Thursday, December 29, 2011

Looking forward to 2012

Hello! This is the last STDO blog post for 2011. It's been a good year; More magnet sizes, more designs, product upgrades, and more.



I, Angela Bauter, hereby resolve to keep improving the website and working on new designs.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Portuguese save the dates

Save the Date Originals does save the dates. Cards. Magnets. Themes. Many sizes, many colors. Photographic, non photographic. And also in alternate languages.

Right now the only person on staff is limited to English. If the customer can speak/write English, or they have a friend that can act as a go between, they can work with STDO on a project. The project itself doesn't have to be English! Of course the customer is definitely solely responsible for proof reading in that case.

Check out the popular wedding save the date design now turned into a Portuguese birthday save the date:


Communication with the designer is done via email in English- but the customer can email the text for the design in an alternate language. Spanish is a popular alternative to English for projects.

Sometimes it gets tricky because a lot of the fonts that are available won't have that accents or flourishes needed; But for small things like save the dates, a few of those can be added right in by the designer.

This leads into mentioning that you can get bilingual save the dates and invitations. You can get some # of cards or magnets in one language, some # in another. Another option is to go for double sided printing- one language on one side, another language on the other side.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Why choose Save the Date Originals?

1) Design variety. You can find all manner of styles on the website- from offbeat to elegant, simple to photographic, sports, humor, skylines, cartoons, floral, you name it. And if you don't see it, it can probably be made.

2) Personal attention from a designer. Want some tweaks? Can do. Switch up the colors a bit. Move a design element over a bit. If your photo doesn't fit the design you saw, I'll make some tweaks just to get you what you want. Don't end up with awkward and weird text positioning from an automated service.

3) Quality printing. Magnets are printed with 8 tank printers, versus the old 4 tank printers that many fridge magnet makers are using. Want a bright lime green or a vibrant royal blue, instead of a darker washed out looking version of these colors? Can do.

4) Fridge magnets from STDO have a laminated finish, are made with a 20mil magnet, and, are hand cut. Say no to flimsy magnets that arrive crooked and yes to awesomeness from STDO.

5) Integrity. Your won't be shoved through an ordering process that is full of advertisements, nor will any of your information ever be sold to partner companies just for an extra buck.

6) USA business. Nothing you buy from STDO is going to be made in China. And when you have a problem, you talk directly to STDO employees... not an overseas customer support team.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Happy Slingshot Birds Save the Date Card

How is this for offbeat? A save the date card with two happy birds flying towards... their wedding cake.


No angry birds here! Just some good humor for those engaged couples who love the game "Angry Birds". Have fun with your wedding :-)

PS: This can be made as a fridge magnet.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Save the Date + Happy Holidays



Around this time of the year, I start to receive questions like "can I send save the dates out with my holiday cards"? and "How to I mail save the dates out with my christmas cards?"

Can you? Yes. But... you have to make sure that you send save the dates in ONLY with those family members that are sure to receive an invitation later. "Save the date for my wedding" does not equal "announcing my engagement". If you want to stick with just announcements, those were around long before save the dates were.

How do you? Well, if you are getting a save the date card and a holiday card, it's as simple as putting both in the envelope. If you are getting magnets, though, and the card isn't the same size as the magnet, you could end up with the magnet edges scratching the card in transit- doesn't look the best. Two options are to make your card so that part of it holds the magnet, or to include the magnets in their own little envelopes.

Slits or photo corners with a folded card that is printed with a holiday message would work well for a holder holiday card.

There are mini envelopes available for both the 2x3.5 inch and 2.5x4 inch magnet sizes. These smaller sizes are problematic for mailing on their own- you can't mail anything out that is smaller than 3.5x5 inches with the US postal service. But included inside another envelope? Perfect.

Save the Date Originals is preparing the holiday section right now... those who order either the 2x3.5 or 2.5x4 inch save the date magnets with holiday cards get mini envelopes for free.


No, your save the date doesn't *have* to be christmas themed either. If your wedding is actually going to be the following winter, that works out well, but otherwise, go with the colors and theme that you would normally go with.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Metallic

Sometimes a customer will ask me if I can print on "glossy" paper when they are not actually looking for a smooth clear gloss. What they are looking for is that kind of paper that has a shimmer to it. This card stock or paper is called "pearlescent" or "metallic".

Personally, I love shimmery cards! White shimmer, cream shimmer, silver shimmer, you name it. Any invitation or save the date card is more awesome on pearlescent paper.



Thursday, September 22, 2011

Taking care of business(es) part 7

There are a few things that a businesses can do to incorporate fridge magnets into their marketing.

The first option is obvious. A small to mid sized magnet that is essentially and advertisement for the business.

Example: 4x2.5 inch magnet for an Inn.

A second option is to put something useful on the magnet, and then to include a logo or website somewhere on the magnet. What might your customer find useful? Perhaps a local list and emergency or city phone numbers. Maybe a year calendar. Both of those options are excellent for keeping your business in a customer's mind in the short run, but after a year the calendar is no longer useful, and eventually, those phone numbers will change eventually.

Example: 8.5x11 inch calendar magnet.

A third option then is to choose some artwork, a fantastic photo, or maybe just a popular quotation about life and humor, as the focus of the magnet. This is somewhat like a "favor magnet" that just happens to have your logo or website link on it.

Here is an example of one of my own favor magnets, that includes a quote and champagne glasses. My website url is tucked right in there at the bottom.

Those are your basic options, but not the only ones. Each business might find a new way to use fridge magnets. Ziker Uniforms recently had an idea for magnets to hand out to their customers: 4x6 inch biographical magnets.

Ziker Uniforms has been around since 1917 helping businesses manage thier image and employee benefit programs.

The company recently re-routed their stops, and wanted to get the new Route Service Representative information to their customers. The bio magnets, which are different versions of the same design with the photograph and bio for each RSR, were a neat personal way to do that. The design includes the location addresses, phone number, website, logos, and RSR name, all of which are assured to "stick around" on the customer's fridge. Each RSR hands out magnets with their own photo and info.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sports Themed Weddings

Sports themed save the dates are something I have blogged about several times. There is more to say about stationery for that theme, though, beyond save the dates! You didn't think people stopped with their save the dates, did you?

Now, as you might guess, the next thing on a couple's mind after they order their save the dates is... invitations!

I offer a larger ticket design for invitations:

But also to be added soon is this new 5.5x8.5 inch invitation design:


It is a nice clean layout with two jerseys. The red back-flap printed envelopes add the excitement factor. The envelope says "The game is on and you are invited!"

Next, we have a pocketfold invitation:

Again, a fairly simple design, all things considered, with a solid baseball sports theme.

Beyond the invitations, you start to get into stationery for the wedding itself. There is a post about sports themed table #'s somewhere on this blog. This photo, however, is of ticket escort cards:

*Escort cards are a little different than place cards. Place cards are placed *at* the tables, and people wander until they find their place cards. Escort cards are on a table near the entrance. A guest picks up their escort card, and this card tells the guest which table number to go to.*

In this case, the envelopes are written with the guest's name. They pull out their ticket, which tells them where to go.

These new sporty ideas are all due to customers coming to me and asking about a new idea.

Now, what about after the wedding? Well, I have no photographs of a sports themed thank you card for you yet, but, you know they will come along to this blog sooner or later.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Save the Dates focused on your state

As the bride and groom start to consider their options for a save the date card or magnet, a lot of couples will find that they not have a set "theme" for their wedding yet. There are a *lot* of options, and for such cases, there are two simple options I might suggest. One is to incorporate the silhouette/skyline of the city where the wedding will take place. Another is to include the outline of the state where the wedding will take place.

Check out this 3.5x5 inch magnet example. This design incorporates the outline of Cape Cod (the easternmost portion of the state of Massachusetts). This outline was custom drawn for the project. The green and blue are suggestive of your typical map, and a starfish denotes the wedding location.


Each couple could get their own state on a save the date design. Perhaps a simple outline with a heart at the location. As always, it's up to the couple!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Fireworks + Disney

A number of young couples get engaged at Disney World, so it is not surprising that a few of them want to reflect that on their save the date cards or magnets.

Have you been to Disney World lately? Apparently there are special 2x3.5 inch tickets called "fast passes" that are specific for one ride.

One of my customers just asked me about making a small save the date magnet that looks like a fast pass. I couldn't replicate it exactly, because I do have minimum font sizes and bleed/safety margins to factor in, but, I did have an idea for her.

Check it out:


The word "wedding" replaces the name of a ride, and how could I resist adding in some fireworks?

This design uses the absolutely smallest text size I could allow on a design.

And there you have is. Small, simple, disney themed save the date.

__________________________

August 3rd 2014:

I received a submission on the website asking about this design.  It didn't make it onto the website, but is on file and is available.  Send angela@savethedateoriginals.com an email if you are interested.

Added note in case that person returns to the post: the email address used for that submitted question returns an error message when I tried to reply.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Shapely Invitations

A new invitation idea has just been added to the website; Invitations with a shaped border. This idea is a layered invitation, where one of the layers is printed with wording. One of the cards is cut in a "shapely" manner.



This invitation idea can be made with a variety of card stock options. Get the bottom layer made out of a metallic, patterned, or textured paper. Because of that variety, pricing can vary quite a bit. A good estimate would be about $3 per set, layered invitation card, response card, and envelopes included.

*Estimated are just an average price range valid only at the time it is written. Due to inflation, pricing goes up over time.

http://www.savethedateoriginals.com/InvitationGallery.php

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Lunch Bag Wedding Programs

Save the Date Originals just got an order for something I had never thought I'd have an order for: lunch bags! That is, lunchbag ceremony programs for a wedding.

I hadn't heard about this before, but a quick search found that Elizabeth Anne Designs had blogged about a couple that did this, right near the end of 2009.

Why lunchbags? Well, if the couple has a church or venue that is okay with them handing out rose petals or rice to be tossed as the newly married couple departs, how are those usually distributed? The couple would probably have a few ushers with lunch bags walking around to allow people to grab the petals. Instead, the couple can just use the lunchbag programs to distribute the send-away petals to each guest. Easy. Simple. Even distribution. Genius.

Note: make sure that your church will allow you to throw petals/rice/glitter before doing it. There is probably a charge to clean up after such things!

Photos of the printed white lunch bags:


The wedding party is on one side, the actual program on the other. Double sided printed lunchbags like the white one would cost about $1-$1.50.

Note: There is a limited printable area- about a half an inch from the left and ride side must be left blank, and also about 2 inches from the bottom.

While I was working on these, I also had a thought. One could also attach a printed card or sticker to the lunchbags!

Check out an example of a metallic printed card attached to a brown lunch bag:


And now, a clear printed sticker attached to a white lunch bag:


Note: I currently offer clear see-through stickers with black ink printing only. White stickers are available with full color printing.

Customers can get printed lunchbags, ceremony program stickers attached to lunch bags or just the stickers alone, ceremony printed cards attached to lunch bags or just the cards alone. White lunchbags. Brown lunchbags. As always, I am flexible and it's your wedding!

There is no ceremony program section on the Save the Date Originals website as up June 2011... look upwards for the "contact" link and then email to talk about a project. Pricing will vary as far as cards and stickers go.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Going Postal, Indeed

More and more, customers are postage-conscious. I can see why. When I first started my business, it would cost me a lot less to ship orders- postal rates have been going up.

postage rates going upwards is also no wonder, knowing that the US posal service has had some major financial troubles. The main reason for that is, of course, the internet. More people are starting to read online magazines rather than pay for a copy to be mailed. More people are sending birthday greetings via facebook instead of sending a letter.

Whatever the reason, the fact is that postage costs are going up and rules are more likely to be enforced.

A common issue that I warn customers about is that square shaped envelopes will cost more to mail. An envelope can be close to square (such as 5x4.5) and not cost you extra, but a 5x5 inch envelope will.

Something else I just recently found out about: Think of your typical envelope; It is long/tall, maybe 8x3.5 inches. You would address it so that when you look at the address, the envelope is wide and short. (Horizontal). If you turn the envelope so that it is thin and tall, then write the address, it will actually cost more to mail!

Weight is a given- you know that if you go over an ounce, your postage will cost more.

But did you know that if your envelope is thicker than 1/4 inch, you could be charged a package rate? Something for pocketfold invitation buyers to think about.

And your envelope has to be uniformly thick- those bumps from bows could cause trouble.

All in all, brides and grooms definitely need to consider postage as part of the budget. The problem we stationiers have come across more than once is that if you take a complete ready to mail invitation to a post office, have them check it out and give you a price, and then you take it to another post office, the other post office might give a different price. It is coming up fairly often. You never know which workers at which post office are going to enforce which rules.

Hence, the warning that you may need to roll with extra postage. If the postage is indeed more than you were quoted, try another post office. I've read a success story where someone got their postage quote in writing from the post office- and was able to use that later when the postage quote was higher.

When it comes to save the date magnets, well, there are companies selling cheap thin magnets, and there are companies selling thick sturdy magnets. Even thicker small magnets (2x2, 2x3.5, 4x2.5 inch) shouldn't be over an ounce. You can expect to mail smaller sizes with the usual postage. But larger 6.75x3.75 inch magnets are going to cost a little more to mail out in an envelope.



Postcards come up a lot, with couples considering ways to save on postage. After 7 years, I have words of warning.

1) Sometimes the post office will really tear and dent up a post card. I've been surprised by flimsy cards that made it through. I've also been surprised by sturdy cards that got torn, bent, sections scratched up, or otherwise trashed.

2) You have to design the back to meet with their required outline- no crazy fun postcard backs. You also want to design the front so that if the post office puts a sticker or barcode along the bottom, no information will be lost.

3) Consider your privacy. Postcards display everything for anyone along the way to read.

Friday, April 29, 2011

facebook save the date card

I do enjoy a quirky project; This card definitely falls into the offbeat category.


It's a 6.25x4.25 inch card that is designed to look a bit like a facebook page. There is room for multiple photographs, the wedding date, the couple's name, location. At the top, there is even room for a website url!

If you met on facebook, you are both facebook addicts, or you just think this is hilarious, check out the design's detail page on Save the Date Originals for more info.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Hello Knottie brides!

Yes, you. You have just created a cute little website for your wedding via the knot.com and now you want to give out a little save the date magnet that includes the url. You know that if you give out a fridge magnet, your guests won't lose the address, and will always have access to information about your Big Day.

But if you want to go with those small 3.5x2 inch magnets, your gigantic website is kind of a problem.

Why? It doesn't look good on a lot of designs. And on many, well, it just isn't going to fit.

This small save the date magnet design is a popular one:

It's simple, it's cute, it's not excessively swirly.

But if someone asks me to modify the design with a knot.com url:

Oh, that's not good. And you really can't go below 9pt font size if you expect your wording to print well and/or be readable.

What I usually do is send a couple to notlong.com to shorten their url. But it's a third party site, and a lot of couples are leery about using a random website.

Well, I just set up my own url shortening service. Instead of notlong.com, you now use... savedat.es! Basically, a shortener creates another shorter url that will automatically send someone right to your website.


That shorter website would works a lot better with most save the date designs:

This shortening service is maintained by Save the Date Originals. I am not going to promise that your short url will work into infinity, but as long as I'm in business, you should be good. I've been in business 7 years and counting- you probably only need your short url for a year or two.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Excuses, excuses.

I love a good excuse to create promotional materials for my own business. I spend all my time on printed materials for weddings and other businesses- Save the Date Originals could use some love!

318 Designs is hosting a bridal workshop this weekend, and I am sending in some favor magnets. 318 Designs is a Louisiana based event planning company. Check out the website: http://318designsbynicole.com

The favor magnets are 4x2.5 inches and feature a "celebrate life" theme. I'm adding in folded cards with some promotional print. Both card and magnet are going right into the striking blue envelope.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cards & Magnets

It's time to mail your save the dates! Will you go with a card, a magnet, or... both?

A lot of my customers struggle between ordering a card or a magnet. Part of the reason is that magnets are more expensive. To fit a decent amount of wording on a magnet, you either need to go with a medium size... or sacrifice a little on the design. If you go with a small magnet, you end up needing a card anyways to mail it out in (smallest mailable size is 5x3.5 inches- this is discussed elsewhere).

A better solution might just be to order both a card and a magnet. Pick out a save the date card that you like, and then add a small 2x2 or 2x3.5 inch magnet. With Save the Date Originals you can change up colors and get a matching design, so it's not like you have to search for a pre-made combination. Make your own.

Check out this example:

This customer chose a photographic save the date card, and then a grape/winery themed small magnet. She had the colors edited to suite (lime green and purple).


Right now, when customers order a printed card from the save the date section plus a small 2x3.5 inch magnet, they also get little envelopes for the magnets (free). That way, customers don't have to worry about the edge of the magnet potentially scratching the card in some way.

It thought the combination came out looking awesome, and I think the customer agrees:

Angie,

I received my save the date cards and magnets yesterday and love them! I am so excited to send them out to everyone. Thank you so much for your help and patience throughout the design process! You have been wonderful.

Thanks again,
Brianna

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Full Color Printed Fridge Magnets

A new magnet size is joining the family... 8x10 inches! With this magnet size, you can fit multiple photographs, or one large art/photo print. This will certainly spruce up a refrigerator! As with every other magnet size... the photos, artwork, wording, colors, are all customizable.

Check out this family photo magnet:


Adorable! This design features 5 nicely sized photographs and the family name.


One could also get a bordered photograph print.


Or, one could skip the border and just get a magnetic 8x10 inch photograph. You have options. These magnets do have a nice glossy finish.

Check out pricing here:
http://savethedateoriginals.com/8x10MagnetInfo.php




But wait, there is more. This also happens to be the perfect magnet size for a calendar of the entire year + a photo or logo. Check out the example below, featuring a Save the Date Originals logo, followed by the 2011 calendar year, followed by a short list of some holidays.


Click on the image for special calendar magnet pricing.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Printed Car Door Magnets

Save the Date Originals has offered car magnets for several years. I looked at this product again and decided that I could do better! Thicker printed piece. Thicker magnet. Better product.

I introduce the new and improved car magnets: read on.

Below is a 4x4.5 inch example:



Obviously the example above is not business related. It turns out- car magnets are also more appealing, for those who don't want a ragged bumper sticker to deal with some years down the road.

These magnets are made of a laminated card + a nice thick 35 mil magnet. There is a clear laminate border around the card to prevent any rain from seeping in through the side of the magnet. This is important for an outdoor magnet- you don't want your magnet falling apart as soon as the magnet gets rained on.



Get a quality magnet from the get go. Because your business deserves better. Because you will be in business for years to come, and your business car magnets should look good.

Sizes priced out on the website are 8x3.25 inches, 10x4 inches, and 10x8 inches.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tis the Season...

You normally think about winter when you read that phrase "tis the season"; But right now, it is the season for spring wedding invitations and autumn save the dates.

Check out this 5x7 inch invitation card:


A new design, it focuses on the "fleur de lis". The printing is all black, but the card stock is a light blue.


In other news, I must declare the "STDC5A" save the date card design to be quite a favorite for those autumn events. These are 5x3.5 inch cards, printed on white card stock.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Save the- Oops! 6 save the date mistakes.

Hip!nk just wrote an excellent blog entitled "The Top 5 Wedding Invitation Mistakes".

It is well worth reading, and, it got me thinking. Extending that idea to save the dates... what are the most common mistakes I see couples making when they are ordering save the date magnets or cards? After 7 years primarily working with save the dates, there are a few things that come to mind.

Too Many!

When I get a request for 500 save the date magnets, I am not surprised when the number is later revised downward. A couple only needs to send one save the date per household- not to every single individual guest! Additionally, the couple doesn't even have to send one save the date per household. Many couples will send them only to the most distant guests.

Asking for RSVPs

"Can I ask for an RSVP with my save the dates"? The idea is that if a guest knows for sure that they can not attend, and they tell the couple, then the couple saves a little bit by ordering one less invitation to send out. The desire is understandable- but don't go asking an RSVP. Save the dates are just to notify the guest of the date. Save the dates are kind of like an engagement announcement. They are not the invitation. Asking a guest to respond that far in advance is a little too preemptive. The cost savings of a few less invitations is not really worth it. How many of your guests will even know for certain that they can not make it, that far in advance? And if they did... their plans could very well change; Guests who don't think they can attend might find themselves free by the time your invitation arrives.

& Guest

Deciding whether there will be a guest for that invitee so far in advance is also precarious, for both you and your invitee. It is a too early for you to decide with certainly on whether your invitee can have a guest- and how many they can have. Your plans may change as the wedding comes closer and the details come into focus. Your invitee shouldn't even be worrying about who their guest would be so far in advance.

TMI

This far in advance, couples do not need to give guests too much detail. Names & date; Possible a city/state. That is the basic makeup of a save the date. Don't give guests a map from the ceremony to the reception. Couples do not need to give their guests the time that the ceremony starts. The couple does not need to tell guests where the reception is. The guests do not yet need to know whether the children are invited. This is the save the date... not the invitation.

Timing!

Save the dates are fairly easy to deal with in this regard. Couples can send their save the dates, out 3 months before the wedding or over a year before. Save the dates for destination weddings and major events (like Christmas weddings!) should be sent out in the earlier end of the timeframe. In those special cases, it does make more sense to include information like hotel-blocks. However, couples do not want to send out their save the dates too early. When is too early? How can there be a 'too early, when these save the dates can be sent out pretty much whenever? 'Too early' is before the couple has nailed down a contract on the venue! Couples should not send out a save the date for their wedding before a location (and any must-have vendors) is booked for that date. To do otherwise sometimes leads to couples sending out a "change the date".


Small magnets.

Printed refrigerator magnets are fun to to send out as a save the date; Each year, the idea becomes more popular. Small 3.5x2 inch magnets are going to be the most cost effective size. However, they are also less than half the size of the smallest mailable envelope size with the US postal service. These magnets, with mini envelopes, make an excellent addition to a save the date card or packet. But if couples want to mail these magnets out alone, they need to think about getting (or DIY making) a holder to go with the magnet. After so many years, I have to recommend a mid-sized magnet if you are looking for a magnet alone, no card. On the 4.1x2.6 inch and 4x3.5 inch magnet sizes, couples have more space for wording and a nice design... and then they do not need to mess with a holder.



These are some of the issues I see cropping up now and then; If you are newly engaged, I hope they prove helpful! Often, couples will express to me their feeling that they could use some advice when ordering their wedding stationery. I also see the confusion when I look at the google searches that bring people to my main site or blog. It is understandable- those new couples have never had a reason to order so many custom save the dates or invitations.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Event Tickets- Birthday Addition

I've posted many times now about event & sport ticket save the dates. How about a change... a birthday event ticket invitation! Customizable with any colors or any age, with a personal photograph. (And, well, you could have one made for any event).

Check out this 2.5x6.5 inch event ticket:



Notice something new? It's the envelope. A special long flapped envelope that allows for an extra touch. The envelope itself is also printed with "EVENT TICKET". This wording is also customizable.

The ticket itself could be a card or a magnet.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Q: Will it print out just like I see it on my computer?

A: Probably not!

You may think that it shouldn't be that difficult to promise exact colors- but it is!



When it comes to online printing services, the translation from what you see on your screen to what you see on the printed piece that arrives at your door is more complicated than you might think.

Professional printers also use a 4 colors to create all of their images (Cyan, Yellow, Magenta, and Black). Your computer monitor uses RGB, and colors and be bright indeed on your monitor. Have you every tried printing out your own design, a design with delightfully bright colors, only to find yourself with a printed color that was much duller, washed out, than you wanted? This is because the color you wanted actually isn't actually printable without highly specialized means.

When it comes down to it, if your design has brown and blue colors, your printed piece will too. But maybe the colors will be a little darker than you expected; Maybe the color shade didn't turn out exactly as you envisioned; Maybe the photograph will have more contrast than you saw.

The fact is: There are a lot of different models of computer monitors out there, and each one will have a variety of settings. My own monitor here has not just settings for brightness and contrast, but also for "tone", which will switch it between yellow, blue, and magenta tints.

Flat screens have proliferated because they are really incredibly space efficient, and easy to handle. However... they are just really not good when it comes to proofing images that will be printed.

What can the printer do? We can not come to your home and calibrate your computer. Instead, we can only warn you.

Just about every major online company has the warning- though you may have to dig to find it.

"Overnight Prints does not guarantee color will match the preview as it appears on a customer's monitor, as we cannot compensate for color variance on each customer's monitor."

-Overnight Prints


"Are the colors on my proof exactly like my magnet or card? Because of the different settings on computer monitors, and the difference between computer colors and 4-color printed colors, the colors on your proof are not an exact representation of the colors to be printed on your magnet or card. "

-Magnet Street

95% of a printing company's customers will be happy with their printed design. Printed with quality machines, produced by quality designers, it's not as if the printed design is going to look bad. But... will see the occasional complaint from someone who felt that their photo print was too dark, and that is regrettable; It was someone who fell in love with their photo design as they saw it on a bright monitor.


Take this quote from Theoart at wordpress.com

"When it comes to prints being too dark, usually it is a result of an expectation of prints to appear exactly as they appear on a person’s monitor and not the printer itself. What this means is that the dark prints are really printing the way the image is but the users monitor is making a dark image look brighter. Being in the photo and fine art printing business, this is the one complaint that I hear the most.

This is most common for people using flat panel (LCD) monitors since they tend to emit brighter imagery than a more traditional and bulky computer (CRT) monitor. Laptops can be the worse culprit in all of this. MAC users may also experience this issue due to differences in the Gamma curve."


Is there a real solution to this issue? No.

But, I do have a trick for you. If you calibrate your monitor so that the last 3 dark colors in this band (below) are indistinguishably dark, and the light colors are clearly definable, you will have a better feel for how dark things will print.



It's not surefire- some printing companies will automatically adjust images in various ways to attempt compensating for how they expect most of their customer's computer monitors to be set. They might be adjusting their online proofs... and they might be adjusting the file that they are printing. (You didn't think shutterfly and other photo companies just printed your exact photo file, did you?).

Another tip: Laminated prints do usually look darker than matte prints.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pearlescent (metallic) magnets

Most of my customers are looking for a fridge magnet that has a glossy shine; A gloss applied over their printed design. But sometimes, I get a request for a magnet that is instead made of that metallic shimmery paper. This is option.

Check out the save the date magnet on this page:
http://savethedateoriginals.com/details/NWU2.php

You can click on one of the images there for a close up view of that pearly texture.

This option is not available for photographic designs; Only for simple, mostly black ink designs. The photographed magnet in this blog post was made with a champagne/cream card stock, but for a larger quantity order (100+), a customer might be able to pick another color option.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A movie poster save the date

Sometimes a couple will both be in the acting or movie industry; Sometimes, the couple just loves old movies.

Theater, concert, movie, film strip- all are popular save the date themes.

Check out this large magnet option for a movie poster look-a-like:

Monday, January 10, 2011

Save the Date Video

You know what would be fun? A short & sweet save the date video.

If you have a lot of friends and family online, this is a new unique way to say "save the date".

Check out this example:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkTi8kE0aKA

Couples can get their personalized version of this video for $15. Personalization includes a switch from red to another color, two photographs, and the names/date/etc.

Customers get get the video file emailed to them, or have me post it on youtube for them.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mailing out small magnets: The evolution of the magnet holder

Some of the google or yahoo searches that bring people to my website will make me laugh. Yesterday, someone arrived at the small magnet holder page after searching for "is it weird to mail out small magnets".

It is not weird- it is actually fairly common. And there is a good reason for that. Many people love the idea of sending out a magnetic save the date. But, on many budgets, a small 3.5x2 inch magnet is what gets ordered.

These small magnets are a not the easiest thing to mail out, however. Often customers will say "and how much are envelopes for these?"

To which I have no short reply.

I must then explain that the smallest mailable envelope size with USPS is 5x3.5 inches. This envelope size is over twice as large as that small magnet.

If the budget allows, I always recommend the 4x3.5 inch magnets for save the dates. You can mail those right out alone with an envelope. With a regular postage stamp, too.

This magnet size also saves customers from the frustration they sometimes have with trying to fit a decent portion of wording on the magnet, while still getting a good looking design. This magnet size allows for both nice design elements and a decent amount of wording. Customers who want a nicer font can get it, rather than compromising for a more space effective options. And better yet... guests will be able to read the nice cursive text ;-)

The small magnet size is the best option when it will be mailed out with a card, letter, or brochures that have more information for the guests. In that case, customers can easily go with just a photograph, the first names, and the date, for the magnet design. Or instead of a photograph, a calendar. Or instead of either a photograph or a calendar, a cute graphic. Add white or see-through 3.75x2.25 inch envelopes, toss the small magnet in, and there you have an excellent addition to your save the date mailing.

Many customers do go with the small magnets, and many do plan on mailing them out alone. This is what led to my offering the small magnet holders.

If you go looking around the internet, there are a few different types of magnet holders that you might see. Glue dots, double sided tape, photo corners: all have been common DIY methods.

I also once offered a card with four holes punches, and ribbon tied around the magnet and into a bow. I got rid of this option because the bump in the envelope means customers have to go to the post office to get their envelopes hand canceled. Unless you really want to do that... it's a hassle.

My favorite is holder is a card with two angled slits, to hold corners of the magnet. There are some magnet holders available with two half-circles that extend over the longest sides of the magnet... This looks like a good idea, but I tested some out, and, well, one good jolt in the right direction, the magnet goes sliding out. The angled slits hold the magnet more securely in place.

To my surprise, the magnet holders have become so popular, that I will have customers ordering them who didn't even order their magnets from me! They only found me after searching about the internet for magnet holders.

After checking out competing magnet holders, I also decided on going with a thicker card stock. I've seen several companies offering magnet holders that are only 65lb stock. Mine are 80lb cover stock.

I waffled on this decision for a bit; After all, does the holder matter that much? Well, I know that if I went to the trouble to order magnet holders, I'd want them to be reasonably sturdy, not flimsy, and less likely arrive at my guest's homes bent up.

Now, given the small size of the magnet, the limited space for text, and knowing that they would end up getting holders, many customers started asking about whether they could get printing on their holders. Of course they can! A favorite option is to move the website address or "invitation to follow" off the magnet itself, and onto the holder.

Customers have also gone with folded cards, for even more printing space, and sometimes just because they want to include a handwritten note.

And so it is that I now offer blank holders in a variety of colors, holders with printing, and, folded magnet holders.

And so it is that I must offer a bit of explanation for customers when they ask a simple question: "Do you offer envelopes with these?"

Bottom line: If you are mailing the small magnets out alone, you need a holder of some sort. If you are including them in a larger envelope with a letter or card, you could just get nice mini white, colored, or transparent envelopes.