Very efficient modern printing presses with computer controls run our presses today, but they still need the experienced eye of a trained pressman to make the final OK to print. Presses today range from one to eight colors meaning you can print 4 color photos and have accenting coatings of gloss and matte aqueous inks, and spot Pantone PMS colors. All accomplished with one pass through the press.
Proofing is carefully done with hard copy high resolution proofs and PDF proofs where desired or after making minor changes to the original proof.
Presses today range from lower cost single color machines and into the millions of dollars for high volume well-equipped equipment. Very cheap prices for projects will often reflect old equipment running in dirty environments and quite possibly substandard work. Please remember this when evaluating bids.
Offset presses are best where the quantities are higher. They can also be used for printing several versions on the same press sheet. Common press sheet sizes are 26 by 40 inches or 20 by 26 inches.
Digital printing is very comparable to offset printing today with unique advantages. Short runs can be targeted to small market segments and utilize highly variable copy and pictures. But, without an experienced operator who knows how to tweak the press or a management who works for “good enough,” the output may not be what you expected. We invest the time to get it right.
A great digital printing advantage is having your hard copy proof printed on the actual paper stock the job will run on. Printing the brochure or postcard can then be completed shortly upon approval.
As with offset presses, there are some old digital presses around still producing work. But the press sheet will have sort of a funny sheen on it and will definitely be cheaper because it does not look very nice. Again, something to think about when reviewing bids.
Digital printing is ideal for short run sell sheets, trifold brochures, small posters such as 11 x 17, and smaller multi page catalogs. Production is fast and pieces can be printed, folded, stitched and delivered the same day—(with some notice for scheduling.)
WIDE FORMAT PRINTING
High resolution inkjet equipment now allows us to print as few as one poster. No longer do you have to pay for setting up a million dollar press to output 5 posters. Plus, you can print variable copy (as in different languages) on them for use in other countries.
Posters can then be film laminated with gloss or matte finishes, delivered flat or rolled, tubed and sent to many locations.
We also make the traditional yard signs on wide format printers. Yard signs can be used for open houses, recruiting events and special sale announcements. We use a plastic material so it is water proof and it mounts on an H frame so half of the frame inserts into the sign and half of the frame sticks into the ground. Sizes can vary but the typical size is 18 inches high by 24 inches wide.
Rigid panels mounted to Gatorboard can be made for exhibits and displays with sizes of 4 by 8 feet. Great for use in building lobbies, grand opening events and for “donor” checks being presented to an organization.
Flexible vinyl banners of practically any length are printed on scrim vinyl and grommeted for hanging indoors or outside. The vinyl material is reinforced with threads for extra strength in windy environments and can have semi circles cut to allow the wind to blow through.
While most of our work comes from highly skilled graphic designers working with the software of InDesign, Quark Express, Photoshop and others, we can help with names of people to contact.
But every project does not always require such expertise and we can take sketches, copy and pictures and have them made into print ready files for you.
LETTERSHOP AND MAILING
All you need to supply is an Excel Spread Sheet of names and addresses and we can personalize letters, sell sheets and postcards for your target audience.
When we do your mailing, we qualify for postal sorting discounts from the Post Office because we do a lot of the initial work the Post Office would have to do. Such discounts on 200 or 500 pieces depending on the type of mailing, frequently pay for the costs of us addressing, inserting and mailing the piece. A big plus is we run your data base through the U.S. Post Office’s NCOA-National Change of Address data base to validate addresses and assure you the address is most likely correct. Incorrect or non valid addresses you mail to may be trashed at the delivery point unless you paid First Class rates to have it returned. Plus, we can give you back your data base with the prospect or your customers’ new corrected address. You can then decide if the recipient is in or perhaps outside your target area and to not mail to them.
Having such corrected address information warrants considering mailing at standard postage rates versus first class postage rates. The differences are 1) the delivery may take a few days more—but we do not think this is necessarily true and 2) completely non deliverables will not be returned to you. Something to think about but having this for a small number of pieces versus saving a couple thousand dollars may be an easy decision. The difference in number of delivery days becomes important when the mailing is tied to an event date. Planning to be in the mail well ahead of the event can save large amounts of postage.
Most lettershopping work can be automated which means the project will be completed and in the mail right-away versus having to schedule people in your company to stuff and label the mailing. Mailing the piece yourself will usually be $3-$6 an envelope depending on weight and distance versus our mailing at standard rates for frequently less than a dollar.
We also believe quality mailings get results and it is better to mail a lower number of pieces to valid locations who will look at your piece than mailing to every address- good or bad and hoping something sticks. This wasteful thinking is commonly referred to as, “Lick- em, stick-em and get-em in the mail” because the more a mail-shop can mail the more they can charge. We would rather have a lower billing and know results will come to our customers.
How many times do you receive two or three mailings from a store or bank on the same day? Imagine if they had only deduped their mailing list by name or address? Remember, the mailer gets paid for every piece going in the mail and there is no incentive to dedupe. We always dedupe!
PRE-PRESS AND SPECIALTY FINISHING
There are many ways to differentiate your piece from the competition and differentiation means marketing and marketing means SALES RESULTS!
Pieces with great pictures can be stochastically screened in prepress to give the closest continuous tone work available today. This means your pictures look like photos processed in the photo-lab. Then, when printed with UV or LED cured inks, the dots of color sit up on the sheet and do not sink into the sheet (the ink blotter effect) resulting in beautiful reproductions. Our printing is beautiful!
Press sheets can be die-cut, scored, folded and glued along with any number of other steps. For example, small card pieces can be round cornered from a number of standing dies.
Pieces can be hot foil stamped with a choice of many foil colors running from the traditional silver and gold and the primary colors to iridescent shimmering foils.
On press, we can use the chemistry of coatings to create mottled surfaces which can be quite interesting. Think about highlighting your product with UV inks which really show off your product. You can also choose the specialty ink called Soft Touch which gives a velvety coating to the surface. The tactile feeling is quite different and attracts attention. For those who remember the early days of specialty inks, the costs of these finishes have become very reasonable.