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Printing Industry Exchange ( is pleased to have Steven Waxman writing and managing the Printing Industry Blog. As a printing consultant, Steven teaches corporations how to save money buying printing, brokers printing services, and teaches prepress techniques. Steven has been in the printing industry for thirty-three years working as a writer, editor, print buyer, photographer, graphic designer, art director, and production manager.

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The Printing Industry Exchange (PIE) staff are experienced individuals within the printing industry that are dedicated to helping and maintaining a high standard of ethics in this business. We are a privately owned company with principals in the business having a combined total of 103 years experience in the printing industry.

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Custom Printing: Send New Years’ Holiday Cards

Here’s an idea. Do something unique. Send your clients and vendors a New Year’s holiday card instead of a traditional, December-type card. Stand out from the crowd. Make your business memorable.

Some Overall Goals

  1. Consider why you’re doing this. Through the last two weeks of December your clients will probably receive a passel of cards from their vendors. In most cases, your clients and vendors will have been incredibly busy at this time, handling not only their personal holiday affairs but also an uptick in their workload. Sending a card that will arrive after their return from New Years’ partying will add focus to your missive. Your card will be unique.
  2. Showcase your custom printing work—indirectly. This is not the time for a hard sell. However, if your holiday card is tasteful, perhaps even upbeat, and beautifully produced on a rich, tactile paper stock, this says something about you as well. You understand details. You appreciate quality.
  3. Show that you care. The fact that you are sending a physical card that you have taken the time and expense to produce, and that you have hand written, will show that you value your clients.
  4. Don’t forget your vendors. Remember to send them cards, too.

Some Design Suggestions

  1. Use bright colors and an upbeat theme. Winter is cold and dark. Make sure your holiday card reflects optimism, and a focus on the good things coming in the new year. Consider full-color printing for the card. Choose a brightly colored envelope, perhaps red, lime green, or orange, to make your card stand out in your client’s stack of mail.
  2. Choose a size that will be unique. However, check online to make sure your chosen size does not incur a US Post Office surcharge. For instance, square or oversized envelopes will trigger an additional fee. This starts to add up if you’re sending a lot of cards. The US Post Office has abundant information online to help you get the right aspect ratio (ratio of the width to the height of the envelope), size, weight, etc., to keep your postage costs under control. It’s possible to be both unique and economical.

Some Custom Printing Considerations

  1. Choose your envelope first, and then determine the proper-sized enclosure. This way your custom print envelopes will be a standard size (i.e., cheaper than a converted envelope). If you design the card first, your envelope may need to be printed separately on a flat sheet, then die-cut, folded, and glued to create a finished envelope of the proper dimensions. Listings of envelope sizes and insert sizes can be found on the Internet. Look for the words “envelope size chart,” or check out commercial printing websites for dedicated envelope manufacturers. Remember to leave adequate room around the enclosure. One website I just read suggested making the enclosure 1/4” smaller (height and width) than the envelope. The goal is to leave enough room for the enclosure to slip in and out of the envelope easily without leaving too much space. The enclosure can actually get damaged if the envelope is too large.
  2. Consider unique paper stocks for both the card and the envelope. This might include coated and uncoated paper; special text stocks; or linen, laid, or speckled paper. Check custom printing suppliers’ paper sample books to make sure you can get holiday cards and envelopes that will match.
  3. Consider paper weights. A 28# envelope might suggest more formality or stature than a 24# envelope. A good rule of thumb is that 24# envelope stock is comparable to 60# offset or text paper, and 28# envelope stock is comparable to 70# offset or text paper.
  4. Consider a unique format. If all of the cards you have received are fold-over cards, you might want to design a holiday card printed on the front and back of a single sheet of heavy cover stock.

Ultimately, anything you send will show your clients and vendors that you appreciate them. After all, you took the time and expense to create, hand write, and send something personal.

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