3 Steps to Self-Publishing your Custom Coloring Book

There are many ways people can distract themselves from their daily lives and place themselves into an alternate world of serenity that is distraction and problem free. Most commonly these are channels such as television, music, novels – and more recently, coloring books. In fact, adult coloring books have become so popular in recent years that the increased demand has actually created a shortage of colored pencils in some countries. This medium of relaxation has proven to not only be dedicated to children anymore.

There is a reason for this spike in popularity with adult coloring books – they are a fun, easy and inexpensive way to reduce stress and escape from daily aggravations. Some psychologists even recommend using coloring books as a de-stressor, citing that “the action involves both logic, by which we color forms, and creativity, when mixing and matching colors. This incorporates the areas of the cerebral cortex involved in vision and fine motor skills [coordination necessary to make small, precise movements]. The relaxation that it provides lowers the activity of the amygdala, a basic part of our brain involved in controlling emotion that is affected by stress.”

This form of structured creativity allows people to easily get in touch with their creative side. It can also be a collaborative experience for both an artist and their audience. Letting your audience finish coloring in your drawings can lead to an endless number of unique artistic variations. It is easier than ever to self publish your own coloring book, and to get your drawings in the hands of friends, family and fans. Here’s some quick tips for getting started with producing your own coloring books from sketches and drawings.

  1. Setting up your Drawings

    So you’ve created some beautiful illustrations, and now you’re ready to turn them into a book. The next step would be to make your drawings into digital files so that they can be reproduced for your book. There are a few ways to do this, the most popular being to scan or photograph the drawings. Many print shops will have large scanners that can import your drawings at 300 DPI (Dots Per Inch) resolution.

    Digital cameras have improved so much in quality that the resolution of a photographed drawing will often surpass that of a scan. The photograph may need to be cropped, straightened or color corrected, but will definitely work if a high resolution scanner is not available.

    Coloring Book and set of colored pencils on table |mmprint.com

  2. Choosing the Right Paper for your Coloring Book

    Some types of paper work better for different types of coloring books. There are two main styles of paper – coated and uncoated. Coated paper comes in either gloss or matte finish and should be used when you are expecting people to use colored markers or highlighters fill in your drawings.

    Uncoated Offset Paper is what is used more traditionally for coloring books. This opaque white paper is perfect for coloring in with crayons and colored pencils. It usually comes in different weights, such as 60lb, 70lb, or 80lb as well as variations of white, bright white, natural white or ivory.

    The cover of your book is also something to consider. Even if the inside pages are uncoated, a gloss cover can make the images and colors on the cover pop.

  3. Creating your PDF for Print

    When getting ready to print, you will need to supply your printer with a press ready PDF. This means that if your drawings extend to the edge of the paper, you will have to design an extra 1/8″ so that there is no accidental white space on the edge of the paper, and no valuable content accidentally gets cut off.

    When submitting your PDF, most printers prefer a PDF with individual pages setup in the order you want them printed.

    For more about design with bleed, check our InDesign Tutorial on how to properly set up your document.

5 Interesting Ideas for your Custom 2016 Calendar

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

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

12″ x 12″ Square Calendars

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

12x12-calendars

Small 8″ x 8″ Calendars

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

8x8calendar

Die-Cut Calendars

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

MTI5MDAzOTUzNjUxNDYwNzM5

MTI5MDAzOTUyMzA5MTE1MzU4

 

Visualized Calendars

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

visualized calendar

 

Full Spread Calendars

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

full page calendar

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

 

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

Specialty Stocks for Business Cards that Stand Out from the Crowd

Creating an Impression

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

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

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

Some Unique Business Card Stock Examples

1. Silk Laminated Business Cards

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

16 pt silk business cards with spot UV Coating

2. Suede Business Cards with Velvet Lamination

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

Suede cards 19 pt with velvet lamination

3. Metallic Pearl Cards

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

14 pt metallic pearl cards

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

3 Unique Hybrid Print Projects that will Boost your Sales Pitch

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

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

Pallet Notepads

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

 

Concealed Binding Lookbooks

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

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

concealed binding lookbooks

 

Folder Booklets

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

presentation-folder-booklets

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

Useful Pointers for Creating an Attractive Header Card

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

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

Custom header card printing

Choosing a Header Card Size

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

Designing your Bag Topper

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

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

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

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

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

Choosing a Hole Punch

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

Sombrero punch header cards

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

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

4 Unique ways to Utilize Variable Data Printing

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

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

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

1. Coca-Cola’s Share a Coke® Campaign

variable data labels
Photo From – http://goo.gl/1ZYNAW

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

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

2. Variable Data Coupons

variable data coupons
Photo From – http://goo.gl/CWULKQ

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

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

For Example:

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

3. Office Supplies

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

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

4. Personalized Invitations

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

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

In Summary…

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

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

School & Sport Organization Printing

Your local community has the best school and faculty, the brightest students, state-of-the-art facilities, and the most skilled and talented athletes and performers.

Marketing these attributes is essential for a school district or organization to reach parents, community officials and professionals and all other audiences. Captivate the public and their support by providing quality information via print marketing. School and Sport organizations can use tools such as brochures, pamphlets and booklets, directories, journals and calenders to keep their audience well informed.

Marketing Execution

Creating attractive and relevant information for sporting events or exhibits, performing arts, organized events further gains support of parent, community and local government leaders as well as the surrounding business community.

Curious about printing for you school or sports team? Marsid M&M Print Group is specialized in full service school and sports printing and with 24 – 48 hours turn-around time MM Print is your printer of choice.

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?

 

 

3 Easy Steps To Every Door Direct 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?