Thermography, Foil Stamping, and more- Ways to Make your Product Pop

Finishing and Coating your Print Product

Everyone is looking for a way to make their products stand out. If, you use Thermography on a business card, foil stamping on your invitations, or UV on your brochures, you know that adding a little extra to your print products can make them stand out from the rest. There are a number of ways to beef up your pieces and make a unique impression. You may be looking for a unique feel or to add some protection. Either way, you should know the available options and what their benefits are.

Thermography

Thermography or raised ink is the process of heating ink to make it bubble and rise. Thermography Business CardsThis can be done in a variety of colors and creates a 3D print effect that is unmistakable and impressive. Business cards, invitations, envelopes, and various promotional materials often use Thermography as a tool. It is a lower cost option than embossing.

Embossing

Embossing also creates a 3D effect on your print product. It is less glossy than thermography but allows you a variety of options. From multi level embossing, to blind embossing, to embossing with foil stamping, there are a number of ways to create a classic look.

Foil Stamping

Foil Stamping creates a majestic product. It uses a metallic foil applied with a heated dye. It creates an unmistakable printed product that is often used by large corporations on annual reports or letterhead.Foil Stamped Business Cards

If, you would like to make an impression that will leave people with a sense of awe, Foil Stamping is the option to go with.

UV or Spot UV

UV is a coating, which, creates a unique glossy look and a layer of protection. Spot UV is applying this process only to a specific area.Spot UV Business Card | mmprint.com
UV offers some protection from outside elements, while, making your print product shine brightly.
Spot UV enhances the look of a certain area of your item. Lighting reflects only in certain angles to make the spot element almost a holographic effect.

 

Aqueous Coating

Aqueous Coating offers a clear coat to protect your printed product from fingerprints and dirt. Aqueous Coating Business Cards
Presentation Folders, Catalogs, and Booklets often use this coating. It helps to increase the quality of the paper, while adding gloss. Aqueous Coating is Eco Friendly as it water based.

Spot Varnish

Spot Varnish is a finish, which, adds gloss and depth to a particular area of a printed product.Catalog Spot Varnish Cover A flood varnish is less common and covers the entire page or surface. Like Spot UV, Spot Varnish adds shine to a specific area.

 

 

Soft Touch Coating

Soft Touch Coating is increasing in popularity as it adds a plush feel and does not affect the look of the item.Suede cards 19 pt with velvet lamination The soft texture invites people to feel and touch the printed product it is coating. Business cards really see the benefits of a finish like this. Soft Touch Coating is also environmentally friendly.

Lamination

Lamination is a common process, which, adds coating to the front and back of the printed item.Laminated Menu It creates protection from creasing, fading, wrinkling, and water. For the latter reason, it is extremely popular with menu printing. There is also a process called velvet lamination, which, is similar to soft touch coating.

Combinations

There are opportunities to combine two or more of some of the coatings and finishes discussed above. It is best to contact a print professional to discuss what options are available for your project. We can, also, determine what suits your needs and budget. There are certain options, which, cannot be combined. So, it is important to speak with a print professional to decide which options are right for your next project.

 

Barcode Printing

Barcode Printing Basics

Barcodes are just about everywhere these days. They make our life a lot more simple than we realize. Factories use them to control production. Shippers like USPS, UPS, and Fedex use them to track packages and monitor the flow of shipments. You can find them on government issued ID and at your local(or not so local) grocery store. Barcode printing is fairly simple, provided that the design is correct. But, let’s take a step back and find out what our black & white friends are all about.

Most people will recognize the UPC barcode below. It is most commonly found in retail stores.UPC Code

A barcode is simply a symbol that contains information, which, is read by a machine, which, is usually connected to a database.  They fall into 2 main categories, each of which has its own variations. A UPC code like the one above is a one dimensional barcode as it only takes advantage of the thickness of the bars and the spaces in between them.  Another example of a one dimensional code is something used by UPS or Fedex.

Here we have a QR code.QR Code This is an example of a two dimensional barcode. It takes advantage of the horizontal and vertical spacing. Originally created by vehicle manufacturers for production purposes, they are widely used today by mobile phone users for discounts or purchases. QR codes can also be placed on printed objects like posters or magazines and read by a mobile phone. This will open the phone’s web browser and take the user to a specific site or page. This is called a hardlink.

Why is this important to me?

Firstly, we chose the above codes because they are 2 major players in barcode printing. QR codes, while fairly new to some, have excellent benefits for consumers and businesses alike.  QR codes can also be generated easily and have given small businesses exposure they would not otherwise enjoy.

Companies like Amazon are giving UPC codes to new business owners and inventors. This allows someone who developed a gizmo in their garage to harness the power of a giant like Amazon and expose their products to millions of people, who would have been out of reach before.

Barcode printing

The first rule of barcode printing for a small business is to make sure your barcode is accurately adapted into your overall design. That, and well if it is possible, test it beforehand. A printing company can only accurately recreate what you need. But, whatever you give them to work with is ultimately what will come out the other side.

If your code is not active with vendors, suppliers or linked to the web, it won’t matter how perfect a job is done, it will not work. As we mentioned before, barcodes contain data, which, is linked with a database. So, if that database does not recognize the information stored within the barcode, or if the link on a QR is dead, well, you get the point. Another major point is that the quiet zone around the barcode should be no less than 1/4 inch. The quiet zone is a buffer that prevents a barcode reader from picking up any irrelevant data.

The good news is, there is a world of potential with these codes. Barcode printing is becoming more and more common and is an excellent marketing tool. Companies like ours have experience in barcode printing and can give you some pointers. Some companies also have a scanner lying arund and can try and test the finished product(only test, read the above paragraph). Choosing the right company is paramount, as we can help you avoid some of the pitfalls of printing barcodes. It is still important to note, however, that one must stay within the guidelines of what is set for that code. A lot of companies will tell you what size it can and cannot be and how much quiet space there should be. QR code generators will give you parameters as well.

Color QR Code with Logo

Benefits

QR Codes can also be enhanced to incorporate your logo and include color. This provides an excellent marketing opportunity for many small business. There is a segment of the population, though, that is still unfamiliar with QR codes. Still, many people have a phone on them that can scan QR codes easily.

Dynamic QR Codes can also have their information altered so that, you can use the same QR code but can alter the end result.

The potential for small businesses to use these codes to their benefit is growing daily. You can read more about it from a previous blog. Large corporations like Dunkin Donuts, Target, and Amazon use them to attract new customers and create calls to action. Small businesses can do the same, increase brand awareness, and attract customers in many ways.

All barcodes to need to be printed at some point. That is where an experience printing company can help. A restaurant can send an EDDM flyer with a QR code for 10% off. Or put a code in your brochure for special offers.  The options are endless.

Choose a company that has experience in barcode printing. Make sure your specification are accurate, then use your own ideas, our ideas here or from our previous blog on how to help increase your revenue. 

 

 

Holidays, Give Yourself A Present…ation Folder Booklet or Annual Report

 

Presentation Folder Booklets

presentation-folder-booklets-230x170

The new year is inching closer. Many personal and professional events are upon us. Taxes. The mere mention of the word brings dread to the mind and it creates frustration in your bones. There’s mention of in the Bible of tax collectors being some of the least favorite people of their time. Yes, taxes and our dislike for them have been around that long. Probably longer. I believe I read something about a cave drawing containing angry cavemen next to the letters IRS. caveman

Let’s get back in the present. We now have tools to help with tax season. If you are a tax professional, our Presentation Folder Booklets(with or without the Stepped Inserts) are a simple way to engage your clients in a sleek, professional, and organized manner. Our custom printed booklets provide all the information that you would like them to see. All your clients will understand and the folders will provide a simple way to stay organized with all the deductions people will try to take. (No, just because you vented about work at the drive through does not make that dinner a business expense.)Conversely, if you are gathering your information for tax season our Standard Presentation Folder is an excellent a way to stay organized.

standardpresentationfolders

Enough with the taxes already

Let’s forget about taxes. Presentation Folders Booklets are something used in almost every industry. What separates us? All folders are custom printed, so that it is tailored to your audience. We offer different option, folders, or stepped inserts, which are great for a company presentation. Contractors, Realtors, Financial Planners, even Funeral Directors have to sit down with potential customers and present their information in a sleek and professional manner to win over clients. That is where we come in. Presentation is everything, and our Folders and Booklets are designed to impress. Why stress about your pitching your next idea? When you can have all your information in one sleek folder, and when you distribute them, they will all be uniform. Everyone will be on the same page. Literally.

folder-with-stepped-inserts-275x180-1

Annual Reports

Every business should have annual reports. Medium to Large companies rely on them for many reasons. However, small business should do the same and our custom Annual Reports allow to present all pertinent information regarding the annual-reports-printingprevious year in a professional and organized fashion. Annual reports contain all the important financial information. Use them to highlight achievements.. Small businesses can use Annual Reports as a marketing tool,also, you can promote your companies success to investors, or use it to share milestones.

Staying organized is integral. Presentation can be the difference between hired or fired. Keeping valuable data is a tool to market to your audience. These are all basic parts of running a successful business. Using these simple tools to promote and market your business can be how to get where you want to be. We are happy to answer questions and we can help your business look and perform at its best.

Free Fonts for Valentines Day Designs

Seasonal advertising brings lots of work for freelance and in-house designers. Valentine’s Day is a holiday that requires stunning visuals and some typographical romanticism.

Valentine’s Day: Love, Chocolate and Free Fonts

We hand picked these 3 romantic, love-inspired fonts for graphic designers to create graphics that convey the true feeling of Valentine’s Day. These free fonts are available for download and licensed free for commercial use. We did all the hard work of sorting through free font websites collecting these fonts that can be used in both personal and commercial Valentine’s day projects.

Please feel free to share links to any designs you create using these free fonts for Valentines Day!

ChopinScript Font

Free Valentine Font ChopinScript

Lover’s Quarrel

Free Valentine Font Lover's Quarrel

Scriptina

Free Valentine Font Scriptina

Let us know how these free valentine fonts worked out in your design. Feel free to post a direct link  to the design you made in the comments. (links will be verified).

Free Christmas Fonts For Commercial Use

 

Christmas is almost here and we know that designers have tight deadlines for Christmas projects. We put together a list of awesome FREE Christmas fonts for commercial use that you can use in your designs for personal or commercial projects like holiday greeting cards, envelopes, postcards and any other fun Holiday projects you are working on. If you use any of the fonts listed, feel free to share a link to the artwork you did in the comments below!

 

Santa’s Sleigh by HypoTypo

 

Santas Sleigh Font for Commercial Use

 

Kingthings Christmas by Kingthings

 

Kingsthings Christmas Free for Commercial Use Font

 

Mountains of Christmas by Tart Workshop Fonts

 

Mountains of Christmas Free Font for Commercial Use

 

ChopinScript font by Diogene

 

ChopinScript Free Font for Commercial Use

 

Snowpersons font —by Character

 

Snowpersons Free Font for Commercial Use

 

 

Envelope Size Chart Quick Guide

It’s easy to get confused when selecting the correct envelope sizes for invitations, business letters or Direct Mail pieces… A2, A4, A7, #10, #9, #10 Window…

So we decided to build this common envelope size chart with the goal of providing a sort of cheat-sheet or quick reference for envelopes for our customers and anyone who can use it.

If you find it useful or know someone who could use it, please share it!

 Need Envelopes Printed? Get A Quote Now! 

 

You can also download a High Resolution Print Ready Version of the Envelope Size Chart Quick Guide [PDF].

or view the large version on your browser [JPG]

 

Envelope Size Chart Quick Guide Cheat Sheet

 

This envelope size chart is provided as a quick reference when selecting the proper envelope size for your projects. If you have questions or are in need of an envelope size not listed in the envelope size chart, please feel free to leave a comment below or contact us right away!

 

 

5 Outstanding Websites to Download Free Commercial-Use Fonts

 

After you have read our latest posts about Typography, I am sure you are ready to get out there and start practicing and coming up with new Typography concepts for use in your designs. Now that you understand the difference between Serif and Sans Serif fonts, Kerning, Leading and Tracking and the principals of choosing fonts, we want to offer you a collection of websites that serve or link to [free] commercial-use fonts. The following 5 websites carry a vast array of fonts that you can use freely in both personal or commercial projects.

Download Some Nice Fonts, Create Amazing Typography and Share them with our Readers!

1. Font Squirrel

Font Squirrel Free Commercial-use fonts website
Great Collection of 100% Free Commercial-use Fonts. They also offer free @font-face kits and a free @font-face kit Generator. Filter by TrueType or OpenType and browse by font style.

2. FontSpace

Free Commercial-Use Font Website
Beautiful layout, contains both commercial-use and personal-use fonts which you can filter with the flick of a checkbox. Customize with your own text to preview the font. Great Browse function to discover new fonts.

3. Free Premium Fonts

Free Premium Fonts Free Commercial-use Fonts
Very clean layout, contains many free fonts for commercial or personal use. Type in your text to preview the font. Allows for comments for each font. Login to save favorites. Offers free and commercial font editing software.

4. Search Free Fonts

Search Free Fonts - Free Commercial-use Fonts Website
User-friendly website has a collection that contains over 13,000 free fonts and over 91,000 commercial fonts. Easy to navigate via categories and alphabetically.

5. Exljbris Font Foundry

Admirable collection of “Well crafted (free) fonts by Jos Buivenga”. Although a small collection, these font families are perfect for a variety of uses, clean and professional as is the website itself.

 

Remember, sharing is caring! Please feel free to link to your own typography tutorials or graphics that you made using fonts from the sites mentioned here today. Other designers may benefit or be inspired by your work so please share.

 

If you are using these fonts for a Print Project, feel free to call us at 1-877-mmprint or visit www.mmprint.com for a quote. We offer free shipping with all orders!

Valentine’s Day Design Inspiration and Free Downloads

Valentine’s Day is here and you know some graphic designers out there are scrambling to complete – or start! –  their Valentine’s Day design projects. Whether it’s for a company promotional project or simply to impress your Valentine with your awesome romantic design skills, everyone needs a breath of inspiration sometimes.

I present to you an inspirational collection of Valentine’s Day art to give your designs a little Heart & Passion:

 

Be Mine by : Q. Cassetti

Valentine by Alexandra Zaharova & Ilya Plotnikov

Valentines by kwedo

Valentines by Peeewax

Vector Valentine by HyperCannon

Valentine’s Heart Brushes

Hearts Brushes by Hawksmont [Photoshop] – Commercial use: yes

Love Icon Brushes [Photoshop] – Commercial use: yes

Heart Brush Set by Robert Redwood [Photoshop] – Commercial use: yes

Balloon Heart Brushes by Daniel Jordanov – [Photoshop] – Commercial use: yes

Valentine’s Vector Downloads

HQ Heart Illustration [.eps] – Commercial use: yes

Floral Heart by VectorCity [.eps] – Commercial use: yes

Glossy Hearts by OpenGraphicDesign [.eps] – Commercial use: yes

Will you or did you create your own Valentine’s Day Greeting cards this year?

Please leave your comments below…

10 Free for Commercial Use Vector Graphic Galleries for Designers

Looking for a good source of free vector illustrations to throw into your designs can be frustrating sometimes. You find something you like or that has an object in it which you could use only to find out that you cannot use it in a commercial project. Well, I’ve done my share of digging through hundreds of search engine results and decided to put them in one place where I can share these favorites.

I chose these sites because I found that many – if not most – of the vector objects are available free for commercial use. It’s important for designers to respect the copyrights of the original authors. Many of these guys and gals make a living from producing quality graphics and illustrations.

Before proceeding, here is a little more information about the Creative Commons Licenses and how they work:

Creative Commons License LogoThe Creative Commons copyright licenses and tools forge a balance inside the traditional “all rights reserved” setting that copyright law creates. Our tools give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions to their creative work. The combination of our tools and our users is a vast and growing digital commons, a pool of content that can be copied, distributed, edited, remixed, and built upon, all within the boundaries of copyright law.

These free downloads can be fully modified to conform with your project and can also serve as inspiration. Many of the sites have a link back to the original author so that you can explore more of their work. Some of the authors offer tutorials on how they designed the vectors on their own sites or blogs. It’s worth a look.

Here we go:

1. EZYVectors

Great collection of free downloadable vectors, 1000s of free vectors and downloads that they are updating every day for all users. Another amazing perk about this website is you can access it even without a login as well. Their customer service also outstanding and seem to have an extremely friendly staff.

2. Vecteezy

Vecteezy - Free Vector Art
One of the best sources for free vectors. The community behind them is extensive and growing on a daily basis, not to mention the many currently popular designers that contribute to it. They also have a blog with tutorials and you can join the community for free. You can even upload some of your own work if you wish to share.

3. QVectors

QVectors - Free Vector Art Downloads
Great layout and lots of quality vector graphics to download. They offer a handy category section that makes it really easy to find what you are looking for.

4. Free Vectors Daily

Free Vectors Daily - Free Vector Art Downloads
This site updates their collection daily (as the name suggests). They have a big selection of vectors and the website is not crowded with ads. Sign up for their RSS feed to keep updated on their daily new vectors.

5. Vector4free

Vector4free - - Free Vector Art Downloads
You can find vector graphics files in many formats here: AI, EPS, PDF, SVG, CDR. Each thumbnail displays the formats available. Their free vectors are classified by “Tags” so make sure to check out their “Tag Cloud”

6. FreeVectors

FreeVectors.net - Free Vector Art Downloads
Large inventory of vector artwork with an easy to find search bar. I like that they link back to the original author and the license type is displayed under the “More Info” button.

7. Brands of the World

Brands of the World - Free Download Vector Logos of Brands
This website has an amazing collection of Major Brand logos in vector format. They also have a huge collection of designer uploaded vector logos for inspiration. Requires you to sign up (free) to download vector logos.

8. Open Vector Source

Vector Open Stock - Free Vector Art Download
Very nice website, it features a voting system and a “Top 20” section of most popular files. You can also find many downloadable bundles that contain more than one vector object.

9. VectorArt

VectorArt.org - Free Vector Art Download
Colorful, nice looking website. Has a filter in the Gallery that lets you break down your results by Category, File type, License type, and Sort by. Part of the Open Source Design Network

10. Vector Portal

Vector Portal - Free Vector Art Downloads
This website has a large variety of vector art for free. From backgrounds to packaging templates, they even have company-specific design guidelines in PDF format for download.
Do you use stock vector art in your projects or do you custom design 100% of every aspect in your projects?

Please comment below

 

If you are using these vector graphics for a Print Project, feel free to call us at 1-877-mmprint or visit www.mmprint.com for a quote. We offer free shipping with all orders!