Saturday, December 12, 2009

New ASHE Cuyahoga Valley Website goes live!


My most recent website design is now live. ASHE Cuyahoga Valley is a membership organization for civil engineers, construction management professionals and project management companies in Northeast Ohio.

This new site features a dynamic calendar for the events page as well as a gallery page with inherent image navigation.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Business Cards, Flyers, Brochures, Letterheads - all Cheap!

The Wonderful New World of Print-on-Demand

Those of us who have been working in the print design world for a number of years can recall how time consuming and expensive it once was to order items as simple as printed business cards. Single color cards ran at least $100 for 250 qty, and full color business cards often cost hundreds of dollars!

Fast forward to the present, and you will find many more cost-effective options for printing not only business cards, but just about any business or personal print collateral you can think of: letterheads, post cards, invitations, calendars, envelopes and more. The cost of printings these things hasn't just come down, it has plummeted.

Add to great pricing the ability to use your own design, canned templates or a combination of template and custom formatting, and you have a winning package. The icing on the cake is that you can actually get these items printed and delivered quickly.

What has made all this possible is the evolution of the digital printing industry, or "print-on-demand." While some printing companies still utilize lithographic printing methods for print-on-demand orders, much of the printed product is being produced via digital printing technologies.

You and I don't need to understand the equipment used, or how they do it. What matters to us is that we receive a high-quality product for a great price.

One thing you do need to keep in mind when you order from a Print-on-Demand house ... read ALL of the instructions before uploading any custom artwork and particularly before hitting the "Buy" button! This especially applies to designs you have created yourself. Each printer has different specifications for file size, resolution, crop dimensions, etc. Not following instructions to the letter is likely to yield an end product with surprise results. For instance, one would think that the dimensions on a standard business card are universal. Not so! Each print-on-demand site has slightly different dimensions for a custom business card design.

While there are many print-on-demand suppliers now on the market, I have three favorites that I would like to share with you: Vistaprint.com, overnightprints.com and got print.net.

Vistaprint.com is one of the early leaders in this market, and they continue to break new ground by adding more and more options for printed items, as well as many new stock/template designs. They also now offer specialty items such as t-shirts. Website design & hosting (yes, you can create your own) is one vistaprint's newest ventures.

Overnightprints.com is a wonderful supplier for all sorts of business stationery. Last year they started offering an interactive online design tool - sure to delight just about anyone who doesn't have time to do their own custom design, but also doesn't want stock artwork for his/her look.

My latest, and current favorite, in the print-on-demand field is gotprint.net. They have several paper stock selections for business cards, including a recycled stock with aqueous coating. This creates a top professional business card - sporting a high quality coating, yet with a paper surface that remains "writeable" so that you can pen a note on the card. I was extremely impressed with their 3-panel brochures as well.

All of these sites have an amazing array of standing artwork and pre-printed backgrounds. Thanks to print-on-demand, you can have a professional, full-color image for your business in no time at all!