InDesign Tips to Speed Up Your Catalog Design

 

We sort out great websites for you to download free for commercial use fonts or free for commercial use vector art and write tutorials and tips for designers.

 

Why do we even bother? Well, honestly, it makes our job easier!

 

Truth is, we can use the most state-of-the-art printing presses like the Konica Minolta C8000 we acquired recently, but if the files are not print-ready and well crafted, the outcome can literally be garbage…that goes in our paper recycle bins of course!

In my experience:

  • 80% of the outcome of a print job is dependent on the design files
  • Most times, a graphic designer acts as a liaison between us (the catalog printer) and the customer
  • Many times the customer is the designer

Therefore, we sincerely want the designer/customer to be proficient with their design tools and so, we offer the resources to learn how to do so.

 

Keep reading to learn how InDesign can speed up your catalog design and make you a truly efficient designer…

Catalog Printing - Indesign Master Pages

Adobe InDesign Gives You Design Superpowers

 

Well, not really. But it does make the process of designing a catalog 10x easier!

One of the most tedious part of designing a catalog for print is well, repetition.

What would you find repeated throughout a catalog?

  • Headers
  • Footers
  • Backgrounds
  • Logos
  • Watermarks

 

Adobe InDesign Master PagesWhat can we do about it?

Adobe InDesign answers that question for us with “Master Pages”.

Notice how in the top area of the image there is a graphic of a page labeled “A-Master”. Notice the pages below it are all labeled “A”. That means that any changes done to the A-Master page will also appear in all pages labeled “A”.

Now isn’t that nifty??

You can place any repetitive information that will be found throughout your catalog in the A-Master page and it will be found on all of your pages marked A.

If you find that you need to have some of the pages with a different layout, you have 2 options…

  • Simply drag the page labeled “[None]” to the page that will be different. This removes the A-Master layout
  • Create a new Master such as B-Master so that you can use a totally different layout on other pages

 

This feature alone will save you countless hours that will be better spent designing the body of the catalog.

 

Now that’s efficiency.

 

Here is a youtube video from Lynda.com that explains how to use InDesign Master Pages in detail:

 

Please comment with any InDesign advice or tips you may have and don’t forget to share this post!

3 Easy Steps To Every Door Direct Mail Success

Every Door Direct Mail Retail is incredibly easy to prepare and mail.

The following steps will show you how to take your E.D.D.M. from concept to delivery.

Before you continue reading, please make sure you have familiarized yourself with E.D.D.M. by reading  5 Reasons Every Door Direct Mail Will Work for You and then come back to see how it’s done in 3 easy steps.

1. Discover Your Surroundings

Every Door Direct Mail Delivery

The USPS offers a very useful tool on their website where you can enter data about the area of your mailing and it returns detailed information about that area:

  • Number of residences in a route
  • Number of businesses in a route
  • Number of total routes
  • Approximate cost of Postage
  • Local Post Office for each route

There are various ways to select the areas where your Every Door Direct Mail will hit:

  • By City
  • By County
  • By Zip Code
  • By radius around a specific address

You can choose the type of routes served:

  • City
  • Rural/Highway Contract
  • PO Boxes

You can select from two delivery types:

  • Business and Residential
  • Residential Only
Once you have made all of your selections and have a final count of the area and routes that will be covered, you can continue by clicking “Next” to generate all of the paperwork required when delivering your EDDM prints to the Post Office. Don’t forget your postage check! But don’t fret, they also take cash and credit cards.

2. Bundle Your Advertising

Every Door Direct Mail Bundle Facing SlipThis is the most labor-intensive step of completing your E.D.D.M. mailing, but it’s simple!
The USPS requires that you bundle your Every Door Direct Mail pieces into stacks of 50-100. The reason for this is that the Mailman takes these bundles and places them in his bag or cart and delivers one to each mailbox on his route. Please be considerate! Don’t make the bundles too heavy.
One of the forms that the system generates for you is the Facing Slip. This form needs to be on the very top of every bundle, so make copies before you fill in all of the information.
I recommend that you fill the Date, Company Name and Post Office of mailing before making copies so that you don’t have to fill it in every time.
These are the required fields you must complete on the Facing Slip:
  • Route Number
  • Date
  • Number of Pieces in Bundle
  • Total Number of Bundles
  • Company Name
  • Post Office of Mailing

3. Delivery to the USPS

Postage Stamp Special Delivery EDDMOnce steps 1 and 2 are completed, the final and easiest step is your delivery to the Post Office. One of the forms generated by the E.D.D.M. system, the “Facility List”, is a summary of the entire mailing.
For your convenience, the form will list the address of each Post Office you must deliver the bundled mailers to, the hours of operation and contact information.
You will also find a table listing the Carrier Routes selected and number of mail pieces for each route and at the very bottom, the total postage cost (number of mailpieces x 14.5 cents)
The number of Post Offices listed will usually only vary if you selected more than one Zip Code.
That’s it! Your Post Office representative will review your paperwork and mail pieces, process the paperwork in the register and accept payment for your Every Door Direct Mail.
Your mail pieces will be delivered within the Standard Mail delivery time.
If you have any questions or would like a quote, please visit our E.D.D.M Page.

Is there anything you have noticed that can make Every Door Direct Mail even easier or more efficient?

 

5 Reasons Every Door Direct Mail Will Work for You

Every Door Direct Mail Mailbox

E.D.D.M.- Every Door Direct Mail

Recently released by the United States Postal System (USPS), the purpose of Every Door Direct Mail is to enable mom and pop shops, small businesses and corporations to send a direct mail piece to every mailbox in a specific area. The area of the mailing can be specified by zip code or radius around an address and further defined by selecting routes within the results. Get Every Door Direct Mail For Your Business Now

Every Door Direct Mail is Not for Every Type of Business

If your main customers are businesses (B2B), E.D.D.M. is really not for you. Every Door Direct Mail requires that you mail to residences. If your product or service caters to a very specific demographic, targeted direct mailwould be more beneficial to your campaign, not E.D.D.M.

Who benefits from Every Door Direct Mail?

If your product or service serves your local community and appeals to both individual consumer households and local businesses too, E.D.D.M. is a great and inexpensive way to make your presence known and can lead to an increase in foot traffic and phone calls if you plan it out well. Every Door Direct Mail works great for local businesses:

  • Pizzeria
  • Laundromat
  • Deli
  • Diner
  • Lawyers & Accountants
  • Tax Service
  • Taxi & Limo Service
Don’t forget, franchises do most of their marketing at a local level…E.D.D.M. Win!

Why Every Door Direct Mail Will Work For You

1. Marketing at a Local Level

Local deals, local search, local , local, local!A perfect example is the announcement of a new pizzeria in town. Let’s say the owner is not a marketer or just doesn’t have the time to put together a marketing campaign. Yet, naturally he knows that his target market is every home and business in the surrounding area of his pizzeria. Every Door Direct Mail would be the quick and efficient way for the pizzeria owner to let every home in say, a 2 mile (or more) radius know about the grand opening of the new pizzeria. Simple and inexpensive.

2. No Mailing List or Permit Required

So, you’re a Franchisee and you own 3 stores that each serve their own local communities. Your main marketing objective is to make sure that everyone in the local vicinity of each store knows about the store, letting them know the address, contact information and hours of operation. Since Every Door Direct Mail service does not require an address list, you can send a direct mail piece to every single residence in the town of each store for a measly 14.5 cents each in postage. No requirement for a Postal Permit also saves your out-of-pocket costs in application and yearly fees.

3. Like Sending a Billboard to Every Door

Every Door Direct Mail requires that the size of your mail piece falls within the USPS “Flat” dimensions. A common size is 6.25 x 9 which is a huge amount of real estate to cover with big graphics of your products or services, coupons and anything else that makes sense to include in the direct mail piece. You can go all the way up to 15 inches. You can also mail folded prints as long as they fold down within the size restrictions: Full color custom Calendars give you 12 months of continuous marketing and fall within the “flat” dimensions.

4. Easy Coupon and Specials Distribution

With the low cost of distribution, E.D.D.M. is a great tool to use to give out your coupons, announce specials and event sales. Spruce up your marketing and offer “neighborhood only” coupons. Sure, you can always use a Valpak type of service but with 1700 other coupons in the same envelope, will your coupon even get noticed ? (See #3 above)

5. Setup is a Breeze

Besides being cost effective, Every Door Direct Mail only takes a few simple steps to put together. Have your E.D.D.M. postcards printed, band them into bundles with a facing slip and a rubber band and then deliver them to the Post Office with your payment for postage. That’s it. Too busy? Your preferred printer can do everything for you, all you have to do is bring it to the Post Office with your postage payment.   Every Door Direct Mail Facing Slip USPS


One of the reasons the United States Postal Service created the Every Door Direct Mail program is to help local business grow (and to try to get back on track with it’s own revenue of course). But when used correctly, it really is a great opportunity to expand your marketing efforts.

Don’t Put All Of Your Eggs In One Basket

E.D.D.M. doesn’t necessarily need to be your only means of advertising; Use it to augment your web, TV and radio marketing campaigns and remember to add QR Codes to connect the offline with the online.

Have you used Every Door Direct Mail for your business? What was your response like?

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!

 

 

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