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!

Lookbook Design Tips – Style And Fashion

Lookbooks seem to be the latest craze for fashion start-ups and clothing lines. I can attest to this statement because it’s been our hottest selling product for the 3rd and 4th quarter of 2013 and probably would have been for longer than that… had we paid more attention to this trend earlier in the year.

The difference between a lookbook and a catalog is in the content. Lookbooks showcase your fashion/clothing line’s look and style and doesn’t get into too much detail because it’s all about imagery, hence the name “Look” book.

A lookbook design sets the stage for your target market and with these tips you will be able to create an environment that they can relate to and see themselves in it.


Lookbook Design Showcase


Simple and Subtle Imagery

Lookbooks are made for looking. Simple as that. No need to create distraction with overwhelming amounts of text or disruptive graphics that take the focus away from your product.

You may opt for a solid color background usually gentle whites or light greys that contrast with the colors of your models and clothing. Even shadows can draw the eyes away from the target, make sure your lighting conditions are optimal.


Fashion Lookbook Designs


Use Your Environment

For the seasonal or niche fashion-eers, the background can be used to your advantage. Create a habitat where your fashion lives, where you target market finds themselves. Help them envision how your style fits their lifestyle.


Lookbook Design and Printing


 Gloss, Gloss… Gloss.

The paper you select for your lookbook printing can really influence the outcome.  In my opinion, nothing makes photographs POP like a glossy finish, the good news is most small runs of lookbooks are printed digitally…

Digital printing uses toner which has a glossy finish anyway so basically you can print on uncoated or matte paper and still have a glossy finish. I’ve seen this used to give the printed areas a 3D type effect or can be comparable to Spot UV coating.


Halloween Vector Graphics Collection For Commercial Use

With Halloween right up our alley, it’s crunch time to get the Halloween graphics printed up. To save you time we put together this collection of Halloween vector graphics that are available for commercial use. No need to spend hours looking for the right vector only to come to find out that you can’t use it in your commercial project.

We carefully checked the license on each one of these so that you can download them and get right to work!

Feel free to share your art with us on our Facebook Page or on Twitter (@mmprint).

Pumpkin Vectors

Free Vector Pumpkin Download
Halloween Pumpkin By Vector Open Stock
Free Vector Pumpkins Download
Free Vector Pumpkins Download from All Silhouettes
Mix and Match Pumpkin Faces
Mix and Match Pumpkin Faces from Designus


Halloween Banner Vectors

Vector Grunge Halloween Banners
Vector Grunge Halloween Banners by All4Designer


Halloween Vector Patterns

Vector Halloween Patterns
Vector Halloween Pumpkin and Skull Pattern VectorPatterns UK


Free Vector Halloween Bat Pattern
Free Vector Halloween Bat Pattern by VectorPatterns UK

[note]If your halloween project requires printing, please contact us at 516-334-1603 for amazing quality, super fast turnaround and free shipping![/note]

How To Set Up A Spot UV Business Card Design

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.

Spot UV Coating Business Card - 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.

 Spot UV and Printed Area Demonstration - M

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]


Spot UV Coating Layer

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.

 Spot UV and Printed Area Demonstration Logo

[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] [divider top=”1″]

Getting There First: Standard Mail vs First Class

USPS First Class Mail Standard Mail Comparison

With all of the problems the USPS has been facing, it hasn’t changed the fact that direct mail is still one of the best ways to market a business or service according to a study by the Direct Mail Association and referenced in this article by Ad Age.

The political/internal/financial battle happening within the United States Postal Service has affected delivery times and in recent news, California Representative Darrell Issa suggested in a bill that the USPS will no longer deliver mail directly to your door. Only to curbside mailboxes and cluster boxes similar to those found in apartment complexes. You can pay a fee to keep the to-your-door service if you don’t mind paying for it and exceptions will be made for the elderly and those who can prove physical disability.

Although the USPS  is changing and will keep changing, what most matters is that your target audience gets their mail pieces in a timely fashion and convert into customers.

The Differences in Bulk Mail Classes and Mail Delivery Times

Bulk mail is processed by the mail house before it gets to the Post Office saving the USPS time and money. The mailer typically has a mailing permit that must be printed on to each piece identifying the postage class and the account of the mailer who performed the mailing.

Presort software is used to connect to the USPS to presort the addresses, qualify the quantity and mail piece cost from your mailing list, add barcodes, check for duplicates and verifies address accuracy against the National Change of Address (NCOA) database. Planning ahead with delivery times in mind will help your direct mail campaign to be more effective and you can save money as well.

Standard Mail

Standard Mail Permit IndiciaStandard mail is the least expensive and slower class of bulk mail for for printed matter, flyers, circulars, advertising, newsletters, bulletins, catalogs, and small packages. Deeply discounted, Standard mail costs less because your mailing company or mail house does most of the processing for the Post Office and those savings are passed on to you in the form of a postage discount. With Standard mail, any pieces that are undeliverable are not returned to the sender which is also saves the USPS time and money.

What do you need to qualify for Standard Mail discounted postage?

  • Standard Mail Mailing Permit (you can use our mailing permit free if we are mailing for you!)
  • Minimum of 200 pieces or 50lbs of mail
  • Maximum weight of 16 ounces
  • Domestic Mail only

First Class Mail

First Class Mail Permit IndiciaFirst Class Mail is the faster of the two and if the address printed on the mailpiece is undeliverable, the USPS will automatically forward it to the correct address (if it’s on file) or return it to the sender. This ensures that the recipient receives the mailpiece or at least you can remove them from your mailing list saving you money on postage costs on the next mailing.

Depending on your budget and time-frame, the extra cost for First Class Mail can be worth it and it’s still less than the cost of a regular single-piece stamp.

What are the requirements to qualify for First Class discounted postage?

  • First Class Mailing Permit (you can use our mailing permit free if we are mailing for you!)
  • Minimum of 500 pieces
  • Maximum weight of 13 ounces
  • Must be rectangular in shape

Note: A 4.25 x 6 Postcard is mailed First Class by default at a special Postcard Rate.

First Class and Standard Mail Postage Costs

First Class and Standard mail are considered Unzoned Mail. Meaning you pay the same price without regard to where the mailpiece goes (within the U.S.). Nevertheless, there are differences in the cost of each piece depending on mailpiece type (postcard, letter, flat or parcel – each mailpiece type has its own size restrictions), weight and traying sequence (5-digit, 3-digit, AADC and mixed AADC) which is determined by the mailing software used by your mail house.

  • The United States Postal Service offers a handy Business Price Calculator to give you a good idea of what your postage costs may be per piece.
  • Download our convenient Envelope Size Chart to learn about standard envelope sizes and differences.

 For other types of mail classes, the price is determined by the distance the mailpiece travels to arrive at it’s destination. The further it has to travel, the more postage paid for that piece. The distance is established by the use of zones.

[note color=”#FFCC00″] You may still have questions regarding your direct mail campaign.Give us a call at 1877-mmprint to speak with a mailing service professional about your project or visit our mailing services page for more information and to request a quote. [/note] [divider top=”1″]


Avoid Issues By Saving Your Artwork Properly In InDesign For Printing

There are a few simple rules to follow when saving a print-ready design made with InDesign and it all starts with setting up your InDesign document properly with bleeds.

 The following paragraphs will enlighten you to a few golden rules to follow when it comes to saving/exporting your design to make sure it’s ready to go to print. 

The Need To Bleed

Adding bleeds from the start, BEFORE YOU EVEN START, is crucial. Think about it, you’re working on a 200+ page catalog and then you find out you have to go back and extend the bleed of every single object in every single page!! I really think if that happened to me I’d be Keanu-level bummed…

Should Have Added Bleeds Keanu

Packaging vs. Exporting

There are two common options when sending your file to your favorite printing company. You can choose your preferred route, although one is easier and produces a smaller file size:

1. Export to PDF

You can easily export your file to PDF format and send one single PDF to your printing company.  Saving as PDF embeds all your fonts and linked images into one file; nowadays this is the preferred method.

2. Package…

Packaging all of your document fonts, linked images, instructions and native InDesign file is another option you can exercise when sending your files to print. This option does create a pretty large file size that might make it a little harder to transfer to your printer vs. a PDF that could be half the size.

Save It Right The First Time

To save your InDesign file as PDF:

  • Click  File > Export  .
  • Enter your filename
  • Click Save
  • Select the [Press Quality] Preset

InDesign Export To PDF - Press Quality


I recommend leaving the compression to default values. For printing you only need 300 DPI images. If any of the images in your document are above 450 DPI, InDesign will automatically downsample the image to 300 DPI to reduce file size.

Color Image Compression:

InDesign Monochrome Image Compression Settings

Grayscale Image Compression:

InDesign Grayscale Image Compression Settings

Monochrome Image Compression:

InDesign Monochrome Image Compression Settings

Marks and Bleeds

To be safe, you can always simply select “All Printer’s Marks” although the most important options to have selected here are Crop Marks and Bleed Marks. Crop and Bleed Marks usually go together when any of the art, anything being printed, reaches the edge of the paper. A crop mark denotes where the paper will be cut to the final size while a bleed ensures that a white border is not present at the edge of the paper when cut.

Learn more about Crop Marks, Bleed Marks and the Cutting Process in printing.


InDesign Marks and Bleeds Settings

Bleeds and Slugs

If you set up your document correctly before starting your design as I stated at the beginning of this post, then it’s safe to select “Use Document Bleed Settings”. The slug is primarily to be used by you during design so we’ll just leave that unchecked.

InDesign Bleed and Slug Settings


The default settings found in the Output options are pretty general and apply pretty well in all situations within the U.S.
Check with your printer first since it is possible that they have a preferred profile that works best with them. Otherwise, leave it as is – CMYK – U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) V2.

InDesign Output Settings


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Time for you to contact a modern printing company who will be able to use your PDF when saved with these settings. Honestly, you need to look no further as you are already in the right place: The Marsid M&M Group offers both digital printing and offset printing, foil stamping and embossing, custom die cutting and mailing services all with fast turnaround, all done in-house.

 Give us a call at 1877-mmprint or visit our website 

Pre-Press Proof: Challenges And The Alternative

Providing a customer with a pre-press proof for an offset run has been an issue for printers and customers alike for a long time, specially when printing in Pantone (PMS) colors.

Some customers require a printed proof to be made before the entire job is run, usually for large orders. Because of the cost of setting up an offset press, only running 1 or 2 pieces can cost almost equal to the cost of the job itself.

Most of the cost of an offset print job is in the setup. Once the press is setup,  all we do is feed it paper and ink. This is also the reason it’s not double the cost to run say 1000 vs 500 because the setup is the same, you basically pay extra for paper and ink.

The Pre-press Proof Alternative

Digital Printing Toner Wells CMYK BizhubNow that you understand why getting an offset press proof is expensive, there is an alternative that the digital age has bestowed upon us: The Digital Press Proof.

Digital printing, which allows us to quickly print one or two pieces with very little waste and setup time, is the best alternative to obtaining an offset press proof. It generally has a very low cost for a digital press proof and provides pretty close representation of the finished product being printed on offset.

Some digital presses can only print up to 18 inches. In this case, a large size proof would not be available in actual size. Another thing to note is that digital presses use toner while offset presses use liquid ink so the finish is not going to be exact either. Toner tends to have a glossy finish and would not be an exact representation of what the final offset prints will come out like.

 Digital Press Proofs and Accuracy

The quality of digital presses is almost, if not in par, with offset. Sometimes we can’t even tell the difference without looking through a loop. Otherwise, the only thing that gives it away is the glossiness of the toner.

If you want your proof to be exactly what your finished product will be from an offset press, then a digital press proof is not for you. It will not be 100% exact. But, if you are OK with a 75-90% accuracy, a digital press proof might be for you.

It all depends on YOUR reason for requesting a pre-press proof

Are you worried that the type might be too small or an image will be pixelated because of the quality of the embedded image? A digital proof will be perfect to show you text size or image quality.

Do you need to make sure that a logo has exact matching colors and that the paper you selected doesn’t affect the color? Then a digital proof will not show you the end result that an offset pre-press proof will.

I hope this post helps you determine if you need a pre-press proof, the pros and cons of both and you can always contact us if you have any questions.

[box title=”Digital Printing Services” color=”#333333″]Get a quote on your digital printing project easily and quickly on our Digital Printing Page. [/box]



3 Powerful Marketing Tips To Gain New Local Customers

Small businesses thrive when their local community embraces what they have to offer. Customers feel that doing business locally is easy, it’s close by and it’s probably good for the local economy.

Even though these customers are consumers just like anyone else in the rest of the country, these consumers have one specific characteristic that is completely different from any other: they SHARE your location.

Whether your local efforts are made at the town level or the state level, these customers can become loyal fans just how sports fans become loyal fans of their local (town,state) teams.


3 Powerful Marketing Tips for Small Business
3 Powerful Marketing Tips for Small Business

 1. Gain Local Customers with Local Rewards

Sharing your location with your customers means that you and your employees eat, shop and interact with the same local businesses that they do.

These days you can run a Loyalty Rewards program easily in-house. It’s simply a matter of how complicated you make the offer.

A simple way is to print custom coupons with areas that get marked for each purchase or transaction. When the customer reaches the pre-determined number of transactions, you reward them with a free gift or a discount.

Partner up with some of the popular local businesses and run joint advertisements or run discount coupons off of each other. By doing this you are advertising to their customer base and at the same time helping their advertising efforts.

2. Create Awareness Inexpensively

Every Door Direct Mail : For 18.3 cents each (postage) you can mail an over-sized postcard or folded piece to every mailbox in your surrounding neighborhood including PO Boxes. No mailing list required.

E.D.D.M. is an amazing opportunity to let your local customers know your business contact information, address and the services and/or products you offer…while your at it, give them a coupon or offer they can’t refuse.

With the large canvas of the over-sized card that you can send, there’s enough room to include vital information, an attractive image and a killer call-to-action.

3. Become a Social Magnet

Social media is all about community. By embracing the power of social media, you can create a community of brand ambassadors that will spread the word for you.

Sign up for Twitter and create a Facebook business page at the least and start conversations with your customers. When they talk to you, their friends and connections will see the conversation and possibly join in. With that alone you might have just scored a new customer.

Follow us on twitter : @mmprint

Although each one of these tips is powerful on its own, using them in combination will increase your chances of acquiring new local traffic.

Use Every Door Direct Mail to inform your local community of your location, product or service and make sure to let them know where to find you on Twitter and Facebook (and any other social media networks you are on). Then, on your Facebook business page you can offer a discount in return for a Like. Don’t forget to use QR Codes to make it easy to connect with you or visit your website via mobile phones.

Have you had better success using Targeted Direct Mail over using Every Door Direct Mail?



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 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!