Linked Vs. Embedded

7 PrintTips: Mitigate Deadline Disaster

3 In-Depth Tips for Sales Brochure Setup

How do you put your pants on?

When RGB Won't Fly

2 Print Examples:

Briefly: Digitizing

GrafixHack Post: on Fonts

Install on Windows for display and print.

Emailing fonts:

Web Safe Fonts:

Do you have a font question? I may be able to help, and if not, I do like a mystery.

Ink Color vs. Monitor Color

Monitor color:

Ink on paper:

Why it matters & other considerations:

I got discouraged…

The Screen-Print Set-Up

Specifics to consider regarding a screen-print design:

MS Word to PDF: Images

The biggest problem with PDFs saved from Word... the images stink.

Photos / Images

Linked Vs. Embedded

What's the difference between a "linked" and "embedded"? I mean, it sounds like there has to be a difference, logic dictates such.

Do you get errors for fonts when you save a PDF; or when you sent a file to a printer they told you there were missing files? Files can be messy, depending upon the size of the document and the type of content. A catalog should be designed in a pagination friendly program, and the supporting artwork for such a file would be huge. When you embed files, it increasing file size. It will quickly become unwieldy. Videos get really big really fast as well.

Artwork Assets:

Linked: When an Output File (your main art file) utilizes something contained in a separate file (asset). This can be a font, a text file, an image file, even a vector file (More about Raster vs. Vector)

Embed an asset and it will pull the artwork, you edit it within the main file.

Link the asset and it will pull the artwork, update the main file, but the asset must be changed externally.

The assets are necessary to output the content, that means saving a PDF. The file you are working in knows where the image is on your hard-drive, on your machine and therefore will refer to that image file when it's producing the image on your screen or in print. If you move the image file, and it disappears or says you are missing an image, then you know that it's a linked image. (In illustrator there's an indicator as to if it's embedded or linked.

7 PrintTips: Mitigate Deadline Disaster

Anything can happen. The world of the printed page is not immune to issues that arise unexpectedly. Computers do funky stuff sometimes, conflicts cause delays. Next thing you know, you're showing up at the trade-show with your old cards, or worse... without your fabulous new booth sign, created just for that show's patrons. Here are a few things we do to mitigate deadline disaster.

  1. Send files to your printer to be checked as soon as you can, and follow-up with a phone call. Ask pointed questions so that you can be sure they checked the file. "Did the artist set up colors correctly?" is a really important question to ask. "Did all the fonts load?", "Do you see anything about the layout that could cause a problem?" are also great questions.
  2. If you have a deadline, give the print shop a few extra days if you can. Tell them your deadline, they want you to make it too.
  3. Follow through on what the printer asks of you. If they tell you they need digital files on Monday, that means FINISHED FILES, ready for print. Some printers have 2 art departments: pre-press and creative. If they have to wait on you to fix something, or need to send it backward to their creative dept. because a font is missing, they could miss your date. That's not on them. Having a responsive digital artist can make or break your deadline.
  4. Unexpected overnight shipping is the worst! And, it will annihilate a budget.
  5. Especially if you're using an online printer: Get a proof. You are solely responsible for bad art. They don't usually check your files - instead, they'll direct you to a page that explains their file setup. When in doubt... flatten the artwork. Fancy filters can give you cool effects, but they don't always translate when you save to a PDF and the printer gets hold of it for output.
  6. DO: Keep artwork above 300 dpi. (What about Resolution? If you're interested...)
  7. DO NOT: Include phone numbers, straight line or thin text when you flatten the artwork. This type of artwork prints at a higher resolution.
  8. Keep your fancy effects away from small type or important information, you want people to be able to read that info easily. (More on Fonts)
  9. Embed fonts and include linked artwork. If the font can't be embedded due to restrictions on the license, you'll get an error message. Just include it too when you send off to the printer.
  10. OH! Fonts don't email very well: put everything in a file folder, name it strategically (your name, co. name, PO#) and Zip it!

3 In-Depth Tips for Sales Brochure Setup

It can be a little overwhelming when you begin the project of putting together a sales brochure. Design, layout and content all depend upon one another, so where do you start?

  1. Be purposeful, please.
  2. Before you start writing content for your brochure, think about how your readers are getting it into their hands. Think about the goal of your brochure. A mailer will have a different goal (for example: to entice action or attract attention) than something you hand out at a concert or a leave-behind brochure (ex: detailed info that builds upon preceding step in sales funnel).
  3. Provide proof of benefits. Keeping this in mind, craft your main messaging.
  1. Think about these three dimensions of design.

Don't freak, just jump in. Maybe this will give you a jumping off point for your sales brochure. If you have anything to add, let us know in the comments below!

How do you put your pants on?

One leg at a time, right? OK, not always, sometimes I put both legs in my breeches at the same time... point is: People is people.

I found a pretty powerful event and bought a ticket to attend. The Colorado Springs Business Journal put 50 "Captains of Industry" in COSP at tables around a big room and gave attendees the opportunity to have a conversation. We had 10 minutes at each table, which is pretty damn substantial. When I saw the list of VIPs and started researching, I was intimidated.

Maybe it's not even a room full of high-powered individuals. It could be a awesome potential client, going to an event you are attending. How do you meet and not act like a dweeb in front of VIPs? After about 2 hours online reading articles, taking notes and advice, I decided to just go and meet People. Here's my compilation of advice and 2 pennies. Hopefully you can benefit from my nervousness.

First: Show no fear. You got this. Wanna know why? You came prepared.

Do some homework.

Check out the VIP out on LinkedIn. What do they care about? What do the recommendations say about them? What causes do they get involved in? Look at their groups, do you have any in common? Their blog or news page will give you clues as to what they care about. Take notes, come up with questions and go over them before the event.

The super-fabulous may have a line of folks waiting to shake their hand. 99% of those folks will shove a business card at them and cross their own fingers for a meeting. BORING! You should probably shake that up a little bit.

A conversation could last more than a few awkward moments if you:

  1. Approach them with something valuable to their enterprise or person.
  2. Compliment them, sincerely.
  3. Tell a joke. Yep. Smart or silly, making someone laugh is powerful stuff. Practice if you must! Cheat if you gotta (Google it, man).
  4. Ask a smart question. Don't forget to pay attention to the answer... THEN give your opinion. Don't shrink. I am not shy about my opinions, but I have gotten lost in nervous thoughts when I should be actively listening. There's just nowhere intelligent to go from there.

Side Note: Are your own social profiles up-to-date? Is your information, what you care about, what you do for clients, easy to find?

After the encounter, follow-up with a connection on LinkedIn, a physical letter, or a video dedicated to something they care about. I think this is more important than the rest of it. Stay in their peripheral, let them get to know you. Find a mutual friend on LinkedIn and ask to be introduced. Find and comment on their posts.

I hope this helps you to be more relaxed. I don't think need to imagine anyone in their underwear, just remember they put their pants on the same way you do, probably.

When RGB Won't Fly

There are 2 color "modes" in digital formats. RGB is designed for viewing on your screen - using light, while CMYK (process) is a mixture of colors on the page for print. You can see how it makes sense that these two color builds don't jive.

2 Print Examples:

  1. Full color banner: Supplied RGB JPG to the printer, no compression. The banner that client received went beyond the color capabilities of CMYK. This is called 'color gamut', for you geeks out there. If it had been changed to CMYK before sending, the colors would have been dampened, not as bright, because the RGB gamut is broader.
  2. Tent Sign: RGB JPG supplied to printer for FRONT of sign, full color image with company logo overlaid. The back of sign was set-up by printer, company logo + phone number. This side was created in CMYK. When the sign was printed, the front logo had an olive green grayish hue, dampening the colors to the point of 'ugly'. The two logos, one on the back and one on the front, did not match, at all. Bad conversion to CMYK sometimes looks like this, other times it goes gray-scale... it's unpredictable.

If your printer's output method doesn't properly convert RGB, you could end up with bad color. Convert the files and color correct yourself. Besides, wouldn't you rather have autonomous control over your colors, and not take any chances? Here's a slightly exaggerated image representation of rgb to cmyk to illustrate.

rgb-examples

Printing from Adobe: Creative Cloud now has a feature that will not let you mix the two modes in a file. Each file needs to be defined as either RGB or CMYK. It will convert an image to the file's color mode, if it's embedded in a file, but not if it's linked**. If you are saving as a PDF for Print, then you should know that Adobe will embed the images for you upon Save! This will also change it to CMYK build, that's the conversion. The conversion builds are no different from Photoshop, in Illustrator or InDesign, the output color will be the same. *This in practice, wasn't always true. I did testing, and IF a color saturation is off, it's only off by a few % points, and not consistently. No big. Wouldn't worry 'bout it.

**Side Note: if it's a linked image, the image data is not included in your layout file. The image must be included separately if you are printing from, or supplying your Illustrator, or InDesign document. If this is the case, be sure to change your image to CMYK before sending it off to the printer.

Windows Photo Viewer and Paint will not let you change it, they don't even share the color mode in the details.

paint

A quick search revealed a couple of free converters online. If you can use a professional program, feel free to save a CMYK as a JPG, BUT be sure to use the highest quality setting, 'lowest compression' or no 'optimization'. If you compress, it tends to un-do the definition of sharper lines.

To minimize fees and unintended results, supply your files in the right color mode. As always, ask your printer. In my experience, there are some output devices, that make better-looking prints if you supply an RGB file. It could make a difference in the vibrancy of colors.

Briefly: Digitizing

"Digitizing" is when you take a logo or other artwork and run it through a software that tells an embroidery machine where to place the stitches for the "sew-out".

The file formats can be .DST (most common from what I've seen) .PES, .PEC, .HUS, .JAN, .SEW ...

It takes specialized software that your embroiderer should have. Some go out-of-house to digitize, due to wide availability and relatively low-cost. Most graphic designers have access to vector software but don't expect a graphic designer to have access to this specialized software directly. The charge will depend upon the number of stitches required to create the artwork at a specified size. Thus, if you want a full back graphic embroidered on your jackets, it's gonna cost you quite a bit more than a left chest logo, even if the artwork is the same. Consider the detail level: they won't be able to sew elements that are too tiny to be visually represented with thread. Since it's size & detail dependent, the embroiderer may be able to stretch or shrink the digitized file, but not a lot.

You should only need to digitize once, unlike "screen charges" for screen print, which is a charge each time you go to reprint. The fee is usually pretty reasonable. Most logos can be done for under $100. They may ask you for a JPG or a GIF, but mostly you'll want a vector file to start with. I always suggest vector, if it's available. Wouldn't you rather start with the cleanest file possible? *about vector vs. raster logos

Save that file!! Don't assume your designer or embroiderer will have it next time you need it.

Have you digitized your own logo? What was your experience like? How did it turn out?

GrafixHack Post: on Fonts

I'm going to attempt to be succinct in how to use fun fonts for your projects.

Firstly, if you don't need a lot of fonts, but you would like the POWER that the skill of adding fonts affords you, Well, I'm here to help! Cuz I can!

However, if you find yourself changing fonts regularly, do yourself a favor and get a font management program. There are free ones out there. Some have previews, some allow for grouping and saving. Some cost money.

Warning: Don't go nuts. When you load fonts into your system they eat resources. Don't buy 20,000 fonts and just load 'em all up, then be all like, "Well, Angie told me to". It will kill your working memory.

Install on Windows for display and print.

Oh Snap!

Downloading fonts can install unwanted programs on your system. You should be able to download JUST the font, without an executable file (.exe). This could install Adware to your system (unwanted programs). It should NEVER ask you, upon download or extracting a zipped file (.zip) if you want to make changes to your computer.

Emailing fonts:

Don't just attach your fonts directly to an email message. Email clients encode those files differently, and this can corrupt the font by the time it gets to its destination. Always put font files in a folder and "zip" them. You can tell if a font is corrupted because it will contain 0 Kb of information: filesize is 0.

Web Safe Fonts:

Web fonts are mostly off of a very specific list. This is a list of readily available lists for most browsers. Here's the list according to W3 schools. It is recommended to stay within this list. But Google has so many fun fonts! There are a few things you need to do in the stylesheets to make that happen, and it's readily available information for Google fonts users.

You can use google fonts for your print projects. They are downloadable too. Install the same way.

Do you have a font question? I may be able to help, and if not, I do like a mystery.

Ink Color vs. Monitor Color

Laying down ink on paper vs. what you see on your monitor = always different. There are considerations that are necessary to mitigate risk of reprint. I'm going to briefly show you how each color theory "mixes color" or rather... how they "work together" in this post, then tell you why it matters.

Monitor color:

"RGB" or Red / Green / Blue.  This set of numbers refers to amount of colored light emitting from your monitor screen. Quite literally, 3 tiny colored diodes, or micro-mini-type-lights live inside each little pixel across your monitor screen. The values go from 0 (no light) to 255 (full-on intensity). Basically, if all three light diodes are full-on (255) for a given PIXEL - the pixel is white, if they are dark (0), the pixel's black. Pretty cool. It's a bit harder to "mix" these colors and get exactly what you envision. It's more of a point-and-click-type-thing, in a lot of programs.

RGB

Ink on paper:

"CMYK" or Cyan / Magenta / Yellow / blacK.  This set of numbers refers to the colors of ink that lay down on a sheet of paper, as a percentage. The logic is sorta conversely true from RGB, right, 0 in value, 0 ink in all of those 4 colors = white! See how 100% Magenta and 100% yellow makes RED? And blue and yellow make green. This is logic I can get behind.

CMYK

Ink on paper can also be a "Spot color" or "Pantone Color" or "PMS" which stands for 'Pantone Matching System'. Standard color books come with standard formulas for printers. Your colors can be right on, and you have the power to hold the printer accountable for results. You say "I want a 165C" they should be able to deliver. These don't deviate in tone nearly as much as a CMYK build. This is the advantage of spot colors to the discerning eye.

Why it matters & other considerations:

Printers and designers are different breeds. Now you know a little of our secret magic... it could save you headache later. Unlike magicians, we'll share if you wanna know.

Let me know if this kind of information is relevant to you in the comments below.

How we can help with other issues on print, large format or graphic design?

I got discouraged…

Stuff.

Happens.

So, recently my family up and moved to Colorado. You may ask "but why? why would you up and move to Colorado?" My reason: Mountains. I really, really love the mountains and how they put everything into perspective. (That IS what you were thinking, right?) I can drive 15 mins and feel like I'm in the middle of nowhere, which I love. I can walk another 10 down a new trail and see something absolutely beautiful that I have never experienced before.

So, here's the skinny. If you don't show your face, a business built off of referrals will probably lose some customers, and it's certainly a lot more difficult to build upon that base as well. That's OK. We knew WoW would need to rebuild when I moved.

What I didn't realize was that I would be afraid. Suddenly, I'm the new kid again. There are always new meetings, and new faces. We also shifted strategy a bit, to content building and social media to keep fresh information flowing. Staying engaged. With Facebook's new algorithms on how much attention business pages get, FB is a tougher crowd than I had hoped for. They've made it more difficult to show up organically on a users feed. (*Incidentally while doing a bit of research this week, Facebook is centering some real efforts on how business' communicate via Facebook messaging that are sure to be pretty great!) Building that base is slow going. I guess I got a little discouraged and stopped scheduling ahead.

I know!

My whole gig is about consistency! How can I even mention it without being a die-hard, nose-to-the-grindstone, consistent poster myself? Well, I guess the answer is... that stuff happens, and I'm gonna give myself a break because being a human is hard enough. Patience is a virtue, indeed.

So, I will do better and I hope you will follow. :)

The Screen-Print Set-Up

Silk-screen printing has been around since it first appeared in China during the Song Dynasty (960–1279 AD).

When art is supplied, there's a process where they create the screens. They basically block out the negative of what you want printed, then push the ink through, creating a positive of the image. Art stores have kits if you want to play with it. There's an art to the swipe: pressure needs to be just 'so' in order to keep from pushing ink through the fabric. We use organic thread, and equipment that allows for larger jobs, but it's essentially the same process used almost a thousand years ago. For most of our business uses, we'll likely hire someone.

Specifics to consider regarding a screen-print design:

screen-print2

screen-print4

MS Word to PDF: Images

The industry standard is Adobe for print. It would stand to reason that an Adobe PDF ("portable document format") with the word "portable" right there in the name would work wonderfully. Most programs will save a PDF. They are not created equal. I want to look at how Word handles exporting PDFs into a print file and what it does with the images, specifically. For the purpose of this quick little tutorial, we're going to assume you haven't started your project yet.

The biggest problem with PDFs saved from Word... the images stink.

Your files should be the right resolution to begin with, and they need to be saved in a very specific way in order for MS Word not to down-sample, or make the images smaller, upon save.

First we need to look at the images you intend to use in your Windows Browser.

Start > Computer > then navigate to your file. When you get to it, click only once! to select it : see the dimensions in the bottom portion of the window? or you can hover over the file name to see the dimensions.

goodnogood

Most of us are comfortable in MS Word, and they've got those templates that help with basic setup. Here's the problem: Word is not publishing software. It is not setup for highest resolution possible, nor does it give you decent control over the output resolution. To understand resolution - read this post.

Photos / Images

To Know: Word doesn't save images at 300 dpi. It's default is to make them smaller. The program actually takes any opportunity to do so, like when you shrink it, or change the Text Wrap or Positioning of the image. So, before you start or 'insert' any images - change the default.

Click on the File Tab > Options > Advanced > Scroll down a bit to check the box for "do not compress images in file". Word's target output only goes to 220 ppi, and we need 300.

Note: When you do this you will need to choose between Any New Files and the one you have open. This will make your all of your files larger if you choose 'Any'. That's the trade-off. Makes sense though, right? Feel free to leave it just for this document if that's how you prefer it.

Defaults

To Know: If you copy/paste an image into Word, it will sample down. Always use the Insert > Picture command.

To Know: There's a "Save as Adobe PDF" command that is so simple to just click real quick - DON'T.

pdf-save

Instead: use the "Save As" command.

Be sure to change Save as type: to PDF and that Optimize for: is marked Standard.

saveas

Sideways: To see if your picture has already been down-sampled in the Word document... Select the picture, then right click > Size and Position. If it says the image 'Scale' is at 100% it may be too late. You could replace the image with the original. Don't forget to change the default to "don't compress" before you insert or change the picture.

sizeposition

This is not the definitive guide to PDFs from Word. Word Art doesn't translate well. Text can't be edited once it's saved. There are color and font concerns. The printer will also need to convert your file from RGB (screen color) to CMYK (ink colors) which can be devastating for your colors if they don't. Your best bet is to have an artist look at the files, and ask your printer for a proof before going to press. We'll talk about fonts, color, and other programs in the future.

Do you have a specific save or export issue you have issues with?