Top 10 Tips of 2011

We love our PaperSpecs readers! One of the most fascinating things about the end of the year for us is determining what stories you liked the best. There’s always a surprise (or two), but you never fail to show us how curious you are, how diverse your interests, and how great your desire for helpful information.

QR Codes were definitely on your radar and topped the list. Your perennial favorite: anything folded and letterpressed returns to the Top 10 Tips for 2011 as well.

Please take a moment to drop us line [email protected] and let us know what you’d like to read in 2012. And if you missed any of these Top 10 Stories in 2011, now’s the time to take a break (with your favorite beverage of choice) and catch up!

10. I Didn’t Know Preview Could Do That!
By Anne-Marie Concepcion

Do you use Preview? It’s the bundled app that OS X uses by default when you double-click on a PDF, JPG, PNG, or GIF file, and probably other formats. Now, most designer/publisher types (including myself) changed the file associations long ago so that PDFs automatically open in Reader or Acrobat, and the image files open in Photoshop or Fireworks or similar. Preview was gathering dust on my Mac, really, until I learned this wonderful tip from one of my favorite blogs.

 

#9 Why Digital Printing is “Green”
By Heidi Tolliver-Nigro

Although all aspects of the printing industry are greener than they once were, there is a lot of discussion these days about digital printing. While both digital and offset printing have come a long way, digital printing, in particular, has some characteristics that endear it to environmentally conscious marketers.

 

#8 Powerhouse Solutions for Direct Mail
By Trish Witkowski

If you want to get attention, there are many ways to do it – loud type and colored envelopes, interesting imagery and clever folding styles. What you may not know is that there are exciting branded and proprietary solutions for direct mail that can make you stand out in the pile and among your competitors. Now, before you cry budget and run the other way, do your homework. Some of these solutions can cost a bit more (or possibly even less) than a conventional project depending upon quantity and other factors; however, considering the increased response rate you can expect if sent to a targeted list, the true value for the dollar is hard to ignore.

 

#7 Print Buyers are Seduced by Sexiprint
By Matthew Parker

A lot of printer buyers have been seduced by sexiprint. What is sexiprint? It’s the type of print that comes loaded with really nice finishes, new technologies and non-standard processes. If you avoid unnecessary sexiprint, your clients will respect you more. You will have a greater control over your supply chain. And you will achieve much more from your clients’ budgets.

 

#6 Scoring and Folding Creatively Q&A
By Trish Witkowski

Kit Hinrichs, founder of Studio Hinrichs, and Trish Witkowski, chief folding fanatic at the online community foldfactory.com, helped PaperSpecs get “In The Groove” during our webinar based on the contents of Sappi Fine Paper North America’s recently released fourth edition of The Standard, Scoring & Folding. These two creative and knowledgeable experts showed how scoring and folding can help designers organize information, afford new creative options and achieve more successful printed communication.

 

#5 The Dilemma: Stitching or Glue?
By Sabine Lenz

Many times the method of binding will be determined by the page count. You will commonly hear the “under 48 always stitch” and “over 96 perfect bind” rules of thumb. But what rule applies to catalogs and booklets that fall between 48 and 96 pages? Does the rule of thumb always apply?

 

#4 The Four Ps of Printer Selection
By Nani Paape

One of my readers asked me to write an article about how to select a printer. I have been pondering this question for quite a while now, sifting through the many factors I consider when recommending the best printer for my clients’ projects. In this increasingly virtual world, I still strongly prefer to work eyeball-to-eyeball with my printers. I want collaborative partners who will work closely with me as we create great products.

 

#3 Letterpress is Like Violin Playing
By Sabine Lenz

There are at least two ways you can play a Stradivarius – with the delicate, elegant hand of the classical violinist or with the hard pounding, energy of the country music fiddler. (You could think of them as the Itzhak Perlman and the Charlie Daniels approaches.) Allen Stump, owner of A Mano Press, and one of the few wood type letterpress printers left in the United States, is definitely a proponent of the classical line. He learned his craft – or shall I say art – more than 50 years ago, when it was considered perfection if the letterpress didn’t show any embossing on the back of the sheet.

 

#2 QR Codes are Great, BUT …
By Heidi Tolliver-Nigro

When you’re getting into QR codes, it’s tempting to focus on the code – not just as the primary response mechanism, but as the only response mechanism. It’s important to remember that there may be people who would respond to the campaign with or without the code. After all, sometimes the QR might be the right response mechanism. Sometimes it might not.

 

#1 Six Simple Rules for QR Codes
By John Parsons

The prospect of extending one’s brand message from print, outdoor or TV media into mobile devices has captured the imagination of marketing and communications professionals. However, there are basic rules for this “new” media, which are violated at the brand owner’s peril.

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