The process of setting up a Spot UV business card is different from what you are used to. Since the Spot UV coating is not actually “printed”, the area that is printed and the area that is Spot UV will require separate files.
Areas with UV (Spot) and Areas with No UV
Let’s make it clear, the purpose of spot UV coating is to cover only certain graphic areas on the card, not the whole flat side of the card. Think of it as highlighting the important parts of your business card so that they stand out. Not only that, but you can get really creative with spot UV coating and make a business card that leaves a lasting impression on the viewer.
The Printed Area
The printed area of the card doesn’t need any special layers or effects to prepare it for spot UV coating. The only thing you will do special might be to leave out certain objects that you might want to be spot UV only, without any printing under it giving it that “Ghost” effect.
In this example, the “m” was left out of the printing, only a solid orange was printed saturating the entire back side. The spot UV coating was applied to render the “Ghost” effect to the “m” and you can only see it in the light at certain angles… this is one of the owner’s business cards, we get WOW’s every time and most customers want it for their business cards.
The Spot UV Area
Believe it or not, it’s not that difficult to make a Spot UV file for the business card. Think of it this way, the UV coating is simply a clear color that you can put over any object in your design. Therefore, all you need to do is use black (100% K) representing the areas where the UV coating will be applied. Anything that is left white in the spot UV file will NOT have UV applied to it. Anything that is black (100% K), will. Simple as that.
[note color=”#d1d7c7″]I would not recommend doing this in Photoshop since the layer would be rasterized creating a jagged edge, use Illustrator which creates a vector layer instead for nice crisp clear edges.[/note]
The logo on the front of the card is important to us so we wanted it to stand out. How did we do it? Spot UV of course! It just jumps out at you when you’re looking at the card.
[note color=”#FFCC00″]Once you have setup your Spot UV business cards. Give us a call at 1877-mmprint to speak printing professional about your project or visit our Business Card Printing Page for more information and to request a quote. [/note]
This post is best suited for graphic designers who will be working on a die cutting project and/or those of you who simply like to know how to do stuff.
Creating a die line for die cutting can be pretty simple or can be quite difficult, all depends on your design and some planning beforehand can come in very handy later on.
First, I want to make it clear that die cutting thin lines is not always a good idea. Thin lines in a die create thin cuts in the paper that can easily bend or rip off. Sometimes it’s unnavoidable such as die cutting hair or thin fonts but if possible, always try to use thick locks of hair or bold type if your die cut is typography-based.
Custom Die Cut Hang Tags
For this tutorial we are going to create a Die Cut Hang Tag. Many clothing manufacturers use hang tags to brand their merchandise and sometimes include information about the product or the company on the back or inside if it is a folding hang tag.
For this tutorial, we will use a fictitious Clothing Brand called mmprint.
Our goal is to have a finished hang tag where we will die cut the mmprint with the white Stroke around it. Leaving the grey area (which for purposes of this tutorial is simulating the paper) by using a die cutter such as our Heidelberg Windmill Letterpress.
The Right Tools
The die line must be made using a vector design program such as Adobe Illustrator or InDesign. A die maker uses a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine which uses CAD software to send the design commands to the CNC machine.
Preparing the Artwork
Creating the die line for the mmprint hang tag should be rather straight forward and simple. We used Century Gothic Bold for the text and made an offset path to make it thicker, then added a 3pt. Stroke around it. All we really need to do is make a line that goes around the entire perimeter of the white Stroke.
Sure, you can show off your Pen tool skills and trace the whole thing but working efficiently is key for a designer and when you have other projects to move on to, time is important.
At this point in our design, our stroke is an effect applied to the object. When you select the object with the black arrow, you will see that the selection line is located within the stroke. Since we need the die line to be the outside edge of the stroke, we have to make the stroke an object itself.
Select the mmprint object then click Edit>Copy then click Edit>Paste in Front
With the new object selected, click Object>Expand
While still selected, click the Unite button in the PathFinder tab (Window>Pathfinder)
Now you should have the outline of the object that is completely white, which notably is the shape that will remain in the sheet of paper once the mmprint is die cut out…
Now just 2 more steps.
While our new white object selected, all we need to do is give it a 1pt. stroke (I chose orange so it stands out) and remove the fill color.
Here is the result:
The final step is to convert the orange color we selected into a PMS color that we will call “Die Line”.
The purpose of making the die line its own PMS color is so that it separates correctly when making plates. The CMYK parts separate accordingly for printing and our “Die Line” PMS will separate as one separate plate for the die.
Here is how it’s done:
Tips and Tricks
It’s always a good idea to consult with the printer/die cutter before you spend a lot of time on your design. Discuss and if possible, show a sketch or basic artwork of your die cut to get feedback on what may or may not work.
As a graphic designer/consultant, you are hired to be efficient and work within budgets.
To save on die charges, you can always use a pre-made Die Cut shapes and customize only the printing.
We offer a nice selection of pre-made die cut shapes:
Take the Design Even Further
When budget is not an obstacle, take your creativity to the next level with Foil Stamping and Embossing.
At this point you can design a hang tag with all the bells and whistles that people may possibly keep. Hang tags create an amazing opportunity to spread your branding with the very merchandise that you sell. Make your hang tag reflect the quality of your company and your product.
So how do you prepare the design for foil stamping and embossing?
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!
Vector Logos of popular brands are sometimes hard to find for your designs…
Customers in need of design services are usually not knowledgeable of technical properties of design… that’s why they hire us to design it for them. More often then not, customer supplied files are not print-ready; product images and manufacturer logos pulled off of the internet, content written on a napkin, and anything else they can think of to make your job harder, but that’s why we charge by the hour, right?
Efficiency Saves Time and Money
A good portion of design time is used in searching the internet for brand logos or finding product images that are suitable for printing. It is a burdensome task and takes time and patience. As an honest designer or design company, it is extremely important to be efficient while producing quality design. Your efficiency allows you to work faster and to be more precise, which in turn saves your customers money on design time and at the same time also helps produce quality design quickly so that you can move on to the next project.
Finding Vector Logos of Popular Brands can be Easy
When You Can’t Find the Vector Logo You’re Looking For
on any of these sites, another option is to search directly for the logo which might be found in press releases or manuals typically found in PDF format. The easiest way to find PDF files is through Google’s Advanced Search option and choosing PDF in the file type field or by typing directly into the search bar like this:
Search: Netflix Logo filetype:pdf
At the time of writing this post, Google’s #1 search engine result renders a link to a Netflix API naming & Logo Guide PDF which contains a vector Netflix® Logo which can be extracted from the PDF by opening it in Adobe Illustrator. I like to use the brand name and the word logo to get a bit more specific search results. Sometimes it does not work so you must be a bit vague and use less specificity:
Search: Netflix filetype:pdf
Finding High Resolution Images of Commercial Products
Another option to find high resolution product images is to begin by searching the company website for a Media section or search within the Site Map. Many corporations offer high resolution product images right on their websites for resellers and/or the media to use on their websites or print material. Corporations know that keeping consistent is smart business. Given this is the easiest and most convenient way of finding product images, not all corporate websites are created the same. Sometimes a high resolution image is simply not available online, at least not easily and you can’t spend hours upon hours finding one image.
Sometimes You Just Have to Make it Work
This option is a bit more time consuming but when your design quality matters to you and your client, then it is time well spent: Search the top three search engines for the product you are in need of and make sure to go to the “Images” section of each search engine. Many people and businesses take their own pictures of products with high megapixel cameras that render print-worthy images. Using Photoshop you can take the product right out of the picture and use it in your design. Make sure that your image is in CMYK format to avoid any color surprises when it prints. Adobe Illustrator and InDesign will accept RGB images to be placed within a CMYK document, but the document as a whole will be converted to CMYK at your printer. All brands and company names used here are copyright of their respectful owners.
What cool tips or tricks do you use to find product images or logos when you don’t have them?
Please share with other graphic designers by posting your comments below…
As printers and print designers we are constantly submerged mentally and physically in the realm of CMYK. These four letters are the rule of the print industry and the basis for almost everything that we print. To increase your understanding of the CMYK color mode, please read our popular Colorful Guide to Understanding Color which explains color mode differences and why CMYK is used in printing while RGB is used for the web.
Corporate logo designers know very well that a complete logo design package requires both PMS and CMYK versions of a logo so that all advertising mediums such as print and web are covered. This has mostly to do with color consistency. CMYK values that represent the PMS version should be determined to keep this consistency throughout all marketing campaigns (not to mention RGB for web graphics).
As we grow as designers and printers, our love for the CMYK acronym grows and for those of you out there who know the feeling, we have come up with this collection of beautiful CMYK inspired vector logos from all over the world for your design inspiration:
Sometimes a business card just isn’t enough to leave behind when you visit a potential customer. Sometimes, customers come into your facility and want to learn more about your products or services while they wait or to take back to the office or home.
Sure, you can tell them to visit your website; there’s a lot of information and pictures there. But how sure are you that they will actually visit your site? How do you know that they will remember to do so?
Well by furnishing them with a printed brochure, you can rest assured that they have the information they seek, in their hands, ready to read. No computers to turn on, no website addresses to type, just a simple informative brochure in their hand ready to be read.
Online and Offline go hand-in-hand
Your brochure is a selling tool, it serves as a convenient hub to introduce your service or product, it can contain information about you and/or your business and a way to contact you. Now here is the way to extend the power of your brochure to actually make the sale for you: add a QR Code.
Yes, by adding a QR code to the inside or outside of your brochure, the potential customer can scan the QR code with their smart phone, go to a mobile-ready website that is formatted to make it easy for them to actually place the order for the product or schedule an appointment for the service you offer.
Brochure Inspiration for Advertisers and Graphic Designers
Printed brochures come in many sizes and shapes. Of course we have to offer you a nice collection of beautifully crafted brochure samples to get your creative juices flowing and to end this post with some motivational visual inspiration.
When promoting a new product, service, music album, a band, a company, a brand, creating a media kit is essential to a successful marketing and/or branding campaign.
A media kit is an informative resource like no other since it can include so many different types of media, all packaged into one convenient place we like to call Presentation Folders.
Pockets and Slits, Media Kits!
Presentation folders are incredibly versatile because of the fact that they can hold so many types of media with simple pockets and slits made into the paper. Presentation folders can hold marketing materials such as:
If it is not too bulky and it will help promote your service or product it should go in your media kit presentation folder.
A Customized Presentation
Presentation folders come in many varieties to fit the purpose and can be completely customizable. Here are a few samples of standard “extras” that can help you create the perfect media kit:
Standard Business Card Slits
Optional Business Card Slits
Expanded Box Pockets
These are only a few of the most common features found in Presentation folders for Media kits. Customize them with your own ideas to fit that marketing materials and their purposes. Feel free to contact Marsid M&M if you have questions or to request a quote.
For your Design Inspiration, here are some of the best Presentation Folders and Media Kits made by awesome designers:
[Disclaimer: The folders in this post were not printed by mmprint.com, they are used for demonstration and inspirational purposes only]
As designers, the key is to keep the creativity fresh and inspired. Thinking outside of the box and out of the ordinary.
Harry Houdini was a creative innovator. His public acclamation came from showing people what they had never seen before, making that which was thought impossible seem possible. Although, for him it was a daily routine. He said it best:
“My professional life has been a constant record of disillusion, and many things that seem wonderful to most men are the every-day commonplaces of my business.”
Yet his inspiration is suggestive of the inspiration that drives a graphic designer to keep designing whether for profit or not: To go beyond the norm and create or build fantasy where none is found.
Here are some fascinating designs inspired by or dedicated to Harry Houdini:
The Great Houdini
Harry Houdini by Derkert
Houdini by Google
The Handcuff King
Magic by Cruenta
A Kind of Magic by ReptileCynrik
Have any Magical Design Tricks to Share? Please do so in the Comments Below
In today’s fierce Real Estate market you have to stay on your toes. Marketing your open houses, agency, available properties and yourself as a Real Estate agent is a key component to drive business, sales and changing that For Sale sign into a Sold! sign.
As a printing company we get to see what is new and what is working across different markets using different strategies. Here are some key marketing tips inspired by what we have seen work best for real estate agencies and agents in their marketing efforts:
1. Apply the Content is King Concept to your Real Estate Marketing Efforts
To begin with, most home buyers want to know what they are getting and how much it costs; They peruse through the property listings on your website and find a few pictures, a list of features and a few bullet points with a sales price which gives them the skinny on the property. But where is the value?
Content is King is a phrase well known to today’s internet marketers, SEO gurus and social media experts. It’s a very successful concept on the web and has been for years, these days even more so. Content adds value to a product beyond its functions or assets. Is there a positive story behind the property, the street or the town? Did someone famous or worth mentioning live there at one point? Content can give a property personality; transforming a house for sale into a home for sale. Words can influence, that’s why Content is King.
2. Modernize your Real Estate Marketing Materials
With the sharp increase in consumer purchases of smart phones, it is a big mistake not to consider incorporating mobile into your Real Estate marketing.
As a home buyer, I can remember the frustration caused by seeing a beautiful house with a for sale sign outside as I drove by and saying to myself: “I can’t wait to get home and look up the listing on that house!”
By the time I got home I had forgotten the address, the Real Estate Agency that was selling it and of course, I didn’t stop to write down the phone number on the sign. For the Real Estate agent this meant a lost sale or a lost lead at the least.
A For Sale sign with a QR Code on it can lead a person who is interested in the home to a mobile friendly website where they can view pictures and contact the seller or Real Estate agent. QR Codes can also store contact information directly into the mobile phone’s contact list simply by scanning the code. QR codes are open for personal and commercial use. Here is a list of free QR Code readers and generators.
3. Personalize Communications
Real Estate agents and agencies have access to a vast amount of data about potential customers and their interests. Too often, this data goes unused to its full potential when in reality, it is bursting with value.
Variable Data Printing is the personalization of each individual piece in a print run. Let’s say you have a database of 5000 potential home buyers and in that database you have details about the type of homes these potential home buyers are interested in purchasing: Cape, Colonial, Ranch, two family, etc.
In your magnificent database of real estate information you also have access to all of the listings of homes for sale that have these features.
Now tie it all together. A printing company with Variable Data Printing capabilities can take your database information (usually in MS Excel format) and customize each printed piece with information pertaining to the recipient such as their name and information related to their home buying interests such as images and open house dates.
Here is a sample Postcard with Variable Data Printing
Here are the Variable Data Fields:
Variable Data Printing is a remarkable technology will absolutely increase your read rate. Most generic postcards are glanced at and discarded. If the recipient sees their name on it, they have a higher probability of reading all of your content and contacting you.
Have you used QR Codes or Variable Data Printing in your Marketing? What other technologies are you using in your Real Estate Marketing Campaigns?
Photoshop has several different ways to duplicate layers. The one in the image is probably the easiest:
Right-click on the layer and click “Duplicate Layer…”. This will make a duplicate layer above the original.
As you become more familiar with Photoshop you will find that keyboard shortcuts make certain actions faster to do than going through the menus and right clicking. With some practice it becomes a reflex such as typing; you know what keys to press without even thinking about it.
Desaturation is a different process in comparison to converting an image to grayscale or a black and white yet renders the same visual effect. Desaturation occurs by pushing the CMYK values of the image towards their respective grey tone.
Photoshop automates this function for us using the Desaturate Adjustment
The two easiest ways to Desaturate a layer are as follows:
*Make sure you have the new layer selected in the Layers palette.
Desaturate Layer Keyboard Shortcut:
Press Shift + CTRL + U (PC)
OR Shift + Command + U (Mac)
At this point you should see a black and white photo like this:
Step 3: Adding Color with the History Brush
The History Brush Tool can be used to restore color and other attributes to an image from an earlier state in its history.
Once we desaturate the image, the original color becomes part of that image’s history. By using the History Brush Tool we can then selectively restore parts of the desaturated image to its original color version. In short, we are erasing the desaturation back to color except only where we want the color to appear.
Select the History Brush Tool by clicking on it in the tools palette.
*Make sure your new desaturated layer is selected in the layers palette.
History Brush Tool Keyboard Shortcut: Press the letter Y (Mac or PC)
Begin by setting the brush size to 200px and 0% Hardness.
This gives us a large brush size to work with and the 0% hardness creates a faded finish around the edges of the brush so that we do not end up with a hard edge:
Now you can begin coloring in the parts that you would like to have color. Adjust your brush size accordingly to get into those tight spaces and remember that you can zoom in to make sure you add nice clean details to your image.
Brush Size Keyboard Shortcut:
Increase Size = [ (Mac or PC)
Decrease Size = ] (Mac or PC)
Take a look at the Color Splash I did in Photoshop for this tutorial, it took me less than 10 minutes:
Experimenting with the history brush and different brush shapes for that matter can result in some unique and/or abstract photo manipulations.
Show us your skills! Tell us about your color splash project below..