Printing a Unique Restaurant Menu That Will Last | Lamination vs. Synthetic Menus

When ordering new menus for your restaurant, you want to make sure you are getting something that not only looks great, but will also last a long time. Since the menus are constantly around customers, water and heat, ordinary coated paper will not do the trick. There are a few ways around this, and the finishing can dictate the overall design of your menu. The most Common of these options are Edge Sealed Lamination, Flush Cut Lamination or Synthetic Menus.

After designing your menu to look exactly how you want, use the information below to help decide what type of finishing will work best for you:


After your menu is printed, you can choose to add a layer of lamination to protect it. The Lamination process involves taking your printed sheet and rolling it between two layers of lamination. The packet is then heated to bond the lamination together and seal in the menu, creating an air-tight protection. Our lamination comes in two thicknesses: either 10 mil (5 mil per side) or lighter 6 mil (3 mil per side). A mil is equal to 1/1000 of an inch (0.0254 mm).

After the menus are sealed, they go into the cutting stage. There are two ways that menus can be cut:

Flush Cut Lamination

Flush Cut Laminated Restaurant Menu Books |
Flush Cut Laminated Restaurant Menu Books

Flush cut finishing is when the menu is cut along the edge of the menu. This gives the menu a clean-cut look because there is no lamination hanging off of the edge of the paper. Because it cuts slightly into the menu, the edge will be exposed. This can result in water seeping into the edges, and the lamination starting to peel off the paper.

Flush cut is a good option for a restaurant that is looking for aesthetics over durability. It is also more cost effective, and could be a better option if the menu is replaced somewhat frequently.

Edge Sealed Lamination

Edge Sealed Lamination Menu Books |
Edge Sealed Lamination Menu Books

Edge Sealed Menus are the most durable option we offer for menu printing. After the sheets are laminated, they are then hand trimmed, leaving a border of plastic around the page. This ensures that the menu stays completely enclosed, making it absolutely waterproof. The plastic border that remains is usually between a 1/16″-1/8″.

Edge Sealed Finishing is the best option for restaurant menus that are constantly being handled by customers and servers or exposed to kitchen elements. Since they are hand trimmed as opposed to machine cut, they tend to be more expensive than Flush Cut menus.

Synthetic Menu Prints

Synthetic Trifold Restaurant Menu | Waterproof & Tearproof Menu |
Synthetic Trifold Restaurant Menu

Synthetic Menus are a bit different than laminated menus. Instead of the plastic going on top of the paper, these menus are actually made out of a plastic material. Synthetic looks and feels similar to regular paper, but has the unique qualities of being tear-proof and water-proof. Since there is no extra layer of plastic, synthetic menus are thinner and more flexible. They do range in thickness though, from paper weight to cardstock weight.

Synthetic menus are most commonly used as trifolds since they are lightweight. When they are used for spiral bound menu books, they tend to be a bit flimsy compared to the rigid laminated version.

Although the synthetic paper itself is water-proof and tear-proof, the paper and ink is still exposed to the elements. It can withstand being wiped off or sitting in water, but is not guaranteed against chemicals or creasing. Although it is a great option for menus, it is no substitute for durability of a laminated menu.


Need a quote on Durable Restaurant Menus? Head over to to get free pricing, turnaround time and design tips. We’d be happy to any questions you might have!

3 Vital Resources for Beginner Graphic Designers

Graphic Design, like many other hobbies and professions, has become more accessible to learn due to the vast amount of help and knowledge on the internet. There are thousands of YouTube tutorials for Photoshop or Illustrator as well as online classes and articles that could get you started. Within days, you’ll be on your way to creating awesome designs and logos.

The problem you may run into is an overwhelming amount of resources trying to guide you in every which way. With so many options to choose from, and so many different styles to sort through, it may be difficult and time consuming. Here are some resources that can be vital for beginner (or any) graphic artists:


    Canva is a great resource for designers who do not have access to programs such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. While it may not be as feature-rich as these programs, it is user-friendly and will get the job done for most basic design jobs. The program allows you to upload photos, browse through a large selection of stock photos and patterns, and use cool pre-loaded fonts.

    What may be the best part about Canva – besides the fact that it’s free – is it’s compatibility with print design. Most online design programs lack this feature, but Canva allows you to design custom page sizes so that there are no issues in enlarging for print. This way no quality is lost when printing full size.

    Another print-specific feature is the ability to export files with crops and bleeds. This is required by nearly all printers, and can be a pain to fix if it is not set up right. With Canva, you will end up with a High Quality PDF that is ready for print.canva | graphic design tool for those who don't have photoshop


    This super simple color palette generator quickly identifies colors that work well together. This is great for getting some inspirations for design based on a few complimentary colors. coolors | color scheme generator for graphic designers

    This tool gives you the option to select colors by Hex value, CMYK, RGB, PMS or Copic Value. You can then lock one or more colors and produce an array of colors based on that locked value. It even gives you the option to change the hue, saturation and brightness of your colors, making the tool super flexible.


    Stock photos website for graphic designers

    Sometimes, it doesn’t make sense for you to go out and take photos for a design you are working on. With the vast amount of images that are on the web, it is usually easier to just put in a search of what you’re looking for, and find it that way. There are two minor problems with this, however. First, a lot of photos have licensing restrictions on them, so you cannot use them without giving proper attribution. Second, because there are so many photos to choose from, it may be hard to sort through all of them to find a high quality and relevant photo. is a directory linking to some of the best stock photos available. Almost all are free for commercial use without attribution. Some of the sites allow you to search for specific topics while others curate daily collections of beautiful photos. Whatever you are looking for, this is a good starting point for designers looking for high quality photos.

Designing for Print

There are many things to keep in mind when designing materials for print that differ from simple web-based graphic design. Using CMYK color schemes, designing with crops and bleeds, and exporting your files the right way are all vital steps needed to get your piece on the press in a timely matter. Visit our info center to learn more about designing for print, or leave a comment below with any questions you may have!

Lookbook Specs: Choosing the Right Options for Your Fashion Lookbook


With spring fashion season soon approaching, and the New York Fashion Week kicking off next week, time is crucial in getting all of your collateral together. There is so much that goes into presenting your new line of clothing or jewelry, and some things can go overlooked. Fashion lookbooks are a key part of any presentation, and can serve as major selling point for your merchandise.

When talking to your printer, there will be several questions they will need to ask to find out exactly how to print your booklet. Make sure you know the answers beforehand so that you can get a fair price estimate, and so that your final product comes out exactly the way you are expecting.

Here are some of the most common questions you will face when you go to print your lookbook:

How will my lookbook bind?

There are a few different options available for lookbook binding, and more detailed information and videos can be found at our bindery options page.

The three most common lookbook binding styles are Saddle Stitched, Wire-O, and Perfect Binding. Each has it’s own advantages, and there are different requirements for each style.

Saddle Stitched

This is the most cost efficient option and uses two staples to hold together the sheets of paper. Since this style is printed on large sheets that are folded in half, this type of booklet can only come in increments of 4 pages.

Wire-O Binding

Each sheet is cut to the finished size and bound using a wire with metal loops. This way, the book can be easily turned so that each page lays flat.


Perfect Binding

This is the traditional book-binding method of gluing sheets into a thicker cover. Perfect binding produces the most professional finish, but requires a minimum of 28 pages to be bound this way.


What Paper Type Should I use for my Lookbook?

Choosing the right paper for your lookbook can be just as important as the actual layout of the book. Each designer will have different preferences for their lookbook, depending on the style of the material showcased inside.

If you want your images to really pop and you have a lot of bright colors and whites in your artwork, you would probably be best suited for Gloss paper. Need your booklet to be even more shiny? Add a layer of UV Coating to the cover!

Matte or Dull Coated paper is similar to gloss, but the accents are toned down a bit. This option is great for more neutral colors that don’t necessarily need to pop off the page, but will complete the aesthetic of the jewelry or clothing pictured.

The final option is Uncoated paper – this is similar to standard printer paper, but a higher quality, and slightly thicker. This type will give a natural feel and look, as glossy paper tends to be more silky.

What Size Should my Lookbook be?

This is one of the most common questions we face when dealing with lookbooks, and it’s actually pretty simple. The answer is – any size. Most printers use large sheets to print your lookbook, and then cut them down to the finished size, making it possible to make your booklet any reasonable size. However, there are both advantages and disadvantages to this.

Landscape Lookbooks
Portrait Lookbooks
  • Custom lookbooks will stand out, which can be a key factor in the fashion industry.
  • No need to redesign your artwork – Re-figuring your images to fit in a certain page dimension can be troublesome and they may not appear to their full potential.
  • Anything custom will almost always be more expensive. Just like every other industry, having something custom made to fit your needs will run up the bill. Choosing a common size such as 5.5″ x 8.5″ or 6″ x 9″ will keep the cost down.
  • Production time will most likely increase for a custom book, which may be a hindrance if they’re needed in a rush.

Other considerations – Lookbooks are most commonly printed portrait style, meaning they are bound on the long edge. If you need an oblong (landscape) book, it will most likely increase the cost and production time.

There are many things to consider when designing your lookbook. Going into a meeting with your printer with a general idea beforehand will help your printer steer you in the right direction. It will also save you time, money and frustration in the end.

If you need a quote for printing lookbooks, give the Marsid M&M group a call at 516.334.1603 or visit our lookbook printing page for a quick estimate. We offer next day turnaround and free PDF proofs for most jobs.

5 Interesting Ideas for your Custom 2016 Calendar

With the new year creeping up fast, it’s about that time to start thinking about your new calendar for 2016. With so many different options out there, it’s hard to narrow down exactly what kind of calendar to go with. Sometimes if you are ordering a large quantity, it may be worth it to go with a custom designed calendar for your office, team, organization or school. Everyone will love having a personalized calendar, and you have the freedom to make yours look and say whatever fits your project best.

The next tricky part is to pick the type and layout of your calendar. The standard size is 11″ x 8.5″ but there are plenty of other options you can choose to customize your calendar. Take a look at some of the following examples to spark your creativity for your 2016 calendar!

12″ x 12″ Square Calendars

These prominent wall calendars are perfect to display in conference rooms, large offices or anywhere that could use extra large pages. These look really nice wire-bound which is also a plus because they can lay flat if notes need to be made or events added.


Small 8″ x 8″ Calendars

We recently had a customer print their watercolor artwork on a smaller version of a wall calendar. These are perfect for cubicles or small desks that don’t have a ton of space to hang full sized calendars.


Die-Cut Calendars

If you want something that really stands out, consider what Land Rover did with this custom die-cut design. They created a topographic map that could be peeled off day by day, mimicking layers of the earth. A calendar like this is so successful because it pairs functionality with brand accentuation. A calendar like this would be different for every company, but could serve as a great marketing tool.




Visualized Calendars

There is nothing says that says the days of the year have to be printed on paper. Visualized Calendars are a creative concept that can take on many different shapes and forms. Look for other media that can represent your calendar – it will attract more attention than a traditional day counter and can draw more notice to your brand. The calendar below uses a rack-and-pinion-like system that can easily be rolled to represent each day of the month.

visualized calendar


Full Spread Calendars

Most monthly spreads are set up to have a large picture at the top, and then a grid at the bottom representing all of the days of that month. This is used to write notes and add events to certain dates. In the digital age however, less people use physical calendars to schedule their lives. Instead, they will use their smartphones to plan their days and keep them better connected.

full page calendar

This doesn’t make the calendar obsolete though. The example above is a repurposed calendar that puts the focus on the artwork. Instead of splitting each page spread into two sections, they extended their artwork the length of the page and incorporated the calendar into the artwork. This design does not leave much room for someone to write on the display, but that is not always necessary. Instead, this layout plays to the aesthetic strength of the design.


Feel free to share your 2016 calendar ideas in the comments below, or head over to to get a quote for your calendar printing!

Crops, Bleeds and Margins: a Brief Walkthrough for Designers


Crops, Bleeds and Margins are three of the most important factors in setting up a design for print, but often go overlooked. These elements basically ensure that all images and text that extend to the edge of the page are not cut off, and that there are no white borders around the page from where it is cut.

Practically all of our print jobs are printed on sheets that are larger than the finished size, and then cut down to the actual size. This is what we call bleeds and allows for images and colors to be printed to the very edge of a page.

Crop marks are another very helpful piece to include in a design. These basically point to where the actual file will be cut. This tells the printer where to cut, and how much of the bleed to cut off.

Lastly, there are margins which define the live space of a printed piece. This area is a box inside of the page that is usually an 1/4″ from the edge of the page all around. The margins provide a safe area where all text and images should be so that they are not accidentally trimmed.

The best way to understand crops, bleeds and margins is to see it visually. Check out the video below that goes over all three elements and explains how to save a PDF properly for print:

Standard letter page in Adobe InDesign:

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Business Card Setup in Adobe Illustrator:

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You can read more in depth guides about designing for print in our info center or get a quote for your next print job at!

Specialty Stocks for Business Cards that Stand Out from the Crowd

Creating an Impression

These days, it is very common to spend a lot of time and effort trying to stand out. This includes everything from new logos, to interactive marketing and social media campaigns. Your business always needs your first impression to be one that sets you apart from your competition. There are several factors that go into forming that first impression, but one of the most important is your business card.

The business card is a very traditional practice that has been around since the 17th century. Over the years, the design and style of business cards have changed, but the general purpose has stayed the same. Business cards are used as an introduction, a reference, and a promotion. They are something that indicates the level of professionalism of your business and hints at the standards your company keeps.

There are many options available for sprucing up your business cards. One of the simplest ways to make your card higher quality is to have it printed on a specialty card stock. Check out some of these superior finishes:

Some Unique Business Card Stock Examples

1. Silk Laminated Business Cards

These ultra-thick business cards are bright white, with colors that pop off the card. The silk coating is super smooth and soft to the touch. Another advantage to these cards is that they can have spot UV coating to make certain parts of the card extra glossy and have a 3D effect. This effect is perfect for outlining logos or emphasizing a design on your card.

16 pt silk business cards with spot UV Coating

2. Suede Business Cards with Velvet Lamination

These cards are the smoothest cards we offer with a luxurious feel and vibrant colors. Match this stock with an elegant design, and you have a card that will put you above the rest. Each card is laminated with a velvet coating that not only gives it this smooth feeling, but also bumps the thickness up to 19 pt. making it a pretty hefty card. Printing your card on a stock that is thicker than the average card will definitely help you be remembered and lessens the chance that your card will be damaged sitting in someone’s wallet or briefcase.

Suede cards 19 pt with velvet lamination

3. Metallic Pearl Cards

If you want something that really stands out, consider Metallic Pearl Cards. These cards are coated with a shiny and sparkly metal finish that almost looks like they were spray painted silver. These are definitely eye catching, as they shimmer under any kind of light. While these cards may not be for everyone, there are certain businesses that would definitely benefit from using Pearl cards. Some that come to mind are Jewelers, Beauticians, Fashion Industry, or Holiday Stores. This stock is also a good option for invitations to weddings or other upscale events.

14 pt metallic pearl cards

Get great prices for specialty stock business cards and expert advice by visiting our page, here!

3 Unique Hybrid Print Projects that will Boost your Sales Pitch

All marketers know that presenting your information in an interesting way can often be just as important as the content itself. Whether it be an interesting packaging design or  a clever way to display ads using gifs, advertisers are constantly branching out to find innovative ways to pitch their brand. Doing so draws more attention away from the over-stimulation of competitors’ advertising to your specific message.

This technique can also apply to your organization’s printed marketing materials. When printing your brand on notepads, booklets, packaging and other brand collateral, you want it to not only look professional, but also to stand out. For inspiration, check out some of these clever printing techniques that add an extra layer of creativity.

Pallet Notepads

This awesome and unique print project was created for a freight forwarding company that wanted to create a notepad that was both eye-catching and practical. What came about was a notepad that was adhered to miniature wooden skid. This is both relevant to their business, and also serves as a functional notepad with their brand clearly displayed.


Concealed Binding Lookbooks

For the fashion and jewelry industries, there is no better way to easily showcase your work than with a professionally printed lookbook. These booklets are simple, strikingly beautiful, and are an effective way to showcase your catalog. This designer took the display to the next level by turning the lookbook itself into a piece of art.

Typically, lookbooks are too small to be perfect bound, so they are required to be bound using wire-o, spiral or saddle stitch binding. This lookbook was made using “concealed binding” which means that the book is bound using wire-o but has a wrap-around cover that hides the wire. This solution keeps an elegant appearance for the lookbook while keeping the durability of a wire-o booklet.

concealed binding lookbooks


Folder Booklets

A new trend in folder printing that we have been seeing more of is the Presentation Folder Booklet. This unique hybrid between a pocket folder and  an informative brochure blends practicality with content. Basically, this job is a normal pocket folder with 9″ x 12″ pages saddle stitched inside. This keeps all the functionality of a presentation folder, while allowing for additional resources to be packed inside!


Another popular choice is the mini folder booklet (6″ x 9″) as a more compact option. Looking for a quote? Head over to our folder booklet page, or leave a comment below!

Useful Pointers for Creating an Attractive Header Card

When shoppers are browsing a store, they are often walking past hundreds of different products and brands trying to grab their attention. A product’s packaging can be one of the most important factors in a customer’s buying decision. Having a poorly designed package can give the impression your merchandise is cheap or inferior. Make sure your packaging boosts your brand image instead of hurting it.

There are many different ways to package your goods, but one of the easiest and most cost effective is the use of header cards (also commonly called bag toppers). This packaging consists of a printed piece of cardstock folded in half and stapled to a polybag. This simple packaging process will get your products on the shelf in no time!

Custom header card printing

Choosing a Header Card Size

Many printing companies offer a few sizes for header cards, and some will be open to printing any custom sizes. When choosing your size, make sure the width of your header card is at least an 1/8th” longer than the width of your polybag. As for the height, it is more of a personal preference, but generally a heavier product will have a longer header card.

Designing your Bag Topper

Having a skilled graphic designer create the artwork for your packaging is another important aspect for making your product stand out. When designing for print, there are a couple of important points to remember, such as designing with bleed so that you don’t have white margins around your card.

When designing your card, remember that the design will be printed on one sheet of paper that is folded, so you will need the top half to appear upside down.

Here are some design templates for a common size header card:

5″ x 4″ (5″ x 2″ Folded) – InDesign or PDF

Header cards can be designed on both the front and back. It could be useful to print instructions or additional information on the inside of the card to keep it hidden.

Choosing a Hole Punch

For Bag Toppers, there are two standard options when it comes to hole punching: the standard hole punch or the sombrero punch (pictured below).

Sombrero punch header cards

Some smaller products may be better suited without a poly bag. For this type of packaging, consider printing your design on a thicker cardstock with slits to attach your product to. This is a great option for jewelry and other small items.

Looking for expert advice on variable data printing or need a custom quote? Feel free to reach out in the comments section or visit our header card printing page!

4 Unique ways to Utilize Variable Data Printing

Variable Data printing has been around for some time now, but innovation of the technique is always being expanded upon. This is the process of printing a changing field on a static background. Most commonly, a design will be set up with a blank field where a unique name or message can be inserted in different fonts or colors. It is also a great technique for creating custom cards and coupon codes.

More and more companies are realizing that personalizing a mailing or a printed piece will generate both a higher read-through rate and more interaction with their audience. We see the same techniques with e-mail blasts, where the subscriber’s first name will be inserted into the email instead of a generic “Hello” or “Greetings”.

Variable Data doesn’t only have to be used for personalizing names and addresses. Here are some unique examples of variable data that raise the level of a marketing campaign and build stronger connections between an organization its audience or a host and their guests.

1. Coca-Cola’s Share a Coke® Campaign

variable data labels
Photo From –

For the first time in ten years, Coca Cola have increased their sales. This is likely due to a clever marketing campaign utilized variable data. Starting in the summer of 2014 (in the U.S.) Coke began printing labels with the phrase “Share a Coke with…” and 150 variable names imprinted on the labels. These personalized labels act as a unique call to action, urging customers to not only buy the product, but also to create a second interaction by gifting (sharing) it with someone else.

Even further than this consumer-company interaction, the Share a Coke campaign has fostered interaction on social media through image posts and shares. This increased user created content and produced even more exposure for coke products and their brand. By using variable data on their labels, Coke was able to not only increase sales, but also generated consumer interaction with their company and brand.

2. Variable Data Coupons

variable data coupons
Photo From –

Customer’s love to receive coupons, especially from places they frequently visit. Coupons are also a great way to drive new business in, or keep customers coming back for more. One way to make customers even more excited about receiving a coupon in the mail is to make that coupon personalized exactly for that shopper.

This can be done in two ways. First, coupons can be personalized with the customer’s name using prospective shoppers or previous shoppers. The otheroption would be to cross sell products and services to customers based on their shopping history.

For Example:

Somebody just bought a bicycle? Send them a personalized coupon for a new helmet. Another customer just bought a new snowboard? How about a discount off your store’s next ski outing!

3. Office Supplies

Having a neat and organized office is a key to productivity and efficiency. One way to achieve this is to provide your employees with custom stationery options such as notepads, journals, letterhead, calendars and more!

Personalized stationery appears more professional, and provides clear indication to who a note is coming from. Also as an office manager, it may be a good way to keep the employees in your office happy. Workers will appreciate the extra attention!

4. Personalized Invitations

Have a special occasion coming up and need custom invitations? Try printing your invites with personalized names to add class and distinction to your event. Your guests will appreciate the extra effort and your event will be off to a great start. With custom field printing, you can use different fonts to match the theme of your invite to keep the whole message consistent and professional is always an important aspect to a successful occasion.IMG_0742

You can even take it one step further by matching your invites with personalized place cards or name tags.

In Summary…

Variable data printing is an extremely versatile printing technique that can be useful for marketing, event planning and office organization. What are some unique ways you’ve seen variable data utilized?

Looking for expert advice on variable data printing or need a custom quote? Feel free to reach out in the comments section or visit our variable data page!

Everything You Need to Know About the May 31st, 2015 USPS Postage Increase

Photo by Andrew Taylor -
Photo by Andrew Taylor –


Periodically, there is a USPS postage increase to accommodate naturally rising inflation.  Instead of revealing price increases throughout the year, the postage update is given all at once. This keeps the information organized and consistent, but can be a lot to take in. Here are some of the most important updates made to the pricing for First Class Bulk, Standard, and Nonprofit mailings. These are the most common choices for direct mail marketing, and the new prices will go into effect May 31st, 2015.

Don’t know which class of mail is right for your business? Take a look at this blog post comparing First Class and Standard Mail. For a more detailed summary of all the price changes and postage updates, refer to this Powerpoint presentation from the USPS.


First Class Bulk Mail Price Updates for May 2015

Below are the most common First-Class Bulk Mailing price updates. An additional ounce price remains at $0.13, and presort letters up to 2 oz. are charged the 1 oz. price.

New Price
Mixed AADC Automation Letters$0.439
3-Digit Automation Letters$0.416
5-Digit Automation Letters$0.391


Standard Mail Price Updates for May 2015

Below are the most common Standard Mail postage rate updates. Detached Address Labels (DALs) also increased to $ 0.036.

New Price
Letters (5-Digit Auto entered at Origin)$0.266
Flats (5-Digit Auto Flat entered at Origin)$0.392


Standard Nonprofit Mail Price Updates for May 2015

Below are the most common nonprofit mailing price updates.

New Price
Letters (5-Digit Auto entered at Origin)$0.147
Flats (5-Digit Auto Flat entered at Origin)$0.249

Other Service Increases

Along with bulk mailing and direct mail, other USPS services will also be increasing on May 31st.

ProductCPI Percent Change
PO Boxes™5.9%
Certified Mail®4.8%
Return Receipt3.8%
Registered Mail™2.6%
All Other-9.3%

Find out how much your next mailing project will cost and find answers to any questions you may have about printing and mailing.

Also take a look at some current promotions and incentives offered by the USPS that could save you some postage on your mailing!