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Tips on Printing – From choosing a printer to reviewing the proof

Posted on May 20, 2009

? Post written by Cristy Wiza.

?The design is done, now what do I do??

If it?s a printed piece, the answer is to find a printer. As designers, we work with printers on a regular basis so we know how the process goes. What specifications to include, how to look at a proof, what questions to ask. But as a professional in a different field, it would be difficult to guess what to look for when choosing or working with a printer. So we are going to let you ? Yes, YOU! ? behind the curtain, share some of the knowledge we?ve acquired over the years (not too many years, since we are all 29 years or younger… just don?t look at our driver?s license). Before choosing a printer, please review our top five tips we?ve put together about the printing process.

  1. Shop around.
    Not all printers have the same capabilities or level of quality, and much of the time you will get what you pay for. However not every project demands an expensive, higher-end printer either. Higher-end printers can offer more color accuracy and unique techniques such as die cutting, but if the project doesn?t need all of the bells and whistles, a less expensive printer will do just fine. Get quotes from more than one printer, if possible.
  2. Turn-around time.
    Some printers can complete a simple project in a few days while other printers have a standard 2-week turn-around time (depending on the project?s complexity and quantity). If you need the piece printed ASAP, or if the time frame is not urgent, discuss this with the printer. This could be a factor in the price and even the printer that you choose.
  3. Verify correct colors by consulting with printer.
    A screen proof looks different than a printed piece, and every printer prints differently. Consult with the printer to make sure the colors are accurate. For critical colors, many printers will allow you to be on press when the piece is printed so you can adjust colors to be exact.
  4. Request that both You (the client) and the designer see a proof.
    You know your product and the designer knows design. Both will be able to see things the other might miss. There have been numerous times that one or the other finds an error. You can never proof a piece too many times.
  5. Read EVERYTHING on the proof.
    This is the last chance to make changes before it is on press. Sometimes information can get moved or lost in the transfer of files, so never assume the content is correct. Verify content with the last PDF or mockup from the designer, everything from images to the fine print. It is cheaper to get another proof than it is to reprint the entire job.

These are just a few of the many things we?re learned while working with printers. We hope it helps make the process a little less painful because knowledge really is power. And if you have any questions, please ask us! At Moxie, we are here to serve our clients, to help YOU SUCCEED!

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Case Study – Wausau Paper Intrigue Marketing Piece

Posted on April 30, 2009
In the design world, a project like this doesn?t come along that often. If I had to guess, I would say once in a blue moon. On a day-to-day basis, designers spend most of their hours on revisions, layout, production, image retouching, all of the mundane tasks of graphic design that no one really talks about. Ahh, these are the things designer dreams are made of. So when a project comes along that has the potential to be super creative, to break you out of the formatting rut you?ve been in, you run through the office, do a little dance, shout for joy, then dig in. This is the kind of project that makes designers who they are, the type of project that pushes you over the creative breaking point, that destroys your confidence and sanity, and then, when you?ve hit rock bottom, you get ?the? idea. The career saving, sanity rebuilding, confidence boosting idea that makes it all worth while (kind of). That?s the kind of project the Intrigue brochure, folder and inserts was.

First, a little background. Intrigue is a new line of packaging papers, labels and boxes by Wausau Paper. This is a new area for WP, and the promotional materials needed to be competitive in this high end, sophisticated market. The promo pieces also had to showcase WP papers, and demonstrate how different paper types handle 4-color printing. And, of course, send out the all important ?green? message. Easy, right?

This multi-functional piece went through several life changes before it settled on the brochure/folder/insert combo. In its first life, this promo was meant to be a simple, 4-page brochure that acted as an introduction to the Intrigue brand and capabilities. But over time, we realized that this piece needed to have a larger purpose, it had to tell WP?s story, introduce the Intrigue brand, the various lines within the brand, the capabilities of each line, and be customized to each customer. Kind of a daunting task. But with some brainstorming, research, a bag or two of M&M?s, and a little soul searching, the Intrigue Multi-Functional Brochure (IMFB, as we?ll call it from now) was born.

The IMFB showcases three different paper selections. The brochure/folder cover had to be sturdy and hold it?s form well. It basically has to be an impenetrable fortress. So we settled on the Intrigue? Folding Carton Stock in White (18 pt). It was printed with 4-color process with a custom die cut for the cover and folder. It also features an antique gold spiral binding. The inside pages needed to be a little flashier than the cover, so we went with the Royal Laid® in Natural (80 lb Cover). The Laid finish helps to reinforce the ?green? message, and showcases one of the hottest paper trends for 2009: texture. Also printed with 4-color process, the rounded corners add another design element to give it that little extra somethin? somethin?. The inserts demanded that they be strong and durable, since they will have to endure being taken in and out of the folder over and over and over again. Royal Resource® in Brilliant White (130 lb Cover) was the perfect match. This sturdy paper in bright blue-white beautifully shows off 4-color process and can stand up to even the roughest hands.

What is next for the IMFB and Intrigue? Soon it will be hitting the fine packaging market, and we are confident that it will go far. In the future, we have dreams of using the IMFB to showcase even more WP papers and printing techniques. Call it the IMFB 2.0. Perhaps a web site with up-to-date information is written in the stars? Who knows, maybe some day you will see Intrigue tweeting away, or maybe it will have a blog of its own. When you have such a fantastic product, and the service and brand power of WP behind it, who knows where life will take you.

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Free Fonts for All! – Part 1

Posted on April 30, 2009
Tired of the using the same fonts over and over and over? Sure we all have our favorites, but if you want to break out of your font rut, without breaking the bank, check out these resources for free fonts. And this is just a mini list, there will be more to come.

Retro-style fonts, these are perfect if you are looking an oh-so-cool vintage font (Mess Kit is one of my favorites). Available fonts change, and once they are gone they are gone for good, so check often to see what is available. They can be used for both personal and commercial use (read their license agreement for more info). Retro clip art is also available, but unfortunately it is not a free download.

Right now there are about 14 free fonts available for download. I recently COM4t Fine Regular, a more ?fancy-pants? san serif font. Fonts are free for both personal and commercial use (read their license agreement for more info).

9 fonts available for free download (more available for purchase), my favorites are Anivers, a san serif font with attitude, and Fertigo Pro which is anything but your typical serif font. Fonts are available for download through MyFonts for both personal and commercial use (read license agreement for more info).

Do you have a site that you visit often for free fonts (or free anything for that matter)? Send it my way! I’m always looking to expand my free resources (who isn?t?).

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