Turn to Your Printer for Multimedia Marketing Support

Embroidery, wide format printing, and more


Printing businesses have expanded their services far beyond just printing on paper. Product lines include design services, integrated marketing and direct mail, promotional products and the production of marketing materials as diverse as wide format signage and embroidered or screen printed clothing. In other words, your printer is now your marketing specialist.

Printers Deliver Customer-Friendly Online Tools

Original Apple Computer Co. logoDigital technology arrived early in the print world with desktop publishing, photo editing, and graphics technology revolutionizing the business throughout the ’80s and ’90s. Back in the early days of email, printers were among the first to seize upon that technology to deliver goods (in this case, printing proofs) to customers as soon as they were available. No more driving downtown, finding parking, and hoping the client was available to look over proofs so the job could go ahead.

Clients, too, loved the new email services. So it was no surprise that once the web took off, printers quickly created websites to serve their customers even more quickly. Now they can upload files to print, preview them and place the order. By 2007, an industry report from First Research predicted that by 2010, 30 percent of all print jobs would have to be completed within a day. Short run, digital printing now fills that demand.

Today, printers offer online tools to help customers create and order their own marketing. Many offer professional design services or templates customers can use to create their projects. Customers can review the designs, approve and send them to production right away — all in a single online visit. (They can also save their work for later review.) Local printers will deliver the goods directly to the doorstep or business office, as well as providing technical and marketing advice for planning an overall marketing strategy for businesses both large and small. According to the Xerox blog, printers whose businesses grew by 10 percent or more in 2013 attributed some of it to web-based services.

Eco-Friendly Printing Pays

Printers have embraced green technology and sustainable business practices. The print industry has long been a leader in recycling and sustainable business practices. Soy ink (long a requirement for many federal government contract bids), water solvent inks, and the use of paper products endorsed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and other agencies give customers the satisfaction of knowing their print marketing is eco-friendly. Many customers choose to brand their print with this commitment to environmental stewardship as a part of their marketing outreach. In turn they can promote their good corporate citizenship through social media on outlets like LinkedIn, a leading site for business marketing and information. LinkedIn is a great place to post important business news and updates for clients and your industry, as exemplified by LifeLock.

More Products Than Ever Can Be Print-Personalized

It used to be that printing T-shirts was an expensive undertaking that required a minimum number of shirts to print. Digital technology makes it possible to affordably print even a single T-shirt. While the technology may not quite be the same quality as a silk-screened shirt, it’s pretty darn close and with proper laundering, digitally printed images can last nearly as long as a silk screen.

Custom EmbroideryEmbroidery is a great way to create custom branded clothing, uniforms, hats, bags, and many other items that will put your name and logo directly into people’s lives. Outfit your staff with branded print wear, or create items to sell or even give away to clients. They will become your own team of mobile advertising!

Mugs and other personal gift items are also fair game for personalization thanks to sublimation dye printing, a great way full service printers have diversified their printing businesses, says the industry news site MyPrintResource.com. A sublimation printer can print on anything made from a polymer base or polyester, which covers a lot of ground from Christmas ornaments to sports equipment to phone cases. The selection is huge, and you can browse an online catalog to find exactly the right promotional product to brand for your unique marketing plan.

Graphic Display BannersWide-format printing creates posters, banners, POP displays, bus signs, indoor and outdoor signage, trade show booths, and other large printed material.  Your printer will help you design and customize these items with your own logo, colors, photography and graphics for exactly the impact you want. Xerox predicts wide format printing will grow 65 percent each year through 2017.

Years of experience also empower a full service printer to advise you on ideas that work and that meet your individual budget. Best of all – this marketing expertise is yours FREE OF CHARGE! Where else can you find that kind of deal? If you have the right printer, you already have a highly trained marketing consultant who knows print, branding, direct mail, web strategies, social media and has years of experience in both high and low tech marketing approaches that work for businesses just like yours. The most assuring part of this partnership for you is that the print/communications company only succeeds when your marketing succeeds! Start taking advantage of this asset – the print industry itself has had to reinvent itself in this new high tech economy. They know what works. Meet with a printer today to find one who can offer you the full range of marketing options that today’s competitive and creative markets demand.


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.

Myth Busting: Surprising Stats on Paper and the Environment

Busting Myths about Print and Paper

Paper is a sustainable, green, renewable resource – but the paper and printing industry still have to work hard to increase the realization of this in consumers’ minds. Somehow, a lingering, hazy misconception persists that “PRINT/PAPER BAD, DIGITAL GOOD” when it comes to the environment – simply not true. Perhaps a lot of this false information was perpetuated by the “help the environnment, don’t print out this email” tagline so many folks attach to their digital messages. (This myth is also debunked here.) Its is eye-opening to consider just a couple of facts about the environmental integrity of the print industry. Think about this:

The U.S. forest products industry plants more than 4 million trees… EVERY DAY!

Every day. That adds up to 1.5 billion a year. The result: the US has roughly the same number of forest acreage as we had 100 years ago, before industrialization began! Forest growth exceeds tree removal by 36% each year. (source)

Now on the other side of this equation lies the common misconception that desktop and mobile information consumption is greener than print – consider these startling facts:

A person who reads a printed newspaper daily for a year uses 20% less CO2 than one reading news online for 30 minutes each day. (source)

By 2020, data servers in the U.S. will be the single largest users of electricity. (source)


No one’s trying to tilt at windmills and say paper should always be used over digital communications. But it is very important to have an accurate understanding of the environmental impacts of our energy and information consumption habits throughout the communicaitons “mix.” Paper is biodegradable, sustainable and produced by an industry hard at work to maintain a healthy environment and the healthy forests that are essential to the industry’s survival.

Rely on your printer for advice and direction with your concerns about sustainability and you or your business’ commitment to being a good environmental steward. They should be able to offer you information and options for paper, ink and FSC certified products that will help you print and market in a sustainable manner. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer. The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

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.

We Love Paper: 4 Favorites and a Few Resource Tips

We love paper. Its feel, smell, texture, weight. Selecting the right paper for a print project is an important part of the design of any printed piece. We understand that most designers and print buyers are not experts on paper, nor do they have the time to become one! They, therefore, rely on a good relationship with their printer to make smart paper selections. It can get confusing: matte, glossy, semi-gloss, premium, UV coating, lamination, caliper, grain direction, brightness, opacity. Then there’s all the information about recyclable content, chain of custody and other green concerns. Throw in the chemistry involved when ink or toner hits the paper and you encounter terms like dot gain, absorbency, coating, rasterization. A lot of science lives behind the manufacture of paper and the printing process itself. So how do you begin to choose the right paper for your job in the face of so many choices? Paper choices and the confusing selection available

Let’s start with a wide view, by looking at a few manufacturers of quality lines of paper for print. Below are a few of our favorites – papers that are affordable, yet offer top quality performance. They all come in offerings of varied finishes, grades, weights, colors and are optimized for both press and digital printing.

Sappi Flo – an industry standard print paper at an affordable price. High quality and environmentally sustainable. (Sappi also produces a hilarious online video series about the insanity in a local print shop called “Off Register.” Well worth checking out!)

Domtar Cougar – a great environmental choice, Cougar papers offer vibrant color contrast, smoothness and high quality.

Classic from Neenah – the Classic line from Neenah, aptly named, offers best-in-class quality, performance, compatibility and availability. The family includes Classic Crest, Classic Columns, Classic Cotton, Classic Laid and Classic Linen.

Mohawk – fine paper and envelopes, engineered for brilliant color, runability and detailed images.

There are five basic grades of paper: bond, offset or uncoated book, coated book, text, and cover. Within each of these grades are varieties of content, appearance, end use, original purpose, grain direction, finish, opacity, brightness… you get the idea. You have a LOT of choices. And in the realm of specialty papers, there are even more. With your printer’s help, you can narrow down what selection will work best for your project and budget. All major paper manufacturers are happy to supply samples, information and guidance on paper purchases.

In the process of browsing for the right paper, you might get curious about some terms you run across, such as sizing (a solution added to paper pulp to make it less absorbent), brightness (the percentage of a wavelength of blue light that paper reflects), caliper (the thickness of a sheet of paper, measured in 1/1000ths of an inch and referred to as point size), or acid free (paper with no acid, they have a pH higher than 7 and alkaline properties to resist aging). For a great detailed glossary of all things paper, check out the Glatfelter site. They are a global provider of specialty print papers. Or call us. As mentioned earlier… we love paper.

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 Green: a Glossary of Green Acronyms & Terminology

Good for the environment. Good for business. The printing industry has a renewed commitment to environmental sustainability, due in part to an undeserved assumption among many that printing and paper are destructive to the environment. Paper is a renewable resource, and the printing industry works diligently with conservationists, forest management and environmentalists to ensure healthy working forests. To be sure you are supporting that effort – and to show your customers and others your commitment – read up on these common acronyms and the green terminology used when discussing green print and environmental matters:

Acronyms and Terms used in Green Printing

FSCThe Forest Stewardship Council, an international non-profit organization that sets standards and provides certification, trademark and accreditation for companies working with responsible forestry around the world.

SFIThe Sustainable Forestry Initiative, non-profit organizaton that promotes sustainable forest management across North America and certifies fiber sourcing requirements to promote responsible forest management.

PEFCProgramme for the Endoresemnt of Forest Certification, promotes sustainably managed forests through independent third party certification.

COC – Chain of custody. This is the path paper travels, beginning in the forest and continuing through harvest, transport, manufacture, printing and finally purchase.

PCF & TCF – Processed Chlorine Free and Totally Chlorine Free. Refers to paper produced without the use of chlorine or chlorine compounds. PCF paper contains recyclable content, while TCF is 100% virgin paper.

ECF – Elemental Chlorine Free. Refers to paper that does not use elemental chlorine to bleach wood pulp white in the manufacturing process. It uses chlorine dioxide instead.

Enhanced ECF – Enchanced Elemental Chlorine Free, uses hydrogen peroxide or ozone, rather than chlorine or chlorine dioxide, to bleach wood pulp white.

Green-e – the nations’s leading certification program for renewable energy. Green-e is a consumer protection program, selling renewable energy and greenhouse gas reductions in the retail market, and certifying products produced with these green standards.

Rainforest Alliance Certification – comprehensive program to promote and guarantee sound environmental improvements in agriculture and forestry. The Rainforest Alliance certifies goods and services that protect the environment, wildlife, workers and local communities.

Post-consumer waste – paper that has already been used by consumers once and is recovered for recycling.

Pre-consumer waste – paper that has been produced but never been used by the consumer.

recycled fiber – Fiber that has been recycled and reprocessed into a new product. It includes both post- and pre-consumer waste.

endangered forest – any rare, threatened or biologically significant forest area that cannot be logged or harvested without risking irreparable destruction.

virgin wood – wood that has been harvested from the forest, whether sawn or whole, before it has been processed further into paper or other products.

Remember, paper is renewable, sustainable and biodegradable. Responsible use of paper is green. Next time you get an email with that little disclaimer about saving paper, if you really need a printed copy, go ahead. Print that email out if you need to – guilt-free.

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.


8 Good Reasons to Use FSC Certified Paper

FSC – Forest Stewardship Council. This is a global, non-governmental organization that was established in 1993 to oversee responsible forest management to protect both the world’s forests and its forest-dependent communities.

Forest Stewardship Council
Forest Stewardship Council Logo

You see their logo on many products, from paper to building supplies, and there are many good reasons to both look for it on the forest products you purchase and insist on the logo on products you or your company use.

  • It protects the ENVIRONMENT. Forest products coming from FSC certified forests must be grown, managed and harvested in a way that is good for the habitat and the future growth of the forest.
  • It helps indigenous PEOPLE. All local, regional and global laws must be followed in harvesting and transporting FSC products, respecting the health and environment of indigenous people.
  • You are helping EMPLOY local workers. FSC forests must employ a local workforce at a decent salary to run their operations.
  • You are helping EDUCATE. FSC forest owners must support their local communities in many ways, especially in the development of schools.
  • Its for the FUTURE. Forests will be here for generations to come for others to enjoy and use.
  • FSC is the only paper certification ENDORSED by most major environmental groups. These groups include World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace and The Woodland Trust.
  • It helps YOU, your business and your bottom line as consumers appreciate a commmitment to green practices and being able to participate in supporting sustainability through their purchases. It is a competitive advantage for you.
  • You can show your own commitment to SUSTAINABILITY. The FSC logo is widely respected and increasingly recognized as the standard in responsible forest management. That reflects on your brand.

ImageSmith is proud to offer FSC papers with Chain of Custody certification. You can use, at no extra cost, these on-product labels on your printed material — a globally trusted mark for businesses and consumers looking for sustainable solutions. Become a part of the chain. Forests, managed correctly, are a truly renewable resource.Sustainability at ImageSmith



Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, high impact graphics and marketing solutions.


GO GREEN – Conservation Stamps Promote Sustainability

At Imagesmith, we work toward sustainability in our business every day. As a provider of mailing services, we are happy to see that the U.S. Postal Service shares that commitment and is promoting social awareness with their latest stamps: “Go Green.”

Energy & Resource Conservation


USA Go Green Postage Stamp
Use 'green' stamps to highlight your commitment to the environment.

The sheet of 16 Forever stamps was issued on April 14, 2011 and highlights simple messages for energy conservation: sharing rides, using public transportation, turning off lights and leaky faucets, recycling, use of energy-efficient lightbulbs, and other easy practices everyone can implement. When you use these stamps on your personal mail or business communications, you both show your interest in sustainability and help promote awareness of the things everyone can do to help.

A History of Conservation

The press release from the USPS about these stamps and the first-day-of-issue ceremony, explains how the organization has a long history of conservation and sustainability. Their first electric vehicle? 1899! The USPS operates over 44,000 alternative fuel capable delivery vehicles today and are the only mailing/shipping company in the world whose stamp and shipping supplies earned “Cradle to Cradle” Certification, meeting standards for human and environmental health and recyclability.

The “Go Green” stamps can be ordered online at usps.com/green.

ImageSmith offers complete business mailing services – give us a call at 828.684.4512 or contact us online for great information on ways to save money on your next marketing/mail campaign.