Blog Page 5

Check Out Your Color Files with Separation Preview

In the early days of digital printing (what was then sometimes called “desktop publishing”) it was difficult for a print service provider to be able to know how a file that was submitted by a customer would print as color separations.

You could see the colors on-screen, but you couldn’t easily tell if they had specified additional ink colors that would print out on extra printing plates. So we would painfully print out separations on the laser printer in the shop.

These days, if you’re using Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, or Adobe Acrobat Pro, it’s much easier. You can use a feature usually called Separation Preview. In InDesign, choose Window > Output > Separation Preview. In Illustrator, choose Window > Separations Preview. In Acrobat X Pro, choose Tools > Print Production > Output Preview and look at the Separations pane.

You’ll see the color plates of your document as they would print out. If you move your cursor over the page, you can see the color value of the current location.

It’s particularly helpful to discover if you have more than one color specified that should be on the same color plate. In the illustration below the PANTONE 187 should be on one plate but shows up on two because the names of the plates are different.








It can save a lot of time and money to discover these problems ahead of time, before they slow things down on the printing press.


Examine Your PDFs with Acrobat’s Output Preview

In a previous posting, we talked about the value of Adobe InDesign’s Separation Preview tool to view the color plates that would print out from your file. Acrobat Pro has an even more powerful tool called Output Preview which you can use to preview your PDF files.

To open it in Acrobat 9 Pro, choose Advanced > Print Production > Output Preview. In Acrobat 10 Pro, choose Tools > Print Production > Output Preview. The first panel you view in the Preview menu by default is Separations. It provides similar information to InDesign about the color plates that would print out. An Ink Manager button takes you to the controls for which plates to print. In addition, you can see the effects of overprinting and view the total amount of ink at a given location. 










Clicking on Object Inspector in the Preview menu can access a second display. Here you can click over any part of the page and view the objects at that point. You could tell, for example, what the resolution of an image is, or what color space it’s in.  










Examining the PDF you send to your printer gives you more control over your job, and assures you that it will print the way you expect.

Seeing White Lines in a PDF File

You may have seen fine white lines appear when you print out a PDF proof of a page, and you may be afraid that they will appear in your job when your commercial printer prints it. There is an example below. Notice the fine white lines on the right side of the man on the purple background.

A white Lines  2

These are screen artifacts that are called stitching. Even though you can see them on-screen, they should not be a problem when printed at high resolution. They are caused because your artwork contains transparency. In the picture above you see that an outer glow has been applied to the image, which is a form of transparency. If you choose a method of creating a PDF file which requires transparency to be flattened these artifacts will appear because the flattening process breaks artwork into sections. This could happen if you created a PostScript file and then used Adobe Acrobat Distiller to create the PDF, or if you had chosen Acrobat 4 compatibility when you export to PDF. Both of these methods require transparency be flattened. You can avoid flattening transparency and artifacts if you export PDF directly from your application and if you choose Acrobat 5 compatibility or higher in your export settings. Check with your commercial printer about the proper PDF presets to use for their production process. But, in any case, even though you see the artifacts, they should not print.


Don’t Try to Edit PDFs in Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is an illustration program that comes with the Adobe Creative Suite. It also has the capability of opening and saving PDF files. In fact, when you save an Illustrator file as a PDF, it automatically turns on the Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities so you can open it in Illustrator again to do editing.

Because Illustrator allows you to open PDF files, some people try to use it as a general PDF editor. This is not generally a good idea. You run the risk of ruining your PDF file, especially if it is created by a non-Adobe application. Often you’ll get a warning about this as you’re opening a file.

I created a PDF in Microsoft Word using PostScript Type 1 Bauer Bodoni. This is what it looks like when the PDF is viewed in Adobe Acrobat.





When I try to open this PDF on another computer where Bauer Bodoni is not installed to edit it, I get the message that the PDF will be reinterpreted with a substitute font. This is the way it opens up.






If the PDF has very simple content, say a vector logo, it may work. But often subtle changes will occur to the file, and it won’t print correctly. It’s better to use an application that’s intended for PDF editing, like Enfocus Pitstop to edit PDF files.











Examining the PDF you send to your printer gives you more control over your job, and assures you that it will print the way you expect.

Lettering Our World…Now That’s a Job!

You have probably not heard the name Gerard Huerta, but you have definitely seen his work. This designer’s resume reads like a World’s Most Recognized list of iconic logos. His career was launched at CBS Records in New York, after graduating from Art Center College of Design. While with CBS Records his work focused on letter forms and logos. He completed work for Boston, The Charlie Daniel’s Band, Blue Oyster Cult, and Bob Dylan to name a few. Entirely too cool! This designer is the real deal!

As his career progressed he designed album covers for AC/DC, Foreigner, Firefall, and The Outlaws. While I was rocking out at the concerts, Gerard was somewhat more productive,  helping develop their iconic images. But don’t get the idea he is the “geek behind the image”! Gerard is a guitar player in his own right, playing in several bands over the years.

His unique style and creative renderings have opened doors for him across all industries. Gerard has designed logos for Swiss Army Brands, HBO, Pepsi, Spelling Entertainment, Nabisco, Calvin Klein’s Eternity, and Arista Records. But this isn’t even digging into the meat of his work. He has also designed mastheads for People Magazine, Time Magazine, Money Magazine, PC Magazine, Architectural Digest, and Conde Nast, to, yet again, name only a few.custom logo design online

Most designers search for that perfect font to compliment a client’s design. However, Gerard creates those original fonts with an eye for subtlety that has become an artistic signature on all his work. In fact, his letter work is a far cry from your average font work. Letter work is his specialty, making Gerard a bit of a designer’s designer. Elevating the alphabet to an art form, he is currently a part of the “Letter as Image” exhibition that has traveled from coast to coast. He is a self-described “old-School” designer who still starts much of his work on paper before moving to the computer.

“When you are stuck, walk away from the computer and draw. It will teach you how to see.”       Gerard Huerta

When you need artistic lettering and a traditional “font” won’t do, we suggest you contact Gerard.  His talent can help you get a truly original logo and the look you are envisioning.

We appreciate your business Gerard and wish you continued success in your career!

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, branding your company.

The company logo; we’ve all seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. Before you can order business cards and company promotional materials, you must choose a logo that provides strong visual branding.

Here are a few pointers before you commit to a design that will be a permanent representation of your brand.

  • Take Your Time: The busyness of getting your business launched is going to put some major time constraints on you. Don’t rush into a logo commitment that you will regret months or even weeks later. Slow down. Avoid letting excitement about promoting your new venture rush you into the wrong choice.
  • Get Feedback: We all have blind spots. Show your logo options to numerous people you trust both in and outside of your industry. You don’t have to be swayed by every opinion, but extra eyes may see a failing you missed, saving you time and money in the long-run.
  • Consider Hiring a Professional: When the budget is tight, you may be tempted to skimp on logo design. However, consider that your logo will have long-term impact on your company image. It is worth the investment. One cost friendly option is to hire a design student and pay them in trade, or food. No matter who you use, make sure you get both black and white and full color versions in vector and other file formats.
  • Avoid Boring or Common Concepts: A logo should brand your company. Meaning, it should differentiate you from the market place. Ideally, it will reflect upon your company personality or compliment the product or service you offer. Generic logos litter the commercial space and do little to make you memorable. This blog about overdone logo concepts provides samples of what to avoid.
  • Keep it Clean and Simple: Logo’s need to be quickly recognizable. Simple lines that allow for clean reproduction in every medium are important. For example, a detailed logo that incorporates tree branches might look great in print, but when you need to embroider it, you’re in trouble.

The logo collage below should help spark your thinker! When you are ready to make your logo official, contact one of our friendly print experts who will help you get the professional printed products your business needs. We can get you started with business cards, stationery, brochures and promotional pieces.logo design



Don’t get taken for a ride while you’re getting taken for a ride.

Who wouldn’t want to ride in one of the KEY LIME TAXI’s fleet of vehicles? They are top quality, clean, and come in white and vibrant lime green. You can’t miss them. Started in 2011 by a police detective, the company is making taxi service for area residents fair and affordable. The company is both environmentally and budget friendly. The hybrid vehicles save on gas and that savings is passed on to the customer. The Key Lime Taxi Company rewards repeat customers with a V.I.P. Card that entitles them to $1.00 off of every ride they take.

marketing materials printing

They recently printed these cards with This stunning black and bright green card was printed on 100# uncoated cover stock with a dull matte finish, giving it a sophisticated feel. The company’s logo is perfect with a key lime shape rising above a classy vintage vehicle, doubling as its roof line. Good logo design is half the battle.  Creating a printed piece to promote your business in a memorable fashion is “key” to getting the results you desire. Contact us today to get your printed marketing materials. card printing

Idea Pack Downloads, Where Function Meets Design

Have you seen our free idea pack download? In case you haven’t, follow this link to download some refreshing ideas for your next custom print project:

Print Marketing Design Ideas

This idea pack showcases some of the best custom designs we’ve created for some of our more imaginative customers here at PFL.  The download includes information about how to make your marketing materials stand out through finishing options such as die cutting, foil stamping or embossing, as well as great fold options to diversify any project. You’ll want to check out the new products that we’ve added to the mix, as well as the old standbys that won’t be forgotten. As always, we want to make your project as successful as possible, this idea pack has information on what materials will produce the best results and tips on what products are best suited to your industry.IdeaKit1Large



How to Pick the Best Modern Business Cards that Stand Out


Modern Business Cards That Stand Out

As your company advances so too should your advertising. Learn how to pick the best modern business cards that will stand out from the competition!

If you think that business cards are a marketing tool of the past, think again.

While the internet makes it easy to connect with business and clients around the globe, 68 percent of junior level professional prefer networking face-to-face. And when networking face-to-face, it’s essential to have a stack of business cards ready to leave a lasting impression on your connections.

Whether you’re just starting your business or looking to boost your marketing strategy, it’s important to have cards ready whenever a networking opportunity arises.

Keep reading to learn how to craft professional, modern business cards that will stand out from the crowd.

Keep it Simple When Making Modern Business Cards

The most important step to designing modern business cards is to keep it simple.

With a space of only 3.5 inches by 2 inches to work with, trying to include too much text, too many images, or a mess of colors will leave it looking messy and unprofessional.

Instead, it’s important to do everything you can to simplify your design ideas. The result will be a business card that doesn’t distract from the information you’re trying to get across.

At the same time, your simple design needs to leave an impression. Going too simple will result in a business card that won’t stand out in the stack of them that your clients or acquaintances already have.

Use the rest of the tips on this list to craft a simple, stunning design that is sure to make an impression on everyone you give it to.

Choose the Right Font

When it comes to creating simple, modern business cards, it can be easy to get caught up in choosing colors, shapes, and images to decorate with.

But keep in mind that the point of your business card is to give the recipient your name and contact information.

That makes choosing the font one of the most important design decisions you’ll make.

The right font will reflect your business’ brand and style, while also giving your business cards a professional look and feel.

Avoid going too fancy.

If no one can read your name and information, your business cards will be useless. But go too simple, and the font may not properly represent your professional business.

Finding a happy medium, and a font that reflects your businesses style will take a little searching. Talk with your business card provider to see what fonts they have available. Or, take to the internet to search for the perfect font from the millions available online.

Rethink Your Brand

If you already have a company brand in place, you’ll want to use it to guide your design decisions for your modern business cards.

But keep in mind that not every element of your brand needs to get packed onto each tiny business card.

Instead, choose just a few elements to include. Use two or three colors that match your brand. Utilize a font that is included in your brand style guide.

Think of it as a simplified version of your font. You want your business cards to fit in with other pieces that reflect your brand, while still looking modern and professional.

If your business is new or just doesn’t have a cohesive brand yet, now is the time to create on. You don’t necessarily need professional design help to do this. Even just choosing a set of matching colors, a few fonts, and a style, such as minimalism or a fun, colorful look can help you create guidelines that will help make all of your business materials match.

Utilize Your Logo

One easy way to reflect your brand without overdoing it is to include your business’ logo on your business card.

If your logo is too complicated to be shrunk down onto a business card, consider creating a secondary logo.

This could include the design outline of your logo, but with fewer words. Or it could feature just the name of your business with a simplified version of any images included in your logo.

Even just reducing the number of colors included in your normal logo can be an easy way to simplify it so that it won’t look too busy on your business card.

Limit Your Information

Before the internet came into common-use, business cards were packed full of information.

They would include a business name, address, phone number, fax number, and sometimes a pager number. They might even include details like business hours.

But now that a quick Google search will turn up all of that information and more, you no longer have to pack it onto your 3.5×2 inch card.

Instead, consider scaling it back to just your business name and website, as well as a phone number or email address, depending on how your customers usually contact you.

Limiting the information you include on your modern business cards will keep them looking clean and professional.

Make it Stand Out

The final tip to crafting the perfect modern business cards is to make them stand out.

It’s best to choose a single detail that will set your business cards apart from the rest. This could be a bright pop of color, a shiny foil border, or other creative elements.

Some businesses even get creative with the shape of their cards. There’s no hard rule that your business card has to be a rectangle. Consider opting for a circle, diamond, square, or other shapes to help your cards stand out from the crowd.

Even choosing a thicker paper to print your business cards on can help them stand out.

Creating the Perfect Modern Business Cards

Now that you know a few ideas for crafting the perfect modern business cards, it’s time to get started on designing yours.

Whether you already have a design in mind or you’re struggling to get started, we can help. Contact us today to see how we can turn your ideas into beautiful business cards that will leave a lasting impression on your clients and partners like Catdi Printing

Or, let us help you figure out which design ideas would work best, and which would hinder your goal of creating cards that stand out from the crowd!

How EDDM Postcards Help You Market Your Business and Rake in The Cash


How EDDM Postcards Help You Market Your Business and Rake in The Cash

How EDDM Postcards Help You Market Your Business

Reaching out to your ideal customers can be difficult. Learn about EDDM cards and how they can help you market your business and rake in the cash.

It may be easiest just to do nothing. That’s what a number of businesses think when they consider focusing their marketing efforts.

They come to that decision, or that thought, in good conscious too. With so many channels through which to reach consumers, it can be understandable to become overwhelmed.

That apathy though is a fatal business mistake. Instead of giving up, let’s look at one tool that can help you reach customers directly with astonishing results – EDDM Postcards.

EDDM Postcards – The Basics

If you are unfamiliar, EDDM Postcards, or Every Door Direct Mail(R) Postcards, are a targeted marketing offer from the United States Postal Service (USPS). Yes, the post office is about more than stamps.

Remember its goal is helping people connect. So with that in mind, it makes sense that they have a program like this.

With EDDM Postcards, there is a two-step process. First, you’d design your postcard.

With your postcard in hand, you can access the USPS EDDM tool that lets you map your coverage area. You can start with a zip code and funnel down to the specifics of the carrier route to ensure that your message is being seen by the people who will be most motivated to act on it.

The Benefits

The benefits of being able to manage and, in effect micro-manage, your messaging can be exponential. This is because you’re speaking to a very specific set of customers.

Take, for example, the neighborhood restaurant. If you want to attract more business, you could go door to door and hang menus. That tactic costs time not to mention the materials costs.

For a fairly low price though you can send out a concentrated EDDM Postcard to houses in the surrounding area, inviting them to stop in for a “Neighbor Special.” This type of visceral, targeted marketing is really only available through programs like EDDM.

In addition to promoting a special event and driving in customers on one night, EDDM Postcards can help build awareness. People may drive by your location all the time and think “We should stop there sometime.” By keeping your place top of mind you can turn that drive-by traffic into actual stop-in traffic.

The “Non-Blanket” Approach

It’s not uncommon for businesses to take a blanket approach to their marketing efforts. Plastering the town with ads, billboards, radio spots, emails, and more often ends up having the unintended effect of the messaging just becoming white noise.

Utilizing EDDM postcards provides you with the opposite result. You are reaching a specific subset of the population with a message that is relevant to them. By limiting your audience, you can actually increase your sales!

Make People Feel Special

Information moves fast and everyone wants to know the latest, now. When someone can be that person in their group, the influencer who can share something new, they get a special feeling. It’s a feeling that makes them feel good.

When you’ve got a new product or service, these influencers can help spread the word, but they have to get the word first. Reach out with a specific EDDM Postcard announcing your latest and greatest.

When the cards are engaging and direct, these influencers will be more inclined to share their messaging. Imagine after a Little League game, they turn to the other parents and say “Hey, let’s go to ______, I just heard about a special they have.”

Or discussing with their neighbors a “new lawn service” that looks really great. All because of EDDM.

Tell a Story

Every marketer knows that it’s rare that you can get a magnificent increase in sales from just one ad. It takes time.

It’s possible to be sure, but it’s certainly the exception. Those who plan on it being their marketing strategy are sure to be disappointed.

EDDM Postcards give you an opportunity to take the time you need. In fact, they can do more than increase a sale, they can increase your brand. The difference being, of course, creating a one-time customer vs. a loyal brand ambassador.

Use the EDDM Postcard experience to tell your story across several mailings. Introduce your company, make an invitation, play up your local connections. You’ll discover that residents respond well to companies that are close to them and seem to have their best interests at heart.

Look and Feel

It’s important to take advantage of the EDDM format for how it can target and reach customers but it’s equally important that the message those customers get is strong. That’s why it’s important that your postcards have a professional look and feel to them.

People a sub-conscious understanding that is a company puts out shoddy ads, their work will be sub-par. But when an ad is polished and direct…

Cost Effective

When you hear USPS, you might immediately think that EDDM Postcards will be cost-prohibitive for you. After all, the price of stamps seems to rise every year so it would make sense that a program like this would have a heavier cost to it.

Well, that kind of thinking is wrong. Currently, the USPS has an “intro” rate of $0.175 for EDDM Postcards. (In some instances that cost can actually start at $0.154!) Here are two vendors that we have worked with in the past.

Next Steps

So here’s the thing, EDDM Postcards are a part of the USPS. You could certainly lock yourself in a conference room for a few days and try and make the system work for you. But why?

When you’re sending EDDM, you’re asking people to trust you, the expert in your particular field. This is a time though when you should heed your own advice and turn to someone who can help you not just use, but master the EDDM system.

Remember it’s not just about mailing some postcards, it’s about creating engaging messaging inside of an impact-full design, and then delivering that to a targeted, qualified audience. All you should be focused on is helping customers and counting your sales at the end of each EDDM-driven day.

When you’re ready to let EDDM work for you, we’d love to talk.


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