Thursday, August 26, 2010

Paper has feeling too.

     Have you ever felt paper?  I mean really felt it?  The tactile feel of paper adds an interesting element to every printed job.  You can think of it as an easy way to boost the response to every job.  A two color newsletter for instance, printed on a pastel colored paper, gives the impression of three or more colors of print.  Going from white to colored paper is not a very big jump in cost, yet adds enough of perceived benefit that I think it is worthwhile.  Some of the off-white colors available add a sense of age and trust, while the brighter colors add a sense of excitement and energy.

     Another option to consider, is the papers finish.  You can get paper with many differant types of feel nowdays.  One popular finish is called linen, or Irish linen.  When you feel this paper it has very fine stripe like ridges that criss-cross the sheet.  Most people will hardly even notice it, but will think of it as nicer than plain paper.  One sheet not seen much is called oxford and has raised bumps in a grid like pattern.  Some sheets have swirl patterns, and even snake skin like design right in the paper.  Most of these unusual sheets do cost quite a bit though.

     Then there are the heavier textured sheets which have rough finishes on both sides of the sheet.  These are mainly used for report covers, business cards, menus etc...  Some sheets have glitter or various colored splotches mixed right into the sheet as it is made.  Paper can be made with one color on one side and another color on the reverse.  These are called duplex papers, and make for really cool business cards. 

     Whatever paper you choose to dress up your printed project, it should be dicussed early on with your printer.  Some of the odd papers involve minimum orders, or several days/weeks to get delivery.  By using a textured or colored sheet, you will always add one more element of involvement with the end user. 

     A lovely brochure in a plain white envelope misses out on getting the end user excited and interested and may result in being tossed in the trash before opening.  Get your finger tips on the alert, and see paper by feel.  Subconsciously you will discover that how you feel about the paper product, has alot to do with how you percieve the business, or person giving it to you. 

     Be carefull rubbing a newspaper though, as newsprint ink really never dries!  When reading a newspaper and your fingers turn black, just remember, it is recycling old junky ink that would have been dumped in the landfill if the newspaper companies did'nt use it up.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Paper from bear food.

     Just like most koala bears, I am looking forward to some eucalyptus tomorrow.   As a printer, one sheet I always love to work with is a sheet made from eucalyptus tree fibers.   We buy a brand made in Portugal where they are producing a great sheet of paper from these little bush sized trees.  Instead of raising pine trees for seven to fifteen years to make paper, eucalyptus is ready in five years.   It also is a very long fiber, which makes for great printing and folding.  I understand that a few of the big paper mills here in the USA are experimenting with making this kind of paper down south right now.   I hope they get going with this project as I prefer to buy a U.S.A. made product when possible.

Another advantage to the long fiber is that when the scrap is recycled, it blends in with other shorter fibers to extend the whole recycle cycle.  I've never tried eating a sheet because, who wants to look like a Koala?

This paper has been around for a few years now, and is well worth asking your printer about.  It is very white (97) and opaque, as well as one of the cheaper sheets around.  For anyone out there familiar with such things...this paper compares with Cougar for quality and run ability.  For those not familiar with paper...Cougar is not made from cougars!  So please bear with me here...the paper from Portugal is not destroying koala food!   Any koala bears seen in the bush in Portugal are on vacation!  Hopefully they won't drink any port wine while there.   Can you imagine a koala with a red nose?  Come on now, koala bears have a very funny noses.

Speaking of eating...I got to wondering about McDonalds the other day.  I was half way through a number twelve Angus Burger, and lov'en it, when I thought, I wonder when Mc'yD's started.   Thanks to Google, I found the original one was started in 1948.  No wonder I didn't remember that!  They now have over 31,000 stores around the world.   A new store opens every 4 hours.  Our humble little print shop opened in 1956 and today we have exactly one store world wide.  Here is one final thought for this printing do not sacrifice quality for speed.  Allowing your printer more time almost always results in a better job.  If you ask your printer to print on a eucalyptus paper, you will be pleased with the results.  After all 80,000 Koalas can't be wrong!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

2953 Bytes, no sharks need apply.

         Every once and a while something comes along that gives me goose bumps !   No, it is not a Great White cruising up from below, it is the QR code.  Now, let me 'splain.

The QR code is a little ( or big ) dot matrix code that you may already have seen in magazines, billboards, or even paintings and dog t-shirts!   They look just like the design just to the right of this blog.   Apart from being quite cute they are amazing little doodles!   They can contain 2,953 Bytes of information.   To you math nuts out there, that is 7089 Numeric characters.   To you typists out there, that number equals 4,296 characters of information.

These codes are read by any portable type scanner ( I-Phone etc ) and communicates with the person scanning in many ways.   It took a friend of mine roughly 5 seconds to search for-download-install the free scanner code for her I-Phone.   One more click and she was looking at my web site.   Any goose bumps yet?   Just think how easy it is to link to a web page or blog etc. with one of these free yet cute little codes. 

Now, as a printer, I see these QR codes being used on business cards, brochures, newsletters, envelopes, etc...    They could even be used to link to a unique coupon or special web page to test mailing response rates or...?

They were invented by a car parts company in Japan in 1994 and I believe they are about to explode in use in America.   Talk to your printer about these neat codes and don't miss the new wave.

As someone once said "Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone".   Hope this post makes you wise to a great opportunity.  

I would love to hear of other great uses and ideas on these codes.   Someone with a bit of time could come up with quite a cool pattern for a Navajo rug for one. 
Read comment #1 is very good!