The human eye is amazing. It can distinguish up to 10 million different shades of color. This range of color is known as a gamut and it’s pretty wide compared with what can be displayed on a screen or a printed page. That’s the reason why, as graphic designers, we use color spaces when working on digital and printed material.
There are two basic color spaces that you will deal with: Red, Green and Blue (RGB) and Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (CMYK). Which color space you should work with depends on your final product.
RGB refers to mixing light and is the color space that your computer monitor, TV, smartphone and tablets use to display images on screen. RGB is the color space that you should use for web design or video.
CMYK is what printing devices use in the form of color ink or toner. As you can see from the illustration, the gamut of that color space is much smaller than RGB. As well, the gamut varies depending on the device. Digital toner-based printers and commercial ink-based presses using only four colors (CMYK) will reproduce fewer colors than some inkjet printers using eight ink colors (Cyan, Light Cyan, Magenta, Light Magenta, Yellow, Pure Black, Medium Black and Light Grey).
So how do we manage all of these color spaces and ensure that what we see on screen is close to what we will get on paper? ICC profiles are the answer.
Almost everyone over the age of 30 has one, a large box in the attic or basement stuffed with old printed photos. Sadly, those old printed photos don’t last forever. Many cherished prints may be scratched, torn, dog-eared, and faded from years of enjoyment. If this sounds familiar, don’t worry, there’s hope.
For this blog article, I’m not going to go into the fine details of image restoration. Instead I want to just touch on the basic steps to follow that will allow you, the user, to drill down into each step until you are comfortable editing images on your own.
Generally speaking, there are a few basic steps required to restore old photographs that apply to most of them.
First step; you need to digitize the old paper photos so your computer can understand them. This process can be done using a regular desktop scanner. If you don’t have a scanner, you can take a picture of the image with a digital camera. If you don’t have a scanner or a camera, you still have hope. Today, thanks to modern, powerful smart phones, you can use a scanner app which has lots of special tools to help you get the best possible shot of your photograph to work with.
Second step; once you get a good digitized copy, you will need to open the image in Adobe Photoshop or any one of today’s advanced photo editing programs. For example, I will use Photoshop, but most image editing programs work much the same way. Always keep the original image as a reference. This is important because it allows you to have something to compare any edits you do to your final image. Photoshop allows you to create a second layer within the single file which lets you toggle between edited and original image, this technique helps when editing to see which changes improve the original and which changes don’t.
Third step; It is best to straighten the image before doing anything else. You will use the CROP tool to do that. This tool will allow you to select the image and rotate to it to square. At the same time, you can also crop the raw image to trim off any unwanted areas using the same CROP tool. This step is very straight forward and simple, but great care should be taken when deciding how an image will be cropped to get the best possible effect.
Fourth step; you will use the CLONE tool. With this tool, you can retouch spots and scratches found on most old images. Sometimes large sections of the image are damaged or torn, these can be tricky but with some practice on the CLONE tool, anything is possible. The DUST AND SCRATCHES filter is also very useful for overall image noise and small scratches. The SPOT HEALING tool is very good to help remove the occasional spot or image defect.
The final step is to color correct the final composed image. The COLOR BALANCE and HUE AND SATURATION tools are good for overall color adjustments. If you want to fine tune small areas within the image, you will need to create selection areas and apply edits using the CURVES tool. This step has many, many nuances. Entire books have been written describing methods for proper color correction, so it’s really up to you how far you want to go. You can find a myriad of YouTube videos that go into greater detail than I described in this blog.
Once you get the image to where it looks the way you want, don’t forget to save the final image in your preferred file format. Most digital photographs today are saved as .jpg or jpegs.
Congratulations, you just edited your first photo.
Promotional products are the most highly regarded form of advertising1. Some random thoughts on the subject…
There are plenty of recent news stories about plastic bags no longer being given out freely when you are shopping. Promo products to the rescue! People have started carrying reusable bags with them, and that is a great place to show off your logo. How many eyes will see it? How many times will it get used? In the US, bags generate more impressions than any other promo item.
People LOVE to use (and re-use) mugs! I have one I have been using for eight years! Do you know anyone who doesn’t need that morning coffee or tea? Enough said.
The best value: pens! In the US, the cost per impression is about one-tenth of a penny. And you know how often people use pens. I bet you have at least one within arm’s reach right now! And if it writes really smoothly, you are going to keep mentally thanking the person who gave that pen to you.
Promo factoids: 85% of people recall the advertiser that gave them a shirt or hat, or (fill in the blank!). When asked what types of advertising consumers like best, people 55 and under prefer promo products. The average American owns and uses 10 promo items right now! A simple reason: people love free useful products!!
Newark Trade is an ASI-certified distributor. We would love to help you find a product giveaway that will keep your company in the memory of others! Give us a call or email.
Over the years, I have found the most successful printing projects are well planned by developing a schedule that is created with the priority placed on the printing and finishing needs for your piece. Basically, work backwards in developing the schedule. Listed below are 8 steps for managing a successful print project.
Create requirements that identify your audience, your message, and your goals.
Identify your resources for the project. Your resources may include marketing, creative, content writers, project manager, proofreaders/quality control, printer, and mailing. A dedicated project manager will help ensure a successful project and will be the center of communication between internal teams and printer while tracking chargeable hours, timeline, and costs.
Develop a project plan that includes timeline, project tasks, and project milestones. If the project is complex, you may want to schedule stand-up meetings that can be held periodically for 15 to 30 minutes to allow each team member to quickly identify completed tasks, what tasks will be worked on next, and any possible risks to the production schedule.
Talk with your printer while you are in the planning and design stages of the project. Discuss timeline, file preparation, color space, proofing, bindery and finishing capabilities, mailing and/or delivery if needed. You may also want to discuss bleeds, image resolution, and safe text margins.
Create a checklist.
Have everything proofread after every iteration. Check all press proofs carefully.
Spot check the finished piece before mailing or delivery.
After the project has been completed, review the project’s success and any customer feedback. This will help make the next project even a greater success.
You’re planning the latest print project for your company, but have you thought much about how the job will get bound? Let’s explore your bindery options.
For a brochure with few pages, the most inexpensive way to go is saddle stitching. It is a method of binding in which the sections of a publication are inserted inside each other and secured through the middle fold with wire staples. Many brochures, catalogs and magazines are bound this way. A disadvantage is that the closed or open brochure will tend to “pillow” out instead of laying flat.
The second option is comb binding. This method uses round plastic spines with 19 rings or 21 rings and a hole puncher that makes rectangular holes. Comb binding is sometimes referred to as plastic comb binding or spiral comb binding. The plastic comb is available in a variety of color and sizes to fit 12 to 200 pages. Although it isn’t a very elegant solution, it is cost effective and allows the book to lay flat when open.
The next option is wire-o. With this binding method, punched pages are inserted onto a “C” shaped spine and then a wire closer squeezes the spine until it is round. Documents that are bound with wire binding will open completely flat on a desk and allow for 360-degree rotation of bound pages. The wire-o material is available in several colors and metallic finishes to complement the printed piece. Plastic coil binding is similar, although it is a bit bulkier than wire-o and is also available in various colors.
The fourth option is perfect binding. This is the most expensive of the four methods. But it is ideal for pieces with a large number of pages. The pages are bound together with an adhesive and wrapped in a cover of heavier paper stock with a square, flat spine. The result is a very professional presentation.
At the start of your next project, contact the knowledgeable staff at Newark Trade to discuss the best binding option to fit your image and budget.
Each year for the last 15 or so years, Newark Trade has taken the opportunity to design and print a promotional holiday calendar. It’s a small gift for our clients as a “thank you” for their business that also shows them a sample of our creative design, print, and fulfillment capabilities.
For our 2015 calendar project titled Enticing your Appetite we decided to do something a little different from previous years. The focus was to design and print a curated collection of high-resolution images, and combine them with a newly released augmented reality (AR) technology.
Newark Trade’s on-staff designer and photographer collaborated to produce the calendar and decide on a theme: an (AR) cookbook.
In order to bring this vision to life, the team used common and exotic fruits and vegetables as the photographic subject matter. The produce was carefully composed for artistic appeal and combined with the AR menu displays in real time, using the specific ingredients from the images for each month’s recipe.
The technology is rather simple: a viewer scans the monthly picture with their smartphone using the AR Layar app, and a virtual menu appears on the user’s screen. Newark Trade employees offered their favorite recipes that helped bring the photos of ingredients to life.
To plan for the photo shoot, Newark Trade ordered about 20 different color sheets of custom paper from a local art supply store. The sheets had bright vivid colors with subtle shades and flecks thoughout and served as excellent backdrops for each piece. The cost for these supplies was minimal and had amazing visual impact.
For the subject matter, we visited the local Whole Foods and bought a wide variety of beautiful, exotic, and colorful fruits and vegetables. Among our finds were bright red and green peppers, stunning whole cloves of garlic, ripe strawberries, onions, apples, and oranges. We also found lemons, watermelons, Asian apples, and wide variety of mushrooms.
The items were carefully posed and arranged in still life, against different colored backgrounds which helped accentuate and compliment the portraits, adding to their visual impact.
In total, over 1,250 images were captured. Each image was carefully examined, compared, and pared down to the 15 final images to be used in the calendar. These images were then adjusted for white balance, color correction, shadowing, hue and saturation, contrast, spotting, and final retouching to prepare for the final design.
In total, Newark Trade printed 300 final calendars along with several other additional pieces for the project, including a Holiday card, an instruction sheet, notepads with additional shots from the photo shoot, and a beautiful jet black tote bag with the calendar cover picture printed on the bag. Our fulfillment department assembled all 300 packages for delivery.
Newark Trade received awards in two categories from the The New Jersey Ad Club: one for Photography and the other for Calendar Design.
A few years ago, everyone touted about how the world would soon go paperless: no more book printing, newspapers, magazines, and so on. However, it now seems that all those marketing messages about the environmental benefits of online documentation are falling on deaf ears.
A study funded by the trade group Two Sides North America recently found that taxpayers who were encouraged to file online instead of by mail were reluctant to do just that. The study also conducted research on why that is the case. It discovered a number of reasons, such as:
Many people prefer or need paper documents. Paper is seen as safer, trusted and more secure. This isn’t surprising given the recent onslaught of media stories about identity theft, privacy breaches and hacking.
People also find it easier to read their documents on paper and printing copies to keep for themselves, negating the paperless aspect.
Then there are the people without internet access or who, as is the case with many seniors and the disabled, lack the skills/ability to go online.
Consumers are now more apt to recognize corporate environmental claims for what they really are: a shift of corporate printing costs to consumers. The skeptics feel it is inappropriate for companies to cite environmentalism when that is not the real motive.
Also, paper isnotseen asa “bad” product but, rather, as highly sustainable when it is responsibly produced, used and recycled, especially when compared with electronics.
Therefore, marketing claims that going paperless is “greener” are not only misleading but ineffective. Newark Trade is proud to be a part of the “green” trend of promoting and using real paper!
Problem: Newark Trade had been providing calendars as a holiday gift for years, but it was a standard calendar imprinted with the company information. It did NOT showcase the company capabilities. Clients were bored and didn’t keep or display them. We found a way to insure they would be displayed and eagerly anticipate their arrival.
Solution: To completely design a calendar each year featuring the printing and design capabilities of the staff.
We have staff members take and submit calendar-worthy photographs.
We redesign the month-grids so that everything is completely custom and unique.
We find a timely theme for each year to keep it relevant, often featuring new equipment capabilities, and/or some sort of reader interaction.
What we did:
We insist each year has a different theme and all-new visuals.
Some of the past calendars include:
“Creativity in Type” spelled out the month-names using letters made of found objects that look like letterforms. For our 75th anniversary in 2013 we enjoyed going back to our roots to celebrate the shape and forms of type in the world around us.
“Enticing Your Appetite,” (the Food Calendar). This 2015 calendar showed frameable photos, by our own Paul Carracino, of different fruits and vegetables, and invited readers to go to our website and download two staff-created recipes for each food-of-the-month by using a free Augmented Reality app.
“The Coloring Calendar,” featuring drawings inspired by photos taken by staff photographers. In 2016 the public was revisiting the relaxation of coloring, and we had a monthly contest in which people could submit their colored-in drawing in hopes of winning a Coloring Book.
“Colors and Textures,” our 2017 calendar, showcases our newest digital press that has the ability to print clear and white toner. By printing striking images on unusual papers we hope to inspire creative ways for our clients to use the printer’s capabilities.
2018 is our 80th anniversary, and we produced “Go Places with Newark Trade,” with scenic images from around the country (and world), again using photographs taken by our staff. Each month has a unique QR code, scannable with your smartphone camera, that takes you to a 360º street-view of where that specific photo was taken.
Results: Each year our clients now eagerly anticipate receiving our printed calendars to see what the concept is.
We know they will be hung on clients’ office walls or bulletin boards, making it easy to see how to reach us, every day!
There will be a novel, fun way to interact with the calendar.
The award-winning images also serve a useful purpose, helping clients to organize their days and their lives at the same time they have an ever-changing view.
Client feedback: “It’s always a pleasure to open the box and see what you guys/gals have thought up” … “so creative and unique” … “we get to admire your work every day!” … “stunning and innovative.”
In the mid-1960’s John W. Seybold, a noted typographic industry consultant, stated “Lead Is Dead.” He was referring to the fact that Phototypesetting was rapidly replacing Hot Metal Typography with higher productivity and better quality. John’s prediction of Hot Metal’s demise was correct, only his timetable was off. By the mid-1970’s most commercial typographers were using phototypesetting machines such as the Mergenthaler VIP to produce high quality typography on photographic paper or film.
Newark Trade purchased two Mergenthaler VIP typesetting output machines in 1974. The VIP was considered a 2nd generation phototypesetting machine since it didn’t use the mechanical technology of the original 1st generation phototypesetting machines that mimicked Hot Metal linecasters. The VIP used film negative type fonts to create images on photographic film or paper.
In 1978, the last Hot Metal edition of the NY Times was printed as can be viewed in the documentary, “Farewell, etaoin shrdlu.” The letters referred to the first two banks of lower case keys on the Linotype keyboard. The following day the NY Times composed its first phototypeset edition.
In the 1970’s, the VIP was the gold standard for commercial typographers until the Mergenthaler 202 was introduced in 1978 and became the new gold standard. The 202 was considered a 3rd generation phototypesetting machine since it used “digital fonts” (although not Postscript yet) and imaged the RC paper or film using a Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) versus film fonts on the VIP. Since fonts were very expensive, could not be shared, and the end product was photographic film or paper, it kept end-users from setting their own type.
The VIP was capable of outputting 80 newspaper lines of type per minute while the 202 was capable of outputting 800 newspaper lines per minute. Productivity increased tenfold in one decade. The VIP and 202 had depended upon code-driven “Front-end” minicomputers like CCI, Penta and Quadex to drive them. The operators could not see what the type looked like until the paper or film was processed. These machines could not output graphics – just type. Photos and line art still had to be processed offline and stripped in.
Two events were very important that significantly affected the typographic industry and changed the typographic marketplace forever. They were the introduction of the Apple MacIntosh in 1984 and the Apple Laserwriter in 1985 that used Postscript fonts.
By 1990, the VIP and 202 became obsolete. Typographers found it necessary to purchase Postscript imagesetters such as the Mergenthaler Linotronic L330 and become Service Bureaus to maintain their client base. Designers now had control of the page layout. The L330 was considered a 4th generation imagesetting machine since it was capable of outputting type, art, photos and film color separations for printing – all things that Postscript software supported.
By 1998, Service Bureau work had diminished with the introduction of computer-to-plate imaging equipment that was installed by the offset print industry. Newark Trade added printing and design to enhance our typographic services.
Printing remained vibrant until 2008 when the Great Recession impacted the use of print and mailing with less costly web marketing. However, in the past 10 years, marketers have gradually shifted their thinking to multi-channel marketing. The web is no longer a singular marketing force. Today there is a strong resurgence in using print to target an audience and supplementing it with web-based marketing. Marketers have gained a new insight and appreciation of printing as an important component in multi-channel marketing. Good design, along with targeting printing to a more selective and qualified audience, is getting the higher results marketers have been desiring.
The future is bright for all who are willing to adapt and change and listen to their clients regarding their needs.
I go to a LOT of networking events, and over the years have amassed a wide variety of business cards. I keep them in a thick binder filled with pages of clear plastic pockets for standard business cards. (I also scan them into a searchable database, but that is fodder for another blogpost). However, I do find myself mentally classifying them as great design, classy/elegant, and/or memorable.
Lately, I have seen a new subset in the “memorable” category: minimal. There was a great article by Meg Fry in the April 9, 2018 issue of ROI-NJ. Some of the highlights are below.
The card of Amanda Parks, who works with NJ non-profits, is an excellent example. The front has only her name along with “Nonprofiteer, Runner, Coffee Lover,” important facets of her life and topics she often discusses while networking, in large letters along the left side of this vertical card.
The back of the card has her contact info. She includes her phone number, email address, Twitter handle, and personal website. Regarding the Twitter handle, Parks said: “Don’t be afraid to include it because someone of a different generation might [not understand].”
She feels that the “information is just vague enough … to remember who I am, [and] encourages them to call and continue the conversation. I find that I get more of a reaction and follow-up … simply because these cards, which stand out against the standard, make people stop and think for a second,” said Amanda. “I am always looking for new opportunities … and want to be able to give them a card that identifies myself in the best ways.”
Clever, minimalist business cards express more of who you are rather than what you do. Business cards can express the real you, and not who you think you should be. People will want to collaborate because of the unique personality that shows through.
As Amanda said, “I believe that my cards say, ‘This is me. If you need me, in whatever capacity, this is how you can reach me, and that’s that.’”
A business card is a minimal space that can have a memorable impact.