Monthly Archives: February 2014

Offset Printing Terms to Know

Every industry has its own language, with industry-specific terms and lingo. Understanding these terms helps you to better define the product you want, make more informed decisions regarding the orders you place, and better understand the world of digital printing services and offset printing.

Here are a few key terms to help you better understand the products we produce and the options open to you when you are placing your orders:

  • Abrasion Resistance: Abrasion resistance refers to the scratch-resistance of a paper’s or material’s surface. Certain types of paper have higher resistance, while others have lower resistance. For example, lamination raises a material’s abrasion resistance.
  • Accordion Fold: This refers to a certain type of fold in paper where each fold runs in the opposite direction to the previous fold. Certain brochure makers create accordion folds by folding three panels in opposite directions.
  • Bleed: This refers to ink, whether in images or text, continuing across a fold. This is useful when allowing for variations created by reproductions being die-cut or trimmed.
  • Calendar Rolls: These are a series of metal rollers at the end of paper machines. The paper is passed between these and is made more smooth and glossy.
  • Deckle Edge: This kind of edge is created when natural paper is left untrimmed, leaving a soft, feathered appearance.

We recommend looking up a fuller glossary if you have questions as to different paper, finishing and edge options, or any other step in the printing process.

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Take the Extra Step

While little additions like mounting and laminating may seem like no big deal, studies have shown that these extra touches can make or break your ad campaign. Not only do these extra services make your offset printing advertisement look more professional, but it can also make your custom banner or custom poster much more durable. The plastic lamination protects your paper ad from regular wear and tear, and matting adds width, making it less likely to tear or bend.

Here are a few Apple Visual Graphics options when it comes to laminating or mounting your products.

  • When you laminate your product, you can choose different finishes to give it a different feel. Finishes include non-skid, matte and glossy. Matte gives your product a more professional look, since it doesn’t have a glare when light shines on it; glossy is popular for advertisements that will be exposed to weather; and non-skid is great if your product will be sitting on a flat surface.
  • There are many different materials that you can choose from to mount your finished product, ranging in thickness from 3 mm to ½ inch. These include cardstock, Gatorfoam, Masonite and Sintra. Each is perfect for different applications, so make sure you consider how your product will be used and the possibilities with each mounting material before you make your selection. For instance, ½ inch Gatorfoam is too thick if you want to be able to slip your ad into a plastic sleeve or put it up in public, but 3 mm Sintra is too thin for many tradeshows.
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Sustainable Printing

One of the biggest concerns in recent years for forest-dependent companies such as offset printing, large format digital printing and other digital printing services is establishing green business practices. Not only do businesses like ours rely on paper and similar resources to operate, but we also create a lot of waste when we cut out orders, trim edges and print test prints.

To help reduce our carbon footprint and create a green service that you can feel proud to use, we are implementing more and more green business practices each day. These include working to reduce our waste up front, using recycled paper products when possible, and properly recycling the waste we generate that cannot be reused or repurposed. Our inks are soy based, making them more sustainable and green, as well, and we are authorized to reprint projects on recycled work when customers want to make a similar commitment to the environment.

We have been recognized for our efforts and have been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council through the Rainforest Alliance Smartwood program, and make it a point honor our commitment to you and the environment by utilizing green business practices and increasing our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint on a daily basis. Contact us today if you want to partner with us in this initiative and find out how you can make your order even greener before you place it. Whether you are printing postcards, banners or bus shelter ads, we can help you find a way to grow your business while helping the environment as well.

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Postcard Printing

We can handle the printing quality of your product, but in order to create a postcard that you will be able to mail, you need to make sure that the back design of your postcard is compliant with the United States Postal Service guidelines before ordering postcard printing services. These guidelines are all relatively similar, but differ depending on the size of the postcard you are designing.

Guidelines are available for postcards measuring 4.25 by 5.5, 4 by 6, 5.5 by 8.5, 5 by 7, 6 by 9 and 6 by 11 inches, and include elements like return address area, space for postage, the bleed size on the outside edge and the trim size, a safe zone size, an ink free area where the address goes and a barcode area.

If you design a postcard that is perfect in every way but which doesn’t meet one of these major requirements, most offset printing services, Apple Visual Graphics included, will do their best to catch the error and notify you before completing the printing job, but it is best if you can catch it before sending your design to digital printing services.

As far as the front, which is the more important part of your postcard, there are no USPS guidelines. We do have a few recommendations to make sure you get as much out of your design as possible.

  • Minimize copy. People rarely pick postcards for the copy unless it is five words or fewer.
  • Make sure you have strong images or a strong design. Your postcard needs to be attractive and memorable.
  • Make sure you identify your company clearly.
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Why You Should Care About Font

We’ve talked about how many fonts you should use in the past and which fonts may be good to pair together, but you may be asking why you should put so much thought into your fonts. They seem like the simplest, least important part of your custom poster or other offset printing product. In actuality, they are one of the most important. Fonts do much more than simply shape your copy.

Here are several reasons why you should care about your fonts as much as you care about your images.

  1. Fonts focus attention. The placement, size, style and color of your fonts direct your readers’ attention around your ad in a manner that places emphasis on different parts. This can also determine the order in which people read your copy and titles, which is why people tend to use a larger, bolder, different font for their title than their main copy.
  2. Font sets tone. Fonts are just as responsible for setting tone as images are. More delicate, curling fonts set an elegant, upscale tone, while bolder blocky text can create a more fun, adventurous tone. Spend time selecting a font that really helps establish the tone you are looking for.
  3. Fonts increase readability. If you choose fonts poorly, people may have a difficult time reading the copy on your custom banner or other advertisements, which can counteract everything you are trying to do. If people can’t read your ad, you might as well not print it, because it will do the same amount for your branding or marketing campaign.
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