Monday, May 28, 2012

Texas 4000 Atlas Ride

Even though the temperatures are just heating up in Austin, TX, the mornings are still nice enough to get a good workout. 

If you are looking for a great way to spend your time next Saturday (June 2, 2012)... consider participating in the 8th annual Texas 4000 Atlas organized bicycle ride. The 50 or 70 mile ride starts in Cedar Park and ends in at the beautiful Pillar Bluff winery in Lampasas. Another option is to ride 25 miles, starting and ending at the Lampasas winery. 

What is cool about this event is the opportunity to meet ~40 of the most impressive college students (in my humble opinion) that are participating in the world's longest charity bicycle ride known as LIVESTRONG Texas 4000. The Atlas ride is day 1 of their 70 day ride.

During spring, these select students get ready for finals, raise funds (each has to raise at least $4500) for a cancer research, and train for the biggest cycling adventure of their lives... 

From Austin to Anchorage.  The students split into two groups, one group goes to west to California and then up the west coast; the other group goes through the Rockies. The two groups meet up in Canada and then ride together to Anchorage. Along the way they rely on the kindness of strangers and make scheduled stops to raise cancer awareness. 

If you hadn't heard about this before, it is possible to still register on site.  The registration fee goes towards the fundraising efforts.    The students are approachable and are happy to share their stories.  Most have never seriously ridden a bicycle but because the cause is such a worthwhile event, they apply to be part of the LIVESTRONG Texas 4000 team.  They are riding because either someone close to them and/or they themselves have been affected by cancer.

If you are unable to make the Atlas ride and are interested in learning more, would be interested in following their progress, or would like to contribute to this great cause, check out their website.

Our Austinprint shop is proud to be a supporter of LIVESTRONG Texas 4000. If you go, you might see us on the 25 mile route.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

How to select an "environmentally responsible" paper for your printing needs

These days more and more business and consumers are wanting to minimize the impact of their activities on the environment.

Studies still show that printed marketing materials, like posters, brochures and business cards, are still the most effective way to get the word out about products, services and events.

It should be reassuring that nearly every major paper used by commercial printers and local print shops today is certified to come from sustainable, well managed forests that operate in an environmental and socioeconomic responsible manner.

In late 1990's, the Forest Stewardship Council established a rigorous certification process for forests and paper mills with paper that can be tracked back to a certified forest being designated in one of two ways:
  • "FSC Mix" if the paper contains any virgin pulp or
  • "FSC Recycled" if the paper is made from 100% recycle content.
To learn more visit

In addition to FSC certification, there are four additional ways to designate paper has come form a sustainable forest: American Tree Farm System, the Canadian Standards Association, the Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) or Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).

To learn more visit GreenBlue Stop by or call your local print shop to learn more about what paper options are available and which paper would be the best choice to meet your needs.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

How to shorten the printing time

Seems that every year gets shorter and the" to do" list keeps growing with deadlines that keep getting shorter.  

Here are some tips and insider info on how to compress the printing time when you needed your business cards yesterday!

  • Double check accuracy of content (especially phone numbers, addresses, and dates). This will prevent re-work. 
  • Provide pdf files plus the original design files (e.g. Adobe in-design). In addition, attach any non "true type" fonts. 
  • Have the files set up as a 1-up (this will save production set up time) . 
  • Review and approve proofs as quickly as possible. 
  • Request a deadline on a Mon-Thurs (Fridays are the busiest and require at least 3 days advance orders).
  • Be willing to pay a rush charge.
  • Be willing to be flexible on paper -- being able to use a comparable in stock paper versus a custom paper can save time. 
  • Be willing to be flexible on color matching (a specific spot color could take longer).
Stop by or call our Austin printing company to learn more about time saving how to's.

Monday, April 30, 2012

How to increase the response rate of a mailing

Continuing on my series of mailing how to's, below are some best practices to increase response rates.
  • Use multiple mailings, timed 6 weeks apart - one mailing will return just 0.1% response whereas 6 mailings will increase response rate to 1.5% or more.
  • A monthly newsletter is a good way to stay top of mind and to impart knowledge to your customer base
  • Cleanse mailing lists (lists degrade about 1% per month)
  • Target the mailing
  • Use eye catching full color graphics and interesting content (quirky gets noticed - think "Superbowl" ads)
  • Use a thicker stock to convey a sense of quality
  • Add an element of time or create a sense of urgency (like "offer expires at the end of the month")
  • Provide an incentive or something of value  (like a free consultation, a trial session, or a promotional item)
  • Have a clear "call to action" (like join our health club)
For more ideas on getting the most out of your mail campaign, stop by our Austin Print Shop

Thursday, April 26, 2012

How to design a greeting card with Powerpoint and not drive your printer crazy

Recently I wanted to design my own greeting card using Microsoft Powerpoint. Admittedly, it is not the best tool of choice.  Most print shops will cringe at designers who use it...

Here are steps to make the file "print ready",  minimizing the chance of "graphic design" charges:
  • create a blank template (letter size, portrait) 
  • locate artwork - be careful to avoid copyright infringement --free artwork can be found on the Microsoft Office Powerpoint web site under free artwork.
  • start with a blank slide and make an unfilled box to the finished card dimension. Increase the box size by 1/8" on any side where color is to extend to the edge. (for example, if the color is to go to the edge on all 4 sides, make the box 1/4" larger in height and width dimensions and center it on the page).  
  • duplicate slide #1 so that the box appears in the same spot slides 2-4. 
  • edit the slides: 
    • Slide #1 (card front): fill the box with a background color, add the artwork on top of the box. and add a greeting with a readable font and color that complement the design.  
    • Slide #2 (inside card either top or left depending on fold): add greeting and graphics as desired.  if the box is larger than the finished card, it can stay. 
    • Slide #3 (inside card, either bottom or right depending on fold): add a greeting and any graphics. If the box is larger than the finished card, it can stay.   
    • Slide #4: (back side of card): add a "designed by" notation if desired. If the box is larger than the finished card, it can stay. 
  • print to a "PDF" -- select "highest quality", indicate  "letter" paper size, indicate "portrait" orientation, and  add "printers marks"
  • inform your printer what the final size should be and where the fold should go (top or left).  Note: if an alignment box is left on slides 2-4, let the printer know that too.
Following these steps will make the handling of your file much easier for your print shop. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

How to keep your customers after you've relocated, part 2

Relocating?? - Here are some how to tips on getting the message out after you've relocated so that you don't lose any customers.  See my how to tips on what to do before you've moved.

  • update all web pages with new address right away    
  • update Google, Yelp, Yahoo, and any other sites you are listed on with your new address right away  
  • put a sticker on all packages with new address (if your new packing materials haven't yet arrived)  
  • hand out maps with new location and date of move (best to show both old and new, especially if two locations are fairly close)    
  • continue to add comments to quotes, invoices, packing lists with date of move and new location   
  • send a post card mailing to current customers and consider an every door direct mail post card campaign to new customers near by your new location   
  • hand out new business cards (tip: include a map on the back side)    
  • post banners/signage on new location (get approval from landlord & city)    
  • leave cards with map to new location at old location (negotiate with landlord and new tenant at your old location)    
  • initiate a face to face campaign with existing customers and new prospects (giving something of value that can be held on to is a very effective way to market, e.g. notepads, calendars, pens...) 

If you are moving in near term, hope the above will help and best wishes in your new location.   Stop by or call our print shop to help suggest cost effective ways to get your message across.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

How to keep your customers after you've relocated your business, part 1

Relocating your business??  Here are some how to tips before you move to get the message out so that you don't loose any customers.   See also my next blog for how to tips after you move.

  • put a sticker on all packages with new address letting customers you will be moving with date of move and new address 
  • create maps with new location and date of move (best to show both old and new, especially if two locations are fairly close)    
  • send a press release to local paper(s) and local business paper     
  • add comments to quotes, invoices, packing lists with date of move and new location    
  • send e-mail to active customers with new address and date of move    
  • initiate a post card mailing to current customers to inform them of your move  
  • send letters or e-mails to vendors/suppliers, etc. with new address    
  • post a banner at old location with "Relocating to...." (get approval from old landlord and new tenant to leave up)    
  • file a change of address notification with post office    
  • order new packing supplies with new address (or put labels with new address on top of old address).

If you are moving in near term, hope the above will help and best wishes in your new location.   Stop by or call our print shop to discuss the best, most cost effective way to get this important message out.