw their booth failing to attract attention at a hurricane preparedness trade show, so they went to buy a bathtub at Home Depot, put their product in it and filled it with water to show how much it could really hold for a family of four. Soon attendees were lined up to get a closer look at exactly what AquaPodKit could do.

 

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.

Beyond Emoji: A Need for New Punctuation?

Artwork for new punctuation

 

Our language is constantly evolving regardless of how many grammar and standardized rules we define. Typography, in time, evolves as well under the influence of both the spoken language and the newly emerging digital modes of interaction. Digital communications have inspired an increase in some new experimental punctuation marks – attempts to bring more clarity to non-verbal, non face-to-face conversation.

Is New Punctuation Needed?

Digital communications have run into a few unforeseen limits. Have you found yourself being more easily misunderstood in email and text messaging than you are face to face or by phone conversations? So much of our communication actually occurs through physical cues, expressions, body and hand gestures, intonation and vocal signals – none of which are accessible in a text message or a 140 character tweet!

Whenever a limitation arises in communication, language begins to morph and adapt to overcome that difficulty. It’s inevitable. Currently, emoticons or emoji are an attempt to “add on” a little explanation or commentary with unspoken cues in symbolic form. They are often used in a playful way – perhaps more as decoration, personalization or humor than a standard punctuation mark. But recently a few nominees have emerged for induction into our standard set of periods, commas and semicolons.

The Exclamation and Question Commas

exclamation comma and question commaThe Exclamation Comma, and its cousin the Question Comma (or Quoma), are attempts to move emphasis from the entire contents of a sentence to a phrase within the statement or question. The Grammarly blog cites the Exclamation Comma as an invention from 1992 that was patented in Canada, and then largely forgotten. The pressing need for either of these marks might be debatable, but they do serve a clear purpose as in the examples below:

“While I love your new outfit (exclamation comma) I’m certain the invitation called for formal attire.”

“Who do you think you are (question comma) a winner or a loser?”

SarcMark, Interrobang, Irony Point

SarcMark: to denote sarcasmA more formal attempt to alter the written language is an attempt at a punctuation change called the SarcMark: a registered trademarked symbol that you can purchase to use in order to denote sarcasm or irony in a statement.The SarcMark is the creation of Paul and Doug Sak who started Sarcasm Inc. They saw the need (and business opportunity) for a punctuation mark that denotes sarcasm, especially in a digital communication. As their video says, “Only $1.99 for lifetime use… and never be misunderstood again.” It works on both Mac and PC platforms, and has both a font option for type or texting, or a graphic option if you know the person on the other end has not downloaded the symbol as well. Smark marketers, the Saks have also created branded apparel and other items to encourage the use of their new punctuation.

Punctuation marks for Sarcasm and irony

The Interrobang is a combination of question mark and exclamation point, and is used by some to mark a rhetorical question that does not require an answer, or to show excitement or disbelief in the form of a question (“Did you just do what I think you did?!) The irony point (a backwards question mark) is a French attempt to create a punctuation mark to indicate there is a second meaning to what is being said.

Perhaps the proof of whether any of these marks have a lasting place in our typography will be when one or more of them make it into the standard set of glyphs for our most used font families – or even onto our keyboards. Time will tell.

 

 

 

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.

Color, Balance and Emphasis: An Infographic on How Graphics Work

Any size business can take advantage of custom infographics to better communicate and attract interest. Any process or idea you would like to explain to potential customers can be illustrated with eye-catching graphics. Talk to your printer about creating your own custom infographics for your blog, website, signage or print collateral and you’ll get excited about the potential and creativity of illustrating your business.

Infographic on how Graphics work

This infographic was provided courtesy of Bigstock Photo.

 

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.