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

"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:

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:

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.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The stork is on it's way

The stork carrying a sack is just a classic graphic for a baby shower.

Check out the simple, but cute 5x8 inch card design for a baby shower. Pink swirls and pink envelopes mean- you probably guessed- that a girl is on the way.