At Poor Richard’s Press, we are the Speedmasters of print! A little nerdy printer humor if you catch the joke that a “Speedmaster” is a type of printing press used in offset printing. What is offset printing you may ask? Glad you asked. Offset printing refers to printing with ink using an image burned onto a metal plate and then transferred onto paper. This technique for mass producing an image dates back to around 1440. 1440! No, that is not a typo. Humans have always wanted to tell their stories. From cave drawings to images written on papyrus. We are story tellers by nature. It took a few hundred years, but we managed to invent the easiest and most effective way to spread our ideas and words - Print. Yes, today we have the World Wide Web and email to do this, but as we know “print is not dead”. You can certainly read a magazine or an article on your smartphone. The convenience of having information at our fingertips is so easy these days. Even self-proclaimed print-nerds like myself succumb to the convenience factor from time to time. But can you feel those pages? Can you smell the ink and paper? Can you see consistent and vibrant colors and hues? Can you continue to read your magazine when your phone is at 1% battery life? Or when you are on vacation and out of phone carrier service? Can you cut that picture out and put it on your fridge to dream about “one day”? Are you able take it to the beach and not worry about sand and water getting in the crevasses? No. You read, scroll, scroll, scroll and click to the next app. It’s sensory overload with very little reading retention. Whereas the tangible printed word elicits an emotional response that is simply not seen, felt, or smelled on the internet. Since print seems to be rare in today’s digital world, printed items mean even more . If it’s printed, it must be important. It means something. Therefore print is still the preferred method to spread the words that matter. Because of this, you will likely find yourself with the need for print sometime in your life. Allow me to share with you some Pros and Cons with the ever-popular offset printing method and a superb alternative if your particular print project does not fit in the offset world.
One of the biggest “Pro’s” of offset printing is quantity. Our Heidelberg Speedmaster 52 offset press can print 15,000 impressions per hour. If you’re lucky, your desktop printer will get 1000 impressions per hour and that’s with a high-end office printer. Printing on an offset press yields very high quantities in a very short time frame allowing us to get your high quantity project in and out the door FAST! Also, because of the speed of offset, the cost per piece is decreased dramatically at high quantities due to this efficiency. Therefore, not only is it faster but it’s more economical for print projects requiring a high quantity output. I’d call that a win/win!
Another “Pro” of offset printing is the consistency of each print. Offset printers have special grippers that hold that sheet of paper and every sheet after that in the exact location with each impression. There is no movement within the press so the impression will hit all sheets of paper in the same spot consistently. Desktop and laser office printers do not have that luxury. There will always be a varying degree of “bounce” or movement on the paper because there are no grippers. So, that means that some prints might be higher than others or lower than others -meaning your print project will lack consistency. Why is this important? If your project is of a professional nature, then it’s important to make it look professional! An example of the importance of consistency is in the printing of booklet pages. If we print pages of a booklet for you via an offset printer and then put those pages together to form the booklet, you can be assured that the line from page one will go across to page two (which is a completely separate sheet of paper) perfectly. This is called a “cross over” and is most easily seen with booklets and catalogs. The non-favorable alternative is a “stair step” look to your printed copy or graphics because they don’t line up. If pages are not printed on an offset printer, it is likely that the stair step effect or bounce will occur. So, printing those pages offset is the best way to ensure that your booklet is lined up properly thus giving your project a really nice, professional look.
Now that I’ve dazzled you with the precision and cost effectiveness of offset printing for large quantity print jobs, I have to tell you that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. While the capability to print medium to large quantities on an offset printer is a major pro, small quantity projects are less than ideal. The press takes a lot of resources to set up, from man-power to material hard costs. Those set up fees get amortized out in large quantities and end up making perfect sense but in small quantities, those few sheets of paper take all of that same set up cost. That makes the price per sheet of paper pretty high. In that case, it’s not the end of the world as we can recommend a different printing process for you. Be aware that the different process might require a re-think of your graphics or layout (remember what was mentioned earlier about bounce – if you have graphics that run continuously across folded pages, bounce may be a major factor. By simply altering some of your graphics, we can make digital printing a cost effective printing option for your small quantity print projects). Another con is potential dry time. Offset printing uses liquid ink. Our inks are vegetable based (because we love the environment!) and therefore take time to dry. Fortunately, we can add an aqueous coating while we are printing on coated paper that dries in about a half an hour and is ready to go. Unfortunately, if we print on uncoated or matte paper, there is no aqueous coating used so we are at the mercy of the ink drying which is typically one day, but sometimes two days with heavy coverage of ink. So, if you have a double sided sheet, the printing process is doubled because we have to wait an entire day in order to flip it over and print the other side.
In reality there are multiple printing options that have the potential to fit your next print project and an offset printing press is just one of them. If the shoe fits, print it… or something like that. Commercial digital printing is a wonderful alternative to full color printing for smaller quantities or time crunches when you want to use uncoated paper. Another huge plus for printing digitally is personalization through variable data. For example, got a mail campaign that you need printed AND mailed? I do believe that this is a topic for another blog, however! So for now, I will conclude this one by reiterating that print is still and will forever be the king of spreading your words, marketing message, and ideas. Offset print will get you high quantities while keeping everything consistent and professional looking. And if offset doesn’t work for you, we’ve got options! If you’re still struggling with printing processes, feel free to contact your local print consultant for more help. She (that’s me!) is always willing and able to help!
After 8 months of colorful cows gracing the landscape and local businesses in SLO County, the SLO Cowparade Herd was auctioned off for charity! Cowparade, SLO was presented by The Town of Harmony alongside the Vander Horst Family and Visit SLOCAL . Our very own Todd Ventura and crew (ringmen Ethan Ventura and Jim Settle ) auctioned off the eclectic herd while Adam Montiel of “Up & Adam in The Morning” and the Cork Dorks emceed the event. The entire Cowparade SLO event began last September and sought to support three main local charities through the purchase, artistic commissions and auction of the life-sized fiberglass cows. The three main charities were ARTS Obispo , the California Mid-State Fair Heritage Foundation and The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County in an effort to support the regional focus on the arts, sustainability and agriculture. Other charities were able to benefit from the Cowparade experience by the designation of individual sponsors. Full list of benefitting charities is located at the end of this article.
Auction day showcased the amazing local artist talent SLO County has to offer and included fun, wine, beer and a fabulous dinner catered by The Ribline . The Oyster Ridge Barn at Ancient Peaks Winery provided a beautiful backdrop for the bovine art, similarly beautiful to the cows that roam the nearby hills of the Santa Margarita Ranch . Barnett Cox and Associates sponsored the high selling cow beautifully brought to life by Dennis Bredow . “Jesse/Jane” raised a whopping $45,000 for BCA’s designated charity, 40 Prado Homeless Services Center in SLO. The Live Auction included 25 cows, while additional mini-moo’s and life size cows are still currently available for purchase via an online silent auction. If you are in the market for a piece of local art and flavor, you have until May 21st to bid online on the remaining cow herd here: http://www.biddingowl.com/Auction/index.cfm?auctionID=10709
Poor Richard’s Press was proud to participate in this great event as the Official Print Sponsor and your local printer in SLO County since 1947! Check out some scenes from the Live Auction and the full list of benefitting charities below.
If you are in business, or starting a business, you’ll often hear that you need collateral materials. Collateral materials are all the items needed to market and promote your business. What you need exactly depends on you, your business and of course your ultimate goal. Read ahead to see the 8 reasons why you need to have collateral. Why 8 reasons? Because that’s how many it takes, trust us on this one.
1. You have to have collateral. -- Wait, the argument will get better we promise. The number one reason why you have to have collateral is because people will expect it. Imagine you’re at a party and you are telling someone what you do for a living and you mention your new business. They become interested in your business services or products and want to know more so they ask you for a business card… and you stare blankly at them then shuffle your feet a little and reply, “Well… you can follow me on Instagram.” Ok hipster, no one is going to take you seriously with that pitch. Hence the need for collateral materials such as business cards, a small brochure, a website, and maybe a pen or two to hand out with your contact info printed on it. If you want to get crazy you can think about apparel and other promotional items.
2. Collateral is a competitive tool. -- Successful companies spend time and money on themselves first. They hone their product or service and imagine themselves in the shoes of their ideal client. They ask, “What would my ideal client want?” So put yourself in your client’s shoes and try to image what they would want and expect from you. Then spend the money on yourself to make that happen. You are not just building a brand after all, but an entire client experience.
3. High Value products = High End materials. – If you plan to market yourself as a high end company, product or service, people will expect you to have high end materials surrounding your business. When someone hands you something as simple as a business card, you instinctively make a judgement call on how you feel about their business presence whether you consciously know this or not. Items that FEEL nice, can have a big impact. It’s important to know the importance of substrate choice when selecting print materials. All your materials don’t have to be high end if that is not your brand, the point of the matter is that you have to be conscious that what you are choosing is “on brand”.
4. Look the Part – If you want to function like a real business, and have people believe that you are in fact a real business, you have to look like a real business. It’s that simple.
5. Collateral Materials Carry the Brand – Each piece of collateral material needs to have a purpose. The purpose of each individual piece needs to be part of the bigger overall brand story. For example, a business card is a way for people to contact you. A small tri-fold brochure is a great intro to your brand and a good “leave behind” item, a full product catalog is for those clients that are more serious about buying from you, a postcard could be a part of a promo campaign or a win-back campaign… you get the gist. They all tell the story of “you”, just in a different way.
6. Sales Tool – In the last point, we mentioned a possible “leave behind” item. Sometimes people want to think about a product or service before they buy it. This is where a collateral item can play the role of a sales tool for you by keeping you in the forefront of someone’s mind if they have a notepad or pen branded with your logo greeting them on their desk every day.
7. Creates Excitement In House – By giving your team the tools they need to represent your brand, they actually get excited about representing your brand. It can also serve to remind them of any current promotions or offerings you have going on so they know exactly what to tell a potential client.
8. Tells Your Story – Lastly, collateral material simply acts as another piece of the puzzle that represents and tells your brand story. So make your story a good one!
When beginning a design project or branding your business, it’s easy to simply think of your favorite color as the obvious choice for “brand colors”. Why not? You like it. You think it looks good. But have you ever thought of why you like it? Or that there might be a reason it’s your favorite color? Let’s take a deeper look as to why color is important in design and why careful consideration should be made when planning your company branding for the long term.
Why is color important?
The use of color in design, art and even the way we dress ourselves on a daily basis plays a role in the way we feel. Whether we realize it or not, color tends to elicit an emotion, feeling or some sort of response when we see it used in certain ways. Blues may make us feel calm, sad, serene, or have a coastal or springtime connotation. Yellow might signify happiness, or even caution depending on how it’s used. When considering clothing, black is often thought of as chic and timeless.
The Cal Poly motto and philosophy is “Learn by Doing” which is pretty true in regards to the Graphic Communication major if not all the majors at Cal Poly. The long laundry list of what we are able to do in our coursework at school includes, but it not limited to: running presses and making plates for printing, designing calendars, packaging and resumes and of course software training. We get all this hands-on experience in order to prepare us for whatever career we end up pursuing. But nothing quite prepares you for the real thing. Having a job in college that’s related to your major is so helpful if you are able to work it in to your busy schedule! Getting hands-on experience helps prepare you but no matter how much we try to simulate the processes involved in Graphic Communication in school, nothing compares to actually doing it in a work setting. It’s very similar to the phrase: “you don’t know what you don’t know”. There is so much that goes on in a printing company that school can’t prepare you for. Working in a company in your field while taking classes allows you to learn so much more and to truly see how what you design really ends up once printed – including the technical components of getting a perfect end product for a client. I feel so much more prepared to enter the workforce after college because of the experiences that I’ve had working in an actual print company. Doing design work and being able to see my design’s come to fruition has been a rewarding process. From concept to completion, I’ve gotten to live the words “Learn By Doing” at Poor Richard’s Press.
Last month, Poor Richard’s Press had the honor of participating in Cal Poly’s Graphic Communication’ s Career Day. Alli and I had the pleasure of meeting the best and the brightest Cal Poly has to offer - from Senior’s and all the way down to eager sophomore’s just itching for the experience. We talked until our voices were hoarse and accumulated a stack of the most beautifully designed resume’s you’ve ever seen. Since many of the players at Poor Richard’s Press are Cal Poly alumni, we always look for ways to support Cal Poly students and programs at the school. The Cal Poly “learn by doing” motto is not taken lightly by any department on the campus and due to that fact, the students are some of the best in the west when it comes to post-baccalaureate preparedness. We enjoyed our time at the Winter Career Fair Day and look forward to the Spring Career Day in April! Follow us on Instagram at @ poorrichardspress for a few scenes from the Cal Poly GRC Career Day and for a look at what goes on in the print shop! Our next upcoming event is this week at the SLO Horse Expo at the Madonna Inn – see you there!
When it comes to the peeps of Poor Richard’s Press, Client Service Consultant Wendy Scribner is the ultimate mover, shaker and print maker. She wears many hats around the office, but even more outside the office. With just a few of those hats being a cowboy hat and mom of two boys (which may or may not require a helmet). Wendy has been with PRP for 5 years and is a SLO county local hailing from her family’s cattle ranch in Cambria. She graduated Cal Poly with a degree in Animal Science and a concentration in Livestock Production. So it’s no wonder she handles many of our ag-related clients with ease. Have a bull catalog you need printed? A horse sale book? Nationally distributed industry magazine? She’s got you covered with print and mail! Looking for apparel for your ranch crew? Yep, got that too. Website build? You get the gist. Wendy says, “I love seeing our customer's projects come to life. Whether it is a flyer to advertise a car wash, polos for a business's office staff or a mail campaign.” This dedication may or may not have to do with her deep obsession with paper...