While it’s sad to say goodbye to summer, and school vacation is over, here at ISS we are happy to be getting back to business with our printing services! We are busy printing a number of exciting projects, and early fall is full of anticipation for the new school year and there’s an energy in the air now that we’ve been recharged by the summer.

It’s always fun for us to see what our local business customers have been busy planning. Sometimes it’s a complete marketing overhaul and other times it’s just a buff up, but we can tell that our customers have been busy thinking about their brands. As a printing services company, we get very excited to see all the new logos, new colors, new product announcements and new trade show collateral – which is the result of hours of hard work by our customers.

We are also busy printing for several local schools. It’s great to see the new yearbooks for high school sports teams and read the latest announcements in the school newsletters. We are probably more aware of the different activities going on around the area than many parents, and we really enjoy getting to know the different groups and the great programs they run.

There’s definitely a sense of mutual excitement when a longtime customer comes back from the summer with a fantastic new product launch or a school group has a creative new fundraiser and we get to help them announce it to the world.

So bring on the fall. Let’s get back to business!

Booklets are one of the most versatile products businesses can use. Booklets, any bound document with more than four pages, can be used for everything from expanded brochures, to catalogs, manuals, newsletters, and even calendars are technically booklets. Booklets provide a professional presentation of information with high quality covers and full color graphics. Here are five basic tips for high impact booklets.

  1. Have the right number of pages. The page count in a booklet must be a multiple of four. Booklets are made by folding full sheets into four pages. For instance, three sheets of 8.5″x11″ paper folded in half and stapled together create twelve individual 5.5″x8.5″ pages. Therefore, every booklet must contain a page count including the cover, inside cover, inside back cover and back cover that is divisible by four. If your document only has thirty one pages, then a blank page needs to be added, usually an extra blank page in the front or back, to reach thirty two pages which is a multiple of four.
  2. Number your pages correctly. Numbering the pages in a booklet is a little detail that is important to get right and easy to miss.  If you are printing a newsletter, directory or manual with page numbers it is important to follow convention with your page numbering. Page one is on the right. So, a typical booklet would have a cover, an inside cover and then page one. If you don’t have anything designed for the inside cover, then it is simply left blank rather than moving page one to the inside cover
  3. Choose between full color and black and white inside pages. The decision to use color or black and white printing is mostly determined by the end use of the booklet. For marketing related material like expanded brochures or presentations, full color printing delivers the most impact and a more professional look. For more text heavy documents including manuals, newsletters, and directories, basic black and white inside pages are perfectly fine. You can always choose to add a full color cover with black and white inside pages to add a little visual interest to your booklet.
  4. Pick the right cover. There are four types of booklet covers. Self covers use the same paper as the inside pages (self cover). A standard cover is on thick cover stock to add some heft and differentiate it from the inside pages. You can also use a clear front cover with a leatherette back cover, or have covers inserted into the front of a three ring binder. Expanded brochures, playbills, programs, and newsletters can have a self cover or standard cover. Thick covers are used for manuals, directories, catalogs and presentations. Presentations and manuals could also use clear front covers with leatherette backs or three ring binders.
  5. Use an appropriate binding option.Binding options for booklets include saddle stitch, perfect binding, wire binding, or a three ring binder. Saddle stitch binding uses two staples along the spine of the booklet, perfect binding is the process of gluing the pages to the spine of the cover like a paperback book, wire binding uses a metal “comb” to hold the pages together. Most booklets are saddle stitched. This is a great option for booklets with less than forty pages and for self cover booklets. For booklets with more pages or if you want a clear cover with leatherette back then wire binding is the best option. Wire binding is also good for notebooks or workbooks, since you can flip the pages all the way around to the back. Lastly, for very large booklets, such as manuals or presentations with a hundred or more pages, three ring binders or perfect binding is most appropriate.

To grow sales, first build relationships. And sending business holiday cards is one of the best ways to build relationships. They connect you personally to your customer and express thanks and well wishes for the holiday season. This is marketing at its best. It puts your brand in front of your customer, and your customer appreciates the gesture and feels good about working with your company. More than a smart marketing item, business holiday cards can also grow sales.

Show you care by making it personal

2 important elements make up business holiday cards. The design or graphic on the front and the message written inside. It’s best to use a custom design that resonates with your customer or relates to your business. This shows that you put some thought into your business holiday card and makes it more memorable. Secondly, individualize the message. The ultimate personal message is the hand-written note. It’s also OK to add a personal message to a printed inside greeting. By taking the time to hand write a message you show your customer that they are important to you.

Include a gift

Including a gift or discount with your business holiday card separates it from your competition. You’ve shown that this person is important to you by sending the card in the first place, a gift or discount goes above and beyond to cement your relationship. The gift can be related to your product or service, but it doesn’t have to be. Giving a golf enthusiast a golf related gift builds a stronger relationship and increases future sales even if there’s no immediate sales opportunity.

Follow up

Sending your business holiday card is one touch point. Following up with an email, phone call or visit is another touch point with a built-in excuse: checking to see if they received and enjoyed the gift or discount. This is a simple contact to say “Hello,” wish them happy holidays, and confirm the business holiday card was received.

When done correctly, holiday marketing is one of the most personal and feel-good opportunities to connect with your customers. Combining a custom designed, professionally printed business holiday card with a small gift and the right follow up is the first step to building stronger relationships and growing your sales.

At ISS, Inc. all of our printing services use high resolution pdfs. For a variety of reasons, all printed products, everything from business cards to brochures to vinyl banners can look different than they appear on a computer screen. Here are some key ways to create a print ready file. And even after following these guidelines, we offer free proofs to ensure the printed item looks perfectly accurate.

File type: High resolution pdf. A print ready, high resolution pdf has four main attributes: Resolution, color mode, fonts and layers. In order for a file to print most accurately, the file should be saved at 300 DPI, be exported in CMYK color mode, have all fonts embedded or outlined, and have all layers flattened.

Bleeds: Many designs include graphics that extend right to the edge of a printed item. In order to print to the edge, the digital file must extend that graphic an extra 1/8th inch (0.125″) beyond the edge of the piece. That extra 1/8th inch gets cut off to create an image that extends right the edge of the paper.

Safety margins: All text and graphics that don’t bleed need to be at least 1/8th inch from the edge of the piece. Important information like contact details are frequently positioned at the bottom of a brochure and need to be at least 1/8th inch from the bottom of the product to prevent it from being cut off.

Borders: When a design includes a border, that border needs to be an 1/8th inch thick. There can be slight shifting during the printing process, and at least an 1/8th inch border ensures that the border doesn’t appear off center.

Transparencies: Design programs are very good at creating complex design elements by combining many different effects in layers upon each other. Unfortunately, that complexity can lead to problems when the file is printed. To ensure there aren’t any problems with transparencies, which include drop shadows, glows, and other effects, never place a transparency over a spot color. Always convert the file to CMYK and flatten the layers before sending it to print.

Here’s an example of a business card template with guidelines for bleeds, safety margins, and borders.

business-card-layout-template-horizontal-2×35

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