Great Balls of Fire: Two Great Stories on the Longevity of Print

Civil Defense brochure found in Dictionary

Print has a way of sticking around.

And while it can often be neglected in the excitement surrounding digital and cutting-edge communications today, print continues to thrive and surprise. It’s very physical, tactile nature is the reason for the powerful impact and longevity of print. Two great illustrations of that popped up on the same day.

Here at the print shop sat an old dictionary from the mid 1950s, purchased at Good Will, and gathering dust. Yesterday our bindery manager discovered, tucked back inside the pages, a Civil Defense brochure from 1959 outlining the emergency drill in case of a direct nuclear attack on Asheville or Buncombe County. Seems our proximity here to the Oak Ridge facility in Tennessee put us in harm’s way. Interesting reading – a great insight into the mindset of the Cold War days. The brochure, printed in patriotic red and blue, had hardly ages at all, well preserved between the dictionary pages.

Great Balls of Fire Brochure

And the same day we stumbled across the story online of a rediscovered typeface – Doves Type – that had spent almost 100 years at the bottom of the Thames River in London. Designer Robert Green led the search for the type which had been thrown off a bridge into the Thames in 1917 in an attempt to settle a dispute over it’s usage. Green’s team retrieved about 150 metal type  pieces, rediscovering what was once a lost typeface. (Watch a short BBC film about the story below.) And to bring the story totally up to date, you can now follow Doves Type on Twitter @thedovestype.

So you never know where you might find a lost piece of print history – tucked in the musty pages of a forgotten book or at the bottom of a river. Either way, print can surprise you, proving itself to be influential long past your wildest expectations.

Doves Typeface on Twitter

 

Call us at 828.684.4512 for any marketing needs. As a printer, we understand communication and design. Your printer should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmental responsible printing. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

ImageSmith is now partnered with Extreme Awards & Engraving - our in-house partner providing custom engraved trophies and awards for employee recognition programs, sporting events, and promotional needs. With our new sister company, we will be sharing space, resources and expertise in a collaboration designed to further provide you with one place to meet all of your marketing needs… Under One Roof! Visit them online at www.extremeae.com or call direct at 828.684.4538.

 

 

Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.
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EDDM – Is Every Door Direct Mail Right For You?

EVery Door Direct Mail Simplified

The USPS direct mail program called Every Door Direct Mail, begun in 2011, makes saturation mailing affordable for small businesses. Offer coupons, publicize events, send thanks, announce sales or online promotions, and discover new customers from areas you target – all at the lowest price ever.  However, as with all things postal, you may also encounter a few potentially confusing rules and paperwork. Read on for a little clarification…

What is Every Door Direct Mail?

EDDM is a USPS program that seeks to make direct mail easier and less costly for small businesses. Using EDDM Retail, you send your mailpiece without a list of addresses or a permit to every address in targeted areas (carrier routes) which you select. Each printed mailpiece will be exactly the same (i.e., no cost for variable data addressing, no individualized addresses). Customers go online and use the USPS EDDM Retail program to select carrier routes and generate necessary paperwork. Of course this saturation mailing has some limitations: you can only mail 5,000 pieces per mailer per day, your piece must meet the specs for a standard machinable flat, your piece must be printed with the correct EDDM indicia, and you must bring the mail physically to the Post Office that services the carrier routes you chose. Also you must fill out the requisite postal forms and labeling, as well as follow bundling and packaging requirements. You can read more online at usps.com/everydoordirectmail.

What is the Difference between EDDM Retail and EDDM BMEU?

BMEU stands for Business Mail Entry Unit. EDDM BMEU allows larger businesses who already maintain a mailer’s permit for payment and tracking of their direct mail to use their permit and to drop off their EDDM to the Business Mail Entry Unit. With this method, mailers are not limited to 5000 pieces per day and the rules for what type of mailpiece qualify are more flexible.

While you can go it alone with the Post Office online, EDDM may be a daunting task for anyone new to bulk mail. (You can check out details of the USPS program online here.) The USPS has posted an in-depth video presentation on the EDDM service. We have broken the video into two parts and you can watch them by clicking the video links:

Every Day Direct Mail Video 1

Watch the EDDM video part one

Every Day Direct Mail Video 2

Watch the EDDM video part two

What are the Benefits of Every Door Direct Mail?

Every Door Direct Mail service lets your business send advertising without the need of an address list or the cost of addressing. The USPS rate for EDDM averages $0.175 per piece! A letter carrier delivers your piece along with the day’s mail to every address on the routes you choose. EDDM allow you to:

  • TARGET every address
  • REDUCE production costs
  • SIMPLIFY the mailing process

Discover the Possibilities…

  • Invite customers to a Grand Opening or Open House
  • Offer timely coupons or promotions
  • Announce events & sales
  • Publicize your participation in community events
  • Highlight your hours of operation, new services,
  • menu, mission statement or products
  • Emphasize your location and enhance your brand
  • Thank customers for their patronage

EDDM helps retailers and service-based businesses reach their local target customers – a good fit for the following:

auto dealers and repair shops  •  restaurants  •  pharmacies
clothing stores  •  furniture dealers  •  flower shops
coffee shops  •  bakeries  •  attorneys  •  schools  •  real estate firms
health-care professionals & practices  •  dry cleaners  •  home-improvement companies

Downside?

EDDM paperwork

There’s always paperwork involved!

Perfect for some businesses and some direct mail objectives, EDDM is not always the smartest option for everyone. Why? In general, targeted direct mailings – where you “edit” your mailing list for various factors such as age, income, and lifestyle of the folks you want to reach – produce greater results and therefore greater profits. Consider these situations: if you are a restaurant and want to get coupons out into the hands of locals who pass by your place daily and are the most likely to stop in, EDDM saturation mailing could be your smartest approach. But if you are a business selling products specifically for the elderly or homebound, sending mailpieces to every address in a neighborhood could be a waste of your investment. A targeted mailing to only elderly or disabled residents in a wider area would yield more positive results.

Best advice?

Talk to your printer about which mailing strategies will work best with your budget and your direct mail goals. Rely on their experience with the USPS and with integrated marketing to make your life a little easier… and more affordable.

Contact us at ImageSmith to get started with Every Door Direct Mail today. You choose, through the USPS site, exactly the areas you wish to saturate with your mailing and we’ll handle all the paperwork, packaging and regulations. No mail list, no hassle, and – if you decide to take advantage of EDDM BMEU – no need to apply for a postage permit, you can use ours at no added cost.

 

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The New Yorker at 90: The Art of Great Cover Art

It’s easy to love The New Yorker. Their editorials, criticism, opinion, reporting, poetry, and celebrated cartoons have consistently set a gold standard of excellence for publishing.  The venerable magazine is celebrating 90 years of groundbreaking, respected coverage of much more than the New York literary scene, and must be basking in the accolades from readers and critics. You know you’re pretty influential when bloggers take the time to praise and interpret the shape of just one letter in your masthead!

The New Yorker covers provide a master class in creative illustration and graphic design. Timely and often controversial cover art is a mainstay of the magazine as the New York Times notes the covers have taken a distinctive shift “from polite to provocative.” The editors seek out innovative artists who movingly capture the nation’s excitement, fear, contradictions or spirit in a graphic image that gets noticed, sells magazines and ultimately proves the enduring power of print.

Great graphic design brings order and meaning to a complex or hard-to-define subject – and The New Yorker covers excel at that. Wit and creativity are needed to illustrate a complex point of view or clash of points of view in a deceptively simple artwork. Some magazines rely on the excitement and buzz generated by a controversial cover image simply to get attention for attention’s sake – think Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue or the outlandish banner headlines of the tabloids. Conversely, The New Yorker covers do more than exploit an event’s moment in the mainstream spotlight – and they often make news in and of themselves.

Often a great cover image becomes indelibly linked in our minds to the events or topics they address. As the covers below prove, the creation of a great cover illustration also has a story behind the scenes that is equally interesting:

The New Yorker Covers

© The New Yorker

Sept. 24, 2001: read the story behind the uncredited cover commemorating the tragedy of 9/11.

Dec. 8, 2014: Bob Staake’s poignant illustration of the racial divisions in Ferguson, MO.

July 21, 2008: “The Politics of Fear” by Barry Blitt – one of the most satirically controversial covers in The New Yorker’s history.

 

The New Yorker Covers

© The New Yorker

July 8, 15, 2013: “Moment of Joy” by Jack Hunter, celebrating the defeat of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Jan. 19, 2015: “Solidarité” by Ana Juan, memorializing the massacre at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Dec. 16, 2013: “Madiba” by Kadir Nelson, for the passing of Nelson Mandela.

 

To show the importance of cover art to the magazine’s essence, The New Yorker decided to print not one but 9 different covers – one for each decade – for it’s special anniversary double issue. Each image seeks to bring the iconic cartoon dandy Eustace Tilley who appeared on the first cover in 1925 into the 21st century. And in order to ensure they stay as relevant and dynamic in the next 90 years as they have in the past, the magazine just hired ad agency SS+K to steer and coax it’s brand progression.

 

 

 

Call us at 828.684.4512 for any marketing needs. As a printer, we understand communication and design. Your printer should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmental responsible printing. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

ImageSmith is now partnered with Extreme Awards & Engraving - our in-house partner providing custom engraved trophies and awards for employee recognition programs, sporting events, and promotional needs. With our new sister company, we will be sharing space, resources and expertise in a collaboration designed to further provide you with one place to meet all of your marketing needs… Under One Roof! Visit them online at www.extremeae.com or call direct at 828.684.4538.

 

 

Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.
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Creative Backdrops for Your At-Home Photography Studio

Creative backdrops for at-home photography studio

Operating an at-home photography business or taking photos to use in your graphic design work can be convenient, efficient and enjoyable. It also can be expensive. If you can be as creative with do-it-yourself projects as you are with your camera, you will find that you can afford and create several creative and eye-catching backdrops in your own home.

Get the Foundation Right

If you are new to the at-home photography business, there are a few steps you should follow. First, dedicate a room that has plenty of space to be your studio. Make sure it has good lighting and a neutral color on the walls. Any greens, reds or blues will kill your color balance, so stick to whites or grays. You also might want to lay down a tarp to avoid any colors bouncing off from the floor.

Once you have the room set up, install a backdrop holder. Using a half-inch galvanized pipe, plates and some conduit, you can screw in a backdrop holder either onto the wall or from the ceiling.

Now, you can begin making backdrops. Amazon offers basic backdrops for as much as $40. However, consider adding colorful, elegant drapes to the windows to give off a homey feeling. Custom drapes can be found online from retailers like The Shade Store.

Use Chicken Wire

Chicken wire is a fun, creative tool that you can use over and over again. To make a custom heart background, you’ll need:

  • Staple gun
  • Small nails
  • Hammer
  • Spray paint
  • 3 pieces of one-inch by two-inch wood, six feet in length
  • Color material to create your effect.

Then, red napkins can be stuffed into the chicken wire to make a heart shape. With the chicken wire frame up, plot the points of your heart with napkins, and make the outline. Then you only need to fill in the outline.

Use Strings

This tasty idea can give you a 3-D effect by using stringed marshmallows. If you hang strings of marshmallows from the ceiling, it will give your backdrop a snowing effect. If you don’t have marshmallows, cotton balls or Christmas tree bulbs can be used instead.

Colorful yarn also can be an interesting tool. You can mix and match colors that can blend with your object or be in contrast to it. The yarn needs only to hang from your backdrop frame. However you choose to make it, you have a variety of colors and patterns to choose from, and the only thing you need is yarn, scissors and a creative mind.

Find Miscellaneous Items

Believe it or not, you may have the ultimate backdrop material already in your home. Here are just a few examples:

  • Using your neutral-colored wall, you can use colored tissue paper from your gift-wrapping arsenal to create a paper flower backdrop. The DIY website Lovely Indeed demonstrates how to make the flowers step by step.
  • If making paper flowers is too time-consuming, then book pages might be easier. Strategically place book pages onto a canvas to give your backdrop a unique, elegant and fun look.
  • Or, if you’re in a pinch, line blown-up balloons together to bring out some color in your shots. These can be really versatile because there are so many kinds, colors and sizes, giving you an infinite number of ways to set them up.
  • Finally, keep it simple by using gift-wrapping paper. This is easy to use, inexpensive and full of unique patterns. This is especially great for baby photos. And, all you need is some tape and scissors before your backdrop is ready to go.

 

 

Call us at 828.684.4512 for any marketing needs. As a printer, we understand communication and design. Your printer should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmental responsible printing. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

ImageSmith is now partnered with Extreme Awards & Engraving - our in-house partner providing custom engraved trophies and awards for employee recognition programs, sporting events, and promotional needs. With our new sister company, we will be sharing space, resources and expertise in a collaboration designed to further provide you with one place to meet all of your marketing needs… Under One Roof! Visit them online at www.extremeae.com or call direct at 828.684.4538.

 

 

Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.
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4 Easy Steps to Creating Engaging Video Content

 

Add video to mobile marketing

Visual content marketing, or the use of video in your website’s content, has grown exponentially over the last few years. According to numbers published by Ooyala, mobile and tablet video watching has grown a staggering 532% since 2012. Taking advantage of the new trend to couple content with video is key in your content’s success in engaging consumers. Here are some ways that you can use video to engage your audiences and keep them coming back for more.

Teach Them Something

Your audience may be interested in your product, but may be unsure of how to use it or are confused about its applications. Smart content coupled with instructive videos can engage and inspire consumers to make the jump from interested to invested. For example, Callaway Golf’s online show, “Callaway Talks,” is a video podcast where pros talk about equipment, performance and innovations within the world of Callaway Golf clubs. The information provided, discussions, and debates are all powerful content marketing tools utilized by Callaway to reach out to consumers with video content.

Tell Them a Story

The line between marketing and entertainment is becoming more blurred than ever before. No recent advertisement serves as a better example of how entertaining content can serve to capture the imagination of consumers and engage them in your brand than the recent viral video shared by the Wall Street Journal of Jean-Claude Van Damme doing powerful splits between two Volvo Trucks. In just a minute and a half Volvo created massive social media buzz and demonstrated to the world the stability and control of Volvo’s powerful Dynamic Steering systems. You may not have world-class martial artists at your disposal, there are plenty of royalty-free stock videos available online. With clever editing, narration and your own video content, even stock video can be utilized to craft a memorable tale to capture consumer attention.

Get Them to Relate

If your brand isn’t strong, most consumers will see you as just another faceless company with something to sell them. By adding a compelling and human face to your online presence, you can draw in customers on an emotional level and help them relate to you. Global arc welder manufacturer Lincoln Electric crafts oxyfuel cutting devices and distributes soldering alloys internationally—not exactly a relatable business for most consumers. However, through personal and introspective videos available on their LincolnElectricTV YouTube Channel, Lincoln electric connects with consumers by showing them how welding helps in the creation of everything from farm equipment to roller coasters. With the video tagline of “Welding Makes This World Possible,” Lincoln Electric grabs consumers emotionally and makes them take a second look at the products and people that they may not have ever given a second thought to.

Let Them Participate

The final tool in your video content arsenal comes from your customers themselves. Encourage your customer base to create their own videos sharing how your product or service effects their life, and share the ones that best represent your brand. In doing so, you essentially crowdsource your marketing directly to your audience, and create a connection with them. Everyone wants to be famous for a moment, and sharing consumer created video content is a sure way to get them talking about your product with their friends and families. Integrated marketing that truly engages your audience is the goal. Check out these links to see how companies like Taco Bell and Traveler Beer are utilizing creative ways to bring their customers into their marketing outreach.

 

 

Call us at 828.684.4512 for any marketing needs. As a printer, we understand communication and design. Your printer should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmental responsible printing. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

ImageSmith is now partnered with Extreme Awards & Engraving - our in-house partner providing custom engraved trophies and awards for employee recognition programs, sporting events, and promotional needs. With our new sister company, we will be sharing space, resources and expertise in a collaboration designed to further provide you with one place to meet all of your marketing needs… Under One Roof! Visit them online at www.extremeae.com or call direct at 828.684.4538.

 

 

Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.
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PhotoShop Makes it Easy to Quickly Straighten a Scan or Photo

 

 

If you begin work with a raw photograph or scan, chances are the image will be off-kilter – maybe just a little bit crooked, maybe a lot. Here’s an easy fix to straighten your image that does not require guesswork of how many degrees or rotation are needed.
Photo in need of alignment

In the sample image above, the subjects appear to be walking up a slight hill, but our objective is to have them on level ground. Beginning with CS5, the PhotoShop tools got a whole lot smarter and you can now Straighten a photo with the click of a button. The Crop tool itself will allow you to manually rotate the image, just by clicking slightly outside the crop area and pulling the image in whatever direction you desire. To have PhotoShop straighten your photo exactly, just click the “Straighten” button in the Toolbar at the top. This accesses your Ruler tool to draw a line on your image that you want to use to make your image plumb. The new tools make what use to be a more difficult task very intuitive and easy.
The “old” way of doing this was to get the Ruler tool (its hidden away on the fly-out menu of the Eyedropper tool). Find a line or edge in your image that you want to be perfectly horizontal.  Click and drag out a line with the ruler tool that you want to be exactly 90° perpendicular to vertical. Choose Image – Rotate – Arbitrary. The exact amount of rotation needed (to the 100th of a degree!) will be entered into the “Arbitrary” amount box. Just hit enter and your image will rotate clockwise or counterclockwise as needed according to the line you drew.

Using the Ruler Tool in PhotoSHop

Find the “horizon” or edge you want to be perfectly horizontal in your image and drag the ruler tool across it.

Rotate Image in PhotoShop

Image – Rotate Image – Arbitrary

Rotate Image in PhotoShop

The exact amount needed is automatically filled in the Rotation Amount

Straightened Image before recropping

Image aligned with drawn line, before recropping.

Finished photo after alignment

After aligning, you will need to recrop the image to make it square again. But the girl walking her dog is now on level ground. If your image was a scan of a document or printed photograph, aligning with the edge of the original will bring the image plumb again.

Thanks to CS5 and beyond, you may never need this again!

 

 

 

 

Strive to buy your print locally! A community printer will understand communication and design, with a special emphasis on your local market. They should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmental responsible printing. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

 

Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.
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