There are a lot of print companies out there, and as a business it can be overwhelming to choose one. But, as in most business decisions, it all comes down to a combination of quality and price. Here’s what you should look for when you’re vetting printing companies:
- Digital and Offset Printing Services
There are two basic types of printing: digital and offset. Digital printing prints directly from computer files, whereas offset printing uses custom plates to apply ink onto paper (or whatever else you’re having printed). Some people settle for digital printing companies, assuming that will get them lower prices across the board, but it’s actually best to find a print company that has both capabilities. Digital printing offers many advantages, especially for small businesses, since it allows for an extremely affordable way to customize pieces that have unique codes or addresses (direct mailers, letters, etc.). It also skips expensive setup fees and allows for lower minimum runs.
But offset printing still has a place in the industry, and it may even be more cost effective for businesses who need thousands of identical copies of a project. The bottom line is that by choosing a company that offers both offset and digital printing techniques, you can rely on the print company representatives to help you choose which method is truly the best for your product, since they won’t have a vested interested in pressuring you toward one or the other.
- History and Expertise
Whether you end up using offset or digital printing, there’s a lot more to high-quality results than running sheets of paper through a machine. Inquire about the training employees of each print company, and look at the history of the business. If they’ve been in business for a long time, keeping up with the newest techniques throughout that whole period, then it’s likely they’ll guide you in the right direction and handle your project well.
Reviews or samples may be helpful, but keep in mind that projects may vary widely in terms of the desired outcome. You should focus more on the skill levels of the printers and the customer service quality of the company as a whole than on whether you like individual examples of past work.
- A Wide Variety of Services
Today, you might be looking to print direct mail pieces. But what if soon, next week or next month, you need large format printing services to make a banner or sign? If you don’t want to start your search for the perfect print company all over again, it’s best to choose one now that offers a wide variety of services.
The other advantage to this is that you can actually build a relationship with the print company. These kinds of business-to-business connections end up benefiting both companies, and that way you’ll know for years to come that you’re getting the best possible quality and price on all your projects.
It’s also good to keep in mind that although most companies operate online as well, and there’s no geographical barrier to working with a print company located hundreds or even thousands of miles away, it’s generally smarter to stick to a company in your area. You’ll pay less in delivery fees, have fewer customer service headaches, and even support your local economy while you’re at it.
Even in this digital era, print marketing is an important part of branding and marketing a company; in fact, more than three-fourths of small businesses say they’d like to include both print and digital campaigns in their overall marketing strategy. And when it comes to outdoor advertising signs, large format banner printing is one of the easiest and most effective ways to catch the eyes of passers-by, whether they’re drivers or pedestrians.
Vinyl banners are highly customizable, allowing businesses to pick nearly any designs, colors or dimensions they like, and are lightweight and easy to hang in or outside. But how can you create advertising banners and signs that will actually make prospective customers want to stop in or try your product? Here are some tips to get you started:
- Don’t Crowd Your Space
The point of large format banner printing is to be more eye-catching, not to give you space for more elements. No elements should come too close to the edge of the banner, there should be plenty of space in between elements or lines of type, and it’s recommended that you leave quite a bit of white space.
- Prioritize Readability
When you’re choosing fonts or sizes for your banner, readability should be your first priority. This means no overly fancy fonts. It also means you’ll want to size type based on how far away your target audience will be from the banner. In general, each inch of height added to a letter sets its optimum viewing distance about 10 feet farther away. So a 1-inch letter would be best read 10 feet away; a 5-inch letter, 50 feet.
- Choose Colors Purposefully
If you’re hanging your banner outside, you’ll probably want to choose high-contrast colors. Start picking your colors by looking at a color wheel. The colors directly opposite each other (called “complementary colors”) have the highest contrast. You can find color “chords” by drawing an imaginary equilateral triangle on the color wheel. The colors touched by the triangle’s vertices are likely to go well together. Choosing three colors that are next to or close by one another will create a more soothing feeling, which generally isn’t the goal of outdoor advertising.
- Use Photos Carefully
Custom vinyl banners can look great when printed with photos, but you need to be careful (and a tiny bit tech-savvy) when working with large format banner printing. You’ll need to check with your printing company to see what resolution the digital photo file should have in order to print clearly — it will probably be measured in DPI, or dots per inch.
- Get Creative With Typography
If your photos aren’t high enough in quality for large format printing, you can create visual interest with creative typography, which is a very popular contemporary trend that turns the writing itself into the artwork. Just make sure you don’t forget the second rule listed above.
Do you have any other tips to share on designing a large format banner? Join the discussion in the comments.
If you run a small or medium-sized business, you probably have already taken advantage of the digital printing services that allow a printing company to offer you low prices, quick turnaround, a high degree of customization and no minimum run requirements. But have you thought of expanding your print marketing efforts past advertising banners, posters and fliers?
Here are five creative ways you can take advantage of your printing company’s services and boost your company brand:
Market research shows that promotional gifts are an effective means of advertising; in fact, 84% of consumers who receive a branded promotional gift will remember the company’s name. If you want to give your potential clients something they can actually use, consider personalized bookmarks. They’re small, affordable and easily customizable — and since many people use receipts and other scraps as bookmarks, they’ll probably be happy to upgrade even if it’s branded with your logo.
- Barricade Wraps
Barricade wrap printing allows you to take the ugly, unused space of a construction barrier and turn it into a huge advertising canvas.
- Vehicle Wraps
Since your company vehicles likely spend a lot of time stuck in traffic, you might as well take advantage of that time by advertising to other drivers. Custom vehicle wraps range from simple, restrained door and window graphics to complete patterned wraps; the style you choose should depend on the image you’d like to project for your company.
- Vinyl Graphics
Custom vinyl wall graphics or floor graphics can allow you to make the most of your storefront. Instead of having plain graphics of your logo printed, have a designer create a chic pattern you may even be able to sell to your customers. That way, they’ll actually be paying for the privilege of advertising for you.
- Photo Areas
It’s the age of the selfie, and people love posting and seeing photos of themselves online. Have your printing company create a fun photo backdrop that incorporates your logo and set it up at your next event. You can either let people take their own photos using cell phones, or you can have an employee man the photo station with a good camera — just be sure you let your guests know when and where you’ll be posting the photos online so they can tag themselves and share their photos. As they self promote, they’ll be promoting you, too.
How else can you expand your marketing vocabulary past banners and signs? Share your ideas, no matter how wacky, in the comments.
Digital printing has made custom printing services increasingly affordable for individuals and businesses, allowing for a high degree of personalization and lower minimum quantities than traditional offset printing. Digital printing also allows for the use of nontraditional mediums. If you’ve done all you can with posters, fliers and other print ads, you may want to consider vinyl decals instead. Here are some ideas for how to utilize custom printing services to create a contemporary look on nearly any surface in your business space.
Using vinyl decals in your storefront’s windows allows you to brand them without blocking the view into your business. And since vinyl widow graphics are removable, you can use them to advertise temporary sales or to decorate for the seasons. Essentially, custom window graphics give you all the flexibility of window paint, but with far less hassle and a sleeker, more professional result.
Vinyl wall graphics are also rapidly growing in popularity. These are easily installed without specialty equipment, and can be removed without damaging the wall underneath. Easily recognizable silhouette patterns such as branches and leaves are common choices, but custom printing services allow you to use your logo, personalized artwork or even quotes to dress up your space. Since prefabricated vinyl wall graphics can be easily bought from a number of venues, you might as well take advantage of the opportunity you have working with a printer by choosing something unique, instead of a generic pattern.
When you’re assessing potential advertising surfaces, don’t forget the floor! A classic use for custom floor graphics is a logo on a gym floor, but the possibilities are practically endless. Consider arrows or instructions that can guide your customers through the store, or use floor images to add visual interest without the maintenance hassles caused by carpet.
If you don’t have a storefront to decorate, vinyl decals also make excellent promotional gifts. Research shows that if given an item with a company’s name or logo on it, 84% of Americans will remember that company’s name. And since decals might be affixed on a variety of surfaces, your customers will essentially be spreading advertising materials for you, free of charge.
Have you used vinyl decals as part of your business advertising strategy? What was your experience? Share in the comments.
You may have already thought of hanging advertising banners to promote your business, and that’s an important step when it comes to branding. But did you know that 84% of Americans who receive a promotional gift branded with a company’s name or logo will retain that company’s information? Giving your clients or customers something to take home with them can be an incredibly effective marketing strategy that encourages them to come back — and markets to those around them in the meantime.
Digital printing allows for many options, including printing on unusual surfaces and sizes of objects. And custom printing services can be surprisingly affordable, even for small businesses, since digital printing allows for smaller minimum runs than traditional offset methods. Here are three fresh ideas for promotional materials to get you started:
Bookmarks are an ideal gift for two reasons. First, they can be customized with nearly endless options. Sizes, paper weights, colors, fonts, foiling and embossing mean you can be as simple or as elaborate as you like with a design to promote your company. Second, they’re something that your customers can use every day, and yet may not have a strong preference for and may not buy for themselves (as opposed to something like canvas bags).If you prefer a sleeker look, you can go with simple, clean-cut edges. But if you want a more classic feel or more opportunity to customize, a hole for a ribbon or tassel can be added.
There’s a long tradition of giving calendars as business gifts — so much so, in fact, that some people rely on them, never actually buying calendars themselves. Calendars offer your company the choice of how much you’d like to promote your brand on each and every page.The advantage a digital printing company can offer when it comes to custom calendar printing is a much faster turnaround, so there’s no need to panic if you realize you’re coming up to the holidays and don’t yet have gifts for your clients. And since digital printing also allows for smaller quantities of each product, you can make a few different designs if necessary.
- Labels and Stickers:
Custom label printing can be a multi-purpose branding strategy. On the one hand, using branded labels or stickers on your products allows you to save on costly custom packaging without making your product feel generic. But stickers can also make great giveaways, particularly if your business targets younger people who still have school binders or dorm rooms to decorate. Custom printing services allow for designing something that is both eye-catching enough that your customers will want to use your stickers, and still incorporates all your company information.
How do you take advantage of the options offered by custom printing services? What has been most successful for your business? Share in the comments.