Monday, June 11, 2012

Idea Corner

The cover of your document – the first thing the reader sees – is a very important part of the finished product. To safeguard the cover from scuffing and wear, consider these means of protection:
  • Coating. Coatings are applied after printing as a protective layer. Some commonly-used coatings are varnish, aqueous and UV coating. Coatings can be applied to one or both sides of the cover.
  • Overlay. Use a clear plastic sheet over the top of the cover. The sheet will normally only be necessary over the front cover where the most protection is needed.
  • Die cutting: instead of printing on the cover, cut a window through which text on the title page will be visible. This technique also increases the range of stocks you can consider for the cover since it won’t have to feed through a copier, digital printer or press.

Against The Grain

A fold will be smoother and more resilient when the grain of the paper is parallel to the fold. Paper grain is the direction of the wood fibers on the sheet. Paper folds smoothly with the grain and roughens or cracks against the grain. Paper is also stiffer in the grain direction.

As a rule, we print so that folding will be with the grain. When this is not possible, we score or crease the paper fibers to break them evenly before folding. Scoring or creasing is usually necessary for all cover weight papers, for some text weight papers, and when an area of heavy ink coverage through a fold.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Top Ten Reasons We Should Be Your Printer

Printers differ in capabilities and specialties, so you have to know how to match what you need with what a printer can do. For instance, we print different stationery for several printers in the area that print signs, newspapers and magazines. The reason is that they are not capable, with their own equipment, of printing stationery. Below, we present  the top ten reasons why you can confidently pick us as your printer.

#10: We know how to print.

Let’s start with the basics: we have a mix of equipment for printing and finishing, we maintain the equipment in good working order, we provide formal training for our workers, and we enforce production standards for quality and output. We have 24 years of real world experience in addition to our collegiate achievements and degrees. Add all these factors together and it means we can set and meet the daily production schedule.

Why does that matter? Because we can’t finish the whole job on time and correctly unless we complete every interim manufacturing step on time and correctly. And we can’t get the interim steps completed if we have unexpected equipment breakdowns, untrained workers, or don’t have the proper supplies available when needed. It’s the job of our production manager (and co-owner), Marya Kaye, to develop the daily production schedule and monitor throughout the day to be sure it is met.

#9: We tell you how much your job will cost.

Another basic: we provide a proposal as soon as the job specifications are firm. We want to know before we begin production that the price fits within your budget and meets your expectations. If not, we can provide options to hit your price point or budgeted amount.

Our proposals provide details and are written in plain English so that you know exactly what the price is based on. If we’ve misunderstood your instructions, then we can correct the proposal immediately and reach an accurate price. Because of this, we stand behind our proposals – the final invoice will always match the proposal.

#8: We invoice promptly.

We don’t consider the job to be complete until the invoice is written, so jobs are normally invoiced on the day production is completed. To avoid invoices getting lost, we deliver them with the job or mail them to whomever you designate – the person who placed the order or the accounts payable department, for example. The invoice will also include your purchase order number or other
internal reference you provide. And it will always match the quotation.

#7: We commit to a due date and deliver on time.

Because of our production control systems,  we can provide a firm commitment for completing the job. We’ll also provide you with interim due dates for things you may be providing to us such as photographs, a mailing list, or a postage deposit. We’ll also remind you as your deadline for turning things in approaches.

#6: We let you know what’s going on.

We confirm receipt of your inputs so you don’t have to follow up to be sure we have them. If you have submitted a file, we open it, analyze it, and report back any problems we’ve encountered. When a job has many manufacturing steps, we provide a periodic status report so you know how the work
is progressing.

If we encounter an unexpected problem during production, we let you know right away so together we can develop a solution. We do this anytime the due date, cost or quality of the job will be impacted by the problem.

We also let you know about all the things we do – about websites, mailing, signs, mobile marketing, SEO, etc. We won’t assume you know all that we do – instead, we’ll keep you informed via our newsletter and other means.

#5: We tell the truth.

We need you to trust us, and the only way we know to build trust is by always telling the truth. We don’t beat around the bush. For example, if there is a serious design flaw in the brochure file you gave us, we will tell you and provide some suggestions. We won’t mislead you, hide things from you or make substitutions without your knowledge and permission.

#4: We find out what works for you.

The more we know about your business, your industry and your customers, the better we can evaluate whether the printed piece will serve the purpose you intend. If we understand your company’s purchasing and accounts payable systems, we will comply with those requirements and present invoices that can be processed smoothly and routinely. We will ask about hours of delivery, how to present packing and delivery slips, and where to place goods on the loading dock.

#3: We are interested in new media.

We understand the changing role of print in business communications. We know our customers and prospects are using and experimenting with social media like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, with mobile communications to smart phones, and with web-based communications like webinars and blogging.

We’re constantly testing new media, looking for better solutions, and developing a strategy for combining technologies with print. We understand that our job has always been to help our customers communicate with their customers and prospects so something can be sold or donated or supported. We’re actively working with customers on email marketing, QR codes, desktop and mobile websites, and social media marketing.

#2: We defend print with facts.

Despite our rock solid commitment to new media, we know for certain that print still has an important role to play. For those who would abandon print communications based on concerns for the environment – cutting down trees, the impact of paper manufacturing on the environment, printing’s overall carbon footprint – we offer facts, research and statistics to counter these claims. We can provide objective information about the effectiveness of print, its sustainability, and its overall ROI.

#1: You deserve the best printer.

And we’re it! While other printers may try to persuade you with their equipment or low prices, we’ve offered ten very different reasons as evidence that we’re the best value. It comes down to this: we deliver on time, keep you informed, and make it easy for you to do business with us.

So take the next step – contact Brigid to arrange for a shop tour or an appointment. Email her at brigid@creativecharacters.com or call (215) 923-2679. We’re standing by.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Q&A: Tell me more about Creative Characters

Our humble beginning – the first day of
business on 10th street in 1995.
We’ve been providing web and print solutions to businesses and organizations in the Delaware Valley since 1995. Based on our experience, we are pretty good at predicting which businesses, organizations and individuals will be a good fit with us. We develop a strong working relationship with customers who have:
  • a regular, recurring need for the kind of services we provide
  • a budget adequate for the job specifications
  • the authority to place an order
  • the ability to work with our manufacturing standards
  • adequate time to schedule production
  • a willingness to partner with us
  • good communication skills
  • a desire to work with a dependable, innovative solutions oriented company
For more information about our history and our staff, visit our website at www.creativecharacters.com.

Friday, June 1, 2012

We’re Different

Printing companies are just like any other business – we need to attract new customers to stay in business. And that means we have to interest our prospects in the special features that set us apart from our competition – in sales terminology, our unique selling proposition or USP for short.

So what are the favorite USPs of printers? For some it’s price; for others it’s an equipment list; and for still others it’s a claim of superior customer service. But for Creative Characters it is something different. We’ve organized our shop to make it easy for you to do business with us.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But like many things that appear simple, it takes a lot of training and practice to carry out. We are proud to enumerate the specific reasons why we should be your printer of choice. Reduced to its essence, we deliver your project on time, at the agreed-upon price, and error-free. If you’re not getting that from your current printer, maybe it’s time to give us a try.