Free To Do It Your Way


This is a guest post by Beth Frede from Creative Revelations. She helps women entrepreneurs who want to make a positive impact, but who struggle finding their purpose and balancing work and their personal life.

Beth Frede PhotoFreedom.

I love that word in all its forms.

We are so free in America. We’re free to choose our own paths, and even create our own jobs if we’re motivated to do so.

Happily, our views about work have transformed. The traditionally held belief that “work can’t be fun or you’re doing it wrong” has given way to a new paradigm: “Do what you love and the clients and money will follow.” Can you feel the freedom in the second mindset, as compared to the first?

Yes, hard work is still required of us, but taking consistent action doing something we feel passionate about is the very opposite of drudgery! More and more, we’re looking for work that not only pays us, but fulfills us.

So what happens when you find work that not only pays you, but fulfills you?
Most of the time you’ll feel…

Happy and satisfied in your work. Even if you’re dealing with less-than-happy clients, you genuinely feel good about your part in helping them.
Energized and alive. Your work challenges and invigorates you, and you know your contribution is making a difference.
Peaceful inside. There’s an unshakable contentment that goes with you everywhere. You feel grounded and centered.
Patient and loving with the people around you. You’re feeling good, and that goodness spills over into your relationships.
Healthy and well. Your energy is balanced. You take time for yourself. You have a good sense of control over your life while being flexible when you’re thrown a curve ball.
Plugged in. You’re awake, aware, and connected in your relationships and your daily activities.
And When you’re not plugged in to meaningful work, you’ll find yourself…

Frustrated or bored. Your work is too easy and there’s no juicy challenge to sink your teeth into, or it’s just the wrong work for you. Either way, your heart’s not singing.
Antsy and irritable. You’re not spending your time the way you’d like to. You’re snappish at your family, or resentful when something slows you down. You’re jealous of your friends who seem to be happy and successful.
Feeling crummy. You get stress headaches. Mystery ailments that come and go. That knot in your stomach when you think about Monday.
Feeling flat. You’re drained. No enthusiasm. You’re not super up, not super down… just hanging out in the middle. Meh.
Zoned out, numbed out, checked out… You look forward to wine-thirty, Netflix, or other distractions more than you enjoy the rest of your day.
If you’re in the first group, congratulations and a big ol’ Woohoo for you! And if you’re in the second group, take heart–you are free to choose another path, and it can be much easier than you realize.

Here are three simple steps to help you get to a more purposeful, enjoyable work situation:
1) Create a clear picture of what you want for yourself. What does your ideal life look like? Who would you spend your time with? (Who would you spend less time with?) What would a typical in your ideal life look like? Get as specific about your ideal life as possible, and don’t just think about it… write it down, because this helps your brain root it in reality.

2) Get happy now. Being “in flow” requires you to know where you desire your life to go (which you’ve just clarified in step #1) while being happy and grateful for where you are now. What are you grateful for? What are all the reasons you have to be happy right now? Be clear, specific and detailed about all the ways you are happy and grateful, and again, write them down; writing them as opposed to just thinking about them will help you feel into them.

3) Find the common heartbeat behind your values, challenges, experiences, and gifts. Why were you given all of these pieces? What have they taught you? What do they mean to you? Finding the common heartbeat that ties them together helps your purpose rise to the surface like cream rising to the top of a milking pail.

You are meant for something special… you’re here for a divine purpose! It’s up to you to put your stake in the ground and claim it.

This is How You Get the Flow Back


This is how you get the flow back image!

The love. The passion. The drive. It held your small business together. Clients came in. A decent amount of money flowed–at least, enough to say, “Hey I got a real, viable business on my hands that can support me.”

Then the rush of clients stop; the flow turns to a trickle. Your business has reached its maximum flexing point. Shhhhit.

My sister was a gymnast. She invested almost 20 years, thousands of hours, and plenty of injuries from the vault, balance beam, bars, and floor work. In the first few years of competing, she regularly earned first and second place medals. Her bedroom quickly became a trophy room from her success. Her enthusiasm and joy for the sport rapidly carried her through the levels.

But one day, she hit a plateau. To compete at higher levels, her flexibility and strength needed to improve. Her coach pushed her to have a flawless split and straight lines when flexing and pointing her legs in the air. To achieve this, her coach cranked on her body for months at a time to force her split to the ground.

I remember the grueling pain and muscle tears she went through. I cringe thinking about it. She mutilated her groin and hip flexors. Her progress slowed, and injuries became more common. She could do a split, but was the pain and hard work worth it? Was the short career worth it?

Are You Cranking on Your Business?
When business feels like it has dried up, and things ain’t so hunky dory, most of us fall into reactive mode. You’re needy for clients and money; therefore, you push, you work hard, and you do everything you can to crank out more business and get that flow back. Painful. Exhausting. In need. There has to be a better way?

Do you know what the best way is to increase your flexibility in the shortest amount of time? It’s easing and relaxing into the stretch. I wish my sister’s coach was intelligent enough to know that. But when you push too hard and too fast you go nowhere, except for injury. You need to relax and breathe to deepen the stretch.

No pain, but plenty of gain, because your muscles don’t need the time to repair from the wearing and tearing. The muscles learn how to be flexible and start in that new place of flexibility next time.

Okay…enough lessons on stretching.

The point: rather than pushing and cranking, be open up to your neediness and say, “I’m here. It’s okay that I’m needing more clients and more money”? Because being here with your neediness relaxes you to receive what you truly need. When you fill yourself up, you expand and easily flex to a new level without the pain and without the need.

How to Stretch Your Business?
Be where you are
You want to grow your business. I’m sure you have a grand vision of where you want to be in a few years and what a successful business looks like. But when you are stuck in this vision, you become stuck in expectations.

Having a vision is not the problem, the problem is your attachment to expectations. When the amount of clients and money coming in is not what you expected, and the reality of your business is not meeting your vision, if you are attached to these expectations you suffer. You don’t have to take my word for it, Buddha said it himself: The cause of suffering is from attachment (I’m paraphrasing).

Hold tight to that vision of yours, but how can you let go and honor where you are at? One way is to continually cultivate appreciation for what you already have. Appreciation grounds you to what is. It acknowledges and respects the progress your business has made. In this groundedness, you are being here, now, and standing firmly with both feet on the ground.

Ask to be shown
Before reacting to your business situation and neediness, ask in your heart to be shown what you really need to be fulfilled. You are witnessing that your business needs more flow because you are at a plateau. Before you react and try to bring more business in from a place of neediness, ask, “May I please be shown what I truly need in this relationship.”

You don’t need the clients and money, but a true need–something that fills your heart. If you already had the clients and money, what does that do for you? What needdoes it fill? Does it bring you safety? Make you feel witnessed? Give a sense of contribution? Create community? Give you strength?

Have a look at List of needs (right click, save as). When you ask in your heart what you truly need, see what need you gravitate towards in the PDF. Your goal here is to identify the true need.

Drink it in
You don’t know something until you experience it. That’s why in the Zen tradition you sit in meditation, because you can talk all you want about enlightenment and The Way, but knowing on an intellectual level is not quite it. You must sit and experience enlightenment for yourself.

When you receive what you truly need from your situation, take that need and drink it. It’s a metaphorical drink of filling your heart with that need. For example, if you discover what you truly need in this current situation is safety, ask to drink and be filled with that need: “May I please drink in and have safety.” Now wash your complete being in safety. Sit as safety.

Another way to experience this need is to fill a glass of water three-quarters full. Declare that the water represents the need of safety, for example. Now drink the water knowing that you are drinking in safety.

Here’s the process in review: be where you are and notice your neediness, ask to be shown what you really need in this situation, drink in the true need you received.

Now you are filled. From this place of fullness, you will respond and make decisions with appropriateness and in balance. In the Buddhist tradition, this is called Right Action. You get back into the flow and start flexing yourself to that new level of business.

Getting the Support and Guidance You Need
The journey to your next of level of business is often messy and like navigating on rough terrains. I know you can do it, but with the right support and guidance you can have an easier journey and cut your time in half. I’m here for you. If you want to explore the possibility of receiving help, and getting that flow of clients and money back into your business, click here to look at my Backward Business Development training.

Why 8 Out of 10 New Businesses Fail


    When I first committed to Zen training, I really had no idea what I was getting into. I thought it would have been a breeze. Maybe an easy way to find peace and relaxation from the hustle and bustle our culture weighs on us.

    Do a duck duck go search on meditation, and you’ll find countless ways to find inner peace. Most people preach that meditation should be easy. Go for a walk in nature and find the stillness. Lay down with your eyes closed and visualize. Relax on the couch and count your breath. Then, and in no time, I’ll find enlightenment, right?

    I went to my first Zen class with all these ideas about meditation, but no real experience. Do you think I was in for a surprise? Oh ya.

    My teacher made me sit on a small round cushion without a mat on the hard floor (what! I couldn’t lay down). I had to cross my legs in some kind of kung fu style that only double jointed people can do. Worst of all, I couldn’t move. Not even an inch. Not even a scratch. When I did move, he scolded me.

    We meditated for fifty minutes. Fifty. Friggin’. Minutes. My legs were in so much pain. My foot fell asleep and the pins and needles feeling seeped into my stomach. I was nauseous and almost puked. At the fifty minute mark he rang the bell to end the meditation. I was broken. I wanted to cry.

    You Might Not Make It
    Isn’t this shockingly similar to being new in business? We have these grandiose ideas of making a huge impact, having financial freedom, and making six figures within six months. But the truth is: we want to cry most of time. Making our business work is hard.

    Only two out of ten people make it. You wouldn’t have guessed that figure because 8 out of 10 business or life coaches preach your dreams can become a reality, or you can make six figures in six months (I think it’s up to seven figures now).

    The deck is stacked against you, too. You’re inexperienced, so you don’t have social proof or validation that your business is viable. Your income is low, so you desperately need clients and money. When you mix inexperience and a low income together, you undervalue yourself and price way too low. You give a ton of your time and exhaust yourself, but you’re not getting ahead as you hoped.

    Who are the ones that make it? That’s the wrong question. A better question: What’s the best chance you can give yourself so you do make it in business?

    Commit Wholeheartedly To The Form
    The reason why the Rinzai school of Zen (that’s my form) is rigorous and soooo damn hard is because it’s the quickest way to enlightenment. It’s not about finding peace or feeling happy, it’s about getting over yourself. And this type of Zen training gets harder and harder until…you wholeheartedly commit.

    Before wholehearted commitment, you move when you are sitting. You don’t truly listen to your teacher. Sometimes you show up, sometimes you don’t. You quit counting your breath when you should be counting. You don’t practice day in and day out. You think enlightenment will just happen to you.

    After wholehearted commitment, you have no choice. You sit because that’s what you do. You count your breath because that’s what you do. You endure the pain because that’s what you do. You seek enlightenment and you keep seeking because that’s what you do.

    The irony of it all: once you wholeheartedly commit, you have a breakthrough. The enjoyable side effects kick in: a quiet mind, inner peace, unexplained joy, and clarity.

    The majority of people who fail in business (and I have experience failing four businesses) are not wholeheartedly committed. They go through the motions and look for the easy way–the next marketing trick, social media tip, sales tip, or line of thought, “how can I get the next client.”

    Yes, you will have to endure pain, and if you’re new in business, I’m sure there’s pain. You are trying a lot of things and not seeing much work.

    But when you commit with a whole heart, you burn all bridges behind you. You have to make it. You have no choice. The pain is still there, but the magic happens. One client turns into two. Two into four clients. You are being appreciated for your contribution. You feel the love inside. People say “I love you.” (yes, that does happen from my community.)

    How to Wholeheartedly Commit to Make Your Business Work?
    Plain and simple: it’s a decision you make. Wholehearted commitment can happen from having too much suffering in your life that it lights a fire under your ass, or you can decide, right now, to commit.

    I like the decision route. Here’s how.

    Raise your standards.
    Are you in business to make a living? To make money? Or, are you in business to make some kind of impact for others? Are you in business to discover your very best self? To grow? To have financial abundance? To share your voice? To share love? Most importantly, are you clear on what you are after and what you will not settle for?

    The turning point to wholehearted commitment in my Zen training happened when I decided to go full on seeking enlightenment and to sit for everyone. I was clear to why I’m doing my training. And I committed and decided to settle for nothing less than full clarity and realization.

    You need to do the same for your business. Why are you doing what you are doing? What do you really want? What will you NOT settle for? The right answers will appear when the aliveness and passion kick up inside of you. Hint hint: it’s not going to be about money or toys.

    Get leverage on yourself.
    The funny thing about us humans is that we are only doing two things in life: avoiding pain or moving toward pleasure. For example, you have a migraine. You are in pain. Therefore, you take some aspirin so you can avoid pain and move to pleasure.

    I also bet that you are in business because you want pleasure. This may take many different forms, but some common forms of pleasure from business are: money, significance, contribution, certainty, appreciation, freedom, etc. And when you have a lack of clients and money, you are in pain and want to move into pleasure.

    Now here’s the tricky part. If you are struggling in your small business, especially if it has been a long term struggle, you are unconsciously linking pleasure to your struggling situation. Why would you ever do that? Because it’s what you know. There’s certainty in that situation. Certainty of how things will happen in your life brings you comfort and pleasure; therefore, you stay the same.

    The beauty of Zen training is that it creates so much suffering and doubt that you are forced to change. When that happens, you realize enlightenment.

    Business is a path to enlightenment, too. Changing your situation in business, and to move into wholehearted commitment, you must get leverage on yourself. Ask these two questions and journal about them:

    1. What is the cost of not having a thriving and abundant business? Make sure to find the pain in your business life and how it affects all areas of your life.

    Well, if I don’t thrive and have abundance, then it will always be a struggle to make ends meet. I will give a lot of myself, but never really feel nourished. I will also need clients and money and I can see myself compromise integrity to make a buck. I will actually feel drained and always be pissed off. This will upset my wife. She will get sick of our financial lack. I can see our credit card bills go up. We won’t be able to connect with friends and family out of town. I won’t be able to travel…

    2. What is all the pleasure I will gain from having a thriving, impactful, and abundant business? Make sure to write about the impact for your business and finances, but also the other areas of your life.

    My calendar will be full and I will love what I’m doing. I will feel really filled and I’ll be able to give more. I can start that charity I always wanted to start. I will be able to buy a nice plot of land and build that little New Englander. My wife and I will be able to travel and experience cultures. I will feel loved and like I’m making a difference because I’m helping other businesses succeed.

    Make sure you get into this and give it your all when writing. When you understand the cost and pleasure, you have leverage and commitment to change your situation.

    Master the forms.
    The rituals we have in Zen training are rigorous. There’s a certain way to enter the gate, to walk to your cushion, to bow, to sit, to hold your hands, to breath, to light the candles, to stretch, to exit the sitting area, to do everything. Sometimes it is daunting.

    But we strive to master those forms for a purpose: to set ourselves up for success. We want to give ourselves the best chance possible to realize enlightenment.

    You need to do the same for your business. There are heart-centered and ethical structures and strategies to support your business that will set you up for success. So many new business owners only rely on passion and excitement. They jump in and hope to figure things out on the way. Passion and excitement are not constant; they are like a candle that flickers in the wind.

    I have two ways here to support you. But most importantly, whether it’s from me or someone else, invest in learning the business forms. All people who do good things in life have a teacher and make an investment to master the form.

    How about you? Can you tell me a time in your life when you wholeheartedly committed to something that it completely changed your life? Maybe it’s your business? Or maybe in a different part of your life? What was the defining difference?

    Learn the Basics to More Clients and Money

    PFL Customer Project Showcase: Not just a flat football


    Event announcements are a great way to get the word out, and generate buzz and interest about the event, your company or product. Most of us have seen some good, some bad, some just boring. Who wants to attend an event when you see a ho-hum invite or announcement?
    Drinker Biddle & Reath, a PFL customer, recently printed up a very cool-looking piece that is easy to spot, recognizable and is a fun way to announce an annual football event. Football fans will gravitate towards it, and it begs to be opened. Go long…

    Sometimes You Need That Custom Printing Project Done Right, *$(@(%&!!!


    There are many tools that shield us from the messes in life. We have bibs, napkins, and latex gloves. But new to the world of anti-mess is the NOSMUDGEE Company!  Demonstrating elegant ingenuity, they have solved the problem of mascara smudges which inevitably smear our eyelids when we are applying the beauteous goo.  Eureka!  A solution at last.

    And speaking of solutions, the NOSMUDGEE Company needed one when it came to a professional printer. They had a great idea, a refined design, and a printing problem.


    NOSMUDGEE Company searched for professional printing services that could meet their specific printing need. was able to meet the need and exceed performance expectations.  Jeffrey Burkey, NOSMUDGEE Company C.E.O. was searching for a business printing company that was able and willing to meet the exact printing specifications he had for his new product. PFL employee Amber Gatewood was the designer on the project. “This project presented several challenges; the key was to listen to the client to understand exactly what was needed.”

     Jeffrey put it this way, “This was not an easy task with one printing company not able to do this, the next company not able to do that. ‘A great idea… sorry we can’t do it’… became the standard reply. Then, FINALLY, after months of frustration, we discovered!  They took the design elements and product specifications then delivered to us a NOSMUDGEE Mascara Shield product and packaging that exceeded our expectations.”

    Creative ideas are encouraged at We specialize in helping custom projects come to fruition. Other custom online printing sources say no when we say YES.

    If you can dream it, we can do it! Bring us your challenging projects.  We will shield you from the mess of sloppy printing while meeting your printing needs.

    “We are grateful to PFL for helping us to make our NOSMUDGEE dream come true!”          ….Jeffrey Burkey, CEO

    It was our pleasure, thank you NOSMUDGEE Company for your business.


    Ten Business Card Commandments


    When it comes to business cards, it’s all about selecting options that set you apart from your competition. If you’re having trouble getting your creative juices flowing, here are 10 business card commandments to live by.

    1. Thou Shalt Not Always Conform

    The unique, see-through element gives clear plastic business cards a modern touch. Clear cards can incorporate a number of design elements, from frosting to partial, full color printing; they are perfect for businesses and individuals looking for that competitive edge.

    clear business card


    2. Thou Shall Encourage Interaction

    Inventive die cuts are an excellent way to grab the attention of the person you are giving your business card to. This die cut chair card takes the cake when it comes to unique and innovative design. Not only is it creative, but it allows interaction with your card in a whole new, tactile way.

    bc chair


    3. Thou Shall Embrace All Shapes

    The more personal you can make your business card, the more your customers will connect with you. This to-go coffee cup is a perfect fit for a coffee shop or café. It can also double as a frequent drink card that your customers are sure to hang on to.

    bc cup


    4. Thou Shalt Not Covet the Square

    These cards command attention by incorporating an ultra-unique die cut shape. All of the important information is well placed on the card. The black matte card stock is an excellent base for the silver foil stamping at each of the edges.

    bc foil


    5. Thou Shall Be Multi-Purpose

    This dual purpose business card not only looks cool but has a utilitarian design, as well. It has a guitar pick die cut into it. This way you are giving customers something they can use, which will help keep your brand top of mind.

    bc guitar


    6. Thou Shall Perforate

    You have to stand out from the crowd if you want your business cards to get noticed, and this card stands out in more ways than one. Its creative use of a die cut with a perforated tear off belly not only grabs your attention, but lets you know exactly what this gym can do for you.

    bc gym


    7.Thou Shalt Not Think Bigger Is Better

    Small and elegant describes this card. It is a true testament to simple, classic design. This mini business card (1.75 x 3.5) with diagonal rounded corners packs a huge punch. Altering the size or adding rounded corners is an inexpensive way to make a business card memorable.

    bc leaf



    8. Thou Shalt Not Be Centered

    An off center fold and a creative die cut give this card great dramatic flair. The excellent use of color die cutting and fold placement are simple tactics, but used well in this design to enhance the impact.

    bc off center



    9. Thou Shall Excite With Images

    It looks so good you could eat it! If only paper tasted as good as frosting! We haven’t mastered the art of edible business cards yet, but this one comes pretty close. This creative use of a die cut works in perfect harmony with the image. It’s cleaver and a great conversation starter.

    bc bite


    10. Thou Shalt Not Reveal Everything Upfront

    These aren’t your standard folded business cards. A simple design element takes this card to a whole new level. The extra die cut reveal at the top catches your eye and makes you want to find out what’s inside.

    bc folded pop up tribe

    Welcome to the Fold


    We all think of the same thing when someone mentions folds.

    Sheepfolds, obviously.

    But thankfully in the printing world we can venture out of the barnyard when it comes to styling paper in an appealing way.


    Of course there are your standard folds: half-fold, tri-fold, half-then-half . . . and unless you are into origami, we begin to run out of ideas for creative folds. If we dig deeper we realize there is more to the art of folding than first meets the eye.

    Self-proclaimed ‘Folding Fanatic’ Trish Witkowski has yet to run out of ideas. Over a span of seven years, she compiled an 850-page book of folds and created the FOLDRite system to aid in folding compensation mathematics (how much space to leave in the margins in order for the paper to fall flat when folded).

    Witkowski’s website has endless ideas for every style and focus: accordion folds, roll folds, gate folds (perhaps for sheep?) and even an entire section devoted to ‘exotic folds,’ which includes the divided ‘barn door,’ the popular ‘iron cross’ and ‘snake’ folds, and even a ‘twist fold,’ where a small square expands into a larger square when you pull on opposing corners.


    Folding allows the product to interact with the customer by attracting attention and then engaging the mind more significantly than flat paper. Like embossing and other special printing techniques, interesting folds also invite a tactile connection, but often offer a more budget-friendly option.

    You have the information on the piece; but how do you want people to perceive that information? And in what order? Many of Witkowski’s folds include ‘hidden panels’ that allow the customer to ‘explore’ as they work their way through the material, encouraging them to hold onto it longer. The type of paper used is essential to the tactile experience of the piece, for weight, stiffness and texture.

    Other ideas can be found in Cut and Fold Techniques for Promotional Materials and Folding Techniques for Designers: from Sheet to Form by Paul Jackson. These books give step-by-step instructions on how to create three-dimensional eye-catching products, although they tend to be more complicated than most of Witkowski’s folds.

    The versatility of folding allows designers in many areas to exercise more freedom when adapting to specific needs. Although Jackson’s folds are mostly used to teach design students, he claims his ‘practical concepts of folding . . . can be adapted infinitely by any designer from any design discipline, using any sheet material.’

    Most people do not give folding enough credit. The physical design of a printed piece is often the first thing people notice, long before their eyes scan the words or images, and sometimes before they even pick it up.

    Perhaps the fold’s greatest asset is its affordability: when compared to Pantone and metallic ink, die cutting, embossing, etc., adding a creative fold to a piece can be one of the most cost-effective ways to enhance tactile response. offers standard folds on most items for only one cent more than the base price, and complex folds which have to be folded by hand begin at six cents over the base price, depending on the intricacies of the fold and the weight of the paper.

    Ideas from Witkowski and Jackson are only the beginning in the vast realm of folding techniques. The versatility of the fold allows every designer to fit his or her needs and incite greater interest for viewers in a cost-effective manner.

    Consider Your Options when Binding Multiple Pages


    Are you in a bind trying to decide how best to present multiple pages of information?

    This is your guide to organizing your ideas in a presentable way; namely, through any one of the four main types of binding. These four categories range in cost-effectiveness and professionalism. Once you have a goal for your piece in the crosshairs, you will know where your piece falls on the grid.

    Saddle stitching is the most cost-effective option when it comes to binding your piece. This is the type of binding that you often see in calendars and brochures: usually two or three staples along the spine, halfway through the sheets. The staples will show through on the opposite side, but for many pieces this does not pose an issue. Saddle stitching gives a casual feel while still presenting your information in a well-organized manner.



    Square-back binding, shown above, is a cross between saddle stitching and perfect binding, which we will cover later. Square-back is similar to saddle stitching in the way it is produced, and only slightly more expensive: the pages are still stapled on a saddle, but then pressed until the piece resembles perfect binding, with the addition of a few staples showing along the outside of the spine. Square-back binding is slightly more professional than saddle stitching, but still maintains the value pricing. This type of binding works well for short children’s books and short-run magazines.

    Plastic coil and wire spiral binding are similar in price, but have varying appeals. Both are durable, and can open 360 degrees. On the aesthetic scale these types of binding lean more toward the side of the casual brochure or booklet for a meeting or conference. Using wire binding gives your piece a slightly more finished look than plastic. However, plastic coil can be purchased in a variety of colors to further compliment your brand consistency.coilboundbooklets2

    Perfect binding grants the best value, and is ideal for pieces with a larger page count. Although square-back binding might work for shorter volumes, perfect binding can be used for anything with 40 sheets or more, and provides the finest finished look for many pieces. Perfect binding uses a durable, strong adhesive inside the spine to hold your pages together, and is ideal for many larger magazines, books, manuals and catalogs.

    When it comes to binding, price often dictates choice. Binding is an afterthought in most printed pieces, and its value is not considered at the forefront. You may have the perfect design for your pages, but binding is necessary to complete your multi-page project.

    Keep an eye on the piece as a whole when first considering your target price during the design phase—don’t get to the last phase and leave yourself in a bind about the bind. Hold it together with a choice that supports the quality and goal of the rest of the piece.

    Tags: , , , , , ,

    Looking Beyond the Printed Piece


    What is your goal?

    It goes hand-in-hand with ‘motive’ and ‘purpose.’ It is an all-encompassing mindset that looks beyond a single printed piece and engages the outcome of an entire business as well. While the content of a printed piece is important, the impression it leaves with the consumer has a far greater impact.


    blog_modified-iron-crossIf your piece is mostly informational, you may consider a brochure. A creative fold, such as the popular ‘iron cross,’ encourages exploration of the piece, such as in’s HR recruitment piece. On the other hand saddle stitching or perfect binding can encourage a customer to walk through the piece in a more orderly manner.



    As much as we don’t like to admit it, we as humans develop impressions, values and sometimes stereotypes based on a first glance at almost any situation. That’s why the choice of the format for your printed piece is so meaningful: it directly affects how the customer sees the product in the long-term.



    diecut This charging rhinoceros, die-cut and UV-coated, is the logo for Shirt Rhino, an online T-shirt company for custom screen-printing. The powerful design of this business card is sure to lead with a roar.



    You also might try to leave something useful with the customer, such as in Gibsun’s plastic-coated business card with a die-cut guitar pick built into the card itself.



    When deciding on a format, consider your overall goals: Why do you operate your business the way you do, and how can you best communicate this to the customer? What specifics are you highlighting? Use your business essentials to drive your detail choices—not the other way around.




    The not-for-profit coalition National Center for Women & Information Technology wanted to cement their idea of ‘The Red Chair’ in consumer’s minds: for NCWIT, this symbol promotes their slogan, ‘Sometimes you have to sit to take a stand.’ They created a business card with four die-cut pieces that could be punched out and assembled into the Red Chair itself: and still maintains its business-card purposes, with NCWIT information (and instructions for assembly) printed on all available faces.



    There are a variety of options for format when it comes to printed material: business card, folder, newsletter, etc. These are fairly standard choices. But you may need to unleash your creative when it comes to details such as size, design and special effects.



    WhiteIceThe highly contrasting colors on this White Ice postcard draw the eye to the few white spaces left on the card—namely, the brightness of the woman’s teeth, for which the postcard is advertising. The offer and contact information for the tooth whitener are contained on the back of the card. The simple design of a postcard may be just the thing you need to quickly catch your customer’s eye.


    Greeting cards are an excellent way to relate to customers on a personal level while stilfoill maintaining somewhat of a business mindset. KLOVE radio station made these cards with foil-stamping on a plain black front to highlight on two words, which, when combined, form their main message. The visual contrast between the black and gold again underscores their key phrase.



    Like greeting cards, stationery can address formal issues while keeping your company’s name and logo in plain view. Matching envelopes are always an impressive touch.


    Bold, Beautiful, and Brand-Centric: Business Cards that Pop


    Falkor BC_1

    What’s the one piece of printed material that embodies your company, your company’s brand, and you personally? That’s right, the common business card.

    It’s not just an entry ticket for the local deli’s lunch giveaway. Your business card is one of the strongest, most personal pieces of collateral that you can produce. It may be the first piece of your brand that a prospect will see. And it’s an intentional, purposeful connection, delivered directly from your hand.

    Your card should have visual and tactile appeal that ties directly to your persona and your company’s brand.  This can be a difficult mix to master, but there are some organizations that get it right—and some that knock it out of the park.

    Enter three players: Mitchell’s Garage, a Montana-based creative media agency run by Derrick Mitchell; their client Falkor Defense, the firearm product line for a precision engineering firm and aerospace manufacturer; and PrintingForLess.

    Mitchell was working with Falkor to rebrand their line of firearm products. He contacted us to help produce printed collateral for their rebranding. Falkor had an idea of what they wanted in their business cards: a strong aesthetic appeal, distinct, soft touch feel in the hand, and the new Falkor logo.

    Through collaborative discussion, we identified the elements that would define success for this project. Thick stock, 24 point black Touché paper would give each card the weight, substance and distinct in-hand feel the client wanted.

    The matte finish of the paper stock would act as a foundation. The company logo and contact information would be stamped on with two colors of metallic foil to visually leap off the card. The contrasting black and red foils, on the matte black stock, would produce a card sure to stand out from the crowd.

    Falkor BC_2

    After the PFL Customer Advocate team spelled out the specifics, production took over. Our press operators worked closely with the design team as they created dies and ran the cards through the foil stamping process.

    The final cards were die-cut with rounded corners, with results that exceeded client expectations. The metallic black and red foils catch and reflect the light when the card changes angles, shimmering and shining with an arresting and engaging visual effect.

    Memorable? You be the judge.

    Falkor BC_3

    Falkor BC_4

    Falkor BC_5

    Think about your own cards. Do they say what you want them to about you? Do they represent your brand, your company in the best possible way? If it’s time for an update, let us know! We’re happy to help you knock it out of park, too.


    6 Rules to Make Anyone Better at Writing Content

      Focus on the customer When potential customers read content, in the back of their mind a little voice is asking, “What’s in it for me?”...

    Avoid the No-Go on the Logo: Logo Design Tips

    So, you’re launching a new business. You have a well-articulated business plan and projections for your rate of growth. Now comes the fun part,...

    Ten Business Card Commandments

    When it comes to business cards, it’s all about selecting options that set you apart from your competition. If you’re having trouble getting your...

    Consider Your Options when Binding Multiple Pages

    Are you in a bind trying to decide how best to present multiple pages of information? This is your guide to organizing your ideas in...

    PFL Customer Project Showcase: Not just a flat football

    Event announcements are a great way to get the word out, and generate buzz and interest about the event, your company or product. Most...