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 blogs, creative writing, Digital printing, graphic design, newsletters, printing, publishing, small business, Uncategorized, web design

I Like Cod Liver Oil and Ad Books

IMG_1050I pondered a good way to start the New Year: eat healthy while preparing to reduce stress at work.

First, have a shot of Icelandic cod liver oil with breakfast. Delicious, with a taste similar to a liquefied, low-salt anchovy. But, like many things and habits that are presumably good for you, this is not an experience I look forward to.

Second, write a guide to organizing, designing, managing, printing and distributing ad books for fund-raising. Delicious, and it helps strengthen the health of an organization. It’s good for me and you, but assembling ad books normally gives everyone agita.

So, as an expansion of our guide to “Program and Ad Books” page on our website, Capitol Copy Service, here are some observations and ideas that are good for you and the health of your organization:

Program books have the dual purposes of benefitting supporters and promoting your organization.

♦        Too often, ad book authors/compilers forget that it is about their company, organization or special event.guyreadingflop Would you like to read and keep an entire booklet consisting only of ads and promos? Neither would I. So, include something about your firm: history, goals, photos from the past, and, don’t forget to explain where the ad dollars will be going.

♦      Some advertisers and sponsors really don’t care about the ad; they just give you a dollar commitment so you’ll go away. But, I like to think they really do care, and for this reason we cheerfully design a basic ad for them. Then, when you solicit their support the next time, you can show them how wonderful they are!

♦       It’s a great idea to offer sponsorship “bundles” with each level of ads, giving sponsors key ad placement, extra recognition on signage or maybe carving their name in a watermelon fruit basket at the banquet table.watermelonshadow

♦       Always accept a paid ad, regardless of deadline. Sometimes printers (like us) can work miracles and squeeze in an ad. Or, do an insert. Or, design a small table sign for them. Or, make mention of the advertiser as part of the live program.

♦       Take a tip from public TV and radio: ask that everyone support the advertisers that purchased ad space. Connecting people as customers, vendors, advertisers and promoters is always a worthwhile goal! cheerleader

Program Books Want and Need a Healthy Dose of Planning

♠       Nearly every adbook we’ve done in thirty years concludes with crunch time at deadline. I guess it’s unavoidable but planning does help. Start with the date and time you need the adbook and work backwards. (We can help with production schedules: Print@Capitol-Copy.com)Time business concept.

♠        Have an awesome rate sheet. Not only does it give the ad shopper options, it also shows how serious you are about pursuing support. Sample ads, layout templates and previous adbooks help you sell. (We’ll customize one just for you: Design@Capitol-Copy.com)

♠       Payment in advance or with an ad order is the best policy but not always realistic. Go with an ad placement deadline, ad copy deadline and a separate or concurrent payment deadline and aim to wrap up everything before the date of your event.

♠        Allow yourself some sit-down time to assemble the book. paperpileWho gets the center-spread? Where does the event program go? Should a menu be given a page? Will there be stunning photos of me on the outside back cover? Can I find text and logos for ads on the advertiser’s website? No need to sweat the details at this point; just get a feel for the elements of your booklet.

Multi-Source; Slice and Dice Your Booklet

♣     No reason to keep your ad book a secret. Plunge it right into social media, as a polished PDF or in bits and pieces.

♣      Recent trends show that some print adbooks are less of a focus, favoring a PowerPoint or video showcase of advertisers. (We’ll design one for you.)

♣        Build momentum by thanking newest sponsors on your Facebook page.68051_10151509108346729_1731694342_a I’m sure they’ll agree to that. It can’t hurt to reciprocate endorsements, either.

♣       Write a blog article on how you blossomed as an ad book orchestrator.  conductor

I’ll read, follow and recommend that!

♣       Post stories, photos or comments from your ad book on other blogs, LinkedIn LinkedIn_Logo60pxor sponsor webpages.

Follow-Through and Follow-Up

♥       You are a considerate person with a pleasing personality. So, I know you’ll send thank you’s to all your advertisers, supporters and participants! Tell them how well the event fared and how much you value their contribution. You’re welcome.

♥    Like Dickens said of Christmas: the spirit is not what comes for one day alone, but throughout the rolling year..  And so it is for your sponsored program book; plan for the next one as you conclude the present one.

Now, I’m off to have a second shot of Cod Liver Oil. It’s good for me.

Thanks for reading.

RayRenBallRay@Capitol-Copy.com

Posted in blogs, creative writing, Digital printing, graphic design, newsletters, political fundraising, printing, publishing, Uncategorized, web design

Psychopaths and the Cost of Proofreading: Be Bored for a While, Rewarded Later

Here’s an expensive mistake: A town in New Jersey was applying for grant money to develop a public park. The grant application was done by converting voice to text. Some words sound the same, as is in this sentence:

“The park will have many psychopaths….” (say it out loud and it could easily be cycle paths, as intended).bikegirl2

Sadly, the grantor did not have a sense of humor.

So, what of it? Have you ever done any proofreading? Now, more than ever, with Twitter, texting and e-blasts, proofing your text and images is critical. Clicking on words that link elsewhere compounds the importance.

How many times have you clicked on an image only to be whisked away to an unrelated site?

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How many times have you clicked on a sale offer and then landed on some FAQ or Home Page?

buypageicon

How many times have you typed an e-mail address that bounced back as undeliverable?

atsignicon

How many times have you clicked on an icon that responded “not found”?

internetbutton

Blame it on the lack of proofreading and testing.

Proofreading is a big issue in our business of graphic design, printing, website creation and signage. When rushed, most people give a quick glance at a proof without really checking phone numbers, dates, links, e-mail addresses or captions. Sometimes we catch errors, but most often there is no way of knowing the correct spelling of proper names.

With the power of MSWord and other programs, there are tools available to help you avoid errors, automatically proof and make it easier to catch mistakes.

Here is a great blog article that sums it up, with some neat tricks I never thought of:

Proofreading – 28 Step Guide to Doing it Right

A Middle Eastern woman lying down reading

Even the comments are helpful.

Still think proofreading is a forgettable chore? Some errors are almost earth-shattering. This misfired Tweet nearly caused a catastrophe:

City of Yokohama Mistakenly Tweets of North Korean Missile Launch

smallmissile

The most common (usually not earth-shattering) mistakes we encounter are with business cards, for a simple reason: most text is unique, so the “burden of proofing” falls on the business cardauthor.

The second most common text error is the calendar day does not match the date or the year has not been updated. These are basic error and ones which are easily overlooked.

We all know that once something is printed, posted on a website or sent via social media, it is very expensive and difficult to correct. (If the faux pas is serious enough, we suggest posting an “apology video”). But there are other costs along the way that are caused by not editing and proofreading thoroughly, before it goes to a designer:

deanheadache

  • –        Added time for layout when text and graphics are added or deleted
  • –        Time and costs for additional proofs
  • –        Time needed to share with other editors, writers and proofreaders
  • –        Re-reading previously proofed copy
  • –        Re-sizing graphics to make them fit
  • –        Expanding or shrinking the number of paper or web pages
  • –        Pushing deadlines
  • –        General increase in irritability!

So, maybe the next time you compose that business e-mail, or look at your new business card content, or finish writing that eloquent article for a newsletter or blog, just hesitate a moment before you hit “send” and re-read. You may save the world a lot of trouble!

 smallmissile

Thanks for reading. And proofreading. Corrections welcome. I’m not perfek.

Ray

RayRenBall