Posted in blogs, creative writing, Digital printing, graphic design, newsletters, paper, printing, publishing, small business, Uncategorized

Spring Fever: A Forgotten Love

Last year, at an art exhibit focusing on Iceland (“Due North”), held in, naturally, a converted icehouse in Philadelphia, I followed an old staircase down to the basement. At the end of a hallway there was a workshop that is part craft, part hobby, part business: Second State Press. Under the motto “Make More Prints!” young people keep the art of ink on paper going strong.
I walked around the presses, the stone plate-making, the silk-screening, the cutting and work tables. What may be considered monotonous drudgery for some is now a creative delight for a young generation.

Walking down the hallway, the samples of WallArtPhillyShowprint caught my eye.

 

I had forgotten the richness of print
I had forgotten the intensity of color under reflected light
I had forgotten the depth and beauty of ink on a textured paper
I had forgotten the striking effect print produces
I had forgotten the feel and scent of a printed page
I had forgotten the romantic side of the printing craft: using images to convince, to inspire or to inform by triggering emotions and a call to action.

sadgirl
Sad
ActorMasks
Emotions
depressedwoman
Depressed

amoreI had forgotten the pride in work that is so often missing or unsung in our industry.

Cutterguy

It was a delight to be here.∼

 

 

Illumination or Reflection? Screens vs. Paper

Many of us endure a daily barrage of images from screens: TV, neon, smartphones, tablets, monitors, and more.

MonitorEyeMonitorEyeMonitorEyeMonitorEye

 

 

 

These use light transmitted from behind to project the image.

     Ink on paper is entirely reflective, depending on the external light source.

RoseRelief
Flower in Relief, paper

Whether linen paper, a billboard or a label on a Budweiser bottle, the image is tangible and changeable by shadow or movement.

So, digital images are fine, fast and forward-moving; but I’ll never let go of the sensory advantages of print on paper. Others, I’m sure, agree. Last year Amazon. com reported a massive decrease in e-book sales and a surge in print book orders. My point exactly.

Thanks for reading.

RayRenBall

Ray.

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Posted in blogs, Digital printing, graphic design, publishing, Uncategorized

The Top 10 Essentials for Scanning Documents

scannerA scannerB

 

The digital age sees movement of paper-based to screen-based documents. Our scanning services have seen more than 250,000 pages go in this direction. So, what are the essentials about this service that you need to know? We offer a few below:

  1. Surpise! Scanning is boring and tedious work. stressed businessmanThat means concentration is crucial if you want the best and fastest results. Not every page is simple black and white text. Some charts and graphs have color-coding, and must be scanned that way or the data is lost!
  2. Good Basics. Even a low-resolution scan will give you great results, because you can enlarge and manipulate the image.
  3. Paper Wrangling. Remember how annoying it is to copy a wrinkled original?
    english bulldog surrounded by pink feathers
    Got Wrinkles?

    Well, the same is true for scanning at high speeds. Poor originals mean poor scans, but at least the scan won’t degrade the same as paper.

  4.  Do it now. Planning to scan your paper records? Don’t wait! With each passing day, your paper files deteriorate; paper clips rust, rubber bands turn to glue and the paper yellows.
  5.  Media Expiration. First there were floppy disks, then magnetic tape, then CD’s, then DVD’s, then thumb-drives, then cloud computing. Who knows what’s next? Be prepared. Convert paper to digital then keep current with the latest method for file storage.
  6.   File Management. Almost as boring as scanning thousands of pages, but just as important. Organize your files as you would your file cabinet, if that’s what comforts you. Label and date each PDF or groups of PDF’s. A file scanned and saved that is impossible to find is really data lost!
  7. Back up Your Back up. Test your back up media, then shred the paper.
  8. Store your data safely. Keep your disks, thumb-drives, DVD’s, etc away from heat, light, magnetic influence, water and chemicals. If your data is in the cloud, retrieve and test it regularly.Clouds and Green Field
  9.    Scan Schedule. Plan to scan on a certain date or when paper files reach a pre-set size.
  10.   Enjoy! Open your file drawers with ease. Send digital copies by e-mail or ftp. Then, relax. (We have a free file transfer system, as well: Send BIG files! )

 

Ok. You are ready to scan, but what about the cost?

Over the past few years, we’ve found some interesting short cuts and money saving tips to take the pain out of the scan.

Size Doesn’t Matter. Taking odd size items, like maps, receipts, notes and the like and arranging them together on the scanner results in one image. HandNoteNo need to paginate them, correct?

Two for One. Our scanners will auto feed up to 11”x17” converting two 8.5×11 pages into one scan.

Scan as You Go. We scan in blocks of a few hours, then organize the files, copy onto storage media and test. ThumbdriveEasy to stop and resume.

Bad Scan/Good Scan. Sometimes the paper original is in deplorable condition. If so, we crank up the scanner to 600 dpi or more. The image will show every blemish, wrinkle and color. Sometimes the text or image is so light, it cannot be read. In that case, we lower the dpi and increase the contrast, thus eliminating the background and amplifying the image.

PaperClipPaper Slow, Scan Fast. As in paper copies, scanning is delayed by the condition of the originals. Removing paper clips, staples, folds, wrinkles, binders, clamps, plastic covers, etc, all add to the cost of scanning.

 

 

 

High-Volume Pricing. stock investmentAs with printing and copying, scanning has economy of scale, that is, the more we scan, the lower the rate.

 

Thanks for scanning this article!

Ray

Capitol-Copy.com

Ray
Ray
Posted in Digital printing, graphic design, trenton nj, Uncategorized

My Top Thirteen Info-Sources. Are They All Good?

photo (13)

The daily avalanche of news and comment.

I try to stay informed, don’t you? Here is what I look at every day. What should I add or delete?

logo_NYTimescom

New York Times, digital edition. And, print editions, Saturday and Sunday. Why? I like the quality of the writing and getting the full story; outstanding source of world and regional news. Oh, and the headlines usually do not scream: Panic Now!

NJ.Com.  NJ.comThe Times of Trenton, and the daily print edition. Why? A good source for local and State news.

PolitickerNJ.com. b1ef2cf5-4d63-44d0-a1f2-8f9847aec502Why? NJ political news and an amusing forum for all things political in NJ. Goes deeper into a political story than mainstream media. Important for us to know since we do political printing.

Facebook. Why? More than one billion people are on facebook and most of my 68051_10151509108346729_1731694342_acustomers and vendors have a business presence. I log on for some social time but also to see what others in the business world are doing.

LinkedIn_Logo60px

LinkedIn. Why? Increasing and sustaining business relationships is so important. I can track career moves, new opportunities and, of course, communicate.

4235924_ir0113_cover

IcelandReview.com. Why? My personal interest. A small nation’s perspective on the world events, in English.

twitter-bird-white-on-blue

Twitter. Why? When there is no time, Twitter boils down the news to 140 characters, fed from the sources I have listed above. To balance the normally bleak news, I get regular, funny tweets from Jim Gaffigan.     412HVXj7P2L._SX500_

NWS-logo

National Weather Service. Why? The cold and rain slows our walk-in business. The wind makes it difficult to deliver fragile posters.

Printowners.org. Why? This is a world-wide, e-mail subscription service for owners of POL_headerprinting companies only. We share information, purchasing advice, pricing strategies, problem-solving and industry trends. Often heated discussions of graphic design, direct mail options, new binding techniques, signs and poster production and all the other fun stuff that we do.

Client websites. Why? We monitor our client websites. Sometimes they just don’t work, become horribly outdated or just need some TLC. Also, a good source of client news, staff changes, new services and so on.

ColorQuora. Why? Ask and answer today’s pressing questions. Fairly serious-minded and well written.

 EnviroPolitics Blog. Why? Brief, to the point and well-written articles concerning issues of importance to all of us.

blogrank_icon

Blogrank. Why? Top 100 blogs, indicating trends and popularity. I don’t think this blog is in the top 100 yet, but maybe…someday.

Thanks for reading.

Best for the New Year.

RayRayRenBall

Ray@Capitol-Copy.com

Posted in Digital printing, trenton nj, Uncategorized

Going Postal: 5 Ways to Make Sure your Mail Does Not Bounce

You Have Mail!

Many don’t like snail mail because it’s slow, bureaucratic, complicated, expensive, time consuming and old fashioned. Many continue to use snail mail because it is effective, reliable, legal, hack-proof, portable and attention-getting. Whatever your view is, here are steps to avoiding bounces:

– Weigh and measure. This is a simple guide available from Capitol Copy or the main post office. Use the rule of 10: bundle ten identical pieces to be mailed, weigh them and divide by ten. This is a quick way to get an accurate reading.

–        Visit. Obvious but reliable: Take your mail piece to the Post Office, ask them to weigh it and price it different ways. West Trenton post office in Ewing and the main distribution facility on Route 130 in Hamilton are recommended.  Directions here

–        Web. Go to US Postal Service website and search for answers.

–        Look. Examine mail you have received, even bulk mail. How much postage was on it? What type of paper was used? What is the exact size? Are there sealing tabs on it? If so, how many? Was the piece mangled or damaged in any way?

Standard. Use standard sizes, paper and weight. Capitol Copy Service can help you with that.

Happy Mailing!

-Ray

Posted in Digital printing, graphic design

How Do I Lay Out a Booklet for Printing?

We are asked this questions many, many times. The short answer? Let us do it for you.

If you’d rather do it yourself, here’s how:

–        For a booklet that is “saddle-stitched” (that is, stapled in the center), the pages must be divisible by 4.

One sheet of paper, when folded in half, will give you 4 numbered pages.

“That’s easy!” you say, but what if my booklet, program or ad book is 63 numbered pages?

Answer: 63 numbered pages divided by four will require 15.75 sheets, which must be rounded up to 16 sheets. This means you will have one blank page.

“Well, what do I do with blank pages? How can that be fixed?” you may ask. Here are some suggestions:

  •       Create an additional page, entitled “Notes” or “Thanks” or “Visit Our Website”
  •       Combine pages to lessen the number of sheets
  •       Print on the inside or outside back cover
  •       Reduce the number of sheets and add a loose insert page (not recommended)

There are many other options we can assist you with. We believe that printing of a booklet should be the stress-free conclusion to your project, not a math test!

Keep this book nearby, it has cured many headaches!

Buy this book.

-Ray

Posted in Digital printing, graphic design, Theater, trenton nj, trenton restaurants

You Work in Trenton? How Horrible!

I’ve heard that comment too many times over the past forty years. But, we’re still here. Maybe I can explain why Capitol Copy is in Trenton.  And describe us to those of you who have no idea where we are.

Dean and Reggie chat about map.

The negatives:

Well, the news media have that covered fairly well. But, be aware that this is a small city (7.5 square miles), dominated by government: Federal, State, County and City offices occupy a huge chunk of real estate here. Not really negative, just a definition.

The positives:

–        Most of our Trenton customers can and do walk here. No car or bus needed.

–        There are five major banks within two blocks.

–        There are two colleges downtown—Thomas Edison State College and Mercer County Community College, both bustle with activity year-round.

–        A world of choices for places to have lunch—beer and a burger; a four course Italian feast; Chinese, Greek, Soul food, and several deli’s, including my favorite, the Downtown Deli

–        A small but well-known art, history and culture groove—Artworks, Trenton Historical Society, Passage Theater , to name a few.

–        Neat places to visit—the Old Barracks, Planetarium, State Museum, Trent House and dozens of others.

–        A group of people who think great thoughts, (we’ve been told) “think tanks”, lobbyists, associations, researchers, and attorneys.

Sure, there are challenges as in any city; traffic and parking, to name the most annoying. But, traffic means people and business and jobs and that can’t be all bad.

Thomas Edison State College, West State Street, Trenton

Still not convinced? Well, here’s a comment from Joe Guzzardo, Communications Director at Thomas Edison State College , who also has a rosy view of our State’s capital city:

You get to work in a place that is home to some of the most important history in the world, and especially our country.  It is an honor to walk on the same streets that George Washington did and see every day the Old Barracks, the place where the Continental Army changed the direction of the American Revolution. It is a privilege to work in a true landmark building, which was designed by the father of the American skyscraper, Cass Gilbert. It is exciting to work on perhaps the most interesting street in New Jersey, where every day is a new debate, protest or rally.” Well said.

Here’s a scene from today’s rally. And some more commentary……

State House Rally, May 14

Adding to the mix is an observation from the new Executive Director of the Trenton Downtown Association, Christian Martin: “Trenton is connected to all the major centers of commerce on the east coast, and has a good transportation infrastructure.” Yeah, you are spot on with that. We just needed to be reminded!

Sometimes our location is really irrelevant for us to do business. Many of you have been ordering from us through our website for more than twelve years and have never visited us. You receive your poster, business cards, program booklets and other printed products by courier, UPS, Fedex, or US mail, anywhere in the world.

And, lastly, even though it is great to do business face-to-face, it can’t always be that way. Your website is maintained by us and remotely updated, your e-mail campaign is designed and sent online and we get to know each other only through the social media. Like our blog.

Well, our door is always open to visitors. And there really is parking here. Map it!

-Ray

Capitol-Copy.com

Posted in Digital printing, graphic design

Trends in Graphic Design and Is There a Full Moon?

Printing and copying is sooo boring. But not if it carries some dynamite design!

We see it every day from people big and small, rich and poor, talented and not-so-talented. Through Dean’s (graphic artist and designer extraordinaire, in my opinion*) keen eye, there are a number of trends screaming for attention. Here is what many of you favor–

  •   Print on gloss paper, almost to mirror quality
  •   Full color and images. Black and white is so last century, unless you are using for a special effect
  •  Design everything for two worlds: print and web
  •  Interactivity: both online forms and print/mail/fax versions are a must these days

And, the trends that should be sent to the recycling bin—

      • Texting ain’t writing. For business-like communication, it is not good 2 use txts. Fun to read but hard to edit and proofread.
      • Designing with cheap software. Good design will shine no matter what, but give it the platform it deserves!
      • No planning. Since your design goes through so many stages and processes, there must be some lead time to tweak and de-bug. It is a long road— design to proof to print to mail to email to website to facebook. And the road is not paved!

Is there a full moon? It seems every time there is, some strange requests walk in our front door. Not good or bad, just weird. Like “can I get business cards printed for my dog?” Or, “I need a menu printed for my new mobile salad bar business.” Another visitor complained: “your free note pads are too big.”

Well, I have no solid research to base this on, but our friends at Peruzzi Nissan and Niece Lumber agree that the full moon has an effect on customer behavior. Not good or bad, just weird.

Dean (left) consults with Dave on the Trenton Downtown Map and Guide

*Dean, Art Director at Capitol Copy Service for more than 14 years. Design@Capitol-Copy.com

 

Dean’s favorite (web) places – istock photo, avery templates, and google images.

Posted in Digital printing, Uncategorized

Hey! Where are we going? Two views

Hey, where are we going?

From time-to-time, it’s good to step back and analyze the trends in the print-copy-design world and how it affects us and you. So, I interviewed one of our vendors, Rich Weise of Xerographic Document Solutions. (www.xdsinc.com) His take on trends? They are:

  • “The feature in demand on new machines is all about scanning, since faxing has become nearly obsolete.” Rich says. That fits with our view as well. People and businesses are looking to convert paper doc’s to digital for better space and time management. There is still solid value in paper, however and certain paper documents must be saved for years.
  • From an economic standpoint, Rich sees a difficulty with start-ups. They are struggling with arranging a lease so other financing tools are used.
  • Copy-scanners today trend to color, are far more efficient than older models and the cost-per-image has come way down.
  • Business is good, over the past 12 months. We agree and hope that trend continues!

Our primary paper supplier, Lindenmeyer Munroe, (www.lindenmeyr.com) offered some insights on where the world of paper is going. Fran Carbin, company sales rep, described some real trends:

  • Changes in size of paper ordered—meaning that machines are putting many images on one sheet to save time, reduce waste and, therefore, save money. The basic size a decade ago was 8.5 x 11 and now may be up to 14”x20!”
  • There has been a huge increase in demand for “coated” papers, that is, glossy, matte and similar finishes.
  • Heavy? Yes, the demand for thicker paper is also a recent trend. People like the feel of a piece of paper with body.
  • Imported paper is usually in low-end grades. The domestic papers, such as Mohawk in New York and Neenah in Wisconsin, are still the leaders in the field of quality paper.

What’s your view on these trends?

Next week—trends in graphic design.