TEDxNashville Signage

Introducing TEDxNashvillexAMP: signage ideas worth spreading. (Also known as TEDxNashville signage provided by AMP).

We had the honor of providing some really cool printed materials for TEDxNashville this April, which included badges, posters, booklets, Gator board stand-ups, window decals and — drum roll please — chalkboard panels. If anyone puts on a great event, it’s TEDx, and we are so excited to show you our collaboration with the innovative speaker series.

Badges

A staple of any event are badges. Whether you’re a volunteer, speaker, sponsor or attendee, you want to have some sort of identification that directs you to the right location and informs you of others’ names and roles. Laminated badges with lanyards are the best, as they are easily visible and hard to lose. Some events will even add specific information on the back to further help attendees.

TEDxNashville badges

TEDxNashville badges*

TEDxNashville badges

TEDxNashville badges*

Booklets and Posters

Booklets and posters are essential for directions and information. They are especially necessary if your event lasts several days, has multiple sessions or your location is large and/or difficult to navigate.

TEDxNashville signage, badges, poster and pamphlets

TEDxNashville badges, poster and booklets*

TEDxNashville booklets

TEDxNashville booklets*

Gator Board Stand-Ups

Gator board stand-ups are posters on steroids. They have more space to direct and inform guests, and if you are smart, you will use your logo to advertise and reinforce brand identity.

TEDxNashville banner stand

TEDxNashville banner stand*

TEDxNashville banner stands

TEDxNashville banner stands

Window Decals

One of our favorites. Window decals make you look like a boss man (or lady). It just makes your event appear cooler. Guests know this isn’t some last-minute event thrown together the night before; it’s a professional experience well worth the money and time.

TEDxNashville window decals

TEDxNashville window decals

Chalkboard Panels

This was a first for us: chalkboard inspiration panels. The installation was actually plywood, but we attached a chalkboard vinyl to the surface to recreate the effects of chalkboard. The panel had three sides, each posing a different question:

1. “When I dream about Nashville, I see..”

2. “If money and time were not an issue, I would create..”

3. “Someone who inspires me..”

Chalk was available at the bottom of each panel, allowing guests to write at his or her convenience. It was a great way to interact with attendees, and it reinforced the motto of “ideas worth spreading,” a phrase TEDx reiterates. The panels also made for some pretty neat photos!

TEDxNashville chalkboard panels

TEDxNashville chalkboard panels

TEDxNashville Chalkboard panel

TEDxNashville Chalkboard panel**

TEDxNashville Chalkboard panel

TEDxNashville Chalkboard panel**

TEDxNashville Chalkboard panel

TEDxNashville Chalkboard panel**

*photo taken by Hero/Heroine Photography

**photo taken by Neat Nashville

Need some printed materials for your own event? Or just want a chalkboard panel for your office? Give us a shout or call us at 615-467-4545.


Stewart Parking Meter Signage

This past Friday, we installed (maybe) our grandest large-format project yet at Stewart Parking. The parking meter signage consists of eight parts: a banner, an awning cover, an A-frame (or sandwich board) and the max metal frame surrounding the parking meter, which includes four smaller signs.

The banner is located to the right of the parking meter signage. It is a vinyl banner, double-sided and contains pole pockets. Its main purpose is to direct drivers to the parking area. The large downward arrows and capitalized “parking” ensure no driver can overlook this parking lot.

Stewart Parking Banner

Stewart Parking Banner

Stewart Parking Banner

Stewart Parking Banner

The A-frame has the same purpose as the banner: to direct passersby to the parking lot. The sandwich board is double-sided, with each side holding a coroplast panel. For those not familiar with the substrate, coroplast is a corrugated plastic sheet. It is often used for real estate signs or other temporary signage. It is very lightweight and can be swapped out easily.

Stewart Parking sandwich board

Stewart Parking sandwich board

For anyone wondering, we also created the Horton Group sandwich board located to the left of the parking meter, although this A-frame is not part of this particular installment.

20160603_141759

Above the parking meter is an awning, which protects the meter and its users from rain, snow and heat. The awning itself was created by Awnings Plus, a company in Murfreesboro, TN. We installed the poles and the awning cover. The custom cover was created with adhesive vinyl, which is advantageous because it conforms to irregular surfaces and is waterproof. It is a great option for outdoor signage.

Now on to the fancy parking meter signage: the meter signage and displays. The branded frame is made of max metal, a durable substrate that will hold up during tough weather conditions. Below is the test fit of the frame: a piece printed on coroplast to check the contour. As you can see, the light gray squares mark the area for the four smaller signs.

Max metal frame pre-installment

Max metal frame pre-installment

The four signs attached to the frame are made of max metal, as well. They all protrude from the frame, giving the meter signage a three-dimensional element. Three of the four are informational: the bottom two, from left to right, are information about the parking lot and the parking meter, respectively.

Stewart Parking Lot Information

Stewart Parking Lot Information

Parking Meter Information

Parking Meter Information

The top two signs are the coolest part of the whole installment (in our opinion). The top left is a map showing the meter user where he or she is. We installed LED lights to make the map more dynamic (although the light isn’t turned on yet in the photo below). LED lights, or light-emitting diode lights, are optimal in consumer products because of their high switching rates. Compared to incandescent light sources, LEDs also have a lower energy consumption, longer lifetime, a smaller size and better physical robustness. They are often used in remotes or digital alarm clocks.

Max Metal Map

Max Metal Map

Max Metal Map

Max Metal Map

Finally, the fourth max metal sign holds hand sanitizer! How cool is that?! Obviously, parking meters get pretty gross from everyone’s hands, so Stewart Parking has done everyone a solid by making their parking meters more sanitary. Talk about competitive advantage!

Stewart Parking Hand Sanitizer

Stewart Parking Hand Sanitizer

This parking machine is located at 132 Rosa L. Parks Blvd – go check it out for yourself!

Want your own awesome print job? Contact us!


5 Reasons You Need Stationery

Stationery is a classic paper need for business professionals. A thoughtful note can be the difference between two qualified candidates for a job opening or two respected companies vying for the same client. It’s also a great Mother’s Day gift (wink, wink).

We love stationery so much we decided to open a subsidiary company that focuses exclusively on stationery. In classic amp fashion, the company is named after a sweet pup, Addie. Coincidentally, she is also a yellow Labrador.

Addie with amp dogs

Addie with amp dogs

The company is called Dear Addie, and it produces both custom and pre-designed cards. It has its own letterpress and lovely staff members. amp still prints and designs stationery for its customers, but if you’re looking for a more specialized company, we will point you to Dear Addie.

We’ve compiled a quick list of reasons to check out Dear Addie and why stationery is so important.

 1. You need thank you notes.

Thank you notes are still a big deal in today’s digital- and smartphone-obsessed world. Presents, interviews, wedding services and nice gestures still demand thank you notes, so you might as well get some nice, personalized stationery. Thick paper and a nice design make the note more professional, meaningful and thoughtful.

Men's stationery

Nice, men’s stationery

2. Stationery is the best way to announce big changes in your life.

Sure, you can announce something via email. But people receive hundreds of emails a day. Things get lost in the shuffle. A handwritten thank you note in a pile of bills stands out, and it’s not as likely to get overlooked. So for birth announcements, graduation announcements, moving announcements or any other significant event in your life, it’s best to send paper cards.

baby stationery

Birth announcement and baby shower invite

3. Important events require paper announcements.

Paperless Post is nice for smaller events, but for weddings, 50th birthday parties and baby showers, a paper invitation is the traditional method of communication. Something physical can also be saved as a keepsake. People can’t pin a save the date email to their refrigerator. And going back to the copious amount of emails sent per day, email invitations can get lost or forgotten easily.

wedding stationery

The Adelicia Script Wedding Invitation

4. Christmas/Holiday cards are still very relevant.

It’s still customary to wish your friends, family and colleagues Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays via snail mail. It takes more effort and thus is more meaningful to recipients. For businesses, it’s a good method for retaining and reconnecting with clients.

Christmas stationery

Christmas cards

5. You look much more professional.

You’re going to have to write a note to a colleague at some point in your career. If it’s on nice paper and has your name/monogram on it, you look like a boss.

men's stationery

Personalized stationery

The guy who printed the cards above had his name foil stamped. It shines in the light. Does this not make you want to work with him?! Well, it should.

So check out Dear Addie. It’s awesome. And it’s a great gift for Mother’s Day (did we already say that?).

 

Frosted Glass

Frosted glass, or “etched glass” is a really popular graphic for businesses. Law firms, real estate companies, architecture firms, advertising agencies and other corporations like the professional, classy way to promote their logo and/or business name. It doesn’t block out the light like some window decals, but instead scatters the rays. It allows for privacy without being too closed off.

Frosted glass can be produced a few different ways. You can sandblast or acid etch clear sheet glass. As you can guess, this method requires a lot of labor and some fancy tools. We prefer to print a vinyl film and adhere it to windows or doors. As you can see from the pictures below, it looks like real etched glass!

Frosted Glass for Village Real Estate

Village Real Estate loves frosted glass, so we have a lot of pictures of their various doors and windows. They have a variety of etched glass: some on doors, some on windows, some on the outside, some on the inside, some are small decorations and some cover the whole window. How you use frosted glass is a matter of style and preference. It also depends on the amount of privacy you want to maintain. For entry doors, some people prefer to cover the whole door in film.

Etched glass door

Frosted glass door

Etched glass door

Etched glass door

Etched glass door

Etched glass door

Etched glass door

Etched glass door

Window decal -- etched glass

Etched glass window decal

Etched glass window

Etched glass window

Etched glass windows

Etched glass windows

Etched glass windows

Etched glass windows

Frosted Glass for McAlpine

Another client that requested etched glass was McAlpine, a residential architecture and interior design partnership. Instead of covering their whole window in etched glass, they just wanted a horizontal strip across the window. It looks really pretty and clean next to the green shrubbery.

Etched glass window

Etched glass window

Want some etched glass of your own? Give us a shout!


Coasters

Personalized coasters are a big seller for amp right now. It’s a great branding technique and the perfect gift for birthdays, events, mother’s day (wink, wink), etc. Acrylic coasters are more popular, but we also make thick, paper-like coasters, too. The product above was made for Christy Ikner, who works for Village Real Estate. The construction image correlates perfectly with her job!

We talk about acrylic a lot, but for those who don’t know, it is a type of formed plastic. It resembles glass and looks very professional. Below are holiday coasters we created for Cinco de Mayo last year.

Cinco de Mayo acrylic coasters  

Side view

We normally create circular or square coasters, but we can make any kind of shape you desire. For Christmas, we utilized a Christmas tree and snowflake shape. You could create the shape of your logo, the shape of your pet, a coffee cup.. the options are endless.

Due to the transparent nature of acrylic, these products are usually one-sided. The exception is if you print a full picture (shown below). Normally, we print second-surface to make the image more 3-D. In other words, we print on the back side. In addition to making the image “pop,” the front surface protects the image from scratches and other damages. If you look closely, you can see the 3-D nature below.

Photo coasters   Monogrammed coasters  

The three images above contain products created by Dear Addie, our subsidiary stationery company. They have pre-designed coasters that you can easily order through their website.

We also offer a thick, paper material, which has the advantage of being double-sided. You can see an example of the two different sides in our Print for Paws coasters. One side features the campaign logo, while the other features pictures of cute pups (our personal favorite side). Paper is nice because it is less expensive than acrylic. The flip side is it is not as durable.

Paper coasters

Print for Paws coasters

   

Want to order your own ? Get in touch with us!


Window Decals with Frothy Monkey

Window decals are a great way to advertise your business, provide information to your customers and enhance the overall appearance of your store or company. Unlike wall decals, window decals invoke passerby curiosity and offer repeated brand exposure. As we discussed in an earlier post, these two factors are the reason signs attract up to half of all business’ customers (Brandon Gaille).

In addition to promotion, window decals are great because they offer information, such as hours of operation. You could use a sign to deliver this info, but signs can deteriorate with everyday use (if they aren’t well-made) and they can get in the way. A window decal looks classy and professional.

Lucky for us, Frothy Monkey wanted to amp up their window/door graphics at four Nashville locations: East Nashville, downtown Nashville, 12 South and Franklin.

Window Decals at Frothy Monkey Bakery // East Nashville

At the Frothy Monkey Bakery in East Nashville (at the Shoppes on Fatherland), we added orange and white window decals to two doors. The orange decal is printed on permanent adhesive 3m IJ180 w/ 8518 overlaminate and the white decals are simple cut vinyl. We used these two substrates for all Frothy Monkey windows.

Frothy Monkey Bakery Window Decal

Frothy Monkey Bakery Window Decal

Frothy Monkey Bakery Window Decal

Frothy Monkey Bakery Window Decal

Window Decals at Frothy Monkey // Downtown

For the downtown location, we used the orange decals exclusively. We also printed a pretty cool sandwich board (3rd picture) that will attract even more customers.

Frothy Monkey Downtown Window Decal

Frothy Monkey Downtown Window Decal

Frothy Monkey Downtown Window Decal

Frothy Monkey Downtown Window Decal

Frothy Monkey Downtown Window Decal and Sandwich Board

Frothy Monkey Downtown Window Decal and Sandwich Board

Window Decals at Frothy Monkey // 12 South

For Frothy Monkey’s 12 South location, the original Frothy, we used both orange and white decals on all three doors. The white information really pops next to the orange.

Frothy Monkey 12 South Window Decal

Frothy Monkey 12 South Window Decal

Frothy Monkey 12 South Window Decal

Frothy Monkey 12 South Window Decal

Frothy Monkey 12 South Window Decal

Frothy Monkey 12 South Window Decal

Window Decals at Frothy Monkey // Franklin

Finally, for Frothy Monkey’s downtown Franklin location, we printed both orange and white decals.

Frothy Monkey Franklin Window Decal

Frothy Monkey Franklin Window Decal

Frothy Monkey Franklin Window Decal

Frothy Monkey Franklin Window Decal

All in all, we think these window decals turned out pretty awesome. If you’d like to see other examples of window or door graphics, check out our projects with Village Real Estate or EO Nashville.


Awesome business cards

Everyone’s always looking for awesome business cards to make their company stand out and their brand memorable. As we’ve stated in a previous blog, 10 billion business cards are printed in the U.S. each year. Eighty-eight percent of these business cards handed out will be thrown away in less than a week. Thus, your business card must be unique or is it just one in a billion. Literally.

PixelFLEX did a darn good job making their business cards stand out. Specifically, they incorporated two techniques to make their business cards different: die cutting and edge painting.

IMG_3181

Die cut business cards

Awesome business cards

Die cut business cards

First, let’s go over the die cutting. PixelFLEX is a company that provides LED display technology. In other words, they provide digital displays to jazz up concerts, shops and other venues. Their logo, 10 dots in three columns, is a symbol of the displays they offer. Naturally, PixelFLEX wanted business cards that showcase their logo and represent the type of product they provide. They could have just printed their logo, but instead they made a die cut of their signature. As you can see above, their logo was actually cut out of the square card. How neat is that?!

Edge-painted business cards

Edge-painted business cards

PixelFLEX could have stopped there, but they thought their awesome business cards needed another touch of cool: edge painting. Blue and black are the company’s colors, so they added a shimmery, navy paint around the edge of each card. There is just enough shimmer that it catches the light but isn’t too flashy.

Edge-painted business cards

Edge-painted business cards

To see a video of business cards being edge-painted, check out the clips below:

Props to PixelFLEX for coming up with a neat business card idea. We love how innovative our customers can be. Do you have any cool ideas for business cards? We’d be happy to help!

To see another example of a company incorporating their logo into a die cut business card, check out Blackwater Manufacturing’s design. 


Car decals

Car decals are a great form of advertisement. According to the American Trucking Associations, vehicle ads generate more than 600 visual impressions for every mile driven. Instead of paying for multiple billboard locations, just purchase one car decal and take your ad wherever you go!

We print decals for just about any vehicle, including cars, food trucks, vans, jeeps and gators. We always use vinyl and apply a laminate to protect it from various weather conditions.

The decal below is a typical vehicle ad. It features the name of the company in large letters and includes services, a phone number and a catchy phrase or motto. We created four separate decals for this particular company: two adhesives for the sides of the van and two adhesives for the back windows. They were cut to contour the windows after application (not shown).

Van decal

Van decal

Window decals are popular because they are easy to make and easily visible. In the video below, Brook applies the vinyl decals. We adhered them on a windy day, so Brook had a harder time than normal! Poor guy. He did a stellar job, regardless.

Our next decals showcased are for a food truck called “Off the Wagon.” This client wanted circular decals because their logo is circular. The vinyl decal blended right in with the truck — it looks like it was painted on!

Circular car decals

Circular car decal

Off the Wagon wanted a couple different sizes. The one below was just a tad bigger than Brook.

Circular car decal

Circular car decal

These adhesives, like all our other car decals, are printed on our VUTEk machine and cut on our Colex.

Our next car decal is for a Jeep, nicknamed “The Patriot.” It had an 8518 laminate if you want to get really technical. It was die cut into the shape of the words, a common practice for car decals, especially if the driver is representing a club or university. The Jeep’s driver wanted the decal to represent the name of his Jeep. There are two— one on each side — so every passerby will know “The Patriot” when they see it.

Vinyl car decal

Vinyl car decal

Finally, a car decal for our very own gator. Despite appearances, it is not a vehicle wrap. But you’d never know the difference because our car decals are so slick!

Gator decal

Gator decal

High-fives for awesome car decals!

car decals

Gator decal

Contact us if you’d like to order your own car decal.


Lexan Business Cards

It’s about time we wrote about our popular, new lexan business cards. We receive more compliments on these business cards than most of our other print collateral (which is hard to do, seeing how we print such awesome things). If you’ve never heard the term before, lexan is a type of plastic. It’s desirable because of its durability, versatility and professional appearance. There are also no-glare versions, which can be nice for outdoor signage or ornaments.

We talk about its sister substrate, acrylic, a lot, especially in terms of signage. We’ve created storefront signs, trade show signs, wall art, inner-office signs, wedding signage, coasters, ornaments and easels out of the material. Now, we are going to talk about business cards.

Every lexan business card we’ve printed has included white ink. Our new VUTEk machine can print white ink, a rare printing capability, and lexan is an especially good substrate to show off the unique service. There are various trims to choose from, just like paper business cards. Dear Addie chose half square, half rounded.

Dear Addie lexan business cards

Dear Addie lexan business cards

SOAR Adventure and Parks Realty both chose a round trim, which looks classy and removes potential sharp edges.

Plastic business cards

SOAR lexan business cards

Business cards with white ink

Parks Realty lexan business cards

Every lexan business card we’ve shown is transparent, but there are different color lexan plastics. The transparent version is popular because it is so memorable and eye-catching. The only drawback is its single-sided nature. Because of its transparency, any design on the back of the card would conflict with the front design. Initially, we tried to print amp’s logo on the back, but we quickly found out that would not be conducive with the overall card aesthetic.

Two-sided lexan business cards

Two-sided lexan business cards

Lexan business card with white ink

Lexan business card – amp side

Lexan business card - skyline side

Lexan business card – skyline side

lexan business card

amp business card – final product

Let’s back up a minute to the creation of lexan business cards. As we mentioned above, we print these products on our VUTEk machine. We print about 100 on each sheet of lexan to make the most of each print job. It takes a while to set up the VUTEK and Colex, so you want to go ahead and print as many as you can.

Once we have printed the business cards, we move them to the Colex to be routed (or cut). We tape them down to make sure they stay in place.

Finally, once the cards have been printed and cut, it is time to punch out each card. This takes a few minutes, as the material is quite strong. Brook, however, is a pro, and can punch out business cards quickly.

And after that, voila! You have beautiful lexan business cards. To print your own, hit us up!

PS: If you can’t remember the term, just ask us about our “plastic” business cards. We know what you mean.


Sticker Stencils with Reed PR

We’ve mentioned that we can put stickers on just about anything.. but I bet you didn’t think about sticker stencils on eggs! For Easter and springtime festivities, Reed PR wanted to dye eggs with their logo as the main design. To do this, we created a sticker stencil for them (in print language, “adhesive vinyl”) to place on each egg they wanted dyed.

Sticker stencils on Easter eggs

Sticker stencils on Easter eggs

The sticker itself was teensy, tiny. It was attached to each egg, dunked in dye, allowed to dry and then peeled off — which is what left the white outline of the Reed PR logo. Adhesive vinyl is great because it simultaneously sticks and peels off easily. As you can see from the photo, the stencil held well enough to not let any dye seep through the edges, but it didn’t damage the egg when it was removed. That dual capability of adhesive vinyl — to be sticky but not too sticky — is what makes the substrate so appealing.

sticker stencils

Sticker stencils

We use adhesive vinyl on many other surfaces, including walls and windows. It’s becoming one of the most common ways to decorate homes because it is easy to cut, self-adhere and remove. It lasts for about 3 years and can be removed easily and cleanly for up to two years after application. Its matte surface prevents glare and appears to blend in seamlessly with the surface it adheres to. On walls, we’ve had clients request images, quotes, maps, company slogans, company values — and most commonly — the company name or logo. On windows, we usually create clings to promote events or temporary deals or offerings. We even have double-sided wall clings which can advertise to folks inside and outside the building. Double the cling, double the impression! See an example in this post, where we created double-sided wall clings for The Cosmetic Market. The project is toward the end of the blog.

Need some sticker stencils or adhesive vinyl in your life? Give us a shout!


Wall decals

Little Mosko’s has combined two of our favorite things: awesome food and cool wall decals.  The “muncheonette” and bake shop, located in the Entrepreneur Center, did a little redecorating this past week, and now they house two wall decals, a hanging sign and a sandwich board.

wall decals

Little Mosko’s wall decals

wall decal

Little Mosko’s wall decal

The wall decals are made of adhesive vinyl. We know, it looks like it was masterfully painted on the walls, but alas, it is just a super rad sticker. We used a vinyl with a matte finish (as opposed to a gloss finish) to avoid glares or hotspots from interior lighting. For the adhesive, we opted for a less permanent version to avoid damaging the walls if Little Mosko’s wants to remove the decal in the future. Don’t you just love the decal that reads “Coffee. Breakfast. Lunch. Munch.”? We may have to munch there for lunch today..

PVC sign

PVC sign

Moving on to the hanging sign, this bad boy was created using PVC. Also known as polyvinyl chloride, PVC is a commonly-used type of plastic. It is used instead of metal and glass because it is more lightweight, more cost effective, resistant to weathering or chemical rotting, and easy to install. It is very durable and has the dual advantage of being non-toxic. It’s a safe material that has been researched and tested more than any other plastic in the world. Plus, it looks cool.

Sidewalk sign

Sandwich board

Last but not least, we created a sandwich board for the eatery with two coroplast panels. For those not familiar with the substrate, coroplast is a corrugated plastic sheet. It is often used for real estate signs or other temporary signage. It is very lightweight and can be swapped out easily.

Little Mosko’s, you done good. Time for lunch.

     

Hop-Up Banner

This past weekend we created our first hop-up banner for Dear Addie Fine Stationery. A hop-up banner is used instead of a normal banner for its size and rigid frame. It is similar to a stand-up banner in that the graphic doesn’t move, but on a much larger scale.

Dear Addie initially wanted a wooden frame as the backdrop of their booth. However, a wooden block is heavy, difficult to move and expensive. A more feasible option was a hop-up banner. That way, Dear Addie only needed an image of a wooden backdrop instead of the real deal. The end result looked very realistic and received lots of compliments at the show.

IMG_2776

Hop-up banner (side-view)

Hop-up banner (close-up)

Hop-up banner (close-up)

This type of banner includes a lightweight (silver, in our case) frame that collapses to a fraction of its size when it’s not being used. Despite its lightweight nature, the frame is extra strengthened to support such a large image. We printed four separate panels of the image on our VUTEk machine and attached them to the frame with magnets. We printed on 3 mil. styrene, a lightweight material that can be easily transported.

Hop-up banner frame

Hop-up banner frame

Hop-up banner (separate panels)

Hop-up banner (separate panels)

To make their booth stand out more, Dear Addie wanted their logo attached on top of the wooden image. To do this, we had to use a lightweight substrate to prevent the frame from collapsing. We decided to print on lexan, a type of formed plastic similar to acrylic, and screwed the logo to the image with silver standoffs.

Silver standoffs

Silver standoffs

 Originally, Dear Addie went with a clear logo, which is what you see in the image above. However, the same standoffs were used on the green. The stationery company ultimately decided on green because the color was more distinctive, the logo more legible and the sign more noticeable.

To make their booth even cooler, Dear Addie had a contest for a lucky bride to win a free wedding stationery suite. The company advertised this competition with a chalkboard sign, also printed on our VUTEk.

Chalkboard sign

Chalkboard sign

This isn’t the first time Dear Addie has used a chalkboard sign, as we discussed in a previous blog.

We are really excited about the potential of hop-up banners for the rest of our clientele. If you’d like a hop-up banner of your own or would like to rent the silver frame, please get in touch.


Storefront signs

A popular request lately has been storefront signs — specifically, acrylic and max metal storefront signs. It’s a really pretty, noticeable way to brand your building or shop, advertise your company, and increase brand recognition and exposure.

The two storefront signs we’re going to discuss were printed for Cognito Hair Design and Dear Addie Fine Stationery.

Although they look similar, Dear Addie was created with acrylic while Cognito was printed with max metal.

Dear Addie acrylic storefront signs

Dear Addie acrylic sign

Cognito storefront signs

Cognito storefront sign

Dear Addie, specifically, was created using two acrylic layers: one for the background and one for the words “Dear Addie” and the logo.

Dear Addie acrylic sign - close-up

Dear Addie acrylic sign – close-up

acrylic sign with raised letters

Acrylic sign with raised letters

Although it’s a little bit difficult to see, if you look closely, you can see the raised “Dear Addie” letters on the storefront sign.

To install the sign, we used silver standoffs. You may remember standoffs from our posts on Third Man Records or Lendlease. For Third Man, we used black; for Lendlease, we used silver. There are various colors, and you choose based off the color scheme of your sign or art installation.

In the two pictures below, you can see the holes where the standoffs would be placed (there are four).

Acrylic sign - before standoff installation

Acrylic sign – before standoff installation

Acrylic sign - before standoff installation

Acrylic sign – before standoff installation

Standoffs are one of the most popular ways to mount signs because of the way they look. They tend to blend into the sign itself and are typically not that noticeable, unlike screws.

Brook shows us below how to attach the standoff, although, in reality, he would wait to do this until the actual installation process.

Screws are actually what we used to mount Cognito’s sign. Specifically, we used tapcons, a type of masonry screw.

Max metal sign mounted with tapcons

Max metal sign mounted with tapcons

Max metal storefront signs mounted with tapcons

Max metal sign mounted with tapcons

We also used custom spacers behind the signs to make the sign stand out from the wall. The spacers were 2.5 inches.

In the pictures above you can better see the max metal layers of the sign. Like Dear Addie’s sign, we used two layers: one for the background, one for “Cognito.” If you click on the picture above you can see the raised letters.

Finally, we created custom fittings to go on the heads of the screws to make it look like the storefront sign is mounted with silver standoffs.

Silver standoffs lookalike

Silver standoffs lookalike

The reason for this is because standoffs look much nicer than screws. Unless you’re going for a heavy-duty industrial look, you want to go with standoffs. It looks much cleaner and professional.

On a side note, we also created etched glass designs for Cognito’s windows, as you can see in the pictures below.

Storefront sign with etched glass windows

Storefront sign with etched glass windows

Storefront sign with etched glass windows

Storefront sign with etched glass windows

It was a nice touch and complements the storefront sign without being too showy.

Want to create a storefront sign of your own? Let us know!

 

Tabletop Prints with GS&F

We love printing where no printer has printed before. GS&F helped us expand our resume by asking us to brand some tables for them. How did we get these large pieces of wood in the printer, you ask?

Well, they didn’t go in the printer. We actually printed a large adhesive vinyl which we then attached to the tables. We printed the vinyl on our new VUTEk machine, and we cut it using our Colex.

Tabletop prints

Table tops before installation

GS&F provided us with the tables they wanted, and we took care of the design. As we’ve said before, our new vinyl adhesives can brand just about anything. We’ve branded chairs, coolers, guitars, hard helmets and beer taps. Basically, if you can think it, we can print it. We like to stick by our motto “making the impossible possible.”

The tabletop prints looked amazing, as you can see below (it helped having some good looking folks in the photo!). We believe they installed the tables in their office, which really brightens up the room and strengthens GS&F’s brand. When employees are working, they see the brand. When visitors sit to have coffee, they see the brand. As any good advertiser knows, a message is most effective when repeated. So by splashing GS&F’s logo all over the office, the company is reinforcing in client and employee minds the values and characteristics GS&F represents.

Tabletop prints

Table tops before installation

GS&F is known for its creative prowess in Nashville. We’ve printed with them for a while now, and they always give us some neat ideas. A few months ago they wanted some edge-painted business cards, which we featured on our blog, and now they’ve blown our minds again.

Do you have something cool and unique you’d like to print? Let us know! We’d love to help.


Realtor’s Print Check List

We have a lot of real estate firms as clients and we receive a lot of questions regarding the printing associated with real estate. So we thought we’d put together a list of common products and services we offer.

1. Metal Signs

Metal signs are nice because of their durability and their chic look. Whether you have an outdoors max metal “For Sale” sign or a wall print for your office, the substrate will be perfect for any realtor’s need.

20151104_134805

Max metal office wall prints

Max metal map

Max metal map

Plus, the substrate looks really nice in the light!

Max metal print

Max metal print

Max metal print

Max metal print

If you want to get really fancy, you can create a 3D max metal sign, as Lendlease did. They are not a real estate company, but they are our first client to use the printing technique.

Max metal 3D sign

Max metal 3D sign

2. Corrugated Signs/Directional Arrows

A basic need for any realtor. Corrugated signs and directional arrows are an effective and affordable way to advertise and guide potential buyers. Corrugated material is useful because it is waterproof  and meant for extended outdoor exposure. We use inks that won’t fade in the sunlight.

Corrugated directional arrow

Corrugated directional arrow

Corrugated sign -- we did NOT print this. Just for a visual

Corrugated sign — we did NOT print this. Just for a visual

directional arrows

directional arrows

3. Open House Signs

Another staple for a realtor. Open house signs can come in many different forms: banners, foamboard, corrugated plastic, max metal, acrylic.. the list goes on. The open house sign below is unique because of its shape. With our new Colex machine, we can die cut wide-format items into any shape you desire.

Die cut open house sign

Die cut open house sign

4. Banners

Again, a staple. Banners are another affordable and effective medium for advertising — both indoors and outdoors. Stand-up banners are nice because they are easy to roll-up and transport, and they also don’t do any damage to your walls. Set-up time is faster and easier than traditional banners.

Stand-up banner

Stand-up banner

Signs can be made of banner material. The banner below is held up with metal stakes and grommets. This banner is made of vinyl, which is very weather-durable.

Vinyl banner with grommets

Vinyl banner with grommets

Mesh is another great substrate for banners. It does particularly well in windy situations: its small holes allow air to move through the banner without damaging it.

Mesh banners with grommets

Mesh banners with grommets

5. Etched Glass

Etched glass is one of our favorites. It’s a great way to advertise without being too flashy. It looks very classy and professional. It also doesn’t take up any extra space since it utilizes the architecture available.

Etched glass window

Etched glass window

Etched glass door

Etched glass door

Etched glass door

Etched glass door

6. Wall Graphics

A similar look to etched glass, wall graphics are also great for real estate firms. It is a little more noticeable than etched glass, but still saves valuable space.

Wall graphic

Wall graphic

7. Wall Murals

Wall murals are a really nice touch to offices. Advertise a gorgeous shot of one of your buildings — visitors and potential buyers won’t be able to say no!

Wall mural

Wall mural

8. Window clings

Window clings are nice because they are more temporary. They are perfect for advertising events or announcements. The cling below is actually double-sided, which allows for advertising on the inside of the store as well as to passersby on the street.

double-sided window cling

double-sided window cling

9. Acrylic Signs

Another one of our favorites. Acrylic is a really nice, durable material. It’s not too flashy and shows you care about appearances — an important trait for realtors.

Acrylic sign

Acrylic sign

Like max metal, acrylic looks really neat in the light! Thanks to our new VUTEk machine, we can print white ink on acrylic — a really nice touch to the product.

Acrylic Sign

Acrylic Sign

10. Canvas prints

A really pretty substrate for wall art. It is easier to transport than max metal and acrylic.

Canvas prints

Canvas prints

11. Brochures and Booklets

Less fun to discuss than wide-format, but still essential for realtors and real estate firms. You need to be able to advertise and inform on-the-go, which is where booklets and brochures come in. Leave customers with a tangible and long-lasting impression.

Coil-bound booklet

Saddle stitch booklet

Coil-bound booklet

Coil-bound booklet

12. Pocket Folders

A nice touch for any company that emphasizes repeat brand exposure.

Pocket folder - front

Pocket folder – front

Pocket folder - inside

Pocket folder – inside

13. Cool business cards

Last but not least — business cards. Gotta have cool business cards to stick out. Below are three unique examples that few people have seen.

Plastic business card

Plastic business card

Acrylic business card

Acrylic business card

Got any questions? Don’t hesitate to ask! We’d love to help you get started on your printing today.

 

Meet Brook, Kelly B. and Jami!

We have three new members of our staff! If you haven’t heard, Kelly Whiteknact is working from Colorado, so we needed another customer service representative to chat with our walk-in customers. Mykie, our graphic designer, decided to move back to his hometown in Texas. Finally, our new machine and recent influx of wide-format orders required a pro.

So, we hired three awesome individuals to meet these demands! Meet Brook, Kelly B. and Jami below.

BROOK ELLIS: “Wide-Format Whiz”

Brook Ellis

Brook Ellis

"Wide-format whiz"

Brook’s caricature

Hometown: Terre Haute, IN

College: Ivy Tech Community College

Experience: 10 years of wide-format printing experience

Favorite dog breed: English Mastiff

Any pets? Ginger; 2-year-old Bassett/Terrier rescue pooch

Ginger

Favorite sports team: St. Louis Cardinals

Who do you want to win the Super Bowl? Broncos. Being an Indianapolis Colts fan, I have a deep-seated dislike for the Patriots. I’ll side with any team who beats them.

Fun fact? I make my own hot sauce and prefer all things spicy

Email: bigprints@advocateprinting.net

View some of Brook’s work! Or, check out his new machine.

KELLY BARTLETT: Office Manager/CSR

*NOTE: Kelly goes by “KB” around the office to prevent confusion with Kelly W. But feel free to still call her Kelly!

Kelly Bartlett - yes, that's the dog from the Sandlot!

Kelly Bartlett – yes, that’s the dog from the Sandlot!

Office Manager/CSR

Kelly B.’s caricature

Hometown: Starkville, MS

College: Mississippi State University

Experience/previous employment: Tennessee Titans, KFC Yum! Center

Favorite dog breed: German Shepherd

Any pets? 2 cats, Aspen and Titan

Aspen (left) and Titan

Aspen (left) and Titan

Favorite sports team: Mississippi State Bulldogs

Who do you want to win the Super Bowl? Carolina Panthers

Fun Fact: I’ve lived in 5 different states

Email: orderamp@advocateprinting.net

JAMI BLACK: Graphic Designer

Jami Black

Jami Black

Jami's caricature

Jami’s caricature

Hometown: St. Louis, MO

College: Southeast Missouri State University

Experience: Communications/Social Media intern at a nonprofit in Franklin, TN. Show Hope/The Red Bus Project

Favorite dog breed: Cockapoo

Any pets? An 8-year-old Scottish Terrier named Lucy. She’s just as sassy as she is cute. I’m also including my sister’s dog (my niece). She’s a 2-year-old Blue Nose Pitbull/Lab mix named Lyric, and she’s the BEST!

Lucy

Lucy

Lyric

Lyric

Favorite sports team: St. Louis Cardinals

Who do you want to win the Super Bowl? Carolina Panthers

Fun Fact: I’ve been skydiving, and I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Email: ampgraphics@advocateprinting.net (Mykie’s old email)

Feel free to reach out to our awesome new team members! They’d love to hear from you and help you in any way!


Chalkboard Printing

Chalkboard printing is one of our new favorite services. People rarely think to print on the substrate, so you rarely see a it with a printed design. It really stops a passerby in his or her tracks. You can see the wheels turning as he or she studies the object: “Is that chalkboard? No, couldn’t be. It looks like someone printed on it. No, that is chalkboard. I didn’t know you could do that!”

We create this product using our new Vutek machine, which can print on almost any rigid substrate that is 2″ thick or less. It can also print white ink, another rare printing service. We’ve had a couple clients experiment with chalkboard printing in the past month or so, and the results are nothing short of awesome.

Emily Holmes, a local designer who specializes in stationery, envisioned a chalkboard wedding sign with white ink only.

wedding sign

wedding sign

We’re not sure the theme of this particular wedding, but this chalkboard sign would be especially nice for a black-and-white wedding. It’s thicker than regular poster board and looks much more formal. It’s also quite unique for weddings. Some clients request acrylic signs, but no one thinks about chalkboard.

White ink on chalkboard will look great at any event or location, as the colors go with everything, but if you’re looking for something less formal and more colorful, we can also print other colors.

Dear Addie event sign

Dear Addie event sign

The sign above was used at a holiday expo event. Dear Addie, also a stationery company, wanted a display that was eye-catching, memorable and one-of-a-kind. So we recommended chalkboard.

chalkboard printing

Display sign

The sign ended up looking great. It really stood out next to their table, which was covered with white tablecloth. They received a lot of compliments on the chalkboard, especially that it made the display look more “fun.”

Want to print a chalkboard sign yourself? Or just want to take a tour of the machine and see its capabilities? Get in touch with us!


Bunting Banners with Edley’s

On Tuesday, we discussed the difference between bunting banners (a.k.a. letter banners) and traditional banners. To recap, a bunting is a collection of flags considered as a group. They are usually used for festive decorations, and many times letters are printed on each flag to spell out a name or phrase. They take less effort to hang than traditional banners, which is why they are used for more temporary occasions, like parties.

Edley’s BBQ ordered a bunting banner for a bridal show in which they showcased samples of their food. In the more close-up photo below, you can see that Edley’s chose triangular flags, a classic shape for bunting banners.

Bunting banner

Bunting banner close-up

We used kraft paper for the flags, which is a really nice material for this project. It’s a little bit nicer than the material we used for this wedding (below), where we used vinyl.

letter banner - vinyl

letter banner – vinyl

 

Of course, it’s hard to determine the material in a photograph after the flags have been printed. We cut each flag by hand as it was too big for the letterpress. We ran the job on our HP Indigo.

So why would Edley’s prefer a bunting banner over a traditional banner? Well, for one, it just depends on the buyer’s preferred style. However, we think that sometimes bunting banners look a little prettier and a little fancier. It was also a one-day show; hauling a traditional banner and hanging it up would have been a lot of effort for such a short amount of display time. It appears it might also have been a little heavy for the curtains, as well. A bunting banner is less material, and thus more lightweight.

Edley’s also printed a stand-up banner, which is great for displays since it doesn’t require any hanging.

Stand-up banner

Stand-up banner

Another benefit of stand-up banners is that they are easy to roll-up and transport.

bunting banners

Edley’s display

Seeing the display in full, a traditional banner would have clashed with the stand-up banner. The letter banner complements the display without overdoing it.

Want to learn more about letter banners? Check out this post.

Want to create a bunting banner of your own? Email us!


Letter (Bunting) Banners

We obviously do a lot of banners.. vinyl, matte, mesh, stand-up. If you receive our emails or follow us on social media, you probably think that you’ve seen it all. But there’s one we have yet to discuss: letter banners! Otherwise known as bunting banners.

For those who don’t know, a letter banner is a string of garlands with single letters (or numbers) that combine to make a word or saying. “Happy Birthday” and “Cheers” are two popular types.

Happy birthday letter banner

Happy birthday letter banner

Why would you use a letter banner over a traditional banner? Well, for one, it’s more lightweight and easier to carry. But more importantly, it is easier to hang and easy to take down. A string, ribbon or similar material holds the individual pieces, which can be easily tied to a stationary object. A traditional banner is usually held by hooks screwed into the wall, hanging clips and/or heavy-duty zip ties. If it’s outside, sometimes bungee cables or super suction cups are used. More heavy-duty ties are used because the banner itself is heavier.

Obviously, screws damage the wall more than tying a string around anchored furniture. Thus, consumers tend to use letter banners for personal use and traditional banners for commercial use. Obviously, this is not always the case, as you can see below. Edley’s Bar-B-Que used a bunting banner for a Bridal Expo they attended on January 17th.

letter banner - kraft paper

Letter banner – kraft paper

 

Although all banners are meant to be temporary, letter banners are a little more so than other banners. This is, again, due to the fact that they are easier to hang and lighter in weight.

letter banner - vinyl

Letter banner – vinyl

Like traditional banners, bunting banners come in various materials. Edley’s used kraft paper, while Shayna used vinyl (designed to look like burlap) for her wedding.

Letter banners are fun because you can do more die cutting (cool shapes) with the garlands. You can create the letter itself:

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 3.27.22 PM

Circles:

Letter banner - circle shaped

Letter banner – circle shaped

Rectangles:

Letter banner - rectangles

Letter banner – rectangles

Scalloped:

Letter banner - scalloped letters

Letter banner – scalloped letters

Guidon:

bunting shape

Letter banner – Guidon shape

Or whatever your heart desires:

Bunting banner

Bunting banner


Acrylic Easels

Recently, we created our first acrylic easel for Village Real Estate. It’s not our first easel — we’ve created adhesive, self-stick easels out of chip board in the past, but this new acrylic easel is much sturdier.

self-stick easel

self-stick easel

self-stick easel

self-stick easel

As you can see above, the self-stick easel is easy to use and easy to transport. However, it would not hold a particularly heavy object. It is best for smaller pieces, such as a flyer or a lightweight picture.

The acrylic easel can hold larger objects, and it looks more professional. The transparency allows the easel to coordinate with most interior decorations, as well.

To create the acrylic easel, we used our Colex machine to cut (route) the product and a heat vendor to shape it. When we first cut the acrylic, the easel shape lies flat. We use the heat vendor to mold it to that nice 90 degree angle.

Acrylic easel - front

Acrylic easel – front

Acrylic easel - side view

Acrylic easel – side view

As you can see below, it is sturdy enough to hold large, heavy photos or posters.

Village preferred a tall easel back with relatively short legs, but we can create any shape you want. For instance, if you wanted a smaller back, that would be very doable.

Acrylic easel in action

Acrylic easel in action

This is just one of the many cool projects we’ve done for Village. To see some of our other work for the real estate firm, check out this post.

Please let us know if you’d like a quote on this easel or if you have any other questions!


8 Holiday Card Recycling Tips

We love Christmas cards — the thoughtfulness, the design, the meaning behind it. However, we don’t love the waste it produces, which is why we encourage our customers to recycle their cards after Christmas. For the past eight years, customers have brought in between 20,000 to 30,000 cards. This year, we are also prepared to pick up holiday cards from local corporations if they will gather unwanted cards beforehand.

We are also excited to team up with Dear Addie Fine Stationery in an attempt to recycle even more cards. We are calling this initiative “Deck the Halls with Recycled Cards.” The goal? To recycle 50,000 cards during the month of January.

For some jolly good fun, here are a few facts about card and packaging production in the United States.

  1. An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sold annually in the United States, according to the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, or CalRecycle. That’s enough to fill a football field 10 stories high.
  2. 38,000 miles worth of ribbons are thrown out each year — enough to tie a bow around the Earth

If those facts don’t make you want to recycle, we’re not sure what will. So let’s get started! Below are 8 tips to help you stay on top of your waste this year.

1. Cards with glitter, foil, vinyl overlays, foil-lined envelopes or plastic cannot be recycled

2. Dark envelopes and brightly-colored envelopes are also off-limits. Pastel colors and variations of white are ok.

3. Photos and photo paper are not recyclable.

4. Remove the handle of gift bags if it is not made from paper, including string.

5. Remove ribbons, bows, metal/Mylar tissue and metal/Mylar shreds from packaging before recycling.

6. Ensure there are no traces of food.

7. Make sure all packaging is dry and clean. Bags must be empty. Remove all tape!

8. Reuse your cards and packaging for the holidays next year. Examples below.

Holiday Card Gift Tags

Holiday Card Gift Tags

Cut cards into tags, punch a hole, add ribbon, and voila! You have yourself a unique holiday gift tag. Found on marthastewart.com

Holiday Card Gift Boxes

Holiday Card Gift Boxes

Another goodie from Martha Stewart. Glue cards onto cardboard boxes to spice up your gifts.

Holiday Card ornaments

Holiday Card ornaments

Adorn next year’s tree with old holiday cards from friends and family. Saves money on Christmas decorations, too! Found on Better Homes & Gardens.

Christmas card displays

Finally, there are numerous Christmas card displays that you can create from your cards. Found on designimprovised.com.

For 12 awesome displays, check out this blog.


Wide-format capabilities

“What are your wide-format capabilities?” We get this question a lot. It’s difficult to answer because there are so many. Essentially, if you can think it, we can print it. However, for those who need more specifics, we’ve created a non-exhaustive list of our wide-format capabilities broken down into seven categories: architectural graphics; die cut signs and stand ups; regulatory and site signage; vinyl decals; stretch canvas; indoor and outdoor banners; and trade show materials.

If nothing else, we hope this blog post gives you some ideas for wide-format products in your future!

1. Architectural Graphics

This is the broadest category, including wall, window, floor, ceiling and pavement graphics; digitally-printed menu boards; and acrylic displays.

wall graphic

wall graphic

Window decal -- etched glass

Window decal — etched glass

Window decal

Window decal

Wall Mural

Wall Mural

Acrylic storefront sign

Acrylic storefront sign

3D architectural graphic

3D architectural graphic

max metal wall art

max metal wall art

max metal wall art

max metal wall art

As opposed to traditional advertising, architectural graphics are instant, inexpensive and flexible. Outside pavement and window graphics are cost-effective methods of advertising and invoking curiosity in passersby. In your lobby, enable customers to learn distinguishing characteristics about your business with wall graphics: what do you like; what do you stand for?

2. Die Cut Signs/Stand Ups

This includes metal signs, foamboard signs and custom shape cutouts. The main benefit of a die cut is its unique visual appeal. A fun shape will have a lingering impression on the viewer, making you or your company stand out. We can create cutouts as large as 4 x 8 feet and on various materials such as foam, Gator Board, wood, acrylic and aluminum, thanks to our Colex Flatbed Router.

Stand-up, cut out sign

Stand-up, cut out sign

Gatorboard cutout

Gatorboard cutout

Max metal die cut sign

Max metal die cut sign

Stand-up die cut

Stand-up die cut

3. Regulatory & Site Signage

This includes real estate, commercial, job site and yard signs. This type of signage is ideal for direction and explanation. It can be used to mark off a section for construction, lead someone to an event or business location or let neighbors know a house is for sale. Let this sign speak for you when you cannot.

Commercial job site signage

Commercial job site signage

Real estate signs

Real estate signs

Yard signs

Yard signs

Stand-up sign

Stand-up sign

4. Vinyl Decals

We can’t do car wraps, but we can create vinyl decals such as the ones below.

Double-sided adhesives

Double-sided adhesives

Food truck decal

Food truck decal

Instead of paying for multiple billboard locations, purchase a car decal and take your ad wherever you go. Vehicle ads generate more than 600 visual impressions for every mile driven, according to the American Trucking Association. amp measures specifically for your vehicle and will adhere the decal free of charge.

5. Stretch Canvas

With our stretch canvas capabilities, you can now have your digital photos of favorite artwork on your living room, bedroom or office wall.

Stretch canvas photo

Stretch canvas photo

Stretch canvas photo

Stretch canvas photo

6. Indoor and outdoor banners

What most people think of when they think of wide-format. This includes vinyl, mesh, promotional and building banners.

Vinyl banner

Vinyl banner

Blow-through banner

Blow-through banner

Materials include blow-through, mesh, matte scrim, multi-purpose vinyl and other substances. We can create banners up to 150 feet in size.

7. Trade Show Materials

This includes banner stands, pop-up displays, backlit displays, easel signs, folding tabletop displays, backdrops (step and repeat is a popular choice), and cutouts.

Foamboard sign

Foamboard sign

Retractable banner stand

Retractable banner stand

Booths and furniture

Booths and furniture

Table-top displays

Table-top displays

Backlit Display

Backlit Display

Trade show materials are easy to move and store. It is ready to travel and represent your brand in an eye-catching and engaging manner to potential new customers.

Can you think of any wide-format capabilities we’ve forgotten? Have a question? Let us know!


12 Awesome Christmas Card Displays

The holidays have brought out our inner Martha Stewart. If you need ideas for Christmas card displays, look no further. We’ve collected the coolest ones below.

1. Around the fireplace

We used twine, clothes pins and some garland to create this Christmas card display. Took a total of seven minutes. All of these cards were printed by us and are available for purchase. View more here.

2. On a shelf

Don’t have a fireplace? Find another shelf in your house — it has the same cozy appearance.

christmas card displays

Displayed by The Painted Partridge

3. On a  wire cardholder 

A partridge in a pear tree? How about Christmas cards in a pear tree?

christmas card displays

If you’re willing to spend a little more, there are plenty of wall Christmas card displays available for purchase. It will make your life much easier. Displayed by Home Decorators

4. On your staircase

christmas card displays

It can be hard to decorate the staircase. However, with some garland, it is easy to pin cards. Display tutorial at marthastewart.com

5. On some old windows

christmas card displays

Get the tutorial at The Lily Pad Cottage

6. Lattice Christmas Card Display

christmas card displays

Get the tutorial at From My Front Porch To Yours.

7. Around the doorframe

Displayed by Better Homes and Gardens

8. On the back of a door

christmas card displays

A ribbon is a great way to display Christmas cards. You can pin them, clip them, thread them through.. the list goes on. Get the tutorial on this Christmas card display at Country Living

9. Fashion your own tree

Christmas card displays

Love the Christmas tree theme but don’t want to decorate an actual tree? Then find a blank wall, some twine and a couple ornaments if you’re feeling crazy. Get the tutorial at designimprovised.com.

10. On an old ladder

christmas card displays

Displayed by Ella Claire

11. Strung on Christmas lights

christmas card displays

This display works for photos year-round, but it’s especially cute during the holidays. Get the tutorial at lights4fun.com

12. On a Christmas Tree

Last but not least…

hoss with tree  

Christmas cards make great ornaments. All of these cards were designed and printed by amp, and they are available for purchase. See the cards here.


15 (Print) Things to be Thankful for

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we thought it would be a good idea to compile a list of printing capabilities, print products and other things to be thankful for. We’ve thrown in a side dish of these things we, in particular, are grateful for!

1. Ready-made holiday cards

output_9DkLts

What if you had to design your own holiday card every year?! What a nightmare. Luckily, there is a cornucopia of ready-made holiday cards out there. Visit our collection here.

2. Acrylic business cards with white ink

IMG_0597

Gone are the days of boring business cards. Today, you can print on things such as acrylic AND include white ink thanks to machines like our VUTEk.

3. Invitations that are also jigsaw puzzles

IMG_0910

An invitation you can also play with?! Designed by the Ingram Group.

4. Three-dimensional signs

20151015_142405

You can literally make your signs stand out now. Read more about this project with Lendlease here.

5. Foil stamped, edge-painted business cards

IMG_0896

Ok, so foil stamping and edge-painting has been around for a while, but it’s still cool.

6. Variable data

IMG_1061

It can be a pain in the a** to write out 103 addresses on different envelopes. Luckily, there is now a way to print different addresses on envelopes using an excel sheet. Some print shops (like us) can also stamp and mail out your cards, too. Trust us, this saves a lot of time.

7. Cute dogs and clients who support our Print for Paws campaign

IMG_0092

Ok, so this is something we’re thankful for. This cute guy is Meatball with Harbor Entertainment. You can still purchase a Print for Paws leash here and help pups and cats at Happy Tales Humane.

8. Stickers and pavement graphics

IMG_0319

This printing technique is new for us thanks to our VUTEk and Colex machines. These camels are for our awesome friends at CJ Advertising.

9. Holiday Hangtags

IMG_1091

Because, how annoying would it be to include a card with every gift? And try to stuff it in tiny boxes like this one above? Shop ready-made holiday hangtags here.

10. Soft-touch, edge-sealed laminated menus

IMG_6362

They’re soft, and they are waterproof. Win win for customers and servers. Menus courtesy of Burger Up.

11. Instagram Christmases

IMG_0925

You can now print your awesome Instagram pictures and put them straight on your holiday card. This card is designed by Emily Holmes. Order it and others here.

12. Fun die cuts (and Kelly)

IMG_0560

We’ve had our letterpress for a while, but thanks to our new Colex, we can print large die cuts like the one shown above. Kelly’s thought bubble reads: “I love my job.” And yes, we’re thankful for Kelly, too, because she’s an all-star customer service rep.

13. Krispy Kreme Donuts

IMG_6590

Because… they’re delicious?

14. Our friends who are helping Hoss get out of jail

Hoss thanksgiving  

Another one for us, in particular, to be grateful for. These special friends are simultaneously helping homeless pups and cats at the Nashville Humane Association. We’re also thankful for the Tiny But Mighty Fund that put together “Nashville’s Most Wanted” campaign. Help bail Hoss out here.

15. YOU!

Not to sound cheesy, but we’re grateful for our awesome customers most of all. Thank you!

Now, where’s that turkey?!

giphy (4)

 

6 Holiday Photo Card Tips

Ahh, the dreaded family holiday photo!

No, taking photos for holiday cards is not everyone’s favorite thing to do. However, with these 6 holiday photo card tips, you can make your photo shoot quicker and more enjoyable  and your card prettier!

Holiday Photo Card Tips: 1. Set a time and give your family notice

Most families are busy, and many children don’t enjoy taking photos. Give everyone enough time to prepare and look nice. If you have young kids, think about taking your photos in the morning when your kids are more awake. If your kids tend to be grouchy in the morning, take one in the late afternoon.

Holiday Photo Card Tips: 2. Choose a neutral background

The main focus of your holiday card should be your family — not the background. Make sure furniture and home décor is at a minimum and the setting is clean and tidy. If you take a photo in front of the Christmas tree, ensure a good distance between your family and the tree. If everyone is too close, the camera will focus on the tree and not your lovely faces.

We love outdoor settings. It looks very natural, and psychologically, humans prefer open spaces. We are hardwired to look for this setting because — back in our primitive days — it allowed us to spot any predator or threat (Side note: this is why medical advertisements always feature a patient on the beach or in a field of flowers; it automatically puts the viewer at ease). The best locations are clutter-free, such as walls, fences, parks or the beach. Be sure to include lots of sky, grass or pavement if you would like to add text or design overlay.

BONUS POINT: If you want a card that is ultra seasonal, take your photo at a tree farm or on a field of snow.

Holiday Photo Card Tips: 3. Use lighting to your advantage

Just after sunrise and before sunset are the best times for photo shoots. The lighting will be more consistent and not too bright. Avoid direct sunlight if you are outside and find some shade. However, don’t use too much shade as that will create too many shadows and a patchy photograph.

If you are inside, take photos near windows. Natural light always looks the prettiest, so turn off any artificial lights to avoid messing up the sunlight or casting an unflattering view.

Holiday Photo Card Tips: 4. Dress for success

Like your background, your clothes need to be neutral so as not to distract from your faces. As a general rule, avoid patterns unless it is subtle and neutral-toned. One exception is flannel, as this pattern is seasonal.

Whatever apparel you choose, just ensure everyone is dressed similarly.

Holiday Photo Card Tips: 5. Take lots of photos

A good photographer takes lots of photos. It is rare that you will have your best picture on the first try. Try switching up positions, orientations and zoom level. Mix up who’s in each shot. Take a photo of each child individually, parents together and parents with each child. If for some reason no one can agree on a full-family photo, you will have alternatives to create a photo collage card.

Although you will want to take some close-ups, it’s best to take most photos a little zoomed-out. This allows for cropping in case your photo card requires certain dimensions.

Holiday Photo Card Tips: 6. Relax

You don’t want to look too stiff or too posed. If you are not having a professional take your photos, ask a friend that your spouse (and kids) feel comfortable with. Think of a few jokes to tell when everyone gets tired. If your pet is in the photo, have some treats on hand. If your pet isn’t in the photo, allow him or her to be nearby so that he or she can interact with your family between shots.

Sometimes, the best times to get relaxed pictures of your family are when they are not looking. Have the camera ready to take some awesome candid shots.

 

Have the photo, but need a design? Check these out.

Still hate taking family photos? Check out our non-photo holiday cards.

For more holiday card inspiration, check out our Pinterest.


2015 Business Holiday Cards

This year we are offering something special: a set of ready-made business holiday cards that you can customize and order today. Click on each card for more information, and email lauren@advocateprinting.net with any additional questions/orders. 

Christmas Tree Forrest Business Holiday Cards

Christmas Tree Forrest

Festive Holiday flat business card

Festive Holiday

Snowflake Frame Business Holiday Cards

Snowflake Frame

Joyful Snowman Business Holiday Cards

Joyful Snowman

Triangle Christmas Tree Holiday Business Cards

Triangle Christmas Tree

If you would like to inquire more about these business holiday cards or place an order, email lauren@advocateprinting.net. Our standard turnaround time is 3 days. Our quantity offerings start at 25 and increase by multiples of 25. Please give her 1) the name of the business holiday card 2) the quantity 3) the color 4) your name/family name(s) 5) if you want pick-up or delivery 6) any verbiage you’d like to change or add 7) trim 8) paper type and 9) due date.

Our house papers include uncoated, gloss, matte, linen, felt and kraft. We can order specialty paper if you would like it.

The different trim options include square (standard, no extra cost), rounded corners, scalloped, geometric and quatrefoil.

Holiday card trim options

Holiday card trim options

Every card comes with a standard, cougar white envelope. If you’d like a specialty envelope, we can order that for you. We can print your return addresses and each recipient address if you send us an excel sheet with recipient name, address, city, state and zip code. It should be in that order in five columns.

We can also stamp each card for you. If you have any questions, again, please email lauren@advocateprinting.net.

 

2015 Holiday Thank You Cards

This year we are offering something special: a set of ready-made holiday thank you cards that you can customize and order today. Click on each card for more information, and email lauren@advocateprinting.net with any additional questions/orders. 

Hand-Scripted Holiday Thank You Cards Set (Folded)

Hand-Scripted Holiday Thank You Set (Folded)

Herringbone Holiday Thank You cards Set

Herringbone Holiday Thank You Set

If you would like to inquire more about these holiday thank you cards or place an order, email lauren@advocateprinting.net. Our standard turnaround time is 3 days. Our quantity offerings start at 25 and increase by multiples of 25. Please give her 1) the name of the holiday thank you card 2) the quantity 3) the color 4) your name/family name(s) 5) if you want pick-up or delivery 6) any verbiage you’d like to change or add 7) paper type and 18) due date.

Our house papers include uncoated, gloss, matte, linen, felt and kraft. We can order specialty paper if you would like it.

All holiday thank you cards come with a standard, cougar white envelope. If you’d like a specialty envelope, we can order that for you. We can print your return addresses and each recipient address if you send us an excel sheet with recipient name, address, city, state and zip code. It should be in that order in five columns.

We can also stamp each card for you. If you have any questions, again, please email lauren@advocateprinting.net.


2015 Non-Photo Holiday Cards

For the first time, we are offering ready-made, non-photo holiday cards that can be customized and ordered today. Click on each card for more information, and email lauren@advocateprinting.net with any additional questions/orders. 

'Tis The Season non-photo holiday cards (Folded)

‘Tis The Season

Simply-Colored Joyeux Noel non-photo holiday cards

Simply-Colored Joyeux Noel

Silver & Garland

Silver & Garland

Merry (Folded)

Merry Sparkle

Merry & Bright (Folded)

Merry & Bright

Imperfectly Lined Christmas

Imperfectly Lined Christmas

Holly Jolly Christmas (Folded)

Holly Jolly Christmas

Holiday Love (Folded)

Holiday Love (Folded)

Our Holiday Joy card is beautifully simple. The "Joy" was carefully handwritten by our graphic designer, Lauren, to give the classic design a hint of sparkle. The Joy is faux foil, giving the card another touch of luxury without the cost. Adding a last name to the card is also available. The "Joy" will move toward the top of the folded card to accommodate the family name at the bottom. The folded card is available in seafoam, light grey, rich red and fuchsia; the inside is white. Dimensions: 5 x 7 Pair this with our Holiday Joy Hangtag for a more cohesive holiday stationery set.

Holiday Joy

Stained Glass Noel Set (Flat)

Stained-Glass Noel Set

If you would like to inquire more about these non-photo holiday cards or place an order, email lauren@advocateprinting.net. Our standard turnaround time is 3 days. Our quantity offerings start at 25 and increase by multiples of 25. Please give her 1) the name of the non-photo holiday card 2) the quantity 3) the color 4) your name/family name(s) 5) if you want pick-up or delivery 6) any verbiage you’d like to change or add 7) paper type and 18) due date.

Our house papers include uncoated, gloss, matte, linen, felt and kraft. We can order specialty paper if you would like it.

All non-photo holiday cards come with a standard, cougar white envelope. If you’d like a specialty envelope, we can order that for you. We can print your return addresses and each recipient address if you send us an excel sheet with recipient name, address, city, state and zip code. It should be in that order in five columns.

We can also stamp each card for you. If you have any questions, again, please email lauren@advocateprinting.net.


2015 Holiday Photo Cards

For the first time, we are offering ready-made holiday photo cards that can be customized and ordered today. Click on each card for more information, and email lauren@advocateprinting.net with any additional questions/orders. 

Very Merry Paisley holiday card (Flat)

Very Merry Paisley (Flat)

Triangled Holidays christmas card (Flat)

Triangled Holidays (Flat)

Strikingly Simple holiday card (Flat)

Strikingly Simple (Flat)

So Gatsby Christmas (Flat)

So Gatsby Christmas (Flat)

Polka-Dotted Christmas holiday card (Flat)

Polka-Dotted Christmas (Flat)

Perfectly Patterned holiday card (Flat)

Perfectly Patterned (Flat)

Merry & Bright Herringbone

Merry & Bright Herringbone

Merriest Christmas holiday card (Flat)

Merriest Christmas (Flat)

Merry Sparkle Hangtag

Merry Sparkle Hangtag

Happily-Framed Holiday card (Flat)

Happily-Framed Holiday (Flat)

Joyful Wishes holiday card (Flat)

Joyful Wishes (Flat)

Color Me Merry holiday (Flat)

Color Me Merry (Flat)

Christmas Wishes holiday card (Flat)

Christmas Wishes (Flat)

Brightly Festive holiday card (Flat)

Brightly Festive (Flat)

Antique Blessings holiday card (Flat)

Antique Blessings (Flat)

If you would like to inquire more about these holiday photo cards or place an order, email lauren@advocateprinting.net. Our standard turnaround time is 3 days. Our quantity offerings start at 25 and increase by multiples of 25. Please give her 1) the name of the holiday photo card 2) the quantity 3) the color 4) your name/family name(s) 5) if you want pick-up or delivery 6) any verbiage you’d like to change or add 7) a photo in jpeg format 8) trim 9) paper type and 10) due date.

Our house papers include uncoated, gloss, matte, linen, felt and kraft. We can order specialty paper if you would like it.

The different trim options include square (standard, no extra cost), rounded corners, scalloped, geometric and quatrefoil.

Holiday card trim options

Holiday card trim options

Every card comes with a standard, cougar white envelope. If you’d like a specialty envelope, we can order that for you. We can print your return addresses and each recipient address if you send us an excel sheet with recipient name, address, city, state and zip code. It should be in that order in five columns.

We can also stamp each card for you. If you have any questions, again, please email lauren@advocateprinting.net.

 

2015 Holiday Hangtags

For the first time, we are offering ready-made holiday hangtags that can be customized and ordered today. Click on each hangtag for more information, and email lauren@advocateprinting.net with any additional questions/orders. 

DIE CUT HOLIDAY HANGTAGS

Merry Sparkle Hangtag

Merry Sparkle Hangtag

Holiday Joy Hangtag

Holiday Joy Hangtag

Holiday Love Hangtag

Holiday Love Hangtag

Kraft Deer Head Hangtag

Kraft Deer Head Hangtag

Kraft Joyeux Noel Hangtag

Kraft Joyeux Noel Hangtag

Kraft Merry Christmas Hangtag

Kraft Merry Christmas Hangtag

Kraft Season's Greetings Hangtag

Kraft Season’s Greetings Hangtag

Kraft With Love Hangtag

Kraft With Love Hangtag

Kraft Snowflake Hangtag

Kraft Snowflake Hangtag

SQUARE HOLIDAY HANGTAGS

Holiday Wreath Frame Hangtag (Flat)

Holiday Wreath Frame Hangtag

Holiday Striped hangtag (Flat)

Holiday Striped

Holiday Vintage Icons Hangtag Set

Holiday Vintage Icons Hangtag Set

Watercolor Hangtag Set (flat)

Watercolor Hangtag Set

 

If you would like to inquire more about these hangtags or place an order, email lauren@advocateprinting.net. Our standard turnaround time is 3 days. Our quantity offerings start at 25 and increase by multiples of 25. Please let her know 1) the name of the hangtag 2) the quantity 3) the color (if applicable) 4) your name (if applicable) 5) if you want pick-up or delivery and 6) paper type.

Our house papers include uncoated, gloss, matte, linen, felt and kraft. We can order specialty paper if you would like it.

                       

2015 Ready-Made Holiday Cards

This year we are offering something special: a set of ready-made holiday cards and hangtags that you can order today. As a print and graphic design firm, this is abnormal and very rare for us. However, we are always looking for ways to make our customers’ lives easier, and we thought ordering holiday cards that are already designed would be a nice addition to our products and services.

In accordance with amp tradition, most everything you see is customizable: the trim, the verbiage, paper type, the photo(s) and, of course, the quantity. Most tweaks are doable, so let us know what you would like, and we will be happy to accommodate.

Holiday Photo Cards

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 5.45.33 PM

Non-Photo Holiday Cards

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 5.46.26 PM

Holiday Thank You Cards

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 5.37.50 PM

Business Holiday Cards

DA15_Holiday_Business_FestiveHoliday_01__94155.1447194102.600.600

Holiday Hangtags

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 5.39.56 PM

Click on each category to discover more holiday stationery awesomeness. If you want to order something or have a question, please email lauren@advocateprinting.net.


3D signs with Lendlease

A couple weeks ago, we created our first  drum roll please  3D sign. Well, technically, two 3D signs. One was a smaller version of the other.

Three-dimensional sign

Three-dimensional sign

The signs were created for Lendlease, a property group specializing in project management and construction, real estate investment and development. We used max metal as the base of the sign and acrylic for the logo’s layers and words. We did not install the frosted acrylic (above) to which the signs were attached, although it looks very cool with the max metal art.

Although the word “3D” sounds intimidating, the production of these signs was relatively simple and straightforward.

Step 1. Print the max metal base

The first thing we had to do was print the max metal base. We used our VUTEk machine to do this, as it can print on most rigid substances up to 2″ thick. We printed an outline of the Lendlease logo to ensure Brook (our wide-format printing whiz) placed the acrylic parts in the exact right place.

3d signs

The max metal base of the 3D sign

If you look closely, you can see the shavings from the routing (cutting) process. We use a 90% alcohol mixture to clean all of our substrates before and after printing/routing. The exception is a full-print bleed — that kind of print is cleaned with plain, old Windex!

Step 2. Print, cut and attach the three layers of the Lendlease logo

After the base has been cut and cleaned to perfection, it’s time to focus on the 3 layers of the Lendlease logo. This picture was taken after the acrylic pieces had been printed and cut. Like the base, the 3 layers were printed on our VUTEk and routed on our Colex machine.

The 3 layers of Lendlease's logo 3D signs

The 3 layers of Lendlease’s logo

Something cool to note about the three layers of the logo? They are second-surface printed. This means that they were printed on the opposite side from which the product was intended to be viewed. If this is Greek to you, check out the diagram below provided by blog.smartpress.com.

First-surface v. second-surface print

First-surface v. second-surface print

The reason for this is to create a more transparent logo, which in turn creates a more apparent three-dimensional object.

Step 3. Print, cut and attach the Lendlease name

Once we’ve attached the three pieces of the logo, the third step is to add the letters. The blue mask you see Brook removing is a protective film. It is applied to the acrylic before it is sent to the Colex.

3D letters 3D signs

3D letters

To see the addition of the Lendlease name in real time and hyperlapse, respectively, check out the videos below.

Step 4. Attach the standoffs and install the 3D signs

The final step of the 3D sign creation process is to attach the standoffs. You may remember standoffs from our blog post on Third Man Records. For them, we used black standoffs to match their black max metal prints. For Lendlease, we used silver to match their silver base.

Silver standoffs 3D signs

Silver standoffs

Brook shows us below how to attach the standoff, although, in reality, he would wait to do this until the actual installation process.

After that… voila! The signs are complete and looking awesome.

(Larger) 3D signs after installation

(Larger) 3D sign after installation

(Larger) 3D signs after installation

(Larger) 3D sign after installation

(Smaller) 3D signs after installation

(Smaller) 3D sign after installation

(Smaller) 3D signs after installation

(Smaller) 3D sign after installation


9 tips to save on Christmas cards

Christmas cards can be beautiful without spending a fortune. Here are nine tips to ensure your stationery cost stays within your budget.

1. Come directly to your printer

Stationery stores are a great starting place for ideas, but they have large markups on the paper and printing. A designer, too, will be much more expensive than if you went straight to a printer. Some print shops have an in-house designer, but you can also get crafty and design your own Christmas cards. Sites like Wedding Paper Divas, Printable Press and E.M. Papers will help you create pretty designs yourself.

2. Know all details before coming to a printer

If you do decide to use an in-house graphic designer at a print shop, know all the details before you come in. It does not help you to give the designer half the information earlier. Most designers bill by the hour, and if he or she has to go back and add or change details, it will cost you.

3. Choose house paper

Some customers want a particular paper to make their Christmas cards extra special. However, most printers already house nice papers. Felt and linen paper are two popular options because they have a classic look and feel. If a printer has to order a different paper, it will cost more. Also, many times, the “special papers” are way over-priced. Ask your printer what kind of paper they house before you tell them what kind of paper you want. They might even have some leftover samples that will cut your cost significantly.

4. Stick with standard-size Christmas cards

Postage costs can add up quickly. Stick with a standard-size card (length divided by height is less than 1.3 or more than 2.5) to save money. Square letters cost more because they don’t fit through the postal machines and have to be hand-stamped. On a similar note, avoid adding additional frills, clasps, string or buttons to the envelope. Don’t include items that make the envelope surface uneven, and avoid rigid items such as wood or metal. These things will increase postage cost.

5. Use flat Christmas cards

Most people choose between two different types of Christmas cards: flat and folded. As you can probably imagine, folded cards are more expensive because it is twice as much paper.

6. Order extras

There will inevitably be a friend or two you forgot or want to your list last-minute. Save yourself the time and money by printing a few extra holiday cards to avoid ordering a second print job. It’s always nice to have an extra card for scrapbooks or memorabilia.

7. Take advantage of technology

Digital and offset printing cost much less than letterpress and engraving. Embossing and foil-stamping is beautiful, but is much more labor-intensive than modern printing techniques, and therefore more expensive. Use a digital printer if you are printing hundreds of cards. Use an offset printer if you are printing more than 5,000 (which — kudos to you if you have 5,000 friends or clients!).

8. Write and stamp the Christmas cards yourself

Most print shops can mail your Christmas cards for you, as well as customize the recipient and return addresses. This costs more — especially the stamping. Most printers hand-stamp each card, which is time- and labor-intensive. Stamp your holiday cards yourself and handwrite each address. It will add a personal touch and won’t break the bank.

9. Proofread!

Finally, proofread! Proofread! Proofread! Reprinting your Christmas cards will cost you a fortune.

For holiday card design ideas, visit our Pinterest page. We have many designs that we have printed throughout the years.

Christmas cards


8 frightening printing mistakes

In honor of Halloween this weekend, we have gathered some scary printing mistakes that will haunt your dreams (and your bank account). Go ahead and save yourself a headache by reading these 8 common blunders.

Printing Mistake 1: Sending the wrong file type

At amp, we need PDFs to print your wonderful masterpieces. Not jpegs. Not PowerPoints. Not Word Documents. In most cases, it’s pretty easy to convert a design into a PDF. In others, not so much.

We also want high-resolution (300 dpi) PDF files for printing. We like this file type because all of the fonts and images are embedded. What you see will be the same as what we see. We can print documents between 150 dpi and 300 dpi, but everything will look best at the latter resolution. We can’t print anything with a higher resolution than 300 dpi. FYI: dpi stands for dots per inch.

Printing Mistake 2: Not sending bleed

If you want a color, a photo or anything to run off the edge of the piece, bleed must be added to it. If not, you might end up with a tiny sliver of white paper on the edges of your print products. We suggest 1/8″ (.125″) bleed all the way around the trim line. For example, a standard business card is 3.5×2, but the bleed size is 3.75×2.25.

Printing Mistake 3: Not being specific

You’d be surprised how many orders we receive that ask for “cool” or “awesome” business cards (or other paper product). While we can give you ideas (see our other blogs), it’s hard for us to design something without any guidelines. “Cool” is subjective. If you see something you like, tell us what you like about it, and we will design based off of your answer.

“Standard” is another word that gets tricky. While there are U.S. standard business card (3.5 x 2″) and letterhead (8.5 x 11″) sizes, there are no standard sizes for booklets, posters, invitations and brochures. It’s safer to give us exact dimensions so that we don’t print the wrong size. We will most likely catch you before we send your project to press, but it will still save you time and a headache to tell us your dimensions on the front end.

One more example: paper type and weight. Some customers assume we know he or she wants cover weight when we are really printing on text weight. Or, some customers want uncoated paper when we thought he or she meant silk paper. Finally, many customers forget to mention finishing. If you would like any type of lamination, UV coating, die cutting, etc. — we need to know on the front end. Especially if you want a correct quote up front.

The main point is: you can never be too specific! We love all the tiny, little details. The more, the better.

Printing Mistake 4: Designing a border too close to the edge

As most of you know, we don’t cut every brochure or card by hand; we cut in bulk. Our cutter is very precise, but it’s not perfect. Sometimes, it can be a 1/16th of an inch off. That doesn’t sound like much, but when your border is too close to the edge, it becomes painfully obvious. Thus, we recommend a border with enough safe space between it and the edge of the paper.

Printing Mistake 5: Not designing in CMYK

Before you start designing, you will want to know the color type your printer requires. We require everything in CMYK. We can print documents in PMS or RGB, but the colors will be slightly off. If Coca Cola printed some business cards in cherry red and some in a maroon color, it would be confusing to customers. It also looks unprofessional.

You won’t believe it, but we even need you to check your blacks. Make sure they are all 100% black as opposed to rich black, which is 100% of all four colors (that make black). The two blacks look very different on the press, and 100% black tends to look better.

Printing Mistake 6: Not giving yourself enough time for your project

When you know you will need printing for an event, know how much time your particular project requires. Certain types of finishing, such as die cutting, embossing and foil stamping, take much longer to complete than a basic printing job. Our turnaround time for basic print jobs is two days. We can complete certain projects, like business cards, in less time, but it will cost you.

Printing Mistake 7: Designing a gatefold with detailed panels

A gatefold can be a really neat design technique. However, because our cutter isn’t perfect, slight inconsistencies become very apparent with a gatefold. For example, horizontal stripes are very hard to align with a gatefold. We can try our hardest, but not all of the brochures will be perfect. Also, it might take longer if we have to reprint and/or re-cut your brochures in order to align the flaps perfectly.

The same goes for designing the back of an envelope. If you have a detailed pattern that spans the entire back of the envelope, the flap may not always align perfectly.

Printing Mistake 8: Not proofreading

If there’s one thing we want you to walk away with after reading this blog, it’s that proofreading is critical. Check for typos at least three times! It’s incredibly expensive to reprint 1,000 booklets because there was a small misspelling on page 23.

printing mistakes

Were these scary printing mistakes helpful? Let us know!


Edge-painted business cards with GS&F

Edge-painted business cards aren’t new, but we’ve started seeing a lot more requests. It’s a nice touch that’s more affordable than letterpress or other specialty printing additions.

This week, we painted business cards for GS&F that we think look especially awesome. The card is effective on its own — it’s simple, has lots of white space (which studies show make people feel more safe) and has the most critical information front and center. However, the red side really gives the card that extra pop that transforms it from good to great.

To produce the red sides, we use an Irwin Quick Grip to hold the cards in place. Once the tool is locked, we can paint the edges. Customers do have to purchase the paint, but it’s only about $30 and will cover ten sets of business cards.

Irwin quick grip

Irwin quick grip

According to studies conducted by CNN, BusinesscardABC and Freelance Folder, there are 10 billion business cards printed in the U.S. every year. That’s billion with a B.

Even more worrisome for marketers, 88% of business cards handed out will be thrown away in less than a week. Granted, some of this is due to recipients adding the business card’s information to a digital contact list.

So how do you stand out among the billions? Well, for starters, having some color. Prospective clients hold on to color cards 10x longer than black-and-white cards. Once you’ve added some color, incorporating a specialty technique (like edge-painting) increases a card’s lifespan even more.

edge-painted business cards

Packaging GS&F’s cards

Packaged edge-painted business cards

Packaged edge-painted business cards

edge-painted business cards -- finished product

GS&F business cards — finished product

To see some videos of the edge-painting process, check out the videos below.  

Innovative Printing in Nashville

Granted, we’re sort of print nerds, so we think all things printed are cool. But these three companies really blew our socks off with their innovative printing ideas.

1. Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority

Nashville International Airport recently welcomed Alaska Airlines to it’s family of carriers. The first flight from BNA Airport to Seattle Airport occurred on September 23, 2015, and BNA wanted to welcome Alaska Airlines employees with a special gift: custom-designed guitars. The design, as you can see below, features the Nashville skyline and the inaugural flight date.

To add the design, we used a specialty, vinyl decal. In simple terms: a very fancy sticker. With our new VUTEk and Colex machines, we can print almost any material up to 2″ thick and cut material up to .5″ thick. These machines have really expanded our capabilities, and we are able to print specialty wraps like this one.

Customized guitars

Customized guitars

innovative printing

Customized Nashville guitars

guitar wrap with BNA

Guitar wrap with BNA

Nashville Airport Authority with vinyl guitar print

Nashville Airport Authority with vinyl guitar print

Nashville International Airport celebrates the addition of Alaska Airlines to it's family of carries at an event at Aerial Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015 in Nashville, TN.

Nashville International Airport celebrates the addition of Alaska Airlines to it’s family of carries at an event at Aerial Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015 in Nashville, TN.

For more pictures and information about this event, check out this article

2. 12th Table

Everything 12th Table prints is beautiful. We feature the event design and hire company in our social media a lot for this reason. Lately, however, they’ve been creating print products that are just as pretty as they are innovative. 12th Table specializes in weddings, and they have been using acrylic displays to feature the seating charts. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize this sign is easier on the eyes than a pamphlet or flyer. The transparent acrylic adds an extra touch of elegance that would otherwise be missing.  

Acrylic display - seating chart

Acrylic sign

In addition to acrylic signage, 12th Table also created foil stamped wedding table cards. Sarah Ingram created the brush strokes and navy script, and we turned her strokes into gold foil. Although weddings aren’t intended to make a profit, foil stamping does increase purchase intent for companies with products and services to sell. As we mentioned in last week’s Friday Featured Project, foil stamping increases purchase intent by 70 percent and brand perception by 80 percent (in quality and efficacy).

Foil stamped wedding table cards

Foil stamped wedding table cards

3. Therapy Systems (Cosmetic Market)

For Therapy Systems, we created our first double-sided window cling (we were pretty pumped about it). As it sounds, a double-sided window cling is used on transparent windows to showcase an image to both the inside and outside of a building. Double the cling, double the impressions!

The Cosmetic Market ordered window clings for their upcoming Smashbox Photo Event on October 24th – their biggest event of the year. Fashion & celebrity photographer Drew Schwartz (a big deal, guys) is going to photograph those who attend (presumably in front of the step-and-repeat banner below). There will be other perks, as well, which you can learn more about here.

To give you some numbers, the value of on-site signage is equal to 24 full-page newspaper ads every year. According to the same study, replacing a storefront sign with a larger one will increase revenue by 7.7 percent for retail industries. In today’s digital age, people often overlook the efficacy of traditional on-site signage. 

 
Double-sided window clings (outside)

Double-sided window clings (outside)

Double-sided window clings (inside)

Double-sided window clings (inside)

Disclaimer: we didn’t print the products below – we just think they are cool. And effective. If you’re going to promote an event, promote it well and often. 

Promotional flyers

Promotional flyers

Step and repeat banner

Step-and-repeat banner

To see a clip of the window cling creation process, check out the video below.


Your Guide to Amazing Letterhead

An eye-catching letterhead, like a good business card, is a crucial marketing opportunity. Sometimes it will be the first correspondence a customer has with you; sometimes it will be used to strengthen and reinforce your brand.

Whether you are making an announcement, asking for a donation or saying thank you, a well-designed letterhead adds validity to the words on the page. It forces your reader to take a second look and take the message more seriously.

1. Simple is best

Simplicity is a good design principle no matter the medium. But for letterhead, especially, simplicity is crucial. After all, a letterhead is supposed to deliver a message. You want your design to reinforce the words, not distract from them.

 Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 11.57.38 AM

2. Omit unnecessary details

The only detail that is necessary on a letterhead is your logo. Everything is else is optional. The company address is available on the envelope, and customers can easily Google your phone number, email or website. However, if your company is small or just starting up, we recommend printing one preferred method of communication, such as an email address.

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 12.02.24 PM

3. Use hierarchy

This may be intuitive, but place the most important information at the top and/or left side of the page. The eye naturally looks to the top, left side of any reading material, so you want to convey the most important content first. The eye also tends to notice the largest font or design first, so make sure to increase the size of the most prominent piece of information. Make the secondary information, such as email, phone number and address smaller (unless that happens to be your most crucial information).

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 11.53.11 AM

4. Use exact brand font (and colors)

This is a design principle you should follow when creating any branded material. Our brains tend to remember illustrations better than words, which is why you have a logo in the first place. If you use dark blue when your brand color is baby blue, it will confuse your customers and weaken your brand overall.

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 11.48.24 AM

Occassionally you can get away with changing up the colors — but the design and typography must remain the same to instill brand recognition among consumers.

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 11.54.17 AM

5. Balance

Another intuitive design principle is balance and positioning. You want to arrange your content in a way that creates symmetry. If you have your logo in the top left, maybe place a design on the bottom right corner. Or if your logo is centered at the top, try centering the address, phone number and email at the bottom. Your brain naturally looks for symmetry, and it makes us feel uncomfortable when it’s not there. For example, the letterhead below does not have any symmetry — the content is all crammed into the left side.

Some designers knowingly create asymmetric designs in order to grab readers attention. It’s a bold design move, but sometimes a good designer can pull it off.

Designed by Blok Design

Designed by Blok Design

6. Incorporate your products or services

People appreciate clever design. If there is a way to convey your products and services without telling readers, do it. It will give more credibility to your company or brand. Readers will think you are smarter than the competition, and they will appreciate you more. It also makes your brand or company more memorable.

Designed by Hunt & Co.

Designed by Hunt & Co.

Designed by Lizzy Green

Designed by Lizzy Green

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 11.55.42 AM

By Jerry Cheng

7. Add specialty printing techniques

Yes, yes — we say this every time. But it’s true! Specialty printing techniques such as foil stamping, edge painting, embossing, debossing and die cutting make your brand appear more professional and/or creative. The same goes for specialty, thick paper. We are tactile creatures, and we like things that have a unique feel. It increases customer engagement and triggers more memory receptors in the brain.

Letterhead w/ foil stamping

Letterhead w/ foil stamping

Letterhead on thick paper with colored edges

Letterhead on thick paper with colored edges

Letterpress letterhead (debossed)

Letterpress letterhead (debossed)

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 12.06.11 PM

Die cut letterhead

8. Match your letterhead with your other print products

Similar to using the exact brand font and color, ensure that the overall design of your letterhead is similar to your business card, stationery, envelope and other print products. It creates brand cohesion and strength. If you want to be really neat-o, have the designs of your letterhead and business cards to form a larger design when placed side-by-side, as in the one below.

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 11.38.03 AM Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 11.39.18 AM

Foil Stamping with Harbor Entertainment

We love to show off our foil stamped products. For one, it is so elegant and beautiful (and looks great in photos). But more importantly, it adds real value to your brand: it increases visibility, brand awareness, brand differentiation, purchase intent, and it creates an image of professionalism and quality. To quantify these statements, according to Elliot Young, foil stamping increases purchase intent by 70 percent and increases brand perception by 80 percent (in quality and efficacy).

One of our customers, Harbor Entertainment, a company that provides complete event solutions, has been utilizing foil stamping really well. They’ve designed foil stamped shelf-signage and tabs for The GlenrothesIf you know anything about The Glenrothes, you know it is an exceptional whiskey — one of the best. To reinforce its high-quality image, The Glenrothes must have the best packaging and design.

Foil stamped tabs

Foil stamped tabs

foil stamped tabs

Foil stamped tabs

The tabs Harbor Entertainment designed were part of a sales binder. The Glenrothes’ logo is foil stamped at the bottom right corner, as you can see above and below. Harbor Entertainment chose gold as the color because it is one of The Glenrothes’ brand standard colors.

Foil stamped tabs

Foil stamped tabs

Foil stamped tabs

Foil stamped tabs

The entire binder is incredible, including its thick leather cover with an embossed logo (we didn’t do the embossing).

Embossed leather cover

Embossed leather cover

To increase “shelf pop,” or shelf visibility, Harbor Entertainment created — you guessed it — foil stamped shelf signage. When a customer is browsing through a liquor store looking for a quality whiskey, you know he or she is going to see The Glenrothes first (if they can pronounce it is a different story).

shelf signage

Shelf signage

If you’d like to see a bit of the creation process, check out the picture and videos below.

shelf signage before foil stamping or cutting

Shelf signage before foil stamping or cutting

Finished product:

foil stamped shelf signage

foil stamped shelf signage

backside of shelf signage

backside of shelf signage

As you can see, The Glenrothes will now have the coolest sales binder and shelf signage available. Your products could be this awesome too…

Other examples of foil stamping:

Foil stamped business cards

Foil stamped business cards

Foil stamped jewelry cards

Foil stamped jewelry cards

Judith Bright foil stamping

Judith Bright foil stamping

Foil stamped stationery

Foil stamped stationery

Foil stamped wedding table cards (before)

Foil stamped wedding table cards (before)

Foil stamped wedding table cards (after)
Foil stamped wedding table cards (after) – photo by 12th Table

5 money-saving print tips

Money-saving print tip 1: Ask about the copier

Some print shops have a regular copier that can print your black-and-white documents at a much lower price than a digital or offset press. It’s about the same price as copying documents yourself at a Kinko’s (at least ours is), but all the handiwork is done by the production staff at the printer.

Many customers will print booklets or pamphlets’ guts on the copier, and print the cover in color on the digital press. This saves a lot of money, and the end result still looks nice.

In the unlikely scenario you’ve never seen a copier at work, here is ours in action:

Money-saving print tip 2: Specialty paper > foil stamping, letterpress

For special occasions, many customers want to add a special touch to their invitation, menu or postcard. Some prefer to have foil stamping or embossing, but if you’re trying to save money, you might look into specialty paper. It has the elegance of letterpress without the cost.

money-saving print tips

Invitation with silver, metallic paper

money-saving print tips

Invitation with silver, metallic paper

Money-saving print tip 3: Know your postage

Postage costs can add up quickly. Stick with a standard-size invitation (length divided by height is less than 1.3 or more than 2.5) to save money. Square letters cost more because they don’t fit through the postal machines and have to be hand-stamped. On a similar note, avoid adding additional frills, clasps, string or buttons to the envelope. Don’t include items that make the envelope surface uneven, and avoid rigid items such as wood or metal. These things will increase postage cost.

Money-saving print tip 4: Plan in advance

When you know you have an event coming up, ask some printers how long it will take to complete such a job. If you have to place a rush on your order, it will increase cost.

Money-saving print tip 5: Utilize a used die cut

If you are adamant about creating a business card or postcard in a fun shape, ask your printer about the dies in-house. Creating a new die is expensive and time-consuming. Using an old die will take that step out of the die cutting process, saving you money and time.

To see the dies we have in storage, take a look at our online inventory.

Do you want to receive tips and featured projects before anyone else? Sign up for our newsletter.


Signs with Fifth Third Bank

– photo by Stephanie M. Maiocco

Signs. We know  they aren’t the sexiest. But sometimes the simplest things can be the most powerful. This past week, Fifth Third Bank ordered 10,000 signs for fans at the Nashville Predators‘ game on Tuesday in order to support and spread awareness of Stand Up 2 Cancer, a movement created to accelerate innovative cancer research. The movement and its relationship with Fifth Third Bank is better explained in this video.

As most of you know, Fifth Third is the official bank of the Preds and Bridgestone Arena. The bank thought it could utilize these two sponsorships to create more momentum for SU2C. Thus, Fifth Third Bank ordered 10,000 signs printed for each predators’ fan at the Bridgestone Arena.

SU2C signs

SU2C signs

The sign reads “I stand up for” followed by a blank, white box. The fans were instructed to write a name in the box of someone he or she knew that battled or is currently battling cancer. When fans held up the signs together, the end result was very powerful:

Gnash with SU2C signs

Gnash and Preds’ fans with SU2C signs

Fifth Third employees with SU2C signs at the game

Fifth Third employees with SU2C signs at the game

Fifth Third 2

The concept of SU2C signs at sports arenas isn’t new  the signs were utilized at the Tampa Bay Rays baseball game in 2013:

MLB fans honor loved ones who have fought cancer - photo by Christian Petersen

MLB fans honor loved ones who have fought cancer – photo by Christian Petersen

And at San Francisco Giants/Detroit Tigers’ game in 2012:

Giants/Detroit fans with SU2C signs

Giants/Detroit fans with SU2C signs

In fact, in 2008, Major League Baseball became the founding donor of Stand Up To Cancer. SU2C has grown tremendously with support from players, fans and all 30 MLB Clubs. As of September 2014, Major League Baseball had donated more than $40 million to the organization.

Old-fashioned signs are often overlooked because of its commonality. But in some instances, especially with nonprofit causes and movements, commonality is key to gaining and keeping momentum.

 Never miss another Friday Featured Project. Sign up to receive them right to your inbox.


7 sales-boosting holiday print tips

Ahh, the holidays. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and one of the most profitable. According to Yahoo, 40 percent of annual sales are concentrated in the last two months of the year.

And if you’re thinking “it’s not even Halloween yet, and we shouldn’t be thinking about the holidays,” then you, my friend, are wrong. Twenty-six percent of shoppers started Christmas shopping research prior to Halloween last year, according to Google. And who’s to say Halloween isn’t profitable?!

The point is… it’s time to amp up your holiday marketing game (Halloween included). We’ve done a lot of research, and we have found 7 holiday print tips to help you boost sales this season.

Holiday print tips (1) Visual signage

We all know that signs boost sales. According to Brandon Gaille, signs attract up to half of all business’ customers. Half! But what about just switching out a storefront wall sign with a larger sign? That still increases revenue for businesses in the retail industry by 7.7%!

Holiday signage on unique substrates

Holiday signage on unique substrates

Outside-of-store holiday signage

Outside-of-store holiday signage

What about indoor signs? Once you’ve got a great outdoor sign, you’re all set, right? Wrong. According to study through Ketchum, 68 percent of customers admit to having made purchases of products or services after a sign caught their eye. If you didn’t have in-store signage directing customers or informing them of services, you might miss an important sale.

In-store holiday signage

In-store holiday signage

Holiday floor graphic

Holiday floor graphic

Holiday wall cling/wall graphic

Holiday window cling/window graphic

You don’t have to break the bank on your print budget either. Even small signs like the one below help drive sales.

smaller in-door signage

smaller in-door signage

So now that you’re convinced holiday signage is important, you’re probably thinking you’re just going to go to Kinko’s and get a cheap-o sign made. Don’t! According to the same Ketchum study, 52 percent of people interviewed said they are less willing to shop at a store with a poorly made sign, especially one with misspellings. So go to a high-quality printer (us) and triple-check your spelling!

Holiday print tips (2) Holiday direct mail

According to AMi Direct Marketing, consumers spend about 25 minutes with their mail each day. For catalogs, consumers can spend an average of 30 minutes poring through the pages. With so much digital marketing flooding consumers these days, an informational booklet can really make your company stand out.

For nonprofits, the holiday season is especially important for you. According to Richard Male and Associates, Americans start to support charities around Thanksgiving with an “uncommon fervor.” If you conduct a successful direct mail campaign during the holiday season, you can sometimes bring in 50-75 percent of your total yearly revenue.

Holiday direct mail with enticing discount

Holiday direct mail with enticing discount

Holiday die cut direct mail

Holiday die cut direct mail

Holiday print tips (3) Special holiday menu

*If you’re not in the food and restaurant business, you can move on…

People tend to eat more around the holidays. People love holiday food  especially pumpkin-spice anything. How many tweets and Instagrams have you seen about the return of Pumpkin Spiced Lattes at Starbucks? Too many.

The point is: people love to eat around this time, and they love to eat festive, holiday-themed foods. Boost sales by making a special menu or food/drink item.

Holiday menu

Holiday menu

Holiday menu

Holiday menu

Holiday print tips (4) Punch cards

Oldie, but a goodie. People love freebies.

Holiday punch card

Holiday punch card

Holiday print tips (5) Food recipe tags

This isn’t limited to restaurants (although it is a good idea for people in the food & drink business). If you want to add an extra special touch, give your loyal customers a holiday treat with a custom recipe tag. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Holiday recipe cards/labels

Holiday recipe cards/labels

holiday print tips

Holiday drink tag

Holiday print tips (6) Flyers

Another oldie, but goodie. According to DMA research, 48 percent of consumers actually visited the shop advertised, requested extra information or bought a product after receiving a leaflet through their door. Leaflet distribution is one of the most affordable and effective methods of advertising, with 48 percent of consumers responding to leaflet advertisements.

If you really want an effective flyer, offer a discount or coupon. Money-off flyers are 50 percent more likely to be held for at least a week.

holiday print tips

Holiday posters

Holiday print tips (7) Small gifts

Want to give your customers a small gift, but don’t want it to be food? There are other options. Holiday coasters and custom wine labels are just a few ideas. These items are perfect for holiday parties.

holiday print tips

small holiday gifts

holiday print tips

holiday gifts

Want more helpful tips? Sign up for our Tuesday tips email.

Die cut business cards with Blackwater

Blackwater Manufacturing recently created some pretty cool business cards with us, and we thought they would be the perfect subject for our Friday Featured Project. For the cost prohibitive, this may not be the post for you. However, if you are really trying to make an impression, read on, my friend. Read on..

Blackwater provides options for cost-effective precision machining with their state-of-the-art waterjet machining center. This explains why their logo looks like a water drop combined with machinery (which is a perfect logo, but that’s a different blog post). Blackwater wanted their logo to stand out, so they chose to make it a die cut. This type of die cut resembles debossing, but it is actually two different business cards sandwiched together. The sandwiching has the double advantage of making the card thicker and creating the 3-D shape.

Debossed business cards

Stack of die cut business cards

To create this business card, there were a few steps involved. The card required two different dies — one for the logo and one for the rounded corners.

Blackwater logo die

Blackwater logo die

close-up: logo die

close-up: logo die

rounded corner die

rounded corner die

Die cut business cards Step 1: Printing

Once the dies are made, then the printing can begin.

Printed top-half of card

Printed top-half of card

This picture was actually taken after the card was on the letterpress, but it gives you an idea of what the cards looked like out of the printer.

Die cut business cards step 2: Die cutting the logo

Then… the logo die cut process.

Die cut business cards step 3: Punch out the logo

Here is another video (and picture) of Patsy punching out the logo. It just goes to show that a lot of handiwork goes into die cutting and letterpress!

 
IMG_6403

Process of punching out die cut business cards

Die cut business cards step 4: Sandwich the business cards

Sadly, we don’t have any pictures or video of this process. But it’s pretty self-explanatory.

Die cut business cards step 5: Round the corners (die cut the sandwiched business card)

Finally, once the logo has been die cut, punched out and sandwiched with the back of the card, it is time to round the corners. This process is done our letterpress, as well.

 

Once THOSE die cuts are punched out, the business card is complete! Ta-da! Take a look at the finished product.

Sandwiched business cards

Sandwiched business cards

die cut business cards -- front and back

die cut business cards — front and back

Die cut business cards

Die cut business cards

die cut business cards

Blackwater business cards

die cut business cards

close-up: die cut business cards

Would you like to receive Friday Featured projects right to your inbox? Sign-up here.


Wall Clings and Stand-up Posters with EO

This week, over 750 entrepreneurs of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) from the eastern United States headed to Nashville for a three-day EO NERVE Conference, held at the Omni Nashville Hotel. Hosted by EO’s Nashville chapter, this annual regional event had double the attendance of all previous years’ festivities.

The Nashville EO members who organized this massive conference incorporated the Music City twist, giving audience members live music and — well, fantastic printing, if we do say so ourselves.

To increase hype for the event and improve aesthetic, EO printed wall clings and stand-up posters with the event design and name.

big wall clings

EO wall cling

Stand-up (wide-format) poster

Stand-up (wide-format) poster

As always, if you’d like to see the wall cling creation process, we’ve made you a short video!

Wall Clings v. Wall Decals

Since we always want to help our customers become more knowledgeable about print, we thought this blog post would be a good time to discuss the difference between wall clings and wall decals, as well as the pros and cons of each.

Wall clings, or static clings, as shown above, do not have have any adhesive; they attach to surfaces by static. It is more temporary, which makes it perfect for events. Wall clings are super easy to remove. Watch the video below to see just how easy it is to “install” a wall cling.

Wall decals, on the other hand, do have adhesive. Made from ultra-thin vinyl, wall decals are digitally printed in full color with photo-realistic results. It looks very similar to a painting, but has more benefits. Wall decals can be applied to almost any surface: wood, metal, plastic, glass and painted surfaces. They are easy to apply and there is nothing to clean up afterward. You don’t need to worry about messy paint spills, drop cloths or cleaning brushes when you’re done. Decals and clings can aren’t limited to walls ― they can be applied to windows and doors.

Wall decal

Wall decal

Wall decal ― frosted glass

Window decal ― frosted glass

Wall decal

Wall decal

Decals are best suited for long-term décor, as the vinyl is adhesive. It can be removed, but not as easily as a wall cling.


8 Cool Customized Coasters

With the holidays approaching and a new school year in full swing, it’s a good time to purchase new, customized drink coasters. But why buy some “blah” coasters at Target when you personalize your own? Many people don’t know that printing and cutting drink coasters is part of our new capability set.

Here are 8 ideas to get you thinking about your future customized coasters..

If you’re too lazy to read (like us), watch this short video:

Customized Coasters (1): Acrylic

Acrylic coasters have a very elegant, classic look. They are refined enough to use at nice dinner parties, yet casual enough to enhance an outdoor gathering. They are also extremely durable and have almost 100% moisture protection.

Coasters on Acrylic

Coasters on acrylic

Customized Coasters (2): Wood

For a more natural look, go for some wood coasters. Like acrylic, they can be used for both casual and nicer parties.

wood coasters

wood coasters

Wood coasters with bark

Wood coasters with bark

Feeling really gutsy? How about making a coaster for each Game of Thrones family? (Sorry, we couldn’t not include this awesome photo.) Feeling more traditional? How about just your initials?

Game of Thrones wood coasters

Game of Thrones wood coasters

Customized Coasters (3): Monogram

Speaking of initials… Monogram your coasters for an extra touch of personalization.

Monogrammed coasters

Monogrammed coasters

Monogrammed wooden coasters

Monogrammed wooden coasters

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 12.43.20 PM

Customized Coasters (4): Foil Stamp

Foil stamping makes everything better (so does letterpress and die cut, which we will get to next). It will add an extra sparkle to your glass of wine.

Foil stamped coasters

Foil stamped coasters

Foil stamped coasters

Foil stamped coasters

customized coasters

Foil stamped coasters

Customized Coasters (5): Letterpress

We love letterpress. It’s so elegant and beautiful. It adds an extra touch (literally) to any design.

customized coasters

Letterpress coasters

Letterpress coasters

Letterpress coasters

Letterpress coasters

Letterpress coasters

Customized Coasters (6): Die Cut

Die cuts… we can’t endorse them enough. Create a heart-shaped coaster for Valentine’s Day, a pumpkin for Halloween or a Christmas tree for Christmas.

Coasters die cut in a heart

Coasters die cut in a heart

Does your child hate using a coaster? I bet he or she would use one if it was in the shape of Mickey Mouse..

Die cut Mickey Mouse coasters

Die cut Mickey Mouse coasters

Die cut coasters

Die cut coasters

Customized Coasters (7): Holiday

Add some holiday spirit to your home with decorative coasters.

customized coasters

St Patrick’s Day coasters

Cinco de Mayo coasters

Cinco de Mayo coasters

Customized Coasters (8): Children or Pets

Finally, add a picture of your pet or your child to your coaster. It’s a personalized coaster set you know you will keep forever.

dog coasters

Print for Paws coasters

Coasters with pictures of children

Coasters with images

As always, we want to show you a little bit of the production process!

Have any other cool ideas? Let us know!

Get your customized drink coaster order started today.


Wall Art Printing: Which material to use?

Last week, we printed some wall art for Third Man Records. They had an art exhibit (which is open until the 16th!), and they wanted some of their photographs printed. We used max metal as the substrate, which was perfect for their event.

If you have an event coming up and would like to create some wall art, it is good to know the different substrates you can choose from. They are all good, but they serve different purposes.

Wall Art: Canvas

Pros:

  • – Has the old-fashioned look of an oil painting, but is much cheaper than traditional framing and modern photo mounting.
  • – Easy to transport
  • – Lightweight
  • – Ready to hang

Cons:

  • – Less vibrancy and resolution than with acrylic
  • – Not meant for outdoors
  • – Not scratch-resistant
  • – Less UV and moisture protection than acrylic
Canvas Print

Canvas Print

Canvas Print

Canvas Print

Wall Art: Acrylic Glass

Pros:

  • – Great color vibrancy: acrylic has the ability of keeping a beam of light reflected within its surfaces, which creates an almost 3-D effect.
  • – 100% moisture protection
  • – 70-98% UV protection
  • – Lighter than glass
  • – Shatter-resistant, but can chip in the corners or edge if dropped or mishandled
  • – Modern look

Cons:

  • – Heavier than canvas or foamboard
  • – More expensive than canvas or foamboard
Acrylic Print

Acrylic Print

Acrylic Print

Acrylic Print

Acrylic print side view

Acrylic print side view

Acrylic print back view

Acrylic print back view

Wall Art: Aluminum

Pros:

  • – Same sleek, modern look as max metal, but less expensive
  • – More durable than canvas and foamboard/Gatorboard

Cons:

  • – Less durable than max metal
  • – Heavier than canvas and foamboard/Gatorboard
  • – More expensive than canvas and foamboard/Gatorboard
Aluminum Print

Aluminum Print

Aluminum Print side view

Aluminum Print side view

You can also create a print that has a “brushed aluminum” finish. It looks more metallic than standard aluminum.

Standard aluminum (left) v brushed aluminum

Standard aluminum (left) v brushed aluminum

Standard aluminum (left) v brushed aluminum (right)

Standard aluminum (left) v brushed aluminum (right)

Wall Art: Max Metal

Pros:

  • – Heavier aluminum to prevent surface dings
  • – Resists scratching and denting better than any other substrate
  • – Lightweight
  • – Highly durable and strong
  • – Most cost-competitive composite board available
  • – Weather resistant — perfect for long-term, exterior signage

Cons:

  • – More expensive than canvas and foamboard/Gatorboard
Ultra shiny max metal prints

Brushed aluminum max metal prints

Ultra shiny max metal print

Brushed aluminum max metal print

max metal print

Max metal print

Max Metal print side view

Max metal print side view

Max metal print side view

Max metal print side view

If you’d like to see some clips of the max metal printing process, check out this video:  

Wall Art: Gator Board and Foam Board

Gator board is also known as gatorfoam board and gatorboard. It is similar to foam board, also known as foamcore board and foamboard. Gator board is a little more expensive than foam board, but it lasts longer and is more durable.

Pros:

  • – More affordable than max metal, aluminum and acrylic.
  • – Lighter and easier to transport than max metal, aluminum and acrylic
  • – Perfect for events or temporary displays

Cons:

  • – Less durable than max metal, aluminum and acrylic
Gatorboard prints

Gator Board prints

Gatorboard print side and back view

Gator Board print — side and back view

wall art

Gator Board prints

Gatorfoam board prints

Gatorfoam board prints

wall art

Foam board print

Now that you know ALL about the different substrates for your wall art, which one will you choose?


Art Installation with Third Man Records

“There’s a romantic feeling of pulling a photograph out of a polaroid camera, holding it in your hands and showing it to others. It can’t be replaced or replicated.” — Jack White

If you haven’t heard, Polaroid cameras have gone out of business. That is, until the Impossible Project stepped in to rescue its timeless machines. The Impossible Project is now the only company in the world producing instant film for classic Polaroid cameras.

Third Man Records is a big supporter of analog photography, so it became the inspiration for one of the Impossible Project’s special runs of limited-edition instant film. It develops in black and yellow, the colors of the label.

To launch this collaboration, Third Man selected three photographers to create a photo exhibition using the black and yellow film: Patrick PantanoDavid Swanson and Third Man’s Angelina Castillo. The display opened last night at the label’s Blue Room from 7-9pm.

max metal art display

Third Man Records’ art exhibit

Angelina Costillo (right) with her artwork.

Angelina Castillo (right) with her artwork.

To celebrate the unique film, Third Man wanted to print some wide-format editions of the photos. There were several substrates from which to choose, including acrylic, aluminum, canvas, max metal and foam board.

Canvas is popular for those who wish to have the old-fashioned look of an oil painting (but don’t want to spend the money on traditional framing and modern photo mounting). If you know anything about Third Man Records, you know that they don’t go for the old-fashioned look.

Foam board and Gator board are popular mediums for events as they are easy to transport and affordable. They don’t look as nice as aluminum, max metal or acrylic. For this reason, Third Man nixed foam board.

Aluminum, max metal and acrylic all would have worked for Third Man’s art show, as all three have a sleek, modern look. They are all highly durable, lightweight and strong.

Third Man ended up choosing max metal, due to its specific look and because it prevents surface dings, scratching and denting better than any other substrate. It also happens to be the most cost-competitive composite board available.

Max metal art installation

Max metal art installation

Max metal art installation

Max metal photographs

Max metal art installation

Max metal interior graphic

Max metal art installation

Max metal photos — before cleaning

To mount the graphics on the wall, we used black standoffs. Standoffs come in various colors, but Third Man wanted black as that is one of their signature colors. The end result looked very chic.

black standoff

black standoff

Black standoffs

Black standoffs

If you’d like to see some clips of the printing and cutting process, check out the short video below.

If you didn’t get a chance to see Third Man’s display last night, the exhibition will remain open through the Sept. 16th during normal Third Man hours. To learn more about the exhibit, click here or watch the promotional video below.


Direct Mail Tips with Land Trust

The Land Trust for Tennessee has several fundraising events throughout the year, including Once in A Blue Moon, a party at Glen Leven Farm that includes food, entertainment, drinks, boots, bonfire and bluegrass. Like many events, Once in a Blue Moon uses direct mail to increase awareness and attendance. If you don’t know a lot about direct mail, here are 6 tips you should follow.

Direct Mail Tip 1: Send multiples

A key fundamental of marketing is multiple touch points. Thus, it helps to send a couple direct mail pieces or to use a direct mail piece combined with a follow-up email. Land Trust decided to send two letters: a save the date card and the invitation. The save the date card should follow the same general design and layout as the invitation, but with less information. It should be a teaser to get people excited about the event.

Save the Date card

Save the date front

cool save the date card

Save the date card back

Cool Invitation

Invitation

Direct Mail Tip 2: Make your envelope unique.

It’s no surprise that people receive a lot of mail – most of it “junk mail.” The success of a direct mail campaign hinges on the audience opening the envelope before it gets thrown in the trash. Knowing this, Land Trust decided to splurge on the envelopes and use vellum as the material of choice. Vellum, as you can see from this picture, is transparent. It stands out from the other white envelopes in a stack of mail and piques readers’ interest.

Vellum envelope

Vellum envelope

Custom envelope

Custom envelope

Another benefit of vellum envelopes is its design potential. As you can see in the photo below, it appears as if a moon crescent is shining through the envelope, going along with the “Once in a Blue Moon” theme. You can also see the illusion of a starry sky and the date of the event on the bottom right corner.

See through envelope

Stuffed custom envelope

Direct Mail Tip 3: Invitation presentation

Once you have piqued a reader’s interest, it’s important to retain it. This is where the invitation design and layout comes in. Land Trust used a ticket and a ticket sleeve to tell a small story. As you pull out the ticket, it shows four different moon stages with the sentence “Events like this happen only once in a blue moon.” It’s so clever! And as you can see from the sleeve, the design is simple enough that it makes the “story” and important details pop.

Cool invitation

Invitation: Part 1

cool invitation

Invitation: Part 2

cool direct mail

Invitation: Part 3

Invitation: Part 3

Invitation: Part 4

To see how the opening process of the invitation, watch this short GIF.

Direct Mail Tip 4: Follow the 40/40/20 rule

The 40/40/20 rule of direct marketing (and thus direct mail) is a formula for success that most businesses try to follow. The adage is that 40 percent of your direct marketing success depends on your audience, 40 percent depends on your offer, and 20 percent depends on everything else, such as design and layout.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t worry about design – you definitely should. But it is just as important to create a carefully targeted audience that will respond to your offer.

For more details on the 40/40/20 rule, visit this blog.

Direct Mail Tip 5: Make the CTA simple.

Once you have targeted the perfect audience, induced them to open your direct mail piece and delivered an enticing offer, it is crucial to make the call to action simple and convenient. People are busy, and they want to take you up on the offer only if it is convenient for them. Thus, Land Trust enclosed a return mailer with check boxes – super easy for readers to send. There is also a sign up link on Land Trust’s event page, if people would rather sign up that way.

Call to action

Call to action (RSVP card)

Direct Mail Tip 6: Use a good printer (us, obviously)

Yes, we are the best printer of all time, obviously. But for those of you in California who don’t want to use a vendor that far away, make sure to use a nice printer. You can spend all the time and money on the design as you want, but if the quality of the paper is sh****, none of it matters. Also, some printers will stamp and mail your direct mail pieces out for you, saving you valuable time.

But seriously.. who wouldn’t want to work with these awesome people?!

 

5 Cool Wide-Format Printing Ideas

With so much media and signage today, it’s hard to break through the clutter. As most of you know, we got a super cool new machine  the EFI VUTEk H2000 Pro  which has more (and better) wide-format printing capabilities than ever before. Here are some neat ideas if you are in a wide-format printing rut.

1st Cool Wide-Format Printing Idea: Use white ink

Very few printers have the ability to print white ink. Most can print an image on a white background, creating the illusion of white ink. However, if you have a substrate that is not white — such as acrylic, wood, Gator board or max metal — you need that special ability. Although many consumers may not consciously realize it, there are relatively few signs on the market that contain white ink. Thus, this technique is a good way to break through the signage clutter.

Nashville skyline in white ink

Nashville skyline in white ink

Batman building on acrylic

Batman building on acrylic

white ink wide-format printing ability

White ink wide-format printing ability

The picture below isn’t exactly wide-format, but it does showcase the uniqueness of white ink printing.

Business cards with white ink

Business cards with white ink

2nd Cool Wide-Format Printing Idea: Print on a unique substrate

When most people think of wide-format signage, they think of banners and posters. But what about your logo on an aluminum cutout? Or a max metal sign? This type of printing isn’t used as frequently, which makes it more memorable.

printing on aluminum

Printing on aluminum

printing on acrylic

Printing on acrylic

printing on acrylic

Printing on acrylic

Max metal is a cool substrate to use in printing. Sometimes it looks like metal, and sometimes the end result appears to be a fancy type of glass, as shown in the pictures below. There are many different outcomes with max metal, which makes it one of our favorites.

printing on max metal

Printing on max metal

printing on max metal

Printing on max metal

printing on max metal

Printing on max metal

printing on max metal

Printing on max metal

If you would like to frame your company retreat (or a bucket of tomatoes), but don’t want to use a boring old photo, try printing on cloth canvas. It is sure to make passersby stop and stare.

printing on cloth

Printing on cloth canvas

3rd Cool Wide-Format Printing Idea: Use wall space

Ok, we say this all the time. But it’s so true! There is so much blank real estate in your office that is just waiting to be used as advertising. Print your company timeline, your company name, your values or your latest campaign. An office is taken much more seriously when its door has the company name in frosted glass.

Wide-format printing on architecture: timeline wall mural

Wide-format printing on architecture: timeline wall mural

Wide-format printing on architecture: wall mural

Wide-format printing on architecture: wall mural

Wide-format printing on architecture: door mural

Frosted glass

Wide-format printing on architecture: wall mural

Wide-format printing on architecture: wall mural

Wide-format printing on architecture: wall mural

Wide-format printing on architecture: wall mural

Wide-format printing on architecture: wall mural

Wide-format printing on architecture: wall mural

Wide-format printing on architecture: wall mural

Wide-format printing on architecture: wall mural

If you would like an architectural graphic that is more temporary, go with a wall cling. It is easy to remove and switch out.

Wide-format printing on architecture: window cling

Wide-format printing on architecture: window cling

4th Cool Wide-Format Printing Idea: Print on magnets

Everyone loves magnets. There’s a reason people collect them! If you print the Tennessee Titans’ football schedule on a magnet with your company name advertised on the header, people are sure to keep those on their refrigerator throughout the season. Talk about repeated brand exposure!

Order Up magnets

Order Up magnets

Car magnet

Car magnet

Wide-format printing on magnets

Titans’ magnets

5th Cool Wide-Format Printing Idea: Print cutouts

Finally… cutouts. Everyone loves a cool cutout.

Cool Cutout

Cutout

cool dog cutout

Dog cutout

Thumbs up cutout

Thumbs up cutout

If you would like to come check out some more samples, please come visit us! We would love to give you a tour and show you our new VUTEk. Below are some videos of the VUTEk if you want a little sneak peak.

 

Letterpress with Judith Bright

As every bride in America knows, letterpress is an elegant print method that makes a soft indentation (embossing) on card stock. We use a 1971 Heidelberg Windmill to create this clean, stunning design.

Recently, Judith Bright decided she wanted to revamp her print products, and it was only fitting to create letterpress notecards and jewelry tags. She makes gorgeous jewelry, and beautiful print products to add to her overall aesthetic.

pretty jewelry tags

Original jewelry tags

In the image above, you can see that she prefers simple design and light colors. Her jewelry tags and informational cards have a light blue logo and her name in a gold color.

Her new cards maintain the simplicity of her original cards, but she decided to use foil-stamping and debossing to add an extra touch of elegance to her print products. The end result is nothing short of beautiful.

embossing

New jewelry tags and notecard

letterpress cards

Debossed and foil stamped notecards

Letterpress earring holders

Letterpress earring holders

You can tell someone cares about his or her business and customers when he or she puts so much effort into the brand aesthetic. These tags and cards required several time-consuming steps, which we want to highlight. Understanding the letterpress process is very beneficial for anyone considering using this technique.

Letterpress Step 1: Creating an online design template

The first step of letterpress is design and layout. Judith wanted cards with rounded corners, which requires a die of its own. To make a physical die, you must first create an online version of the die. Most graphic designers should be able to do this. However, make sure that your graphic designer understands how to design for print.

Rectangular earring cards with upper holes die cut die

Rectangular earring cards with upper holes die cut die

To deboss (or emboss) anything, you must create a separate die (shown below). Again, you need an online template.

Rectangular earring cards emboss die

Rectangular earring cards emboss die

Although this isn’t really necessary, you can create an online mockup to see how the two dies will look when combined.

Mockup of rectangular earrings with upper holes

Mockup of rectangular earrings with upper holes

Letterpress Step 2: Create the dies

Once you have created a design and layout, it is time to send the file to your local printer. If they cannot make the die in-house, they should be able to find someone who can.

Rectangular earring cards with upper holes die cut die

Rectangular earring cards with upper holes die cut die

The above photo is the die cut die of the earring tags. The below photo is the emboss die of the same earring tags.

 
Rectangular earring cards with upper holes emboss die

Rectangular earring cards with upper holes emboss die

Letterpress Step 3: Print cards

The only printing required on this set of tags and cards was for the one-inch necklace squares. “Judith Bright” is printed below the logo because it is too small to emboss.

Letterpress Step 4: Foil stamp

Once you have created your dies and sent your cards to press, it is time to foil stamp your print products! This is where one uses the emboss die, as shown above. Applied with metallic foil and heat, the die creates a beautiful end product (shown below).

Foil-stamped rectangular earring cards

Foil-stamped rectangular earring cards

Letterpress Step 5:  Die cut

Almost done! Now it is time to use the letterpress. Again, we use a 1971 Heidelberg Windmill to die cut 4 earring tags at a time.

Die cut and foil-stamped rectangular earring cards

Die cut and foil-stamped rectangular earring cards

If you would like to see a letterpress in action, check out the video below.

Letterpress Step 6: Punch out

Finally, once everything is cut and stamped, it is time to punch out the final cards. Each individual card (and its jewelry holes) must be removed by hand.

Completed die cut and foil stamped rectangular earring cards

Completed die cut and foil stamped rectangular earring cards

Completed die cut and foil stamped rectangular earring cards

Completed die cut and foil stamped rectangular earring cards

Completed die cut and foil stamped rectangular earring cards

Completed die cut and foil stamped rectangular earring cards

Ta-Da!

After meticulous design, layout, letterpress and handwork, the cards and tags are complete. Stay tuned for Judith Bright gift cards… we are in the process of creating new ones!

Completed die cut and foil stamped Judith Bright tags and cards

Completed die cut and foil stamped Judith Bright tags and cards

Completed die cut and foil stamped Judith Bright tags and cards

Completed die cut and foil stamped Judith Bright tags and cards

Please contact us if you have any questions or would like a quote for letterpress or die cutting. We would love to help you if we can!

 

Brochure Printing Tips

Brochure printing isn’t the sexiest, but it’s necessary for relaying information about your company, products or services. These advertising staples can get a little stale, so we’ve put together some tips to make your brochure memorable and informative.

1. Brochure Printing Tip #1: Select the best paper

100lb cover paper makes a big difference compared to 100lb text paper. It is surprisingly sturdier, which makes your brochure look more professional and durable.

Most printers have a variety of house paper from which you can choose. Felt, linen, gloss and matte are four popular options that are affordable but feel more substantial than text paper.

felt brochure

Felt brochure

Brochure on gloss paper

Brochure on gloss paper

2. Brochure Printing Tip #2: Less words, more pictures

The average reader glances at the cover of a brochure for less than 5 seconds before deciding if he or she wants to read it. Make sure your headline is intriguing and graphics are aesthetically pleasing.

Simple, pretty brochure cover

Simple, pretty brochure cover

The same goes for the guts (or inside) of the brochure. Use bullet points, large fonts and fewer words to get your point across. Consumers are busy and have short attention spans.

Beautiful brochure
simple, pretty brochure

Simple, pretty brochure

3. Brochure Printing Tip #3: Be better than the trifold.

  be better than the trifold    

We all love a good trifold. With good design and intriguing copy, a trifold can be a very effective medium for relaying information. However, most people use a classic trifold as their brochure layout of choice, so it becomes harder to stand out. There are so many different folds that people forget, such as the ones below.

brochure folding types

Brochure folding types

One of our favorites is the z-fold, also known as the zig-zag or accordion fold. Some people differentiate the z-fold and accordion fold by panels, as a z-fold typically has six panels and an accordion has 8 or more, but they are folded the same way. If you look at a z-fold from an aerial view, it will look like the letter “Z.”

pretty z-fold brochure

Pretty z-fold brochure

A z-fold is beneficial because of its versatility. The brochure can open with one pull, allowing the design to be able to span the entire sheet of paper.

IMG_0179

brochure printing
brochure printing

Z-fold brochure with cross-panel design

If you do choose to go with a trifold, we recommend making tiny tweaks, such as making one flap short or making the brochure more square than rectangular. It’s different enough that it makes the brochure stand out.

square trifold

square trifold

short-fold trifold

Short-fold trifold

4. Brochure Printing Tip #4: amp up your design game

A good design welcomes a reader into the brochure. The best designs are relatively simple in nature and reinforce the overall message of the brochure.

A basic but crucial design tip is using complementary colors to create visual harmony.

well-designed brochure
well-designed brochure

Well-designed brochure using complementary colors

Above, Ensworth uses their signature color, orange, with its complementary color, blue, to create a brochure that is visually appealing and balanced.

In addition to using complementary colors, a designer can choose to create a layout in the shape of its company’s message. For example, the brochure below, designed to look like a CD cover, is supposed to convince out-of-state companies to use Nashville as the place to hold conventions or meetings. The CD cover plays on Nashville’s reputation as “Music City USA.”

IMG_3282

Brochure designed as a CD cover

Brochure designed as a CD cover

Emma, a successful company that offers email marketing services, created a brochure in the shape of an iPhone to reinforce the brochure’s message that a phone is becoming a mobile email inbox. It’s genius!

Die cut iphone brochure

Die cut brochure

die cut brochure

Die cut brochure

die cut brochure

Die cut brochure

5. Brochure Printing Tip #5: Add finishing

As with everything else we print, a good finishing technique can make the difference between an average brochure and great brochure. Die cutting, embossing, foil stamping and laminating are a few we use to make a brochure really stand out.

Foil stamped brochure

Foil stamped brochure

Die cut iphone brochure

Die cut brochure

Die cut brochure

Brochure with asymmetrical edges

Die cut brochure

Brochure with asymmetrical edges

UV-coated brochure

UV-coated brochure

Other tips to keep in mind are resolution and bleed. If you send a photo to your printer, make sure it is at least 300 dpi and make sure it has bleed. Any questions? Let us know!

Wedding Invitations: 10 Ways to Save Money

Wedding invitations can be beautiful without spending a fortune. Here are ten tips to ensure your stationery cost stays within your budget.

1. Come directly to your printer

Stationery stores are a great starting place for ideas, but they have large markups on the paper and printing. A designer, too, will be much more expensive than if you went straight to a printer. Some print shops have an in-house designer, but you can also get crafty and design your own invites. Sites like Wedding Paper Divas, Printable Press and E.M. Papers will help you create pretty designs yourself.

2. Create a wedding logo

Creating a wedding logo — even a simple monogram — is an easy way to make your invitations (and other wedding cards) look more polished. It ties everything together and shows you really care about the little details. Once you have a logo, create a motif that goes along with it. It’s easier to develop a design based off of a monogram than developing one from scratch.

3. Know all details before coming to a printer

If you do decide to use an in-house graphic designer at a print shop, know all the details before you come in. It does not help you to give the designer half the information earlier. Most designers bill by the hour, and if he or she has to go back and add or change details, it will cost you. Talk to your wedding planner and have a schedule set in stone before you go to your printer.

4. Choose house paper

Many brides want a particular paper to make their wedding invitations extra special. However, most printers already house nice papers. Felt and linen paper are two popular options because they have a classic look and feel. If a printer has to order a different paper, it will cost more. Also, many times, the “special papers” are way over-priced. Ask your printer what kind of paper they house before you tell them what kind of paper you want. They might even have some leftover samples that will cut your cost significantly.

5. Stick with standard-size invites

Postage costs can add up quickly. Stick with a standard-size invitation (length divided by height is less than 1.3 or more than 2.5) to save money. Square letters cost more because they don’t fit through the postal machines and have to be hand-stamped. On a similar note, avoid adding additional frills, clasps, string or buttons to the envelope. Don’t include items that make the envelope surface uneven, and avoid rigid items such as wood or metal. These things will increase postage cost.

6. Use postcards

As you can guess, using postcards for save-the-date cards or wedding invites saves money by eliminating the envelope. Often, postcards can be more creative and fun than classic invitations.

7. Order extras

There will inevitably be a guest or two you forgot or want to add last-minute. Save yourself the time and money by printing a few extra invitations to avoid ordering a second print job. It’s always nice to have an extra invite for your wedding scrapbook, as well.

8. Take advantage of technology

Digital and offset printing cost much less than letterpress and engraving. Embossing and foil-stamping is beautiful, but is much more labor-intensive than modern printing techniques, and therefore more expensive. Use a digital printer if you are printing hundreds of invitations. Use an offset printer if you are printing more than 5,000.

9. Write and stamp the invites yourself

Most print shops can mail your invitations for you, as well as customize the guest and return addresses. This costs more — especially the stamping. Most printers hand-stamp each invite, which is time- and labor-intensive. Stamp your invites yourself and handwrite each address. It will add a personal touch and won’t break the bank.

10. Proofread!

Finally, proofread! Proofread! Proofread! Reprinting your wedding invitations will cost you a fortune.

  For wedding invitation design ideas, visit our Pinterest page. We have many designs that we have printed throughout the years. We remove most of the names and important details to ensure our customers’ privacy.

Sticker Printing: American Born Moonshine

Sticker printing sounds a tad juvenile. But don’t be fooled — our adhesives make great architectural graphics, furniture graphics and printed household items.

If you read our blog last week, you saw some of Village’s door and wall graphics:

door graphic

door graphic

 

If we told you this was a fancy sticker, would you believe us? Didn’t think so.

One of our customers, American Born Moonshine, has taken advantage of our new sticker printing abilities and created some pretty cool graphics. We thought we would show you a few to get you thinking about some stickers you might like to print for yourself.

Sticker Printing: Coolers

Take these coolers, for example:

sticker printing

Custom-branded coolers

What better way to advertise your liquor business than to create custom-branded coolers? American Born Moonshine is an expert in target marketing. They know their customers are patriotic and have a “fiercely independent spirit,” so they incorporated the Gadsden flag into their coolers.

Sticker Printing: Tennessee

How about some stickers in the shape of Tennessee?

sticker printing

custom-printed stickers

People love Tennessee. People love moonshine. It’s perfect!

If you want to see the before and after process of cutting these stickers on our Colex, check out the two videos below. If not, keep scrolling.

Sticker Printing: Bar Mats

How about some bar mats or countertop mats?

 
Bar mat stickers

Bar mat stickers

custom-branded bar mats

custom-branded bar mats

It prevents water rings, protects your countertop AND advertises your brand. It’s super easy to peel, too.

easy-to-peel bar mat stickers

easy-to-peel bar mat stickers

easy-to-peel bar mat stickers

easy-to-peel bar mat stickers

Also, look at that tagline — “The smooth side of a rough history.” The bar mat is printed on vinyl, an ultra smooth material. Punny, right?

Banners

Ok, so these few products don’t have anything to do with stickers… But they’re cool! And we want to show them off. Vinyl banners, blow-through banners and table tops, respectively, are another great advertising medium.

Vinyl Banner

Vinyl Banner

Vinyl Banner

Vinyl Banner

Blow-through banner

Blow-through banner

Blow-through banner

Blow-through banners

table tops

table tops

  What do you think about our sticker printing abilities? Pretty cool, huh?  

Building Graphics: Village Real Estate

Building graphics (or architectural graphics) are a hot marketing technique right now. Like outside graphics, they are a cost-effective method of advertising your business. Building graphics are instant and flexible. As Village Real Estate knows, empty office space is  no pun intended  blank real estate. Thus, Village has decided to amp up their office with door, window and lobby graphics. We think their new products are too cool to not show off, so we’ve put together some images of their newly-amped-up office.

Building Graphics: Wall Graphics

Our first wide-format project for Village was a wall graphic. We created their name with our new VUTEk machine, which prints with ultra high-quality and precision. Now, when a customer walks into Village’s office, they are immediately reminded of the company’s brand name, colors, design and culture.

building graphics

Village wall graphic

Village Wall Graphic

Village Wall Graphic

Building Graphics: Door Graphics

Similar to wall graphics, door graphics are an often-overlooked method of advertising. This type of door graphic is called etched glass vinyl or “frosted glass.” It looks classic and professional.

Etched glass vinyl

Etched glass vinyl

Etched glass vinyl

Etched glass vinyl

Etched glass vinyl door

Etched glass vinyl door

Etched glass vinyl

Etched glass vinyl

Building Graphics: Window Graphics

Village Real Estate chose to use frosted glass to decorate their windows, as well, giving their business a very professional, aesthetically-pleasing appearance. Window graphics are perfect for invoking passerby curiosity and, like outside graphics, repeated exposures. According to Charles R. Taylor and John C. Kozup, the cumulative effect of these repeated exposures is more effective than isolated advertising techniques.

Etched vinyl window graphic

Etched vinyl window graphic

Etched vinyl window graphic

Etched vinyl window graphic

Building Graphics: Hanging Wall Art

Alright, so these technically aren’t architectural graphics, but they are graphics on architecture… With our new machines, we can print a wider variety of hanging wall art than ever before. Metal, aluminum, acrylic, wood and stretch canvas are now in our portfolio of substrates. Village Real Estate decided to go with max metal, and the end result looks b-e-a-u-tiful! The photographs for these pieces were done by the wonderful Kevin Schlatt. Find more of his work and contact info at http://peteypete.smugmug.com/.

Max metal wall art

Max metal wall art. Photos by Kevin Schlatt.

Max metal wall art

Max metal wall art. Photos by Kevin Schlatt.

Hanging wall graphic. Photos by Kevin Schlatt

Hanging wall graphic. Photos by Kevin Schlatt

Hanging wall graphic. Photos by Kevin Schlatt

Hanging wall graphic. Photos by Kevin Schlatt

Check out Kevin’s Facebook page for more photos of his work.

Village also wanted us to install a typographic mural for their office, which can be seen below. It was designed by Hunter Mize, and we used vinyl and laminate to implement the artwork on the canvas. This particular piece is called “To-The-Edge Hood Print.” To purchase this art or to see more of Mize’s work, visit his Pinterest page.

Typographic mural by Hunter Mize

Typographic mural by Hunter Mize

Typographic mural. Print by Hunter Mize

Typographic mural. Print by Hunter Mize

Typographic mural. Print by Hunter Mize

Typographic mural. Print by Hunter Mize

So who’s ready to amp up their office next??

– The amp team


Outdoor Graphics Trends

Outdoor graphics is one of the fastest growing segments of the printing and marketing industry, due mostly to the expanded capabilities of today’s digital printing technology, the integration of digital technology* with outdoor signage and the commercial success of outdoor advertising.

Some of you may be thinking, “what does this have to do with me and my company?” Well, my friend, it matters because – like social media – it is an increasingly successful marketing technique. No matter what industry you are in, marketing is and always will be important.

Outdoor Graphics Trend #1: Wider variety of materials

Due to the advancement in today’s digital print technology, there is a greater variety of (and better quality) outdoor signage. UV-printed material is becoming the new norm for large-format posters and banners as it protects the substrates from the sun. Prints that are not UV-resistant tend to fade, making the graphic difficult to read and your advertisement less effective. Faded colors give less of a “pop” for viewers, and thus less of an impact.

outdoor graphics

UV-printed poster

UV-coated banner

UV-printed banner

You can tell the large poster and banner above are UV-printed by their high shine.

Mesh is being used more frequently in outdoor advertisements, as its tiny air holes allow wind to flow through the graphic and create less of a force against it.

Mesh banner

Mesh banner

outdoor graphics

Mesh or “blow-through” banners

Similar to mesh, fabric is gaining in popularity. It has more longevity than other types of signage and does not create glare.

outdoor graphics with fabric material

outside graphic with fabric material

outside graphic with fabric material

outside graphic with fabric material

Outdoor Graphics Trend #2: Integration with digital technology

Digital technology is desirable because of its interactive and data collection capabilities, while printed displays have a certain aesthetic that many advertisers still prefer. Thus, more companies have been combining the two to receive the benefits of both digital and print displays.

For example, a well-known billboard in London created by agency WCRS, Women’s Aid and Ocean Outdoor used facial recognition to recognize when people were paying attention to the image of a bruised woman. As more people looked at the ad, her injuries healed faster, insinuating that it’s wrong to turn a blind eye to domestic violence. The advertisement received much more success, attention and press than it would have with a print advertisement alone.

Women's Aid billboard

Women’s Aid billboard

Here’s a video if you would like to see how the billboard changes:

Outdoor Graphics Trend #3: Increase in Commercial Success

More and more people are recognizing the benefits of out-of-home advertising. According to Epic Outdoor Advertising, OOH advertising is more cost-effective than any other type of advertising, it is the only type of advertising that has constant exposure, and it has a larger audience than any other type of advertisement.

Real estate sign

Real estate sign

Consider car decals. According to the American Trucking Association, vehicle ads generate more than 600 visual impressions for every mile driven. That’s hundreds of thousands of impressions per year!

Car decal

Car decal

Vehicle graphics

Vehicle graphics

Vehicle ads don’t have to be big. Bumper stickers generate just as many impressions, and they are a lot less expensive.

Car bumper sticker

Print for Paws bumper sticker

At least for us, door graphics requests have increased. What better way to brand or advertise your company than to do it right when people walk in the door?

Etched glass vinyl door ad

Etched glass vinyl door ad

According to Richard Romano with What They Think, construction site graphics have become especially popular. Downtown Nashville, in particular, has construction sites on almost every corner. These sites are valuable advertising space for the owners of the property, and it would be a waste not to use it.

Now that you know the trends in outdoor graphics, are you ready to get started with your out-of-home ads?

– The amp team

*Although this may be a no-brainer for some of our readers, there is a difference between “digital technology” and “digital print technology.” Digital is making use of or relating to computers or computerized technologies, while digital printing is a type of printing that is meant for small-run or medium-run jobs and has a faster turnaround time than offset printing.


Die Cuts: amp’s Die Inventory

As most of you know, die cuts are just a fancy print term for “cut outs” or shapes. An encyclopedic definition of die cutting would be: a process used in many different industries to cut a thin, flat material into a specific shape using a steel cutting die.  We mostly die cut paper and stickers at amp. The benefits of die cutting include visual appeal and a good marketing technique. A fun shape will have a lingering impression on the viewer, making you or your company stand out.

To create die cuts, you must first have a “die” or “die line:” a template that ensures proper layout for a printed product. A graphic designer can create the die line on the computer first and transfer the shape to a physical die. Below are 4 images of the process: the first is a digital picture of a soapbox die, designed on the computer. The second and third images are the physical die and a paper piece stamped out on the letterpress.  The last image is the finished product, a beautifully assembled soap box.

Click to enlarge.

soapbox die cuts stages

soapbox die cut stages

At amp, we use a 1971 Heidelberg Windmill to die cut. We also refer to it as our letterpress. Here is a video if you’re interested in the production process:

Because die cutting is a specialty that requires more set-up and finishing, it is a bit more costly. However, if a print shop already has a die made that you like, your project’s cost and time decreases. For this reason, we have made you an inventory of the dies we house at amp. This is not a complete list, as we have several company-specific dies, but it is a good start if you are looking for basic shapes. We will continually update this blog so that you always have the most up-to-date information.

Die Cuts: Animal Dies

Rabbit die cutting

Rabbit die

Die Cuts: Badge Dies

3"x5.5" square badge die cutting with rounded corners

3″x5.5″ square badge die with rounded corners

3"x4.5" rectangular badge die cutting with rounded corners

3″x4.5″ rectangular badge die with rounded corners

4"x6" rectangular badge die cutting with rounded corners

4″x6″ rectangular badge die with rounded corners

3.5"x4.25" badge die cutting

3.5″x4.25″ badge die

Die Cutting: Brochure Dies

Brochure die cutting

Brochure die

Emma_LitmusCoBranded_Dieline

Accordion-fold brochure

Die Cuts: Business Card Dies

Business card Die Cutting

Business card die

Business card Die Cutting

Business card die

Business card Die Cutting with rounded corners

Business card die with rounded corners

Rounded corner business card Die Cutting 3.5"x1.75"

Rounded corner business card die 3.5″x1.75″

Chop corner business card Die Cutting

Chop corner business card die

Business card Die Cutting

Business card die

business card die

business card die

2 round corner 2 straight corner business card Die Cutting

2 round corner 2 straight corner business card die

Scalloped business card die

Scalloped business card die

Die Cuts: Card Dies

Unique card Die Cutting

Unique card die

Scalloped holiday card Die Cutting

Scalloped holiday card die

card die

card die

Rectangular thank you card Die Cutting with rounded corners

Rectangular thank you card die with rounded corners

Thank you card Die Cutting

Thank you card die

Square card Die Cutting with rounded corners

Square card die with rounded corners

Card Die Cutting

Card die

Folding card Die Cutting

Folding card die

 Die Cuts: Circle Dies

24 1" circles Die Cutting

Twenty-four 1″ circles die

Twelve 1.5" circles Die Cutting

Twelve 1.5″ circles die

Single 1.75" Circle Die Cutting

Single 1.75″ Circle Die

Six 1.75" circles Die Cutting

Six 1.75″ circles die

Twelve 2" circle Die Cutting

Twelve 2″ circle die

Single 2.5" Circle Die Cutting

Single 2.5″ Circle Die

Six 2.25" circles Die Cutting

Six 2.25″ circles die

Six 2.5" circles Die Cutting

Six 2.5″ circles die

Six 2.75" circular Die Cutting

Six 2.75″ circular dies

Single 3" circle Die Cutting with dot

Single 3″ circle die with dot

Six 3" circles Die Cutting

Six 3″ circles die

Single 3.5" circle Die Cutting

Single 3.5″ circle die

Six 3.5" circles Die Cutting

Six 3.5″ circles die

Single 4" circle Die Cutting

Single 4″ circle die

Single 5" circle Die Cutting

Single 5″ circle die

Single 6" circle Die Cutting

Single 6″ circle die

Single 6.5" circle Die Cutting

Single 6.5″ circle die

Single 8" circle Die Cutting with dot

Single 8″ circle die with dot

Pacman: single 8" diameter circle Die Cutting with dot

Pacman: single 8″ diameter circle die with dot

Single 10" circle Die Cutting

Single 10″ circle die

Keg Top Die Cutting

Keg Top Die

Die Cuts: Food and Drink Dies

Pizza slice Die Cutting

Pizza slice die

Beer bottle Die Cutting

Beer bottle die

Recipe card Die Cutting with tab

Recipe card die with tab

Keg Top Die Cutting

Keg Top Die

Die Cuts: Envelope Dies

envelope liner Die Cutting

envelope liner die

Envelope Die Cutting

Envelope die

Envelope liner curved flap Die Cutting

Envelope liner curved flap die

envelope die

envelope die

envelope insert die

envelope insert die

Die Cuts: Fan Dies

Rounded corner rectangular Die Cutting

Rounded corner rectangular die

Rectangular rounded corner fan Die Cutting

Rectangular rounded corner fan die

Die Cuts: Gift Card Dies

gift card Die Cutting

gift card die with 2 slits

gift card holder Die Cutting

gift card holder die with 2 slits

gift card holder Die Cutting with 4 cuts

gift card holder die with 4 slits

Gift card sleeve die

Gift card sleeve die

Die Cuts: Holiday and Seasonal Dies

Christmas ornaments Die Cutting

Christmas ornaments die

four-leaf clover Die Cutting

Four-leaf clover die

Reindeer Die Cutting

Reindeer die

Santa beard Die Cutting

Santa beard die

Skeleton Die Cutting

Skeleton die

tombstone Die Cutting mailer

Tombstone die mailer

Leaf Die Cutting

Leaf die

Die Cuts: Households and Household Items Dies

Pencil Die Cutting

Pencil die

Ribbon Die Cutting with hole

Ribbon die with hole

House Die Cutting

House die

DVD cover Die Cutting

DVD cover die

Tie Die Cutting

Tie Die

Soapbox Die Cutting

Soapbox die

 

Die Cuts: Mailer Dies

Bifold mailer Die Cutting

Bifold mailer die

"Hold your hand" bifold mailer Die Cutting

“Hold your hand” bifold mailer die

Die Cuts: Media/Press Kit Covers Dies

Press kit Die Cutting

Press kit die

Media kit cover die

Media kit cover die

Die Cuts: Miscellaneous Dies

Miscellaneous die

Miscellaneous die

Miscellaneous die

Miscellaneous die

Miscellaneous die

Miscellaneous die

Paper swatch die

Paper swatch die

Miscellaneous shapes die

Miscellaneous shapes die

Miscellaneous die

Miscellaneous die

Percentage die

Percentage die

Sticker die

Sticker die

Miscellaneous die

Miscellaneous die

Shield die

Shield die

Miscellaneous Die Cuts

Miscellaneous die

Hand Die Cuts

Hand die

smile die

smile die

 

Die Cuts: Music-Related Dies

Male playing guitar bifold Die Cuts

Male playing guitar bifold die

Headphones Die Cuts

Headphones die

Guitar pick Die Cuts

Guitar pick die

 
Sticker die

Sticker die

Die Cuts: Oval Dies

Single 3.75x2.25 Oval Die Cuts

Single 3.75×2.25 Oval die

Oval die

Oval die

8 ovals Die Cuts

8 ovals die

Die Cuts: Pocket Folder Dies

Standard 9"x12" pocket folder Die Cuts with 2 pockets

Standard 9″x12″ pocket folder die with 2 pockets: no business card holder

Standard 9"x12" pocket folder Die Cuts with 2 pockets: with business card holder

Standard 9″x12″ pocket folder die with 2 pockets: with business card holder

Standard 9"x12" pocket folder with double pockets and business card holder on the left Die Cuts

Standard 9″x12″ pocket folder with double pockets and business card holder on the left die

pocket folder die with two card holders in one pocket

pocket folder die with two card holders in one pocket

Standard 9"x12" pocket folder die with pocket on the left only: with business card holder

Standard 9″x12″ pocket folder die with pocket on the left only: with business card holder

Back of pocket cover die

Back of landscape pocket cover die

back of portrait pocket folder Die Cuts

back of portrait pocket folder die

pocket folder Die Cuts

pocket folder die with one standard pocket and one vertical pocket

9"x12" pocket folder with 2 vertical pockets Die Cuts

9″x12″ pocket folder with 2 vertical pockets die

Pocket folder Die Cuts with two vertical pockets and one business card holder

Pocket folder die with two vertical pockets and one business card holder

Pocket Folder die with one vertical sleeve

Pocket Folder die with one vertical sleeve

pocket folder die

pocket folder die

 

Die Cuts: Sleeve Dies

Business card holder Die Cuts

Business card holder die

CD sleeve Die Cuts

CD sleeve die

Sleeve Die Cuts

Sleeve die

Sleeve die

Sleeve die

sleeve die

sleeve die

Sleeve die

Sleeve die

Die Cuts: Sports Dies

Football Die Cuts

Football die

Hockey puck Die Cuts

Hockey puck die

Die Cuts: Tab Dies

5-tab die cutting

5-tab die

Die Cuts: Tag and Ticket Dies

Jewelry card die cutting

Square, rounded-corner jewelry card die

2 rectangular necklace cards die cutting 3.25"x5.25"

2 rectangular necklace cards die 3.25″x5.25″

6 square earring cards die

6 square earring cards die

Rectangular earring cards with lower holes die cut die

Rectangular earring cards with upper holes die cut die

Rectangular earring cards with lower holes die cut die

Rectangular earring cards with lower holes die cut die

1"x1" jewelry tags die

1″x1″ jewelry tags die

Earring holder die cutting

Earring holder die

Single 3"x3" tag die cutting with hole

Single 3″x3″ tag die with hole

Rounded-corner Square tags die cutting 3"x3" with hole

3 square, rounded-corner tags die 3″x3″ with hole

Rounded-corner, square jewelry card die cutting

Rounded-corner, square jewelry card die

Scored, rounded-corner, jewelry tags die cutting

Scored, rounded-corner, jewelry tags die

3 trifold square jewelry card tags with rounded corners die cutting

3 trifold square jewelry card tags with rounded corners die

Trifold square jewelry cards with rounded corners die cutting

6 trifold square jewelry cards with rounded corners die

Rectangular tags die

Rectangular tags die

rectangular tag die cutting with octagonal head

rectangular tag die with octagonal head

Tag die cuts

Tag die

tag die

tag die

Rounded-corner rectangular tag with triangular head die cutting

Rounded-corner rectangular tag with triangular head die

6 hang tie tags die cutting

6 hang tie tags die

Single hang tie tag die cutting

Single hang tie tag die

Rectangular tag die cutting with rectangular hole

Rectangular tag die with rectangular hole

Hanging car tag die cutting

Hanging car tag die

3 bottle tags die cutting

3 bottle tags die

Hanger die

Hanger die

10 1"x1.5" rectangular tag die cutting with rounded corners and hole in bottom left corner

10 1″x1.5″ rectangular tag dies with rounded corners and hole in bottom left corner

10 1"x3" rectangular tag die cutting with rounded corners and hole in bottom left corner

10 1″x3″ rectangular tag dies with rounded corners and hole in bottom left corner

4 rectangular tag die cutting with pointed triangular heads and hole in the top

4 rectangular tag dies with pointed triangular heads and hole in the top

Booklet tags die cutting

Booklet tags die

Tag die cutting

Tag die

Ticket die cutting

Ticket die

An example of how this ticket looks with design:
die cutting ticket

die cut ticket

Die Cuts: Triangle Dies

Triangle die cutting

Single 4.2″x3.75″ triangle die

15 triangles die cutting

15 triangles die

 

Don’t see anything here you like? Ask us! We may have that die in-house. Again, this list is not comprehensive. If we don’t have the die, we can always make it!

Happy die cutting!

– Your friends at amp


Large-Format Printing All Over Nashville

Meat Ya Banner designed by Amanda Mazzo at Mazzo Media.

amp seems to be doing everything big this year, which includes expanding our large-format printing capabilities. Large format means just what it suggests: large posters, indoor and outdoor banners, window graphics and adhesives for walls, floors and ceilings. We now have the man and machine power to complete these larger-than-life orders for you! These past few months we have been able to provide large-format printing services to three super-cool events in the area: Cheekwood Society Dinner, Meat Ya in The Park and What the Truck.

Large-Format (And Small-Format) Printing for Cheekwood Society Dinner

We were lucky enough to attend and provide printing for the Cheekwood Society Dinner on April 29th. The dinner was dedicated to Cheekwood’s top donors: individuals who gave $1,500 or more in support of its annual operations. The event’s theme was Great Gatsby, the main colors were black and white, and the print was classically simple. Our printed materials included a booklet listing all of the donors, signage at the entrance of the mansion and picture banners hanging around the room. It was a beautiful event and a beautiful night to be outdoors! Thanks to Cheekwood for the wonderful evening and letting us help out with the print.

Large-Format Printing: Picture Banners

Large-Format Printing: Picture Banners

Large-Format Printing: Cheekwood book

Cheekwood booklets

Large-Format Printing: Informational booklets

Informational booklets

Large-Format Printing: Welcome poster

Large-Format Printing: Welcome Poster

Large-Format Printing for What the Truck

If you were not able to attend this festive event — don’t worry! It will happen every third Friday of the month this summer. Food trucks gathered at The Platform at the Cook’s Kitchen, a new event venue located on 1500 Second Ave. S near the fairgrounds. A wide variety of food trucks provided delicious food such as ice cream, veggie burgers and BBQ. The Tim McDonald Band added to the bumpin’ atmosphere by playing some good ol’ country music. Don’t like to stand and eat? Neither do we, and we were thankful for tables located inside!

You might be thinking, “what the truck did amp do for this event?” Well, we printed all the signage, which included large-format vinyl banners and corrugated yard signs. There is no entry fee, so be sure to come see the event for yourself next month. You know we will be there! Here are some pictures of the production process and the collateral in action at the venue.

 
Large-Format Printing: What the truck yard sign

Large-Format Printing: What The Truck Yard Signs

Large-Format Printing: What the truck banner

Large-Format Printing: What The Truck Banners

Large-Format Printing

Large-Format Printing: Signage

Large-Format Printing

Large-Format Printing: Signage At The Event

View the cutting process!

Large-Format Printing for Meat Ya in the Park

Meat Ya in the Park, a tribute to to all things grilled, smoked, cured and charbroiled, enjoyed its second annual gathering at East Park On May 17th. 12th & Broad and Nashville Originals collaborated to bring samples from 15+ restaurants, live music, a coleslaw cook-off and a kite garden to meat-lovers all over Nashville. Don’t be alarmed vegetarians — there were some scrumptious meatless options, as well! Kids enjoyed artwork and outdoor toys, and adults enjoyed the beverage tent and socializing with neighbors.

It may have been a little rainy, but that did not take away from this fun event — or our signage! amp printed a large, waterproof banner that really shows off our large-format capabilities. Its enormousness was not for those with noodle arms. The marketing girls tried to hold it up and had a bit of trouble! The 5 x 10ft banner would have been nothing without Amanda Mazzo’s design. If there’s one thing we love, it’s great artwork.

Now picture your company’s name or event on this banner.. get ready, world.

Large Format Printing: Meat ya in machine

Large-Format Printing on the HP 360 Latex Printer

Large-Format Printing: Meat ya1

The banner is completed!


Mother’s Day Postcard: A MadLib

A Mother’s Day Postcard doesn’t have to be dull. Or expensive. Forget Hallmarks and come to amp to pick up a free Mother’s Day madlib! They are free in the office and worth the chuckle. What can we say? We can’t resist a good joke. If you share this madlib on social media, please use #mothersdaymadlib so we can read yours!
Mother's Day Postcard

Mother’s Day Postcard

 

Fun with Mother’s Day postcards

Hyperlapse is fun. So is Mother’s Day. So is amp. So is this video. Seriously, why haven’t you watched it yet?

Small Business: 15 Interesting Facts

We love small businesses. We are a small business. As most of you know, fifteen years ago, amp consisted of Matt Simms, his laptop, a plastic chair and the local Kinko’s. Today, amp is home to ten individuals and several large printing and finishing machines. Due to Matt’s hard work, amp is now known around Nashville for its local roots, its entrepreneurial spirit and its friendly atmosphere.

We’re proud of our company’s history and all small business employees who enrich their community. In honor of National Small Business Week, we wanted to share a few interesting facts and advantages of small businesses.

Small Business Facts

1. There are 28 million small businesses in the U.S.

2. 70 percent of small businesses are owned and operated by a single person.

3. Nashville was chosen as one of six locations by the U.S. Small Business Administration to open a Women’s Business Center across the country in 2015.

4. 29 percent of Tennessee’s economic activity is due to small businesses.

5. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business.

6. It takes just 6 days to start a business in the US, compared to 38 days in China.

7. It costs 6x as much to start a business in India than in the US.

8. Small businesses create about two out of every three new jobs in the United States each year.

9. Immigrants make up 12.5 percent of small business owners nationwide.

10. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said it was our small businesses that powered our recovery after the Great Recession.

11. America is one of the few countries that give entrepreneurs a seat at the President’s cabinet table.

12. Small businesses pay 44 percent of the country’s payrolls.

13. Local business generates 70 percent more local economic activity per square foot than big box retail.

14. The U.S. transports and ships $2.2 trillion worth of products from over 150 countries each year. International shipping and transport result in 1.1 billion gallons of fuel used and1 billion metric tons of CO2 per year. Shopping locally helps cut down on processing, packaging and transportation waste, leading to less pollution.

15. If every family in the U.S. spent an extra $10 month at a locally owned, independent business instead of a national chain, over $9.3 billion would be directly returned to our economy.

More Small Business Facts Below

Why Buying Local is Worth Every Cent

18 Amazing Facts about Small Businesses

Nashville among 6 cities to get Women’s Business Center

 
Small Business

amp’s current location

Small Business

amp at Cummins Station, its previous location.


Architectural Graphics

Architectural Graphics are crucial to businesses today. Marketing tactics are constantly changing, and this is one that has recently come in style. If you are looking to increase your brand awareness (AND sales), it is time to think outside of the box when it comes to marketing. If you don’t know this already, we can print on anything now, including windows, walls, doors, ceilings and floors. That bare wall could showcase your favorite quote or accent the new product you have displayed. What about your glass front door? Is IT bare? Marketing 101: use what you got to get what you want.

Architectural Graphics: Windows

Let’s start with these bare windows. What was that monthly special you were telling me about? That is a great deal, and I might just take you up on it. If you were busy when I walked in, and you did not have time to speak to me personally, how would I have known about the special? I wouldn’t have, and you would have missed out on a sale. What a shame. Let’s fix that. Send me your logo and budget, and I will be back with window graphics. The best news is these graphics are easy to change, and we can print just one without breaking the bank. Most of you know this, but a majority of printers charge a fortune to produce a single item. Fortunately, our digital printer is capable of creating a small amount of print materials for a relatively inexpensive price. Do you have an especially large display window? No problem. We can print up to 64″x150′. Let’s show off that new line that everybody wants. Bigger is better when it comes to graphics. The sky is the limit. Really, the ceiling is the limit, but you get my drift.

Architectural Graphics: Walls

Let’s move on to walls, or as I like to say, inside billboards waiting to be used. Although I’ve discussed changing glass door and window designs regularly, walls are different animals all together. Walls scream branding and should be used as a basic marketing tool for all incoming eyes. For boutiques, think accent graphics that match the style of your clothing. For pediatricians, fun and colorful zoo creatures are always great decorations for kids. Simple is best, and the message can be broad when the message is BIG! Core values are a popular wall design choice for corporate firms. If I was about to sign a big contract with your company and wanted to take an office tour, it would be impressive to see walls exhibiting your values and brand personality. There is no mistaking your beliefs when they are printed in 8-inch letters (in your corporate branding colors, no doubt!). We design, print, laminate, cut and install just for you, and all you have to do is shoot us a message to get started.

Architectural Graphics: Floors

Have you noticed that everyone is looking down nowadays? You may actually have your head down reading this from your personal information device, a.k.a.: your iPhone. While staring down at the latest blog from yours truly, how cool would it be to see the office Wi-Fi password plastered on the floor? Better yet, how about a cool saying? There are many different reasons to put messages on your floors, and they could be a big help if you have to constantly show customers where the parts department or little boys’ room is located. It is a new generation, and our capabilities are limited by how much space you have to brand and how creative you want to get. We receive requests from many of you inquiring about ways to increase your bottom line. All along, your office has been ready and waiting to be covered. Give us a shout when ready. We are always willing to lend a hand and make you shine.

 
Architectural Graphics

Custom wall branding at Healthways

Architectural Graphics

Peg board installation at Healthways

Architectural Graphics

Brook helps Reed Public Relations print their core values at their office.

Architectural Graphics

Inspirational thought at Reed PR.

Architectural Graphics

Decorative wall images at Reed PR.


Spring has sprung at amp

“Spring awakens what autumn puts to sleep.”  My parents have this saying as a crochet on their wall – blue thread, I think.

Looking back at the autumn and the changes we have made since then, we have certainly not been sleeping. Our production capabilities have taken a leap forward, and we are now able to offer you many cool new services. For our fellow printing nerds, our new toys include: the Colex Sharp Cut Digital Flatbed, an HP Wide Format Printer, a 60-inch laminator, a Graphtec Plotter and last but not least – a GATOR. In English, this means we will be able to produce larger, better quality print jobs and cleaner edges for any shape. We can now put your branding on anything from a Yeti cooler to a barstool, and don’t get us started on what we can put on your walls. Check out our pictures for other innovative branding ideas.

While the machines do the work, our people do the heavy lifting. If you have worked with us, you know we cheer to “Big Smiles” after almost every huddle, and we mean it. Our new toys and the responsibility they demand have given us opportunity to welcome some new smiling faces around here.  To keep the conversation going with you, we have added a team to educate you on our capabilities. Katherine Upton and Emily Whitson are our new marketing coordinators – or marketing monkeys, as we like to call them! Watch out as our social media heats up, and be sure to join in on the conversation.

New technology is only good if you have someone that cares running these machines. We are pleased to announce that we have found that devoted person, and your projects will look amazing when Brook Ellie is behind the controls. It is hard to find him without his trusty loop and a few specialty tools hanging off his belt. Stop by and say hello when you can. Let him show you the new technology that will allow us to provide you everything print…finally!

You are about to see our small business change, and let it be known that we are not everyone’s best option in print. We only do great work for a handful of partner companies that know good service and quality when they see it. Would we be a good fit for your company? Let’s find out. Hit us up at simms@advocateprinting.net for a tour and storytelling session with our team soon. Spring has sprung; it looks like amp did as well!

(left to right) Katherine Upton and Emily Whitson, our two new marketing coordinators, showcase our new cutting capabilities on our Colex.

(left to right) Katherine Upton and Emily Whitson, our two new marketing coordinators, showcase our new cutting capabilities on our Colex.

Yes, these are custom-branded chairs. The logo is printed on an adhesive, which is then plastered to the chair.

Yes, these are custom-branded chairs. The logo is printed on an adhesive, which is then plastered to the chair.

The colex can print hundreds of stickers at once.

The Colex can print hundreds of stickers at once.

(right to left) Emily and Katherine show off our new custom-branded Gator

(left to right) Emily and Katherine show off our new custom-branded Gator

Brook Ellie doing what he does best: working the Colex

Brook Ellie doing what he does best: working the Colex

Yep, we can print on coolers now.

Yep, we can print on coolers now.


Press Ready Files

For some of you, this blog post is common knowledge. For our clients who are not as familiar with graphic design, this post is for you! If you set up your file properly it will help with three things: 1) Speeding up the process 2) Keeping on schedule 3) Receiving the high-quality printed piece you expect!

One of the most important things that we need is bleed (I have the hardest time explaining bleed and why we need multiples of four pages for saddle-stitch books, but we won’t go there right now). If you want a color, a photo or anything to run off the edge of the piece, bleed must be added to it. We suggest 1/8″ (.125″) bleed all the way around the trim line. For example, a standard business card is 3.5×2, but the bleed size is 3.75×2.25.

We always want high-resolution (300dpi) PDF files for printing. We like this file type because all of the fonts and images are embedded. What you see will be the same as what we see. You can make this file type in Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Excel or any design software that you may be using. Always compare your PDF to the original file to make sure nothing dropped out in the process.

Now on to color. Our HP Indigo 5500 runs four colors: cyan, magenta, yellow and black. This is known as CMYK. The first thing you need to do is make sure you aren’t designing in RGB (red, green, blue) or spot colors. Our press comes close to those colors, but not as close as if you used CMYK. f you have Pantone colors, send them to us when you place the order, and we will try to match what comes off press. You won’t believe it, but we even need you to check your blacks. Make sure they are all 100% black as opposed to rich black, which is 100% of all four colors (that make black). The two blacks look very different on the press, and 100% black tends to look better.

Lastly, we encourage you to do a press check or a live proof, especially if this is your first go at designing. We want our customers to be happy, and if you see two different blacks on your file, it looks like a printing mistake.


Cohesive Content ( Print > Web > Social )

It’s a common misconception that print and digital media are competing methods of communication. It’s time to change your way of thinking and let them compliment one another.

There are many ways we communicate with each other, but print marketing is unlike any other form of communication. Print can easily engage a recipient. It’s tangible, and frankly, it’s difficult to ignore when you rummage through your stack of bills. According to the DMA, or Direct Marketing Association, direct mail is at the very least skimmed over by 85 percent of its recipients. Print is an extremely powerful tool, and at amp, we can customize more than just the address: we can personalize the inside of the piece similar to the way you can personalize an electronic message. Increase your reach by choosing a “content cocktail” like the infographic below from the CCC, or Custom Content Council.


amp is Sponsoring SEYA’s “The Affair to Care”

The Southeastern Young Alumni Charitable Foundation will host its 2013 The Affair to Care presented by First Tennessee Bank on Saturday, January 26 at aVenue in the heart of Downtown Nashville. Tickets are on sale now for $80 and will be available until they are sold out! Click here to purchase your tickets today! All proceeds from ticket sales for The Affair to Care will benefit the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University. Event activities will include live entertainment from Burning Las Vegas and a live silent auction (approximately $20,000 worth of donated goods and services) with ALL proceeds going to MCJ at Vanderbilt University. Ticket price includes a full open bar and an array of hors d’oeuvres and samplings from Nashville’s finest restaurants. Black tie optional. Check out their Facebook and Twitter (@SEYA_Nashville). Mark your calendars and spread the word! Look for printed materials by yours truly!

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

How many business cards come in a box?

Small box: 250
Large box: 500

What type of paper do I need?

First, we need to know if you want a cardstock or text weight paper. Then we need to know if you want gloss or matte. Of course, there are specialty options, but we recommend consulting with us before making such an order.

What are my pricing options?

We don’t put standard pricing on our website because we don’t produce “standard” products. Every job is custom, so every price is custom.

How quickly can I get my job?

Our turnaround time is generally 48 hours. However, we can put a rush on the order if necessary.

Can you ship my job for me?

Absolutely. We ship everything from business cards to 20 boxes of freight. You can decide if you would like first overnight to standard ground. We do prefer using FedEx, and if you have an account, we don’t charge anything extra for shipping.


Can you direct mail my job for me?

We sure can. Email matt@advocateprinting.net for more details!

What file type do you need?

Generally speaking, we need press-quality PDFs. There are some circumstances when we need native files, but 90 percent of the time, PDFs are perfect.

Do you have a question? Email order@advocateprinting.net if you need more information.


The Art of Fast Turnaround Time

We all know that sinking feeling when you realize you forgot a deadline. Your entire stomach feels like it’s in your throat, and you don’t know what to do to fix the problem. At amp, we specialize in printing last-minute products. There is an art to this “fast turnaround” idea. We need some super specific information from you to save precious time: type of paper, quantity, size, color, double- or single-side, binding, folding and finishing. The same goes with design: the more specific you can be about the type of design you would like, the better. We prefer terrible hand-drawn pictures. Lastly, and this may seem obvious, check and double-check your file. Voila! We’re ready to print. Shoot us the FedEx account number, the shipping address and the preferred delivery time, and we’ll even ship it for you.

Large-Format Printing

Sometimes everything just can’t fit on that 12″x18″ sheet for our HP Indigo 5500, and for those posters/banners we turn to our large format machines. The maximum width on those machines are 44″ but they can print as long as roughly 600″ (50 feet). We have all types of stock to run on those machines; high gloss, semigloss, uncoated, vinyl, canvas and more.

amp/Green Apple Party

amp’s 1st Anniversary in our building and Green Apple Strategy’s 1st Birthday! We’ll bring the food, drinks, old school jams and gifts. You just bring yourself. When: Thursday, June 27 from 6-8 p.m. Where: 110 George L. Davis Boulevard (Spread the word: There’s plenty of easy and free parking around back) RSVP with Bailee: order@advocateprinting.net

It’s holiday card time!

Believe it or not, it’s that time of year again. We can print your press-ready holiday cards, or we can personalize them for you! If you already have a holiday card designed, you’re so ahead of the game! Click here to get them into production.


If it’s a customizable design you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place. We can start from scratch, or we can use one of the predesigned templates shown to the left. To personalize one of these cards, send us the card number, copy and the quantity. It’s as easy as that! Click here to order your cards now.


To design a holiday card from scratch, the more details you give, the better! Here’s the rundown of what we really need: photos, logos, verbiage, company colors, specific fonts and size. If you don’t know which size you’d like, we’ll make it a standard 5×7 with A7 envelope. Let’s talk envelopes. No one wants to hand address envelopes, right? We can personalize your envelopes with your return address and the mailing addresses of all your contacts. All we need is an Excel file with the column headers “first,” “last,” “city,” “state” and “zip.” If you have questions about our data service, click here to contact our Customer Service Department. We know it all sounds too good to be true! We will email you final proofs of you cards and envelopes before they go to print. Rather than running around last minute, get a head start so you can sit back and relax this holiday season!

9d02e7_73adef8c1d2fc22c824ee5f854c98ed8

Introduction to amp

As you probably know, print production can be confusing. There are so many pieces of the puzzle that have to fit just right in order for your print piece to be perfect the first time around. We offer a wide variety of services here at amp, and as we recently opened up at our new shop, we wanted to reintroduce ourselves with this new site. This is just a little bit about us.


With our HP Indigo 5500 digital press, we can make your everyday materials look incredible. And you won’t need to print thousands that will end up going to waste with one simple change of a phone number or email address. The quality is better than an offset press, and the short runs can keep your print very personalized. OH, and if you’ve got a PMS color, we can match it. Our press is perfect for booklets, business cards, brochures, direct mail, one-sheets, flyers, manuals, collateral, newsletters, postcards, posters, presentations, rack cards, tabs and whatever else you’ve got!


The Indigo is our baby, but we also have many other special touches here at amp. We print envelopes, make black and white copies, and print oversized posters and banners. Our binding and finishing options are plentiful, and we find unique new ways to bind papers daily! Or binding capabilities include: three-ring custom binders, plastic coil binding, comb binding, saddle-stitching, stapling, wire-o binding and perfect binding. Our finishing options are endless. We offer die cutting, folding, gluing, UV coating, mounting, easel backing and other miscellaneous handwork.

We also offer custom design services in-house. We specialize in all of the things we print here as well as logos for your company. We provide variable data services so your customer feels personally greeted. If you haven’t gotten the picture yet, personalization is key.


And with all that being said, we started this blog to help you. We promise we won’t promote ourselves the entire time. We want to help you understand print production, save time, save money and make your life a little bit easier.


We LOVE what we do. We strive to keep up with the latest trends, and if we can’t get it done for you in-house, we know someone who can. We want your feedback! We are doing this for you, after all. So comment, share, like, tag, follow, pin, post and do those other social media things we all love so much!


Stay tuned for the good stuff,

<3 amp