Archive | Tips

Seven Ways Your Company Can Use QR Codes

Phone/QR Code

QR codes are gaining popularity quickly; according to a recent study by Baltimore advertising agency MGH, about 72% of smart phone users say they would be likely to recall an advertisement that contained a QR code.

A variety of businesses are taking advantage of this edgy technology… we’ve seen QR codes on Macy’s television commercials, Disney’s billboards, and a university’s admissions materials, just to name a few. We recently came across a unique example of QR usage in the healthcare industry. Middle Tennessee Medical Center in Murfreesboro, TN launched a campaign with QR codes in the corner of their print advertisements. The code invited people to “experience” the hospitals new facilities and led them to a video of the new TV campaign. See the ad for yourself here.

We brainstormed a list of some other specific ways QR codes can be used in your industry:



  1. Place QR codes at different locations in the building that guide visitors around the campus with a web-based map.

  2. Print codes on laminated lobby cards and link them to an online customer satisfaction survey.

  3. Host redirected URL’s posted on different publication ads to measure which ads get the highest response rates.

  4. Print codes on brochures with links to “how to” videos or instructions.

  5. Put QR codes on “dated” pieces so customers can stay up-to-date about info that changes frequently.

  6. Include QR codes on your business cards and link them to your LinkedIn account, or your company’s “about us” website page.

  7. Use a personalized QR code, or a PURL, to track a fundraising mailing or survey responses.


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.

Logo Design: 3 Tips for Success

So, you’ve decided after reading our last blog post that rebranding with a new logo could help provide that updating and vitality your business needs. While the actual steps obviously vary by industry and company, we’ve compiled a list of 3 of the most important things to keep in mind when creating your new logo as a part of rebranding.

  1. Find a great graphic artist.

    Whether you already have images scribbled on a napkin or want someone to brainstorm fresh ideas, a graphic artist will be able to provide the professional quality work that your brand deserves. During your drafting meetings, be sure to convey your company’s mission statement and vision. He or she also will be able to help you decide what elements (if any) from your existing logo should be used in your new logo… this was one of the biggest challenges we encountered during the process. Here are a few examples of companies that made a few tweaks to their logos over the years…

    KFC, Starbucks

    KFC, Starbucks



    And here are a few that started completely fresh…

    Kraft, San Diego Zoo

    Kraft, San Diego Zoo



    We ultimately decided that while our original brand was recognized by our customers and the community, we’ve expanded our products and services so much over the years that a re-vamp of the logo that reflected these improvements was necessary. See our “before and after” here.

  2. Pay close attention to color.

    Think beyond how the logo will look on a business card. Will the new logo show up well on promotional items like pens that may have to be imprinted in one color only? Are your gradients too detailed to be used on embroidered logo-wear? Keep in mind your logo may not always be in the full-color format that your graphic designer presents it in. We suggest asking your graphic artist to layout a draft of your logo on business cards and letterheads, the basic staples of every office place, to see how it looks. You might next ask for an example of how the logo would be used on a presentation folder, banner or flyer. Before you make any final decisions, also review how the logo will look when produced three ways: full-color, one color with “screens” or “gradients,” and one color only.


    3 Versions of Our Logo

    Versions of our logo


  3. Round up a small committee.

    Corral a small group from your office to give input on the new logo. We suggest resisting the temptation to poll everyone on every decision, as this will significantly slow down the process and may add unnecessary complication. At Professional Systems USA, we asked a member from each department to give their input, so we were able to create a comprehensive logo that reflected each dynamic of our company.

Remember the 80’s?

So do we… that’s why we rebranded! Since 1984, Professional Systems has been dedicated to providing the most modern business solutions to our local and nationwide clients. But just like the days of cropped shirts and leg warmers have passed, we noticed that our own brand was in need of an update, including our logo and website.

We’d like to share our story, as well as some tricks and tips on how you can take advantage of brand messaging to refresh your success. Ask yourself these questions when you consider whether rebranding could help your business:

  1. Has your list of products or services expanded over the years?

    When Professional Systems opened its doors over 25 years ago, our most popular products were pegboard business forms (which most of you don’t even remember) and manila file folders. Today, our range of products includes beautiful full-color print for marketing, electronic document management, furniture, and a wide range of promo products, and our new logo needed to reflect this dynamic range of business solutions. We chose upbeat colors to reflect creativity that we put into every project, and simple shapes that represent comprehensive collection of product that help to organize and optimize your business.
  2. Has it been awhile since you’ve branded?

    Even five or ten years can pass and make a brand outdated.   Trends change.  Technology makes advances.  When we first created our logo in the 80’s, it was impractical and extremely expensive to consider a full-color imprint.  Today, with the advancement of printing processes, there is no reason for a logo and a brand not to be just as colorful as you wish for it to be.  Our first logo was teal  (remember when that was popular?)  and pretty rudimentary by today’s standards.  Modifications made a few years ago brought us more up to date, but we decided that our dated logo might carry the message that we were not keeping up with the times.

  3. Could some simple changes make a difference to your brand?


    We tweaked our logo several years ago with good result.  Large companies do this all the time.  Take a look at logos like the Pepsi® “globe” and the CBS “eye” to see how they have evolved over the years.

  4. Do you have an active, useful online presence?


    While most of our communication with our clients is either in person or in print, we realized that it was time for an update on the web, where it is even more important to give clients a contemporary, up-to-date user-friendly experience.  Clients should be able to easily find you, learn about you and connect with you online.

    So, the next chapter to this story should be, “so how do I get there?”  Check back in at our blog next week for more details!