Holiday Greeting Card Design Inspiration

Custom Holiday Greeting Cards

The holidays are upon us and one of the most common and expected gifts are Holiday Greeting Cards. Whether it accompanies a larger gift or contains the gift itself ($$!), a Holiday greeting card extends a part of you and your wishful thoughts to the recipient.

What better way to share a cheerful message with family, friends or even customers than  a holiday greeting card?

You can walk into pretty much any pharmacy or gift shop and pick up a standard greeting card of which hundreds of thousands have been printed. There are many to choose from and they all have beautiful thoughtful generic messages in them, but is this really the best you can do?

It’s the thought that counts.

Take the time this year to send a gracious, mindful message to those who you appreciate, be it family, customers or employees. Give the gift of joy with personalized holiday greeting cards.

Add a picture of a function you enjoyed together or an inside joke that only you and they can get. A simple Thank You! can go a long way or maybe even a quote you would like to share.

Your creativity is the only limit.
Here are some beautiful and thoughtful holiday greeting card designs to motivate you:

Holiday Greeting Card by Liquisoft
Landscape Holiday Greeting Card
Custom Die Cut Holiday Greeting Cards by Krakatua
Custom Die Cut Holiday Greeting Cards
Full Color Greeting Card by Zooro
Full Color Greeting Card
Marsid M&M Group Holiday Greeting Card
Malone, Tauber & Sohn, PC Holiday Greeting Cards
Malone, Tauber & Sohn, PC Holiday Greeting Cards

Feel free to share your Custom Greeting Card designs on our Facebook Page

Digital Supremacy: Variable Data Printing

Digital Printing has been adopted by the print industry for its efficiency, plethora of functions and small run capability. It is the underlying foundation of Variable Data Printing also known as VDP.

Variable Data Printing is a”Mail Merge” on steroids

VDP offers the ability to print personalized messages, images or graphical aspects on each printed piece using data collected about an individual, leveraging familiarity to increase ROI.
A simple example of the use of variable data is personalization of the greeting in a letter. No longer does a letter have to be informal as “Dear Customer”. We can now, thanks to Variable Data Printing, personalize the salutation to include the name of the intended recipient such as “Dear Marcy” or “Dear Mr. and Mrs. Smith”. This feature alone can drastically increase the chances of the letter actually being read.

advanced uses

Variable data can include the use of personalized images or graphics to really dig into the familiarity advantage of variable data. For example:

Variable Data Printing Postcard

The owner of a local cellular phone store has a database full of data about the cellular service and devices of all his current customers use. He wants to send a postcard to each of them reminding them that their contract is about to expire and that they are eligible to upgrade their current cellphone. The owner contacts his print shop and explains what he wants to do. The print shop then explains that variable data can help him accomplish this and together come up with a killer personalized marketing piece.

The postcard would include 3 personalized fields:

  • The recipients name in the greeting
  • The expiration date of the recipient’s current contract
  • A picture of the cellphone they currently own

While the designer creates a beautiful layout, the store owner creates a simple database that holds the following information separated into columns:

First Name, Last Name, Address, Address 2, City, State, Zip, Contract Expiration, Device Model.

Variable Data Printing Database


After the graphics and database have been completed and submitted to the print shop, it is the job of the pre-press technician to connect the artwork file with the database using Data Fields. Each of the column names will become a data field such as <First_Name>, <Last_Name> and so on.

Variable Data - Data Fields

Variable Data Software such as FusionPro or Darwin is then used to prepare a VPS file that merges the artwork with the database on the fly as each piece is printed.

Efficiency

The process of a standard mailing without variable data usually begins by printing the static artwork on an offset press first leaving a blank “mailing panel” for the recipient address information to be imprinted after the run is completed using a separate mailing machine that inkjets the address on to each piece.

With digital printing, the mailing address is considered variable data that can be printed at the same time the piece itself is being printed. The printing, the indicia and the address are all printed in one fell swoop. Not only is this faster, but the customer also saves on mailing setup fees and removes any possibility of smudges to the address resulting in possible lost  revenues.

This post is an addendum to “Digital Evolution: The State of Commercial Printing“, which defines the changes the print industry is visibly undergoing at this time.

Please Share your thoughts below

Custom Die Cutting – Shaping the way you do business

Die Cut Business CardCustom Die Cutting is the process of using metal dies to cut paper and many other substrates into custom shapes. Since the standard guillotine cutter can only make straight cuts, this process allows us to customize the shape of printed products from the default square cut.

Stand out from the rest

A great way to make a business card stand out in a stack is to have a custom shape. Round corners and angled corners are also die cuts although they would only be considered “custom” if you require a specific radius or angle which requires a custom die to be made. Generally, a printer that offers round cornering and angled corners will have standard size dies in their possession.

Custom Die Cut Business Cards

Custom die cut brochures offer the most real estate for your products or service offerings. A brochure with an outside-the-box shape will catch the eyes of consumers and will surely be picked up over other brochures in the same area.

Folding Brochure with Custom Die Cut

Custom Die Stickers are incredibly useful for labeling certain areas, promoting products, displaying warnings or just getting your name out there…

Die Cut Sticker

The pockets of a presentation folder can be die cut to custom shapes as well. Creating an aesthetically pleasing die cut on your folder can increase the chance of a customer keeping the folder and using it for their own purposes, this gives you exposure to whomever the customer is around.

Custom Die Cut Folder

Bookmarks are great marketing pieces and can be die cut to any shape. A preferred and very popular shape is a simple rectangle with rounded corners.

Custom Die Cut Bookmark

Many products require custom shaped packaging which then also requires custom die cut product inserts which enable recognition and branding of the product inside of the packaging.

Custom Die Cut Product Packaging

Do you have any custom die cut prints you would like to share? Please leave a comment below…

Brand Visibility – Perforated Window Film

There is nothing better to make customers remember your brand than showing them something fun and innovative. Digitally printed Perforated Window Film (PWF) also known as “Window Perf” has an effect of mystery and surprise on everybody, and if you are able to affect your audience, they will remember you.

More and more businesses are using digitally printed perforated window film these days. We can find it on vehicle windows, bus wraps, rear window graphics, window privacy screenings, glass entrance doors and more.

Custom Window Cling  - Window Application

Digitally printed perforated window film should be laminated with an optically clear overlaminate to prevent dust and dirt buildup in each film perforation. Also, this overlaminate prevents rainwater from clinging to the film and provoking limited visibility for vehicle riders and operators.

One of the most interesting features of Window Perf is the one-sided privacy it can provide. No matter how colorful the print is, or how much the film is covering, the side with the brightest light will always be visible to the individuals on the darker side. This creates a one-way mirror effect that can be reversed with the simple turn of a light switch, or with the natural cycle of the sun.

Perforated Window Cling - Glass Door Application

A typical example can be found in city buses that display the printed work on the outside during the day. People outside the bus cannot see the passengers, but the passengers barely notice the film in between them and the outside world. At night, the situation shifts, since the inside of the bus is what is now lighted.

Window Perf should be printed using solvent-based, UV-resistant, exterior-grade inks for fade-free, long-life graphics, which allows its use indoors and outdoors without having to worry about fading due to the sun, or rainwater damage.

QR Code – The Advertising Double Agent

QR Code
Scan me!

QR Codes (Quick Response Codes) are the connection between online and offline marketing. With the advancement and acceleration of smart phones, consumers have the ability to scan and interpret this barcode with their mobile phone. Originally created by a subsidiary of Toyota, Denso-Wave, the QR Code technology has been around for over a decade.

Versatility is QR Code’s middle name.

The amount of data that a QR Code can hold is approximately 7089 Numeric characters or 4296 Alphanumeric characters as stated on Wikipedia.

This allows for the encoding of URLs, phone numbers, full contact information, SMS messages, links to launch YouTube videos, display static text… to name a few options offered by this revolutionary technology.

How Can Advertisers Use QR CODES in Printed Materials?

QR Codes in Advertising

Believe it or not, your entire marketing piece can be designed around a QR code.

Want to inform your customers of a GRAND OPENING? Create a Google Places Page which provides you with a pre-made QR Code that contains a link to your Google Places Page, Your customers can scan the code and visit your Google Places Page on their mobile phone. Once there, your customer will find all there is to know about your business and directions to your location. Scan the QR Code above and see for yourself!

Do you have a  product demonstration video? Include a QR Code in your postcard, brochure or even next to the product in your catalog that will direct the customer to view a product demonstration video on their mobile device. This also gives you the chance to direct the customer to a landing page on your website before or after the video is viewed, reinforcing the sale.

Want to make it easier for that potential customer to retain your contact information? Generate a QR Code that contains all of your contact information and include it on your business card. When a customer scans your QR Code with their mobile device, depending on the QR Code Reader they are using (see “QR Code Readers” below), your contact information will be displayed and saved to the “contacts” or phone book of the mobile device.

Depending on your product or service, QR Codes can serve a variety of customizable uses in your marketing scheme.

Business card with QR Code

Where can Custom QR Codes be Generated?

We must be thankful (to Denso-Wave) for the use of QR Codes being free of any license. This has given developers the ability to create online QR Code generators…FREE TO USE! Of course you will find some out there that want to charge to use their generator or allow for Non-Commercial use only, but here is a list I compiled to help you get started generating QR Codes and better yet… more sales conversions!

  • beQRious – Extensive Options – Featured: QR Code with Embedded Image
  • ZXing Project – Extensive Options – Featured: Wi-fi Login Information
  • QRStuff – Extensive Options – Featured: Google Maps Directions
  • Delivr – Extensive Options – Featured: URL shortening
  • Mobile-Barcodes – Extensive Options – Featured: Email Composer
  • Mofuse – Simple Generator – Featured: Generates Hosted Image Link
Here are some helpful links to download QR Code readers for your smart phone:

View this article via your mobile phone to download and install directly to your mobile device.

I-nigma – I use this one myself.

Scanlife

NeoReader

How have you used QR Codes in your marketing?

Colorful Collection of Poster Designs for Inspiration

Poster by CPX InteractiveWhen promoting a band, a new product, service or simply to convey information, a full color poster will STAND OUT like capital letters in any text message.

Posters are designed to be hung on walls and many other large flat surfaces. Their large format allow for both text and images to promote events, use as an informational guide and can even be educational.

Posters can be printed on many different substrates.  To name a few: vinyl for durability, art canvas to give it an “artsy” finish or even acetate for more creative works. Posters can even be mounted on different materials or framed. Foamcore and Gatorboard are frequently used and allow for the poster to stand on its own or be displayed on an easel.

Here is a collection of beautiful and colorful posters that will hopefully strike a spark in your brain and ignite a creative fire that will make your next poster design STAND OUT beyond it’s size…

Poster by Beaucoupzero

Poster by Ellyezer

Poster by Etrix

K-Salaam and Beatnick Poster

Poster by MrHahn98

Bauhaus Poster by DT1087

Poster by StrongstuffPoster by Aremanvin

Poster by Zivrezcara

Poster by C345

BLACKOUT_POSTER_by_Demen1

[box title=”Word To The Wise” color=”#333333″]Get Inspired, Design Something Amazing and Have it Professionally Printed. Call us 516-334-1603[/box]

Design a Winning Business Letterhead

Full Color Business LetterheadBusiness letterheads not only reflect what your company does or what it is, but it reflects the type of customers you serve. Make your customers feel at home each time they open correspondence from you. Help them remember who you are and what your purpose in their lives is. A good letterhead carries more than just your company’s information; it carries character and the type of familiarity that makes your clients feel at ease when doing business with you.

Print your business letterheads in full color to reinforce your brand and marketing message. You can add different features, such as a simulated custom watermark, a design for the back side, or anything you can think of.
Invoices, receipts, or any formal correspondence should always be printed on company letterheads. Your customers will notice and appreciate the difference and convenience this brings them when archiving, sorting, or preparing business reports.

Make sure your logo dresses up your stationery with vivid, bright colors.

Letterhead Business Information Placement

Here is some information to keep handy while constructing your business letterhead design:

Your logo and basic contact information should always be part of your letterhead. Keep the background subtle and sober, you do not want to distract the reader from the information provided in the body of the letter.

Letterhead-business clean design

Divide and Conquer

You may divide the information in two parts; header (at the top) and footer (at the bottom), this allows more space in the body of the document for the content of your letter. The header should consist of your logo, company colors, and basic contact information. The footer usually contains more formal copyright, business entity, and disclaimers. Include company colors in the footer as well. A hairline bar, separating the footer from the body content, for instance, can tie the brand together across the page.

Size it Up…or Down

Make sure your font does not go below 8, or it would be incredibly difficult to read, on the other hand, make sure it is not so big that it makes the content look cluttered and unrefined. Look at your page as a whole, and determine whether the relationship of the sizes (logo, font, lines) is smooth and appealing.

Backdrop or Watermark

It is interesting to have something in the background of your letterhead, it could be your logo in a 10% tint or an image representing your product or service. However, all with moderation. The background should not be the most visible part of your letterhead, and should definitely not upstage the content of your letter, or even worse, make it unreadable.

Letterhead Design with Watermark

Background

Beautiful business letterheads are printed on uncoated paper for ink-jet printing and ballpoint pen writing ease; the industry standard. There are many premium stocks available that include textured finishes to give your letterhead that extra oomph of professionalism.

Business Letterhead Paper Stock Options

For inspiration, below are a few letterhead designs that stand out above the rest:

Business Letterhead by Diversionary

Business Letterhead by ChasedbySilence

Business Letterhead by Kiq

Business Letterhead by Silverspoon102

Are there any business letterhead designs that you would like to share?

Please share your comments with us below………

12 Months of Continuous Daily Advertising – Custom Calendar Printing

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You heard it right! For every 10 Custom Calendars that you order, we will print an extra one for free. Use Code STB13CL when requesting your quote or give us a call now at 1-877-mmprint! [/note]

Custom Calendar Printing Custom printed calendars can be an invaluable asset to your marketing strategy.
When designed properly and made useful, a calendar is a guaranteed 12 months of daily advertising that you pay for only once. No pay-per-click, pay-per-view or pay-per-anything! Have your full color calendars printed all at once, distribute them to your customers – be it new prospects or loyal customers – and that is it. Do you have a graphic designer in-house? If so, the only costs you incur for 12 months of daily advertising is printing and distribution.

Advantages of Custom Printed Calendars

Custom Calendars for BusinessA standard calendar is generally composed of 24 inside pages and a cover. Seven 11″ x 17″ sheets are folded to 8.5 x 11 and saddle stitched (stapled). This is the most basic of calendars and includes small variations in paper thickness. There are many types and layouts for printed calendars all having either a standard or versatile use. Assign a specific product to each month, provide monthly coupons, display specific information that relates to your product or service for that month, or you can utilize images provided by your customers. A custom calendar can be used as a catalog, informative brochure or handy tool for your customers.

Calendar Sightings

Calendars can be found just about anywhere. Offices, homes, home-offices, gas stations, restaurants, garages, retail stores, the list goes on and on. The key question here is HOW are they used and/or displayed in these different settings. Households for example, typically use them as decoration that changes month to month. Therefore, a calendar made for households should contain beautiful imagery or art. Some businesses use calendars as an organizational tool: Scheduling meetings, staying aware of deadlines, jotting down notes, employee birthdays or days off.  A calendar for a business setting needs to be practical and have room for writing notes.

Custom Desktop Calendar
One great example is the calendar that one of our paper vendors sends us every year. It is a desktop calendar that I keep on my desk throughout the year, it has lots of room for notes, writing down print jobs that are due on a certain date, and just doodling in general . In fewer words, it is extremely convenient.
So what does this do for the vendor? Well, their logo and contact information is always available to me throughout the year. Whenever I am taking sales calls and get a request for a specialty paper, who do you think comes to mind first?

Just the thought of having to go through my boss’s Rolodex to find a vendor’s information……..

Real Rolodex
🙂

“Convenience and Practicality” – Apply this concept when creating a plan for your calendar and the rest will fall into place. Enjoy these charming custom calendar designs and may they influence your design and productivity:

Colle+McVoy: Creative calendar

3M Post-it Calendar

Keskin 2010 Calendar

STIHL Autumn Calendar

Calendars and Beyond

Here at mmprint.com, we decided to “theme” our 2009 calendar with inspirational art and design quotes jazzed up with beautiful stock photos that coincided with the quote and season. We received a colossal amount of positive feedback from customers.
This year we decided to showcase one of our newest products by placing our 2010 calendar on a custom mousepad! We also added a functional ruler to max out our space with usability.
Custom Calendar Printed on a Mousepad

Do you have a custom calendar that you have designed or printed and would like to share?

Please comment below…

Amazing CMYK Inspired Designs

 

Printers and print designers eat, breathe and sweat CMYK.
One of the most common mistakes made when beginning a print design is to make sure the Mode is set to CMYK.

What better way to embed CMYK mode into your brain to make sure your design is correctly formatted for printing?

A showcase of Incredible Full Color CMYK Posters for reference and inspiration!

CMYK by BlackTSpawN

CMYK by DecadentBlend.com

CMYK by Shanthora

CMYK by Nellmckellar

CMYK by Seba300

CMYK Splatter

Have you had any beginner mistakes or simple “I can’t believe I did that!” mishaps in a design that you would like to share?

Share your must-see CMYK inspired designs too…

Design and Print a Stunning Catalog – Solid Product Promotion

Catalog Printing ServicesCatalog: (n) a book, usually illustrated, containing details of items for sale.

As simple as this definition may sound, the reality is that designing a catalog requires preparation, specification and of course, a little imagination.

The following paragraphs will provide you with a basic idea on how to prepare for your design, specify product descriptions and adding a bit of magic in your design to make your customers want to continue browsing thorough every single product you have.

Before you begin

  • It is important to pay attention to the smallest details when creating a printed catalog.
  • All Images need to be high resolution.
  • Headlines and description have to be concise and relevant to the product.
  • The paper and finish you chose will play an important role in the success of your catalog.
  • Make sure to have your final draft proofread a couple of times by different agents in your company; Grammar and/or simple errors can reflect poorly upon your brand.

High Resolution Images for Catalog PrintingHigh Resolution Product Images

“In their splendor, images effect a very simple communion of souls.” – Gaston Bachelard

When presenting your products within a catalog, in essence, you are producing an extension of the physical product for your customer. Therefore, it is of upmost importance to have clear, high resolution, quality photographs and/or clean vector images. The goal is to make a connection between the viewer and the product as if they were holding the product in their hands.

Catalog Design and Printing Compelling Headlines
Compelling Headlines and Informative Descriptions

Concise: (adj) brief in form but comprehensive in scope.

The purpose of a headline is to solicit the reader’s attention, engage his or her interest and finally, entice them to keep reading. Keep it short and to the point. A headline should not be misleading; It should be utilized as a tool for the reader to find what they seek quickly, all the while trying to spark an interest they were unaware of.

The product description is the opportunity given by the headline, to capitalize and make the sale. Depending on the type of products you are promoting,  a description can be a block of text or just bullet points.

Here are a few tips on what a description should include:

  • Physical description: Remember the product image does a great job of this but the conversion lies in the details
  • Manifest the need: Justify the reasons why the customer “needs” your product and the benefits that accompany the purchase
  • Technical Details: Provide sizes, manufacturing materials, quantity, everything relevant to the product
  • Additional details: Include any copy regarding where to find warranty information and how to contact a knowledgeable associate regarding the product
Catalog Spot Varnish Cover
Catalog Cover Spot Varnish

Spice Up the Design and Content with the Appropriate Finish

With so many incredible finishing options available for catalogs, finding a combination that suites your products and design is certainly a crucial step. This choice is best determined once the design has been completed or at least when the design has been planned (except for size and orientation).
Layout, size, colors and budget all play an important roll in this equation.

The following is a list of popular finishes available for your catalogs:
Coating
  • UV Coating – High Gloss
  • Spot UV – High gloss in specific areas of the design
  • Aqueous Coating – Matte (less expensive than Varnish, full coverage only)
  • Varnish – Matte
  • Spot Varnish – Matte in specific areas of the design
Binding
  • Saddle Stitching (Staples)
  • GBC Bound (Comb)
  • Spiral Bound (Plastic Coil)
  • Wire-O (Double-loop Wire)
  • Perfect Bound (Spine Glued to Cover)
Catalog Binding Options
Wire-O – Perfect Bound – Spiral
Catalog Printing Saddle Stitching
Saddle Stitching