Dropbox is my solution for file sharing, collaboration.

October 18, 2010 at 11:15 am (collaboration, dropbox, file sharing)

I’m working on a new contract and our first order of business is to get the existing marketing collateral organized, updated, and formatted for market and sales purposes.  My team consists of multiple “cooks’ and we’ll all have a hand at editing and weighing in on content. 

Problem:  We are working mostly virtually these days, and the company does not currently have a shared drive where we can remotely login and access these working documents.  There are times when we will need to work on these files while on planes, trains or automobiles, without internet connectivity.  Disparate data is a concern, and we would like the ability to share large files easily.

Solution:  Another client introduced me to Dropbox, a software that syncs your files online and across your computers.  Dropbox works seamlessly with your operating system and automatically makes sure your files are up-to-date.

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The Print Process and Knowing What you Don’t Know

October 15, 2010 at 3:22 pm (graphic design, marketing, pantone, printing)

If you only retain one piece of information from this blog post, it should be: Call your printer first!

Print shops have a technical vocabulary all their own, and unless you’re working with a professional graphic design house on your project, you’re probably at risk for making some critical mistakes.

First, consider layout. Is your print collateral a custom size—something other than 8.5 x 11? Is there die cutting involved, such as a pocket folder in the back or business card slits? Could a slight size variation allow you to print and/or mail at a cheaper rate? Tell your printer what your plans for the document are and ask them if they have advice or even a Die Catalog, templates you can use to guide you through the initial layout process.

Next, consider paper stock. Selecting a paper can be very confusing because it comes in multiple varieties of finish, weight, opacity and brightness. This article, Print & Graphic Design Projects – Selecting Paper, has a good overview. It is important to know that paper may also affect how your colors and images appear. Again, it’s best to talk to your printer first, go in and feel paper options prior to the job, and discuss how selected papers will affect the end result.

Finally, consider color. If you or your client has specific expectations regarding color, it’s important to share this with your printer in advance. Color is discussed in terms of Pantone, an industry color guide, and pantones can be converted to CMYK densities (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key Black). Colors can also be described in RGB (Red, Green, Blue) densities, or Hex, or html colors (used on the web). If you have a very specific [green] that is your brand’s official color, say Pantone 362, it’s important to talk with your printer about the importance of accuracy. Your Green will appear very different on coated, glossy paper than it will appear on matte. And, if you print a proof at your office on your desktop laser jet, you can’t expect that the colors will match exactly once they come off the press at the print house. The print house has standards for accuracy and will have the true pantone match. Ask your printer for color swatches, and make sure you pick a color that meets your expectations.

These three considerations just scratch the surface of what you need to discuss with your printer. But, again, the best recommendation I can give is START by calling your printer and discussing your plan prior to layout.

If you’re in Massachusetts, I have a great printer Account Rep for you to meet.

Please share your thoughts.

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