Heidi Finds A New Family at The Marsid M&M Group

 

Heidi was born in August of 1969.  She had lived in San Diego, California for many years where she printed all types of advertisements, brochures and stationery.   She was one of 10 Heidelberg Windmill Letterpresses which were all lined up in a row.  She worked very hard for 10 hours every day and 10 hours every night with very little rest; as did her 9 sisters sitting beside her on the long and narrow concrete floor that she called home.

 

Heidelberg Windmill Letterpress

Tragedy

Right after her 15th birthday in September of 1984, the factory that Heidi worked in was shut down.  People said, “It was because there were newer types of printing presses called Offset Machines that could run faster and produce better and cleaner printed work.”  Heidi then sat idle on that cold concrete floor with no electricity or oil for almost two years.

Rebirth

In July of 1986, Henry Jenkins, a reverend from a small church in Los Angeles, found Heidi listed in a newspaper advertisement.  He journeyed to San Diego with a large moving truck and brought her back to his garage in L.A..  He fed her oil and gave her electricity which made Heidi so happy.  The reverend’s wife came to the garage once a week, always on Wednesday, to clean her and rub her down with a very soft cloth.  Heidi was finally at work again; her new job was to print small prayer books and song sheets for Reverend Jenkins to distribute to his parishioners.  After many years, the good Reverend took ill and was forced to make a change.  On February 17, 2007, Reverend Jenkins and his wife closed their church and moved to a small town in Mexico where they became missionaries.  Heidi now needed a new home.  She still had so much life in her.

Heidi was found by an adoption agency in Jamaica, New York called Crystal Graphics.  The company was owned by a man named Mr. Bally, who knew that although he would probably be keeping Heidi for a while; he was sure he would eventually find her a good home.  He cleaned Heidi from top to bottom and made sure she looked good.  He then covered her with a big green tarp with the words “WINDMILL 13X18” on it.  Trying to find new parents that were qualified was not an easy task.  People would come to look at her, but no one seemed to have the right use for Heidi.  After many months of deliberation, Mr. Bally decided to convert Heidi into a Die Cutter and Foil Stamper.  In November of 2011, after the conversion was complete,  she received a new coat of paint and was ready to go.  Again the green tarp was put back on Heidi to keep her protected and safe, but it now had the words “FOIL STAMPING / DIE CUTTING” added to her description.

A New Home

It was about this time that Sid Halpern, the president of The Marsid M&M Group a very progressive “State of The Art” commercial printer, decided to compliment his offset and digital capabilities and bring “in house” Foil Stamping and Die Cutting to their growing list of clients.  Mr. Halpern found Heidi advertised by Mr. Bally on eBay and decided to make a visit to the Jamaica, New York warehouse to see her.  He lifted the green tarp and was immediately impressed!  Heidi was clean and beautiful, filled with oil and ready to go to work with all her new capabilities.  The deal was made and the adoption finalized!  A few days later, December 10, 2011, Heidi was on Mr. Bally’s delivery truck heading to her new home in Carle Place, New York!

Heidelberg Windmill Letterpress

Wow!  Heidi was amazed when she arrived.  Mr. Halpern had built her a very special private room with an arched doorway!  He installed  new crown moldings and had pictures of Benjamin Franklin and Johannes Guttenberg on the wall above her.  There was a vintage California Job Case to her left and an authentic composing stick to her right!  There were even a few antique hymns engraved in copper on the wall. Heidi thought she remembered printing with those back when she was with Reverend and Mrs. Jenkins in L.A..  Heidi was so proud and now felt so useful in her new home with all of the shiny new offset and digital printers!  Mr. Halpern was very good to her; he treated her as part of his FAMILY.  He bought her all new tools and was so excited to watch her Die Cut and Foil Stamp new jobs every day.  It didn’t take Heidi long to realize she would never again be on a delivery truck!

 

Adding Video to your Printed Marketing Materials for Free

 

In this post we will explore in detail how to beef up your printed marketing materials by adding your own custom video and making it easy for your customers to share the video as well.
I am sure some of you reading this right now are imagining small screens, wires and batteries or mini-DVDs glued to the inside of your media kits. Well, that’s not the case, it’s not that complicated and it’s free!

Adding the video to your printed marketing materials is done in 3 easy steps and all 3 tools needed are available freely on the Internet.

Video Distribution Step One

Video Distribution

The first step, assuming you already have a video that you would like to distribute to your customers, is to upload your video to the web. There are quite a few websites that will host your video file for free, some of the most popular being Youtube and Vimeo.

 If you are tech-savvy or have an IT person who handles your website, you can also upload your videos to your own website hosting server.

By uploading your videos to the web, you make them available and easily accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Most video hosting sites as you may already know, have a commenting feature where people can leave comments about your video and you can respond to their comments.

 

Link Creation Rope

Creating a Link

In this second step we will create a link to the video. Both Youtube and Vimeo automatically create a link for you and you simply copy and paste it. Most video hosting sites will do this for you as well.

After we have uploaded the video and generated a direct link to the video, we are going to make it a link that we can track to see how many times it has been used, shared and who shared it.

There are many free URL shorteners available that give you free tracking tools that provide basic Analytics with information regarding the use of the link you shortened. Here are a few of the most popular ones, I recommend you create a user account so that you can log in and view your results:

I tend to be partial to bit.ly because I like how easy it is to create a shortened url and the way they present the link tracking information.

To create a shortened URL, simply paste the video URL into the big blue text box and click shorten. Easy as that.

The Bit.ly analytic panel gives you different ways to look at what happened to your URL throughout its life:

  • A visual chart with the amount of daily clicks
  • Cool feature called Conversations which shows who is talking and sharing the same link on social networks plus a count of how many times it has been shared on various social networks.
  • QR code and a sidebar to share the link on your social networks right from the bit.ly page (go to settings to authorize this).

Being able to analyze the results of your efforts is a very valuable tool. If you can tell what did well and what went wrong with your marketing, you can use this information to improve your marketing and drive better results on your next campaign.

 

QR Code Connecting Print to Video

Code Connection

The final step in adding video to your printed marketing materials is to create the connection between your video and the paper your marketing material is printed on.

Most of you may be familiar with QR codes by now since they have been around for a while. You might see them quite often on catalogs, magazines, postcards and many other direct mail printed materials; not to mention packaging and even in commercial stores like BestBuy use them to show video product demos in the stores.

If you would like to learn more about QR codes, I highly recommend you read my post that contains information about QR codes and a list of Free QR Code readers and generators.

For this specific tutorial we will be using a QR code to direct the user’s mobile smart phone to a video that you uploaded per the instructions in step one. Why use a QR code? Well, how many people do you think would want to type a URL that looks like this – bit.ly/egm7XG – into their smart phone browser? By using a QR code all the user has to do is tap his QR code reader app and scan the code.

Let’s get to it! Creating a QR code is simple. Go to one of the free websites I listed in the blog post about QR Codes. Try them all to see which one you find easier to use and feel free to share with us in the comments below.

For this example I will use the www.BeQRious.com website to generate my QR code:

BeQRious.com screenshot

Simply paste the shortened URL you created in step 2 into the text box labeled “Enter web URL:” and click the Create Code button.

You will see on the right an image of a cellphone with a QR code on the screen. That is the code that was generated by your special and unique URL.

Now, if you are feeling a bit antsy, go ahead and fire up your QR Code reader app on your smart phone and scan the the code right on your computer screen. Make sure it works correctly and directs your smart phone to the video you uploaded in step 1.

If it doesn’t work, go back to step 1 and make sure you used the correct link for the video, in the URL shortener and that you used the correct link generated by the URL shortner, on BeQRious.com (or whatever qr code generator you decided to use).

Wa-la! That’s it. Download the QR code and insert into the design of your marketing materials.

I recommend you download the vector/PDF version of the code (if available) as it is created in vector format and can be enlarged or reduced to just about any size without losing any quality. I personally try to keep it no smaller than 1 inch x 1 inch.

IMPORTANT!!!

Rule #1 : TEST, TEST, TEST.
You must make sure that the code is not too small or too blurry to be read by the cameras on smart phones. You must test the QR code among different phone models and different QR code reader apps to make sure it works appropriately.

A Holiday Greeting Card to Remember

 

With the holidays in proximity, we begin the yearly cycle of gift buying, long lines, figuring out who’s hosting Thanksgiving dinner, making sure those gifts are in the mail by a certain date, and all the other craziness that comes with the holiday season. For businesses it’s not so much the case, but appreciation is due to those who keep you in business and those who help your business thrive.

Calendar and Invitation Greeting Cards

 

Holiday Greeting Cards Expectations

With every gift or even as a gift in itself, a holiday greeting card is expected. It could be for your employees, your clients, your suppliers or even your competitors, a greeting card with a nice big THANK YOU! in it can make a big difference in the year to come. Some may argue, but appreciation breeds motivation and loyalty.

 

2012 Greeting Card Printing

 

Sometimes Thank You is not Enough

Sure, having custom holiday greeting cards printed and mailed can be perceived as thoughtful and polite but if it lacks substance, your efforts might just go to waste. A greeting card should be endearing, yet it still serves great purpose as a marketing and/or branding piece. The message you have printed on the inside can leave a lasting impression, so make it a good one.

Holiday Greeting Card with QR Code

 

It’s not a Sales Pitch or a Coupon

Well actually a discount coupon might not be such a bad idea but that depends on your line of business and who you’re sending it to. Your brand logo or company name may be the single most important part of the holiday card; If the recipient doesn’t know who is wishing them happy holidays or thanking them for their business, then it’s just as good as not getting one. Even if the card is blank on the inside, you still have your brand in their face and in their hands.

Would it make sense in your line of business to give your customers blank holiday cards so that they can use them and send them out to their customers?

 

 

Printing Terms Infographic – Color Quick Guide

We strongly believe that an informed customer can make all the difference in print jobs going smoothly and without misunderstandings. I’m sure it goes for any industry.

We strive to offer a unique and pleasant experience when working with us. By providing our customers with informative collateral we not only educate our customer, but we also ease the lines of communication which instills confidence in our customer that what they are ordering is exactly what they want. It’s logical, it makes sense.

With the recent popularity and practicality found in infographics, we decided to release a series of Quick Guides of printing terms and print related infographics to offer to our customers and anyone else who can use them. Please feel free to share this!

For a more in-depth look at color, visit our Colorful Guide to Understanding Color.

Printing Terms Color Quick Guide

 

 

 

 

Creating Outlines from Type in Illustrator and InDesign


Outlining Type in Adobe Illustrator and Indesign

Why Do We Need to Outline Our Type?

Before sending a file to a printer, there are a few important steps that must be considered.  One of those is making sure that the type in the document is turned into outlines.  If the printer needs to make an adjustment to the file (fix color, adjust bleeds, etc.)  and the type is not outlined, there could be font issues that cause the copy to change or re-flow.  Sometimes these changes may not be noticed until after the job is printed.  It is a very simple process that only takes a moment.  Once it is done, the type is turned from a type box to vector outlines and can no longer be edited.  This tutorial is for Adobe programs such as Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Indesign. Always remember to check your copy before converting to outlines, because it can not be edited afterward.

Outlines Versus Type

How to Create the Outlined Type

In the above Image, the top line of text is type while the bottom line is outlines.  As you can see the outlines no longer have editable type; they have the individual vector points of the outlined shapes.  In order to outline the type, one needs to select the type box as a whole so that it looks like the below image.

Selecting a Text Box

Then if you are on a PC, press CTRL + SHIFT + O, or if you are on a Mac, press CMD + SHIFT + O.  The type can also be outlined from the top menu by selecting “type” then selecting “create outlines” from the drop down menu.  Afterwards your type will turn to paths and look like this image below.

Outlined Type

Finished Type Outlines

Now the type is outlined and safe to send to the printer. Remember to check that the other parts of the document are ready to go to pre-press before sending it to your printer.  Outlined type can be helpful when creating typographical designs; it removes the need to work with type boxes and allows direct editing of the shape of the characters directly.

Design Tutorial: Offset Path Tool in Adobe Illustrator

Offset Path Tool for Adobe Illustrator

Using the Offset Path Tool in Adobe Illustrator

This tool is one of my favorites within Illustrator.  It does exactly as the name suggests, it creates a duplicate of an object with the path set off by a specified distance.  It can create replicas of different size with standard distances between the original and replica and easily creates concentric shapes. It is great for creating large or smaller versions of objects or creating outlines that are shapes.  It is also great for creating outlines around large groups of objects and creating shadows that are actual objects that can be edited independently from the object that would be casting the shadow.

Adobe Illustrator Offset Path Tool Dialog Box-Miter Limit Join Offset

How to use the Offset Path Tool

The offset path tool can be accessed from the Adobe Illustrator Menu from Object >> Path >> Offset Path. It will open the offset path tool box that asks what distance to offset the path, what type of joins for the corners and the miter limit. The distance used in the Offset field can be entered as a positive or negative which will make a shape that is either larger or smaller than the original.

Multiple Examples of the Offset Path Tool

Different Offsets

In the above image the offset path tool is used to create multiple concentric copies of the original shape in different sizes.  In the purple example I created a smaller concentric copy by using negative values, while in the blue example I used the a positive value to create a larger concentric copy.

The offset tool can even be used to create multiple copies that can sit within one another.  This effect is achieved by applying the offset tool twice as shown in the red and black example.

Illustrator Offset Path Tool Join Options Bevel Round Miter Ends

Different Join Types

The joins field in the offset path tool box modifies the type of angles the ends of the offset will have. There are three types, the miter which is a pointed corner, the round which is a rounded corner and the bevel which is a squared corner.

Differences between Miter Limits

 

Miter Limit

The miter limit is how far the points can extrude from angles in the shape. Below there is an example of a high and low miter.  The  default is “4” which isn’t always the best for more acute angles.  The second example with a miter of “20” actually allows for it to be much larger than what is displayed, so it is a bit of overkill.

 

Difference between Stroke and Offset Path in Adobe Illustrator

The Difference Between Offset Path and Strokes

A similar effect can be created by applying a stroke to an object but a stroke and offset path are not the same, although they can look similar. The offset path is a replica that is evenly distanced from the original all around while the stroke is just an outline of a path. Also while resizing an object, the offset path will keep the proportions while the stroke will keep the same stroke size regardless of object size. Above we have an image of a stroke and an offset path around a line of text that has been reduced in size.  Originally when the object was much larger they looked identical but as the object size changed more dramatically the stroke slowly became more out of place while the offset path still looks right. The stroke would have to be constantly adjusted or it would have to be outlined so that it can allow for size adjustments.

Creating Shadows with the Offset tool in Adobe Illustrator

Using the Offset Path to Create Shadows

Creating an offset path of an object is a very handy way to create a shadow for that object. In the above graphic I created a shadow for the word tool by offsetting the graphic and then expanding it slightly. Afterward I used the feather on the offset and matched the color to the background. It isn’t hard and can create a nice shadow that is fully adjustable as an independent object.

Down the Right Path

The offset path tool is one of those tools that you do not hear much about but packs a big design punch when it comes to usefulness. Beyond the basic utilization illustrated in this post, the offset path tool can be used to create unique effects that can vary depending on the shape or object.

Please share any tips or tricks you may have discovered while using the offset path tool in the comments section!

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!

Typography – Choosing Appropriate Fonts

Typography: appropriate typefaces - choosing the appropriate font

 

The Timbre of Fonts

tim·bre/tambər/

Noun: The character or quality of a musical sound or voice as distinct from its pitch and intensity.

Comic Sans Office Note

Choosing an appropriate font for a design is very important.  Like sounds, I believe that fonts have timbre.  They can be described as having intangible properties that normally wouldn’t be associated with type such as being dark, violent, happy, sad, rugged or loud.  With that in mind, a design will benefit by choosing fonts which possess the appropriate timbre or tone and will help set the mood the overall design is meant to convey.

The First Step to Choosing the Right Font

Once the idea is established, a designer will need to understand how that idea needs to be conveyed.  A few points will have to be established in order to  do this:

  • Who is the target audience?
  • What is the idea?
  • Where will the design be?

These are just a few of the questions, but much will need to be determined.  Sticking with the standard who, what, when, where and why will be the simplest way to deduce the how.

Excellent Font Inspiration – Movie Posters

One of the best examples of both appropriate and inappropriate typefaces would be movie posters.  Movie posters need to grab attention and convey the timbre and idea of the movie very quickly. The posters will also have to be aesthetically pleasing at the same time. Since the movie itself already is the idea that needs to be conveyed, the imagery and timbre are already set.  The layout and fonts are what need to be established.  The design just has to focus around has already been established.

The “Cloverfield” poster has fonts that are similar to one you would find in a case report.  It supports the idea that there is a mystery or something can be classified.  The colors and blur on the text make it foreboding and also give the idea that this is science fiction and could be frightening.  After we switch the font to Comic Sans,  it turns into the box for a breakfast cereal; presumably one that is full of mystery.

Cloverfield Poster with Comic Sans

 

I picked two other posters that I felt had appropriate font choice and design. The “Australia” poster has a turn of the century feeling to it.  The colors give off a very rustic feeling and communicates the idea of being outdoors and limited to technology.  The font itself expresses some sort of entertainment or adventure.  It is the type of font you would have found on an old show poster or travel poster.  This typography brings you to the outback or the wild west and prepares you for adventure.
The “Transformers” Poster’s typography is sharp and looks like cut metal. The font is strong and bold.  The combination of the colors and font give it a serious timbre and express action. The typography tells you “Hey, we got robots.” without actually saying it.

Australia and Transformers Movie Poster Fonts

Typeface Lost and Found

Understanding the project and a clear statement is what is needed in choosing the correct typeface. Once determined, the designer will be able to feel what would be right. The typeface is chosen before the search begins.

Do your designs match your Fonts or do your Fonts match your designs?

 

Please leave your comments below…

PANTONE® PLUS Digital Libraries for Adobe Creative Suite®

Pantone® has released a Quick and Easy installer for their Pantone Plus+® Digital Libraries for the Adobe® Creative Suite® (CS). This installer copies the necessary swatch files into the correct folders and replaces the original Pantone swatches included with your Adobe CS suite.

The installer includes the following PANTONE PLUS Color Libraries:

  • PANTONE+ Solid Coated
  • PANTONE+ Solid Uncoated
  • PANTONE+ Color Bridge Coated
  • PANTONE+ Color Bridge Uncoated
  • PANTONE+ Premium Metallics Coated
  • PANTONE+ Pastels & Neons Coated
  • PANTONE+ Pastels & Neons Uncoated
  • PANTONE+ CMYK Coated
  • PANTONE+ CMYK Uncoated

System Requirements
Microsoft® operating systems: Windows® XP, Windows Vista™ and Windows 7
Apple operating systems: Mac OS X 10.4 or later

Download your Free Pantone Plus+ Color Library for PC or Mac

 

Pantone Plus Series Digital Swatch Giveaway