Archive | February, 2012

Personalize Messaging with Variable Print

Hey, you! When’s the last time a generic greeting caught your attention more than hearing your own name? We can’t think of one either. Whether you’re walking down the street or planning a marketing campaign – people like personalization.

Why not tailor your communication techniques so they’re unique for each of your customers? Variable printing is more effective at prompting your reader to take action and can be printed on coupons, brochures, direct mail and more! Instead of sending out 1,000 identical mailings to your customer contact list, (we’ve heard it called “spraying and praying,”) send one mailing inviting James or Jennifer by name to check out your new inventory, or ask a customer if they need your services in their home at 14 Front Street.

You can customize prints with a variety of different things, but the most common ones businesses request are customers’ names, purchase history, demographics, and geography. You could even include a customized map that shows your customer exactly how to get to your business from their home – these direct mail pieces have been shown to generate a 40% higher response. Here are some examples of variable printing pieces:

Variable Print Examples


Another way to create a customized experience for your customer is to include a pURL, or a personalized page that’s a part of your website. pURLS have some of the same fun, interactive elementthat we talked about with QR Codes in an earlier blog post. Directing a respondent to a pURL makes it possible to track responses, giving you a way to measure the response rate and success of a mailing.


There are many ways variable printing and/or a personalized URL can be integrated into your next marketing campaign. Contact us today for ideas on how to take your campaign to the next level.

Tips for your Printed Pieces

We’ve been in the business for over 25 years, so we’ve been able to see what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to graphic design. Here are some tips to make it easier for you to end up with a printed piece you love:

1. Pay attention to resolution.

If you’re a graphic designer, you know that PPI means image resolution that you see on a computer monitor, and DPI is resolution that shows up when you print something. So what does it mean for the rest of us?

Make sure any images you use in printed pieces are at least 300 DPI (if you pull an image off of Google, for example, it could have a DPI as low as 72… which won’t show up looking sharp).

You can check the DPI of an image by right-clicking on an online image file > select “Properties” > click the “Summary” tab > click “Advanced Properties” > check out the “Horizontal Resolution” and “Vertical Resolution,” which will tell you the DPI.



A low resolution can make even a great picture seem dull.

A low resolution can make even a great picture seem dull.



2. Optimize your file format.

If you want to scan an image, save it as a TIF (.tif) or EPS (.eps). File formats like GIF or JPG can make your image look blurry and off-color.

3. Convert to CMYK.

Computer monitors use RGB (Red, Green, Blue), while printers use CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black). So, your piece will look a little different printed than it did on the screen. Make sure to order a hard copy proof if matching colors is absolutely critical.



Always convert images to CMYK using programs like PhotoShop or Corel PhotoPaint for printing

Always convert images to CMYK using programs like PhotoShop or Corel PhotoPaint for printing



4. Work with a Graphic Designer.

To make sure you’re getting the highest quality and best price, bring your work to a graphic designer, who can produce creative work that meets all the requirements we described above.

How to Make an Attractive, Affordable Event T-Shirt

 Spring is just around the corner, which means warm weather, blooming flowers…and company t-shirts!

Spring is just around the corner, which means warm weather,
blooming flowers…and company t-shirts!



This time every year, we get a huge wave of requests to make logo t-shirts and other apparel items for events such as benefit walks. This process often includes securing sponsorships, and including those companies’ logos on your customized items. We’ve put together a list of quick tips to help you make ordering those shirts just a little easier:

  1. Select a blank shirt that you would like to decorate. Decide between long sleeves or short sleeves, and then pick a color.

  2. Get an idea of what quantity you’d like to order.

  3. Decide on your imprint:  will you have design on the front only? Back only? Both front and back?  How large do you want the imprint be?

  4. Ask your sponsors to send their logos:

    1. In high-resolution – a resolution of at least 300 DPI will allow the image to look crisp on screen printed items

    2. Using spot color – Spot colors are a specific custom ink color, and they need to be included in the original logo artwork.

    3. In an EPS or PDF file type – These types of file formats are vector, which means the image will look very crisp on the finished product.

  5. Decide on screen print or embroidery: Generally speaking, event shirts, especially those with sponsors listed on the back, are screen printed.  Embroidery works well for decorating a shirt with one or two logos, but if your message needs to be fairly large in size, screen print will be the most attractive and cost-effective way to decorate.
Get someone else’s opinion, and rely on your supplier for help! If you don’t have the time to create a design yourself, just send us the elements you want on your item and any vision you have, and we can take it from there. Our graphic design team can create a great design, and our product specialists can help you find shirts, banners, or various other promotional items to fit any event or budget.

Super Bowl Commercial Success

This past Sunday, Go Daddy, the domain registrar company known just as well for its suggestive celebrity spokeswomen as its innovative services, went down in history as the first to use a QR code in a Super Bowl commercial. In our last blog post, we talked about the many opportunities made possible by using QR codes to reach the 111.3 million captive viewers that tuned into the big game… so, did this “mobile marketing experiment” live up to the hype?

On one hand, yes. Go Daddy’s campaign saw tremendous success… on-screen QR codes led to videos featuring their spokesmodels and coupons for one of their services, created a buzz about the company, and set an all-time sales record for the mobile site during the game. See the whole video here.

On the other hand, some QR codes used by advertisers in the Super Bowl’s official game program left consumers unimpressed. While users did scan the codes, many complained that they were led to boring and impersonalized online content that wasn’t optimized for viewing on a mobile phone.

The take-away from this “experiment” is that misusing a QR code is like spending all of your time creating fancy invitations for an exclusive party, but forgetting to book a venue for the big day. When your customers show up to something you invited them to, shouldn’t you make their stay worthwhile?

To capture the power of QR codes like Go Daddy did, focus on how you can personalize content or collect results about the customers’ preference to tailor your material to them next time. pURLS and customer surveys give your customer another reason to care what’s on the other end of the QR code.

When QR Codes and Quarterbacks Collide


In less than a week, the 46th annual Super Bowl will kick off in Indianapolis, Indiana. Whether you’re a Giants or a Patriots fan, or just watching for the halftime show, almost everyone can agree that the Super Bowl commercials have become almost as big a phenomenon as the sport itself. This year, there’s something new on the scene – QR codes. Don’t be surprised when a black and white code shows up on your screen, and you’re prompted to scan it with your smart phone. These codes can lead to mobile phone-specific website content, videos, or even contests.

But say you don’t have $3.5 million to spend on 30 seconds of air time (yes, that’s the average Super Bowl commercial price!) to reach the 40% of wireless users who currently own a smart phone… can you still take advantage of QR codes? Absolutely! QR codes are an interesting way to drive traffic to the web, and they are easily added to any printed piece, from business cards to billboards to flyers. We’ve seen it from many companies, including Macy’s, HBO, and Toyota. Your company, no matter its size, can be next.

Interested? Check out our previous blog post, which offers tips on how to use QR codes to capture and interact with your audience in a whole new way.