Archive for the ‘Resources’ Category

Online Printing Services: A Design and Printability Guide

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

While online printing services have greatly simplified the process of producing marketing materials, companies still need to take note of important elements to ensure the printability of their design. Ensuring printability allows them to have their materials produced at the soonest time possible, and make the most out of the printing services.

There are three elements that directly affect the printability of a design:

Typography.  Proper typography not just ensures readability, but also plays a part in capturing the attention of readers. Readability results from the dynamic interaction of typefaces, size, text alignment, tracking, and other text properties. It’s also always a good idea to keep things simple by avoiding clutter in order to best convey your message.

Color scheme.   One of the basic rules of color selection for printed materials is to choose the company colors to provide familiarity to their readers. Another option is to choose colors according to the mood you wish to convey. For example, red is an excellent choice for expressing passion and energy. Regardless of color scheme you have chosen, it is important that colors will blend well together and not strain the eyes once printed.

Layout.   The layout will depend on your intended final output. What can be laid out in a flyer may turn out differently when printed on a poster. This is why it’s always best to have a specific layout for each type of printed material. Companies working with online printing services also need to include specifications regarding trim marks, trimmed page size, bleed, and margins to make sure the print comes out as they intended.

Some printers offer the services of professional designers to make sure all the bases are covered. Enlisting a printing company that also offers design services can help companies accurately and quickly bring their visions to life.

A Checklist for Effective Online Booklet Printing

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

The Internet has made printing marketing materials such as booklets a lot easier. While online booklet printing transactions can be completed quickly, you need pay close attention to certain elements in order to get satisfying results:

Paper choices. Paper stock is an important element in booklet creation since this provides both a visual and tactile experience to the reader. Coated stock and uncoated stock are two general categories of paper stock, which can be further broken down into other categories. Coated paper stock is available in gloss, matte, dull, silk, and satin finishes. On the other hand, uncoated stock is available in felt, linen, laid, and vellum finishes.

An online booklet printing service provider should offer a wide range of paper stock to suit your specific needs. For instance, if you want to emphasize the images in your booklet, coated stock paper with a gloss finish would be an excellent choice.

Sizes. While you can print booklets in practically any size you want, marketers typically use two main sizes: 5.5″ x 8.5″ and 8.5″ x 11″. The size you choose will depend on the purpose of your booklet and where you plan to distribute it. The smaller size is ideal for booklets meant to feature only text or to be stacked somewhere for people to pick up. On the other hand, the bigger size is a better option if you plan to include photos or distribute the booklets in stores. Your printer should be able to provide templates in the size that meets your needs.

Binding options. Saddle stitch and coil bind are two common binding options that online booklet printing services offer. Saddle stitching is a binding style that works best for booklets with few pages. Coil binding allows for 360 degree rotation, and is better suited for thicker booklets. Check if your service provider has the option that best suits your project.

With the right combination of printing elements, you can create effective marketing materials.

Branding Made Fun – Lipton Millionaire

Friday, November 26th, 2010

A new take on Branding within a Mega Corporation

Are your brand managers not paying attention to your guidelines? Branding just being ignored and run all over? Even by internal marketing? This was a very creative solution to the problem. Lipton Tea got with Tribal DDB and put together a very interesting solution. Brand Guidelines that are actually FUN and ENGAGING! Imagine your brand managers wanting to learn you guidelines!!  They put an iPod touch (preloaded with the new guidelines app) with a stack of cash and mailed in out in a briefcase, check out the video below and the link HERE

Lipton Millionaire

This kind of creativity is what we need in our industry! Got your branding down already? Come print your branded collateral at PGprint!

Christopher Robinson

Illustrator Tutorial on Recoloring Artwork

Friday, September 24th, 2010

A Short Tutorial on Illustrator’s Recolor Artwork Function

Today, a short Illustrator tutorial on the recolor artwork feature. First take an image and run Object Menu > Live trace to convert yout low res image to vector artwork. Next set is to expand your traced file and then go to the Edit Menu > Edit colors > recolor artwork. In the window that pops up go to the color slider at the bottom and change the color you want to base your new art off of, I picked a brown color.

Next click on the pop down menu at the top of the same window and select your “Harmony Rule” I chose “shades” for this example.

The software then applies the new color scheme and shows a list of what original color is converting to what color in the new scheme.

One fun thing to try as seem below is the random color button, it basically takes the colors in your new palette and applies them randomly to the art.

Finally once you have your colors the way you want them click the “OK” button!

add any type or other elements and presto, you have created a nice scaleable vector poster/flyer/art!

Once you finish your artwork and are ready to print it, drop by our online printing site and sign up!

Christopher Robinson

Color Theory in Action

Monday, September 20th, 2010

The Top 100 Web Brand Colors

I enjoy running in to interesting posts on color theory. I found this gem on the top 100 Sites at which is a site produced by Darius Monsef. His site consists of a huge variety of palettes created by individuals, blogs, forums, trending and forcasting and about anything you would wish to know about color theory.

This particular graphic he created shows the main colors used in the top 100 sites on the web, no big surprise that the Blue Hues still remain king of the color world, especially when you look at the “psychology” of color.

Studies have shown Blue to represent Trust, Security, Technology, Order and Conservative, no wonder it’s so popular. Red which comes in a close second has been shown to represent Power, Energy, Warmth and Passion. When combining colors you can also combine the “meanings” of the colors but be cautious since as all designers know, not all colors go well together!

Graphic Courtesy of - click to enlarge

Want to know more about the psychology of color? I will be posting a resource blog with more information on that later in the week, so check back soon!

Already have your logo finalized and need some printing? Click over to our printing section and check out our current promotional discounts!

Christopher Robinson

Design 101 – Justified Type

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

A short tutorial on the “why” of “Full Justification” versus “Rag Right”

The biggest question you must ask yourself is “form or function?” When setting up text heavy documents, is the look more important that the readability? Is there a best case scenario in this artistic compromise? Quite a few designers LOVE to use full justification when even if the readability suffers greatly. I have a few example screen shots which I will discuss briefly below.

First off, we have a four column layout with text set to full justification. You can clearly see the odd spacing on some lines between words. Some of this can be adjusted to look a little better with tracking and kerning but that can lead to more problems with the first revision. This type of narrow column becomes very hard to read when set to full justification.

Suggest: Wider columns or rag right text

The image below is three columns set to full justification, its better than the 4 column layout as most of the text does not have the large spaces between words that makes it difficult to read, but as you can see where the text wraps around the picture you still get the hard to read spacing.

Suggest: Moving the photo or making text rag right

Below is a better option, although beauty (in typesetting) is in the eye of the beholder, I think a “rag right” setting makes the text much easier to read and maintains an overall better look with narrow columns.

Suggest: Looks pretty good but I would still think about wider columns to add legibility

If you must have “justified text” find a column width that works well with automatic word spacing as seen below, the larger the column the better your text will automatically flow, so make adjustments to your layout as needed to achieve the best look and readability possible.

Suggest: perhaps playing around with different options for image placement, but the text readability and overall look are both good

So many designers today don;t seem to pay attention to the details like typesetting. The usage of Kerning, tracking, leading and all the other options available to todays designers should be used with fervent zest! Once you have your design completed bring it on over to PGprint and see just how economically we can print your new work of art!

Christopher Robinson

Common Mistakes in Logo Design

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Smashing Magazine has hit on the 10 most common mistakes made in logo design. It’s a great post that creatives and purchasers alike should read and take to heart! In a nutshell the list is comprised thusly:

1. Designed by an Amateur

2. Relies on Trends

3. Uses Raster Images

4. Contains Stock Art

5. Designing for Yourself Rather than the Client

6. Overly Complex

7. Relies on Color for Effect

8. Poor Choice of Font

9. Too Many Fonts

10. Copies Others

For screen shots, more information and a good read pop over to Smashing Magazines Blog and check out the full post.

Christopher Robinson

Upcoming soon, my own list of common errors when ordering online printing

Making Grunge Effects – Type

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

How to Make Grunge Type Effects

Today’s blog is a quickie on how to add grunge effects to type easily. First you will need some grungy images, best place to find these is on the web or take them yourself. Make sure before you use an image from the web that the owner/photographer has released rights for personal/commercial use and reproduction (see blog on copyright!) I found some images at Desizn Tech that are free for personal and commercial use, it is also a good reference site for for web designers, techs and anyone with an interest in design in general, back to the topic at hand…

Once you have an image in hand, make sure it has good contrast in the image for the area you want to pull out for your “grunge”. I adjusted the contrast a little in photoshop in the image I picked (from Desizn Tech) before placing it in Adobe Illustrator. Once in Illustrator I ran live trace and adjusted my options to pull out the dark areas. I set it to blakc and white and then ungrouped and removed the white areas leaving me just the black shown below.

Once I had the grunge for my image (see above) I turned the black to magenta so I could see the type and the image areas and overlap clearly (below).

At this point I selected the type, converted it to outlines, colored the grunge art white again and used the pathfinder divide tool to subtract the grunge from the type I then selected all the white areas using “select same fill color” and deleted the white parts. You can see the remainder (below) with points highlighted.

At this point you are done and have your grunge artwork ready to go, click on the image below to see a more blown up version. You can also have a two-tone look by putting another copy of the type artwork without the grunge effect to fill in the white areas with another color.

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial, and when you are done with that “grunge” poster bring it on over and have us print it for you here at!

Christopher Robinson

Reference – Copyright and Trademark

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

A great source of reference material for copyright and trademark concerns.

Copyright and Trademarks are two things that everyone knows a little about… but could, and should… know more. In this article I will list some online resources for you to bookmark and reference and explain some of the more basic info myself. Every designer creating logos or writing copy should be aware of.

What exactly are trademarks? Here is an exerpt from the  Cornell University Law School’s Law dictionary and encyclopedia:

“Trademarks are generally words, phrases, logos and symbols used by producers to identify their goods.  However, shapes, sounds, fragrances and colors may also be registered as trademarks…Almost any word, name, symbol, or device capable of distinguishing the source of goods may be used as a trademark subject to few limitations…  “

Here are a few sites you should bookmark in case you ever get into a situation where you need to trademark something.

Cornell University Law School’s Law dictionary and encyclopedia on Trademarks

United States Patent and Trademark Office (official Government site)

What exactly is Copyright? The US copyright office has this to say about copyright basics:

“Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U. S. Code) to the authors of ‘original works of authorship,’ including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works.”

A few useful links to more information on copyright can be found at the sites below.

US Copyright Office (make sure to check out the copyright basics!)

Copyright Alliance

There is a lot of great information located on the above sites, the general info I have posted should give you enough to understand the basics of the basics, but don’t stop there! Enjoy the read, and when you finish that trademarked logo and set up your stationary come see us for the Printing!

Christopher Robinson

Design Resource-AIGA

Monday, August 9th, 2010

The AIGA provides some great free resources

The “AIGA, the professional association for design” which used to stand for “American Institute of Graphic Arts”  a silly and confusing change in my opinion, but the site is still a wealth of information and inspiration for designers. I will hit on the areas of the site I think are most useful.

Inspiration - Over 20,000 designs from competitions are located in the Inspiration section of the web site, a great resource for those moments when you get a mental block. There are also some interesting “reads” in this area.

Professional Resources – This is one of my favorite resources as a designer, they have Standards of professional practice, and annual salary survey that can help when searching for that next shift in jobs or getting that overdue raise and various other freelance oriented resources.

There is also an education section and a business section that discusses ethics and spec work. AIGA also has the ubiquitous “green” section where sustainability, democracy and diveristy are king. This “Society and Nature” section also contains a good reference to a set of 50 symbols produced by AIGA and the U.S. Department of transportation back in 1974 that can be downloaded as eps or gif artwork free of charge!

As a designer you can spend quite a bit of time on the site the first time around and I am sure you will set some bookmarks. Student membership is $95 and individual membership starts at $230. Check out the site here

After you get done with all your research there, have your new inspiration in hand, and design complete, come back here and let allow us to provide you with a superior product!
Christopher Robinson