Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Year

A leap year is a year containing one additional day.  This is done in order to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical or seasonal year.  Because seasons and astronomical events do not repeat in a whole number of days, a calendar that had the same number of days in each year would, over time, drift with respect to the event it was supposed to track. By occasionally inserting an additional day into the year, the drift can be corrected. A year that is not a leap year is called a common year.

February 29 is a date that usually occurs every four years, and is called leap day. This day is added to the calendar in leap years as a corrective measure, because the earth does not orbit around the sun in precisely 365 days.

The Julian calendar, which was developed in 46 BC by Julius Caesar, and became effective in 45 BC, distributed an extra ten days among the months of the Roman Republican calendar.
Folk Traditions.

In Britain and Ireland, it is a tradition that women may propose marriage only on leap years. While it has been claimed that the tradition was initiated by Saint Patrick or Brigid of Kildare in 5th century Ireland, this is dubious, as the tradition has not been attested before the 19th century.  Supposedly, a 1288 law by Queen Margaret of Scotland (then age five and living in Norway), required that fines be levied if a marriage proposal was refused by the man; compensation was deemed to be a pair of leather gloves, a single rose, £1 and a kiss.

In some places the tradition was tightened to restricting female proposals to the modern leap day, February 29, or to the medieval leap day, February 24.

According to Felten: "A play from the turn of the 17th century, 'The Maydes Metamorphosis,' has it that 'this is leape year/women wear breeches.' A few hundred years later, breeches wouldn't do at all: Women looking to take advantage of their opportunity to pitch woo were expected to wear a scarlet petticoat—fair warning, if you will.

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MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Colors for Your Brochure

Brochures and flyers should be the cornerstones of your marketing campaigns.

They can be left on front doors, placed on windshields, offered on POS counter top displays, used during sales presentations, used as leave-behinds and of course, sent in the mail.

All successful companies have brochures and flyers printed, and marketing professionals are often scrambling for motivation on how to make the marketing materials stand out from their competitors.

The best way to instantly motivate your potential buyers and entice them to take a closer look involves the imaginative use of colors.


Your brochure and flyer color schemes may have to match an existing theme or the current logo that doesn't mean a little creativity can't make your new designs stand out. Pay attention to the theme to find engaging images with interesting color combinations that match the logo. This could be as simple as incorporating a close-up shot of a product color, complete with shading and bright neon highlights, to complement an existing logo on the current brochure. You can use an unrelated colorful array of items when they can be tied back to the company's flyer.

Remember you are not limited to the colors in a company logo, what's more; you can make the logo small and surround it with neutral colors and you can make the rest of the brochure or flyer as colorful as you'd like.

Another way to incorporate eye-catching colors into your brochure and flyer designs is to color design elements different than readers expect.

You could try bright blue waves against a dark gray horizon, for instance, or a pink poodle or a flame red tennis ball. If your company has a well-known logo, (even if that is just locally) try coloring the logo as a solid muted color to blend with a theme, as in making a blue logo green for a campaign featuring the company's preservation efforts.

Often, brochure and flyer designs can be augmented with unique-colored shapes that act as separators for different regions of images and information such as a red petal-shaped background behind the images in a florists' brochure or some squiggly lines between the headline and the main content area. You can make extensive use of this technique in your designs, and you'll never run out of new shape and color combinations to experiment with.

Hope this is good food for thought in your next design.

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MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Monday, February 27, 2012

Colors Affect Your Sales

How can you use colors in your advertising and marketing that ultimately affect the bottom line of your sales.

If you are a smart seller, you know it is not that easy to persuade your customer to actually buy something. But, there is the science behind how the products are organized, displayed and labels are created to help guide your customers through to making a purchase.

That wealth of tricks are based on solid psychological practices that in the end “convert” the customer from a visitor into the buyer.

One of the most powerful methods to appeal to a potential buyer is applying color theory to commerce. Has it ever occurred to you why you feel safer in one store and more energetic in another one? Have you ever noticed that landing on some web page you feel like clicking some button/link and keep browsing the site? While other pages prompt you to stay and keep reading? To some extent, this might be the choice of colors for the page elements.

Think about standing in front of a magazine display and why your eyes are drawn to one magazine over another one.

Color is one of the most powerful elements of design for web sites, direct mail, ads, and other marketing materials. It carries meaning through associations and your bodies’ physical response. Color associates can vary from country to country but in Western culture they are basically the same.

Color Prompts You to Buy

A regular shopper in North America is likely to respond to color choice the following way:
Warm colors, like reds, oranges and yellows make you feel energetic, hungry, enthusiastic and cheerful that leads to action.  It is a combination of aggressive red and cheerful yellow, these colors activate your pituitary gland and increases your heart rate.  This action response is used in calls to action.

Blues on the other hand are secure and trustworthy.  That color is associated with sky (therefore universally liked) Used to create trust blue is related to money and business related websites.

Green colors both light and dark bring out the feelings of calm, stability and wealth.  Green is associated with spring and nature and is used for entertainment and leisure related marketing.  Green is the easiest color for the eyes.  Consider it for testimonials, founder’s story, etc.

This is a good place to start on the proper use of color.

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MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Friday, February 24, 2012

MI Printing: Special Carbonless Forms

At MI Printing we can take care of all of your carbonless needs far beyond just carbonless forms.  These can be used for employment applications, order forms, job tickets, invoices, estimates or proposals. If needed, backside printing is available.

Please let us know what type of padding you expect for your forms.  For best results a PDF file is required for the customer supplied artwork.

Need to know more about all the uses for carbonless forms contact us at MI Printing.

We are ready to help just give us a call at 623.582.1302 for our current special pricing on carbonless forms.

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MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What Is The Most Readable, Appealing Font?

I'm not talking about programming font, but for font(s) for design docs, documentation, web pages, etc.

Which one wins? Times New Roman 10pt, Arial 12pt, Verdana? Does anybody have science to back their opinion?

Most municipal/government organizations use Helvetica for public signs. It is also the most widely used font in advertising. If you are at all interested in typography I very much recommend Typography Workbook: A Real-World Guide to Using Type in Graphic Design by Timothy Samara .

For print, there's so many fonts. Helvetica is the most popular and one of the more "readable". However a variety of fonts all look really nice, serifs like Bodoni to sans-serifs like Letter Gothic, Futura, or Knockout.

On the screen, fonts with wider letters and a more generous x-height tend to be easier to read. That said, fonts like Verdana are a bit too plain at larger sizes. Helvetica is a great workhorse font for print, as are Frutiger and Univers, but Windows machines most likely lack this font. At small sizes Arial is a poor substitute for Helvetica because of its seemingly narrow letters (due to pixel restrictions), but kern (letter-spacing) it a little tighter at 16px+ sizes and make it bold, and it suddenly will become very usable, especially for building a strong grid. A font with some quirks is always nice and interesting visually, like Trebuchet MS (see the header of this page). These fonts too, have a low x-height and aren't as visually 'clean' to read through.

The solution is Lucida Grande: functional and quirky enough to look "different." Its Windows counterpart is Lucida Sans and Lucida Sans Unicode, which should be on more Windows machines anyway, more than the new Microsoft fonts like Calibri, etc. You'll find that both Windows fonts are needed, Sans looks right with bold text and some sizes, and Unicode looks right with the rest. I think this is the font to use mainly to make long body text look less boring, since it gets tricky to use at various sizes and weights.

Also, from a developer's standpoint, there is nothing as beautiful and functional as a nice monospace font. So it really depends on your content, since if you have a load of copy to fit into a defined area you're better off with Arial. But sites these days see so much Arial being used. Lucida Grande / Sans Unicode is hands down a better font. It's always a good idea to have a pair of complementary fonts, so use a serif font like Georgia (the web's workhorse) and play around with the upper-casing and letter-spacing too.

Here are the top ten fonts used my newspapers around the US.
 1. Poynter
 2. Franklin Gothic
 3. Helvetica
 4. Utopia
 5. Times
 6. Nimrod
 7. Century Old Style
 8. Interstate
 9. Bureau Grotesque
10. Miller

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MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Readability Assessment: Part II

Using computerized readability assessment tools. Most word processing programs include a feature that assesses readability. In addition, there are commercially available readability programs. Regardless of which computerized tool you use, it is recommended that you clean up your text before you assess readability:

•Save a copy of the document with a different name to use for the analysis.
•Check that the software you are using is accurately counting the number of sentences and words.
•Delete words that are not full sentences from the sample being tested. This includes such items as headings and bulleted lists.
•Delete extraneous periods that do not mark the end of a sentence. Periods found in numbers like 98.6 and abbreviations such as U.S.A. will make the results of assessment inaccurate.

Don't Over Interpret the Results

Grade level equivalent scores are, at best, only accurate by plus or minus 1.5 grade levels. This means that when you revise a material so that the score drops from 7.3 to 6.8, it is not necessarily easier to read. Results may also vary depending on which formula you use. For example, the Fry formula often returns a score that is one to two grade levels lower than the SMOG. The computerized Flesch-Kincaid tool often returns a score two to three grades lower than other computerized formulas. Results give us a ballpark figure.

While using one or two syllable words and short sentences will result in a lower readability score, the score does not necessarily mean that the document is easy to read. Sometimes the message gets lost when text is choppy and key points are overly simplified. To make written texts truly readable, apply all the principles of clear and simple writing. That includes:

•Focusing on information the reader "needs to know"
•Organizing information in ways that make sense to the reader
•Assembling materials so that they are inviting to read   

Match the Reading Level to the Reader

Readability formulas only measure the relative difficulty of the text. By themselves, the formulas are not sufficient to determine whether there is a match between the document and the reader. The only way to truly find out if a document is easy to read is to ask. Work with intended readers as you develop new materials. Then test the materials to confirm that the people actually do understand the information as it is presented.

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MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Readability Assessment: Part I

Originally designed to help classroom teachers choose textbooks for their students, most readability formulas give a score in terms of a grade level. But it isn't enough just to know how far your readers went in school. Many adults actually read at a level 3 to 5 grades lower than their last completed year of school. That's just one of the facts you need to know to be able to effectively assess the readability of your printed material.

Many people say that they write easy to read materials. When asked how they know, they say that they check it with the readability formula that's included with their word processing program. While being better than nothing, these formulas are less than a perfect tool to assess reading ease. And whether you use a computerized application or test the readability by hand, there are things you need to know and do in order to get a meaningful result. You need to carefully select the sample text. You need to correctly apply the assessment tool. And you need to understand how to accurately interpret the results.

There are over one hundred factors that affect how easy, or hard, a given document is to read and understand. These factors include sentence length, word choice, layout, tone, organization, use of illustrations, and appeal to the reader. Readability formulas often look at only two or three of these factors - most commonly, the number of words in a sentence and the number of syllables in a word.

Despite their limitations, though, readability assessments can be useful tools. The key is to take the necessary steps to accurately interpret the results. Here are some things to keep in mind when you are assessing the readability of written healthcare information.

Use the Proper Method to Get an Accurate Score
Selecting your sample. Different tests for readability use different methods for choosing samples. It is important to follow the prescribed method for selecting a sample in order to get an accurate score. There are, however, general guidelines you should follow in order to get the most accurate reading.

When you choose text to assess, you should choose text that has at least 30 sentences, or 300 to 500 words. If you want to assess lengthy text, be sure you take samples from the beginning, middle, and end of the document. Select passages with connected, flowing text. Do not include the first and last sentences, however. They often are not characteristic of the rest of the text.

Assessing readability "by hand." There are several effective tools for assessing reading levels "manually." Two of the most commonly used tools are the Fry and the SMOG assessments.

To use the Fry Formula, you count the number of syllables and sentences in three 100-word passages. You then average each set of figures and refer to a graph to find the grade level equivalent of the text. Although some people find this method tedious,  it is a particularly useful tool for assessing lower reading-level materials.

For the SMOG, you count all the words with three or more syllables in three 10-sentence passages. Then you refer to a table to find the grade level equivalent. This tool includes a conversion chart to assess text that has less than 30 sentences.

The SMOG can be a useful tool to assess higher reading-level materials. But it is not as accurate as other methods for more basic written information. Regardless of which manual assessment tool you use, be sure to follow the directions exactly. This includes counting repetitive multi-syllabic words, such as "med-i-ca-tion" each time the word appears in the text.

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MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Monday, February 20, 2012

Presidents' Day

Photo by Dean Franklin
Until 1971, both February 12 and February 22 were observed as federal public holidays to honor the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and George Washington (February 22). In 1971 President Richard Nixon proclaimed one single federal public holiday to be observed on the 3rd Monday of February, honoring all past presidents of the United States of America.

The federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February is not officially called Presidents' Day. Instead, it is Washington's Birthday. There was an attempt in 1968 to officially name it Presidents' Day. However, this suggestion died in committee. Many states, however, choose to call their own celebration on this day "Presidents' Day."

Traditionally, many celebrated and continue to celebrate Washington's Birthday with desserts made with cherries. Cherry pie, cherry cake, bread made with cherries, or just a huge bowl of cherries are often enjoyed on this day. Of course, this relates to the legendaryl story that Washington would not tell a lie when asked if he cut down a cherry tree.

On February 22nd of almost every year since 1888, Washington's Farewell Address has been read in the US Senate. While this does not happen on Presidents' Day, it is an annual celebration of Washington's Birthday that stems from 1862 when the Address was read as a way to boost morale during the Civil War. This address was and is so important because it warns of political factionalism, geographical sectionalism, and interference by foreign powers in the nation's affairs. Washington stressed the importance of national unity over sectional differences.

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MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Friday, February 17, 2012

MI Printing: Flyers For All Your Advertising Needs

Quality flyers are among the most used advertising media that can help draw more prospective customers to your business.  It our job to make sure you are satisfied with those advertising materials.  We are proud to produce printed materials that you are proud to distribute.

We can help bring your companies' image into your companies' printed materials used in communication and advertising.

Call Paula at  623.582.1302  to discuss how we can show you our Customer Satisfaction model for your printing needs.

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MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Power of Nice

So much of the Television landscape has recently been populated with shows that go out of their way to show people being down right deceitful, mean and so self-centered that you wonder where and how they were raised.

Every channel seem to be trying to outdo the next on who could have the meanest show.  The idea was that the sow with the most drama would be the winner and have the largest audience.  No, I’m not going to give you a long list of what shows I mean.

Some the shows had early high ratings. But none had long followings.  After the peak only the hard-core fans stayed on.  With every season the shows had new competition and all the producers tried more and more outrageous stuff to bring in new viewers and keep their old ones.

It always seems that what ever show is a hit, the other networks quickly bring their own version or spin on that idea.  The trend has always been that way, westerns and more westerns.  Cop shows and more cop shows.  Doctor and hospital shows brought even more of the medical shows.

Only the brave (and experienced producers and writers) will gamble on new formats and set a trend away from the “herd.”

No, I’m not about to suggest that TV Land is about to break out with a case of “Nice.” We can sure practice “Nice” in our own lives and businesses.

Go out of your way to treat your customers with a heavy dose of “Nice”, both in person and in your advertising, print or otherwise.  Reward your employees for being nice to customers.  Praise can be very profitable.

If your customers aren’t your nicest friends, you should work on that.

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MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Not A McDonald’s Ad!

I know this may start out sounding like a McDonald’s Ad, but its not.  McDonald’s is just a big part of the story. As a local (Phoenix Arizona Metro Area) merchant we like the new philosophy of “Think Globally, but Act Locally.”

The idea of buying locally has benefits for everyone in your area from the local farmer, drycleaner, hardware store to your local full service printer.

So on with the McDonald’s story.  I was a bit hungry and was passing a McDonalds and noticed a poster for the new Chicken McBites.  I dropped in and had a Shareable McBites and drinks.  Eating-in meant that the tray contained a “trayliner” as well.

While enjoying the new McBites (think, a lot  smaller than a Chicken McNugget) I read about the new “Portable and Poppable Chicken McBites” on the trayliner.  What I found in small print on the vary bottom of the trayliner is what really caught my attention… I read “Printed in the United States of America.”  I didn’t know that! Aren’t all big companies printing everything overseas?  The bottom line profit motive (real or not) seems to be the mantra for all corporations these days.

McDonald’s Printing in the United States of America, well knock me over with a feather. So I read on.  My cup was “Printed in the United States of America.”  The cute little foldable container with my Chicken McBites was “Printed in the United States of America.” Three out of three.

Looking across the table at a fellow diner let me see that not only was the container made using recycled paper it was “Printed in the United States of America.”  Now it was 4-out-of-4!

This is not a McDonald’s Ad, it is a Great Big Thank You to McDonald’s. “Think Globally, but Act Locally.”  On behalf of all the U.S. of A. printers, large and small, Thank You.

We can only recommend that we all can act in that way.  Support your local…

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MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day History & Facts

The modern St. Valentine's Day celebrations are said to have been derived from both ancient Christian and Roman tradition.

There are many opinions about the origin of Valentine's Day. Some historians think it originated from St. Valentine, a Roman who was martyred for refusing to give up Christianity.

He died on February 14th, circa 270 AD, the same day that was devoted to Juno who was the Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses.. Legend also says that St. Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer's daughter, who had become his friend, and signed it "From Your Valentine".

Other aspects of the story say that Saint Valentine served as a priest at the temple during the reign of Emperor Claudius. Claudius then had Valentine jailed for defying him.

In 496 AD, Pope Gelasius turned the Roman holiday Lupercalia into a Christian feast day and set its observance a day earlier, on February 14th. He proclaimed February 14th to be the feast day in honor of Saint Valentine, the Roman martyr who lived in the 3rd century. It is this St. Valentine whom the modern Valentine's Day honors.

Today the celebration of Valentine's Day has become one of sweethearts, chocolate, gifts and celebrations about the love of your life, at least the current one.  Special dinners either out or provided by the spouse or boy friend have also been added to honor your Valentine lover.

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MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tune Up Your Brochure (Cont)

Cover Design. The cover is your first opportunity to capture the reader’s interest. A brochure is not a line card, so think beyond a product picture and logo. A designer can help pick out a bold photo or design, a unique font, a splash of unexpected color, or a customized font. Ask your print about unusual, stand-out paper stocks, sizes, shapes, or finishes.

 Call to Action.

You have drawn your customers in. You’ve informed them about your company and your products. Now what?

A prize in every pack! There’s only one correct ending—include a call to action! Give the reader an exclusive invitation, a free white paper, or a perforated card to request more information about your products and services.

Continue the conversation. Beyond displaying your contact information and web address on the back cover, continue the conversation by directing the reader to your social media channels or your corporate blog.

Companies tend to limit distribution of corporate brochures because of the cost involved, but a well-designed, professionally printed brochure can be worth a great deal more than its cost.

The real expense comes from printing the first copy. You can order thousands of additional copies for comparatively little money. Get them in the hands of your employees, vendors, distributors, customers, and prospects and see where an effective brochure takes you.

Anyone can print business cards and letterhead, but a well-produced brochure sends the message that you are a legitimate company with a strong history, expert team, slate of satisfied clients, and solid brand.

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MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Friday, February 10, 2012

Why Your Business Should have a Brochure

Here at MI Printing we hope you have been enjoying our "History of Printing" series.  It will be back tomorrow but now it is time for a word from our sponsor.  Well, we are the sponsor.

Do you ever have a customer ask for more information that they can take home and think about?  The average customer doesn't usually make snap buying decisions. They want to compare and think over any large purchase. What makes "it" a large purchase?  That answer varies from customer to customer. But the needs for product (or service) brochures are there.

The quick answer "It's on my website" doesn't satisfy everyone. Some customers don't use computers.  Others feel that a brochure you can hold in your hand is better than a website.

You should always have enough information in your brochure as is necessary to inform your customer about the product 9or service) and your business.

When a prospect requests your brochure, keep in mind, that they are interested in reading about your product or service.

They want to know about your product, service, website, price, ordering information, and you must be fully descriptive. Still keep the information simple by breaking the content into easy to read sections.

Make sure the customers knows you have the product or service to meet their needs.
Remember your brochure should inform your customer and close the sale!

If you need help from start to finish MI Printing is here to help meet your needs.

Call us at 623-582-1302

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tune Up Your Brochure

Do you think of your companies brochure as a budget suckers that no-one is ever going to read. In order to interact with your customers, you need a conversation starter.  Your brochure should be just that. All it may need is a Tune Up to get the best Return on Investment ever.

Please feel free to visit us at to discuss your next brochure and how we can help you with a free assessment of your existing brochure!

Tune Up Your Strategy

Begin by Thinking With A Purpose. What single job do you want your brochure to do?

1. Is it introducing a prospect to your company?
2. Your company history and mission.
3. A leave-behind for trade shows?

Don’t try to make your brochure to complex or tackle too many messages.

Who Is Your Target Market

If your brochure doesn’t engage the reader it doesn’t do its job.  All of your time in design, writing, and printing is lost   Your brochure’s next stop may be the trash can.

Be Conversational. Don’t write a technical manual or white paper. These reports have different purposes and audiences.

Always write in a conversational, friendly style, with your best information First. Think Headline!

To give your copy a human angle, include case studies and customer testimonials. Selectively use factual information to make your piece both interesting and believable.

Use attention grabbing headlines and images. Pull quotes that brings awareness and new information front and center to your audience.

Use bold and color to make your text more understandable, to highlight your most compelling points, and to give your readers enough that they get the gist at a glance and want to keep reading. Your brochure should always read like a magazine rather than a financial report.

More next Monday February 13th

Presented By
MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Single Concept Advertising.

Stop a minute and take a look at your companies brochure.  Is it a simple single concept?  Does it try to tell everything about your business?

Does it tell and list everything you offer or do?  Why?  Everyone does it that way!  Really.  Ever noticed in a Doctors office that they have many brochures and each offers advice on a single problem or health condition.

The correct way to present a problem and offer a solution is to do it one thing at a time.  You don’t ever want to bury your audience with more than one topic.  Remember K.I.S.S?  Keep it Simple Stupid or as some folks say Keep It Stupid Simple.

You have a restaurant and you want to have new people try out your lunch or dinner servings.  Your competition may think the best way is to print up a mini menu and had those out.  That gives them EVERYTHING and the prices.  Do they care you serve coffee and soda?  Do they care that like all other restaurants in the area you have 16 kinds of chicken? Just a list of fare that goes on and on, boring plus!

You are much better served taking that same space and telling them that you have the best, most mouth watering pies west of the Mississippi.  Finish with when and where and you have a very effective advertisement.  Never forget the a “Picture is Worth a Thousands Words!”

The next week your new ad covers your large piece southern fried chicken made from your great grandmothers secret family receipt, served with locally grown fresh vegetables.  Images are everything in these ads.

Does it work for your local garage? Sure it does.  Just the facts ma’am… Stay with why your cars needs frequent oil changes and then offer your best solution and at a great price. 

For the customer who must have more information include your web site and let them visit and get more information at their leisure.

Call us before you start on your next brochure.

Presented By
MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Write Creatively in Your Next Brochure

What makes an “ad” creative?  I think the easiest way to judge that is the “ad” is successful.  The ad has the desired effect on the reader.  What is it you want the ad to do?

First the must be memorable.  If your message isn’t remembered it can’t have any effect.  Is the desired result to visit your store, eat at your restaurant, drop off the dry cleaning or buy a gift from your shop.  The “ad” or brochure must tell a story that has two main goals.  Be remembered and two have a simple call to action.

Great creative advertising has insights, anecdotes, quotes from buyers, interesting stories about the company and key benefits or a great outcome when they buy from you.

A creative idea is the first step, and the most important step, towards a successful “ad”.

Where can that creative idea come from?  A great place to start is by asking your clients to tell you why they are buying from you.  Next, ask them what one thing would they like you to improve or ad to your mix of products or services.

Spend a little extra time with both your clients and your own ideas. It's just plain good for your creative karma.

Open your calendar. Pick up the phone. Schedule time to pick the customer’s brain.

Obviously, one goal is to learn more about the client's needs. Another goal is to understand the client's culture and personality. You may want to reflect that personality in your ads - in the way you define the your brand, in the way you position the company to respond and communicate to and with your customers and potential buyers.

Tell a good story.  Put that story into print and judge the results and then try again to see if it is true.  Practice makes Perfect.

Presented By
MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Monday, February 6, 2012

Notes on the Fridge

I saw an ad by the United States Post Office the other day and it extolled the virtues of using paper as a storage medium. Invoices that lead the way to paid bills stored in a drawer rather than lost or hacked in cyberspace.

It got me thinking about those notes I have stuck to my fridge.  Some are just that, notes.  But many others are really ads; From my real estate agent, a place to write notes.  From my insurance man with reminders of what to do in an emergency.  From my dentist about my next appointment.  From the car dealer about my next service.

Wow, all these printed communications that are part ad and part friendly reminders or helpful hints.  Guess what, I do keep them, and use them and post them on my fridge.

Ok, the smell of printers ink in the morning.  Kind’a reminds me of that old say “Printer’s Ink in Your Veins” or now “Pixels in my Pocket!” and they all lead to “Notes on the Fridge” Ads with a place to call home…

Be creative, make your next printed ad have a home on the Fridge.

Presented By
MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Friday, February 3, 2012

MI Printing: Special : Retractable Banners

Advertising that stands up and stands out! Our retractable banners provide mobile presentation solutions for trade show display booths, retail stores, restaurants, and hotels. Our affordable banner display stands and trade show banners are lightweight and easy to use so you will look like a pro wherever you show.

Cal Paula for your special price on a l33.5 x 78 Retractable Banner from customer supplied art.

We are ready to help just give us a call at 623.582.1302

Presented By
MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Choosing a Typeface

Typography is not a science. Typography is an art. There are those who’d like to make it a science; those who believe that a large enough sample of data will somehow elicit good typography. However, this cookie cutter mentality will only ever produce cookies. That typography and choosing type has no cut and dry rules.

Before we get to choosing type, let’s briefly talk about responsibility. Fundamentally, the responsibility we bear is two-fold: first we owe it to the reader not to hinder their reading pleasure, but to aid it; second, we owe a responsibility to the typeface or typefaces we employ. Good typefaces are designed for a good purpose, but not even the very best types are suited to every situation.

What follows is not a set of rules, but rather a list of guiding principles.

Guideline One: honour content
This, of course, should be every typographer’s mantra. In fact good typographers, most likely won’t even have to consciously think about this, it’s instinctual.

"The domain may be unfamiliar, but establishing contexts, understanding limitations, and identifying options is a constant in design."Gerry Leonidas

It’s worth mentioning here that these principles are equally applicable to any medium. Some of my favourite typefaces look dreadful on screen; and even good typefaces like Georgia or Verdana, designed especially for the screen, often look at best mediocre on paper. Choosing type for the web is easier owing to fewer choices; however, that’s beginning to change.

Guideline Two: read it
If you’re setting text, whether it be for a novel about the Franco-Prussian war or for a single-word headline, read it—really read it. Reading the text will give up vital clues, not only for choosing the right typeface or typefaces, but will also be an aid in the overall design of the page. An example: you’re setting text for an essay on the history of blackletter; so you set the text in blackletter, right?

Probably not. There is a place for considering the historical context; however, it would be wrong to stick rigidly to this method of choosing type. If you’re setting a text on Neanderthal man, you’re going to run into problems.

In addition to reading the text, one should attempt to understand it. This is not always possible. If you’re setting text for an article on String Theory or Quantum Physics, then perhaps full comprehension is out of the question. However, attempt to understand the thrust or theme of the text.

Guideline Three: audience and canvas
Who will read your beautifully set text? Scientists, lawyers, engineers, Millennial Generation, children? If it’s not obvious from the text, then find out. Historical ligatures may not go down too well with pre-school kids.

Consider too the canvas, the page. Perhaps you’re setting text within someone else’s page design and you have no control over margins or page dimensions. A cramped page, with small margins may benefit from a lighter type, whereas ample margins may well merit a blacker typeface.

Guideline Four: does it look right?If your text’s final destination is paper, then print it and see. Your type might look exquisite on screen, but a train wreck on paper. There really is no substitute for printing. If setting for the screen, then check it on both PC and Mac, and at different screen sizes.

And finally
Remind yourself that typography really is an art and that many of the decisions you make, including type choice, are subjective. If you’re unsure, ask others (designers and non-designers) to read your work. And seek out examples of great typography.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Tracking or Letter Spacing the Right Way

In typography, letter-spacing, also called tracking, refers to the amount of space between a group of letters to affect density in a line or block of text.

Letter-spacing can be confused with kerning. Letter-spacing refers to the overall spacing of a word or block of text affecting its overall density and texture. Kerning is a term applied specifically to the spacing adjustment of two particular characters to correct for visually uneven spacing. Kerning adjusts the letters closer together (negative spacing), tracking adjusts the letters further apart (positive spacing).

Letter-spacing adjustments are frequently used in news design. The speed with which pages must be built on deadline does not usually leave time to rewrite paragraphs that end in split words or that create orphans or widows. Letter-spacing is increased or decreased by modest (usually unnoticeable) amounts to fix these unattractive situations.

Tracking differs from kerning in that tracking is the adjustment of space for groups of letters and entire blocks of text. Use tracking to change the overall appearance and readability of the text, making it more open and airy or more dense.

You can apply tracking to all text or selected portions. You can use selective tracking to squeeze more characters onto a line to save space or prevent a few words from carrying over to another page or column of text.

Tracking often changes line endings and shortens lines of text. Tracking can be further adjusted on individual lines or words to improve hyphenation and line endings.

Tracking should not replace careful copy fitting. Use tracking adjustments carefully and avoid extreme changes in the tracking (loose or normal tracking following by a line or two of very tight tracking) within the same paragraph or adjacent paragraphs.

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MI Printing
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