A Better Client = A Better Brochure

21 04 2009

When it comes to brochure design, multiple factors can make (or break) the success of the project. This means that you need to be a very thorough and helpful client so your designer can create that perfect look for your brochure. Here are just a few areas in which you can make your designer’s job a little easier.

1. Images
Send all of the images that a designer could use in your brochure, from images of your company to customers using your product to your actual product. The designer may pull from a few stock photos as well, so let your designer know ahead of time if this is something you prefer or not. Also, don’t forget to send all file copies of your logo, as the designer may need the different sizes/designs.

2. Copy
Save yourself both time and money by writing the copy for each section, including the headlines, yourself. The only problem can be that many clients tend to feel possessive of their written work, making the designer’s job difficult. A designer needs the option to rearrange or reword information sometimes to make it all fit into the layout. Be a good client and allow the designer to do his or her job. You can always ask them to change anything that you don’t like once you see the proof.

3. Format
Don’t just assume that a designer can read your mind and choose the format you desire. Remember that brochure printing cn be done in all shapes and sizes, so let your designer know at the get-go the specifications of your brochure. Different sizes and folds mean different layouts, so ask your designer how the format you choose will affect the information you need to send.

4. Branding
You want your brochure to be an accurate representation of your company image, so give your designer all of the information they need to create a design consistent with your brand. Don’t forget about colors, fonts, taglines, and even past designs that represent the look you desire. If you don’t yet have brand information, be sure to communicate the look you are trying to create and any styles you don’t like.

5. Printing
Find out if the designer has a printing company he or she uses. If this is the case, make sure the quality and prices are right for your brochures. You may decide to send the file to a brochure printing company you trust rather than risking an excellent design on poor printing.

The bottom line: communicate with your designer, and not just a little. If you think of something after the consultation step is over, simply contact your designer. They will be more than willing to hear what you have to say to get your design right. Remember, a good client means a successful brochure design. Give your designer all the tools he or she needs and your brochure design is sure to be a smashing hit.

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Web Designers: Green Your Web Site

10 12 2008

The title of this post might seem a little odd, but trust me, you can green your Web site. Think about it – where would paper come into play on a Web site? On pages that readers want to print out of course.

GreenPrint
Web designers, (or non-Web designers), can download software called GreenPrint that will tell you which pages don’t have much text on them so they won’t get printed (like those pesky last pages that spit out only the URL, banner ad or legal jargon). You can download a version called GreenPrint World for free, or you can buy GreenPrint Home Premium Edition for $29. The software even keeps track of how much money you have saved by not printing unnecessary pages.

Here are some stats about GreenPrint from its Web site:

• If all U.S. households with a computer used GreenPrint, over $6 billion would be saved per year.
• If all new computers used GreenPrint, greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by over 117 million tons. That’s the equivalent of removing 23 million cars from the road for a year.
• If all new computers sold in 2006 used GreenPrint, over 36 million trees would be saved every year.

Print Style Sheets
For Web designers, you can change the way your Web site prints to eliminate extras like banner ads and navigation menus that sometimes print on their own page – extending a print job for something that the user will just throw away.   

Many designers either don’t have time or don’t have the desire to mess with print style sheets. But by not styling the printed page, you either 1) waste a lot of paper and ink printing unneeded info or 2) make the user mad that the wanted text and/or image doesn’t even fit on the printed page or 3) both!

For Web sites like blogs, newspapers and magazines – the sites that are most likely to be printed – this is a crucial step toward lessening the carbon footprint and paper waste in the world. Even if you aren’t partial to recycling, you can prevent the need for recycling by styling your printed page to only print what’s needed.

Here are a few ways to reduce the waste of printed Web pages:

Delete the navigation. No one needs to print the navigation menu. It’s not like the user can do anything with the menu once it’s printed. For menus that run long down the side of a Web page, scrapping this from being printed can easily save 1 page.

Delete ads. Unless you are under contract to print the ads on your site, get rid of ’em.

Delete search boxes and other below-the-fold extras. Printing out a search box or an alternative nav menu doesn’t serve any purpose. Including one line of copyright info at the bottom of the printed page should be enough to let the user know later where the printed material originated.

Watch the size of your logo. If your logo is huge on the Web page, don’t let it print that way. There’s no reason for the logo to take up the top 1/3 of the page. Size it to print at the same size as your letterhead logo.

Although it takes a little extra time, by styling your print style sheets to eliminate unnecessary elements, you can prevent paper and ink waste and save the environment one page at a time.





Traditional Print Advertising Still Going Strong

17 10 2008

With social media, text messaging and online videos gaining in popularity as advertising formats, some are saying traditional print advertising is going by the wayside. I don’t think so.

Direct Mail
According to Print in the Mix, a clearinghouse of research on print media effectiveness, most respondents to a 2008 marketing survey said they gave direct mail a score of 3.9 (on a scale of 1-5) when it came to getting direct mail for ad purposes. Email closely followed with a score of 3.7, but it’s interesting to note that email did in fact come in second. Text messaging, social networking site ads and instant messaging all scored well below a 3. Also, of those surveyed, just under 66 percent said they had made a purchase because of a marketing message received in email. More than 75 percent said they had made a purchase because of a direct mail piece.

Newspapers
A 2007 NNN Newspaper Footprint Study conducted by Scarborough Research found that four out of five Web site newspaper readers also read the print edition. The readers mainly looked at the newspaper’s online edition for breaking news and to look up articles they had read before.

Also, newspaper ad spending is still strong: in 2007, $46,612 million was spent on newspaper ads.

Magazines
U.S. adults love magazines. A full 85 percent read magazines regularly according to the Magazine Publishers of America. A 2005 study compared the effectiveness of different ad media used for Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee advertisements. The study found that total sales growth increased as the budget for magazine ads increased. Spot TV was the least effective medium in the study.

Part of the reason why print ads are still workhorses for the advertising industry is because they’re so easy to take with you and you don’t need any kind of technology to view them.

A Mix Works Well
Instead of traditional print advertising being replaced by new media outlets, they are being integrated for best results. It’s like a recipe: add one part new media and one part traditional print ad and you yield higher sales! Okay, maybe it’s not that easy, but that’s where the trend is going.

Look at all the newspapers that have online editions: they’re reaching a younger audience online and an older audience offline. All those online readers are people who otherwise wouldn’t read the paper, so they’ve just increased readership by combining their offline and online ventures.

Many newspaper ads, TV ads, magazine ads, brochures, direct mail pieces, etc. – all the traditional outlets – are including a URL in their ad. That’s a great way for consumers to get more info on their own time, or to order from a company’s Web site. That’s good integration that benefits the customers by giving them multiple opportunities to make a purchase. And what kind of company wouldn’t want to give customers an easy way to part with their money?

So, from all the stats out there and the number of people responding to print ads, it’s clear that print ads are still going strong. So be sure to keep print ads in your marketing arsenal along with any new media to keep your marketing bucket full.





How Catalogs Can Turn Your Business Into Enterprise

16 10 2008

A catalog consists of a collection of products that can be grouped into categories by your company. It is often said in the business world that catalogs are the best way to track your sales. So if you start tracking your sales once, it can actually help you build and re-construct better catalogs. Building a catalog according to your business definition is not easy and requires get into a lot of details like understanding how large the text should be and where it should be placed, what products should go where etc. Sure there are other forms of advertising but there are not many which can prove how many sales were made because of that ad. This is where catalogs come in. With catalogs you have a better control over information.

Let’s say you are using catalog printing as the first form of advertising. The products that may be on the back of the catalog may actually sell more than you thought. So for the next print of your catalog, you can place that product accordingly in the front. The rest of the article will be dealing with issues like how to make unique catalogs and selling with them.

There are a few things which can make or break your catalog’s impression on the client. Some points which must be kept in mind while making a catalog apart from the ones already mentioned are as follows:-

• Text: Pay attention to the text you use. Your wording is very important. You might expect a particular set of products to create a certain set of demand, but they may not do as well as you had imagined. So shift your focus to the wording to see if maybe it isn’t what the consumers are looking for or if they are able understand the wording properly.

• Show them what they want to see: You must have complete control over what the viewer is watching. Potential customer’s reaction can be positive only when they are convinced with the product, so attempts must be made to create an illusion that they need the product. If they don’t feel the NEED, they will never buy it. It is a failed attempt if it doesn’t lure them into buying whats inside the catalog.

• The Look: We live in a world where everything is judged by its look, at least for the first time. This is exactly what you need to do. Make sure that the look of your is no less than that of a magazine. The best way to do it is to incorporate a good looking magazines cover with your catalog. Show large lines on the main page with maybe a glimpse of whats inside with flashy prices attached to them, just like on magazines.

• Include HOW –TO’s: It is always a good option to include an article inside which gives an insight on how to use the products or what science is behind it. No need to mention that the main focus remains on what products are being offered, but giving customers a slight hint of what can be done with them can be a great attraction as well. For eg- If you are selling food items or some ingredients, you can put in a couple of recipes which can be used on various occasions. But if your articles don’t have a proper layout, you stand at the risk of confusing your customers.

• Brilliant reminders: Another thing that can cement your company’s image is to send them out as monthly reminders, just like a monthly magazine. Although its not necessary that you send one out every month but try and make it occasion or situation specific. Say, Christmas is close. So release one with Christmas specific things, maybe even throw a special, low-cost Christmas Offer. Highlight certain points around a particular event so your customer thinks twice before saying no altogether. This works great for food and gift companies. There are many magazines around which use the same technique. So pick up one now and start thinking creatively.

These are just some of the things you can start with. Keep experimenting and try to come up with new ideas because catalogs truly can be an asset to your marketing strategies.





Guerrilla Marketing Brochures: Do More with Less Money

11 10 2008

Guerrilla marketing is all about inexpensive marketing done to achieve high results. Jay Conrad Levinson first coined the term with his 1983 book Guerrilla Marketing. Levinson defines guerrilla marketing: “It is a body of unconventional ways of pursuing conventional goals. It is a proven method of achieving profits with minimum money.”

Levinson contends that you don’t have to hit a home run with every marketing strategy – just getting a single here or there and then getting better and getting doubles and then triples works too. That’s actually how it works anyway.

So don’t expect wonders when you dive into printing tons of brochures without first thinking over how cost-effective you can implement your brochure printing campaign. Chances are you’ll be spending more than what you should be. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to create an eye-catching and effective brochure.

Here are some guerrilla ways to do it:

Use black-and-white printing. Color is indeed an effective way to catch people’s attention, but black and white can do it too, if done tastefully and with interesting graphics. If black and white weren’t an effective combination I don’t think the store White House Black Market would have lasted for over 10 years.

See if you can use just a splash of color. Using just one accent color can turn your brochure into an eye-catching piece as well. Ask your printer how much a 1-color job would cost. Make sure to design this one color into your brochure instead of designing it in black and white and then choosing some aspects to be in the accent color. Color for color’s sake won’t end up saving you any money because it won’t look good!

You can also add color by using colored paper. This is an old and cheap trick for adding color. But it does work!

Use your brochures for referrals. Use the back panel of your brochure for your current customer to put his info. Then tell him (and write it on the brochure) that if a friend brings in this brochure, they’ll both get a discount. You’ll need a way to keep track of who brings in a brochure, which shouldn’t be too hard. Just having a file folder for the returned brochures of those who still need a discount applied to their next order will do. The friend who brought in the brochure should get a discount upon presenting the brochure. This is also a great way to update your mailing list (with current customer info) and add to your mailing list with the new customer’s info.

Include a coupon in your brochure. Use one of the panels as a coupon – don’t make it a tear-out thing so that people will keep the whole brochure. This is a great way to keep the brochure from ending up in the trash – you’re giving people a reason to keep it.





Soy Ink – Not the Cure-All for a Greening Printing Industry

30 09 2008

I read an interesting post today on the Eco-Libris blog about soy inks not being as environmentally friendly as most people think. That includes me. I thought anything that had to do with soy was good for you! (Tofu is supposedly good, but the texture keeps me away. Soy beans are good…they’re the only kind of bean that I can eat without tons of stuff on them. But I digress.)

The whole idea of soy inks, as well as other vegetable-based inks like cottonseed and linseed, is that when they dry, they produce less amounts of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) than petroleum-based inks. VOCs are pollution and they contribute to global warming. VOCs have been linked to causing asthma and other respiratory ailments. Some have even claimed VOCs are linked to cancer. VOCs are basically the funky smell emitted from paints, stains, magic markers, turpentine and other solvents. These are the things that can make you dizzy and sick if you breathe too much of it in.

Soy inks take longer to dry than “regular” petroleum-based inks, so many soy inks are still basically made of petroleum so that they dry faster. 

So, soy inks aren’t made completely of soy, but if they give off less VOCs, isn’t that a step in the right direction? I think so.

Pair soy inks with digital printing and I don’t care what others say, that’s better for the environment than the alternative – petroleum-based inks used on offset presses. Like I said, every little bit helps.

Here are some ways digital printing helps the environment:

1. There are no plates, which means no cleaning solvents, no spray powders and no solid waste disposal requirements.
2. These presses emit little or no VOCs. They can be run in standard office environments since they are so clean. This leads to less travel by big trucks that emit pollution into the environment.
3. Digital presses don’t require ventilation or emissions capture equipment because there’s no need to capture any harmful emissions. This reduces printers’ energy consumption.
4. Digital presses can print on a wide range of recycled stock. You might not be able to print every stock on every press, but there is a large range that most printing jobs can be successfully fulfilled.

Digital printing with soy inks can also be taken a step further. If printers didn’t require long print runs, their customers wouldn’t waste paper by printing more items than they need. The printer’s customers wouldn’t have tons of extra brochures taking up space, which eventually get thrown out because they need to be updated, which would save trees.

So even though soy inks aren’t all that I thought they were, and perhaps what you thought they were, I’ve decided that’s okay because we’re heading in the right direction. If non-pure soy ink can lead to pure soy ink or can lead to new ways of printing greener, I’m all for it.





Pictures of Unique Business Cards

23 07 2008

These days, there are a whole lot of different types of business card printing in use.  And many of them are extremely exotic and unconventional.  Those types of business cards are my favorite, because they get the attention of the customers.  And isn’t that the point?  It can be pretty tough to make your cards stand out when virtually everyone has them, so sometimes you have to resort to drastic measures.

Ivan from creativebits.org recently posted a blog that shows pictures of some very unique business cards.  I don’t want to completely steal his thunder, but I wanted to post a few of those pictures and show you what I’m talking about.  Here is the link: http://creativebits.org/cool_business_card_designs.

 

Pictures of Unique Business Cards

Yes, this is a business card in the form of a scratch off ticket.  How cool is that?  To me, this is the perfect idea.  It is interesting, yet at the same time simple and effective.  Exactly what a business card should be.

 

 

 

Here is a business card in the shape of a map.  Actually, it’s not so much in the shape of a map as an actual map.  It doubles as a completely functional roadmap showing customers how to get to the company.  Brilliant!

 

 

 

Guess who uses this type of business card?  You guessed it: a dentist!  A business card with a dental impression on it.  You can’t get more straightforward than that, can you?

I also found some interesting business card designs on Flickr.  Here is the link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dailypoetics/sets/72057594104389710.

 

 

 

I have no idea what kind of company is using this card, but it seems pretty cool to me.  The customer actually has to break the seal to see the card.

 

 

 

I love this business card.  On the one side, it is a basic business card (although very retro looking).  But on the other it features a very personal picture that makes you wonder about the participants.

 

 

 

I’ve actually seen several companies use dog tags as business cards, and I like it.  These would be especially effective if the customer actually put them around his neck, because then he would see your business information all day long!