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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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Archive for the ‘Business Cards’ Category

Pros of Picking an Online Printing Company for Your Business

Thursday, September 30th, 2021

Online printing services have become a staple in the lives of many people around the world. These days, it is frequent to find people ordering business cards and even wedding invitations online. Thanks to digitalization, our work has become so easy. All you need to do is place an order, and you will receive everything with the best quality in no time. More benefits come along with this type of service, and they are:

Get Services Throughout the Day

Nowadays, we are all about convenience. Traditional printing means you have to drive or walk to your local printer and wait in line for hours, if not days, before getting what you need – but now there are online services where templates allow customers like yourself access from the comfort of their homes! With just a few clicks on these websites (or even while watching TV), anyone can order custom cards with professional designs according to their convenience.

Affordable in Price

There are a lot of businesses that work on a tight budget and look for something affordable. If you are looking somewhere else, make sure to research adequately and select the one with relevant reviews only! You won’t find a lot of free printing websites or companies that have an affordable price list but, with us, you can create a unique yet affordable marketing package for yourself.

Get Access to High-Quality Printing

If you want to experience high-quality printing, then you must know that it doesn’t come cheap but, here with us, you will afford top-quality printing services along with affordable prices. Who will give a deal like this in today’s world? Except for us, of course. Online printing companies also provide you with a thousand different design options to choose from. You will never feel short of templates, even if all your printing material has another type of template.

Order from Anywhere in The World

The process of ordering a copy is quite simple. You do not need to go through the reprinting editions because you can order from anywhere in the world, and it will be delivered right to your doorstep. If there’s an internet connection available and a device to open the website, you are all set to go! We will always provide you with safe payment methods that help you keep trust in us when your order is in transit. What we don’t suggest is that you blindly trust other companies and pay without checking for safety.

It’s no surprise that as our society moves more and more towards a digital age, we see an uptick in demand for online printing companies. These businesses provide convenience and affordability to customers who want their products quickly and without hassle. If you own a business or know someone who does, it makes sense to explore how an online printer can help your company succeed and learn about the benefits that come along with it. Our company possesses all the qualities that make the best online printing company. If you are looking for one, then we would like to help you! Contact us today to know more.

Custom Printing: Polishing Hand-Drawn Illustrations in Photoshop

Monday, August 23rd, 2021

Forty-five years ago when I started as a writer, editor, photographer, and layout person in publications, I was in college. I was also studying fine arts, learning how to draw and paint. Until I started using this fine arts training in the art therapy work I now do with my fiancee, my skills had lain somewhat dormant. After all, I needed to make a living, and publications work offered solvency whereas painting and drawing did not.

So it was interesting last week to come full circle with a new graphic design client who needed spot illustrations for her self-published print book.

I was already realizing while preparing sample drawings and paintings for my fiancee’s and my art therapy classes that I still had the skills I had honed four decades prior. I also learned about the illustrative effects (illustration as opposed to fine arts) I could achieve with gouache (opaque watercolors, which are ideal for commercial illustrations). With all of this in mind I did some sample drawings of eggplants for my client’s print book, and we were off and running. Now I am also a book illustrator.

A Learning Experience

At this point, you may be asking yourself how my situation pertains to yours. Presumably if you are a graphic designer, or if you work with graphic designers, you understand that layout and illustration are two different skills. When I was an art director, I used to hire (or subcontract to) different people to perform these two functions. (It’s a little bit like the 1980s, during the advent of music videos and MTV, when people assumed a musician could make an unforgettable music video just because she or he could sing or play an instrument.)

So the first takeaway from my recent experience is that if you are an art director and you need spot illustration work, look for an illustrator, not a graphic designer or a fine artist (or at least review samples if someone says they have all three skills).

Blending the Power of the Computer with the Creativity of the Pencil

What I think is more intriguing about my recent opportunity is the concept of marrying hand-drawn art with computer embellishment. (When I was painting and drawing back in college and shortly thereafter, I was just beginning to hear about friends who had purchased home computers. It was the early 1980s, and they were very expensive and had only minimal graphics capabilities.)

I’m not talking about using the pen tool in Adobe Illustrator to create outlines, flat shapes, and flat colors, although this also has merit. I’m also not talking about using a Wacom drawing tablet (or the current iteration thereof) to draw bold brushstrokes in a raster image editor like Photoshop, although this also has merit.

What I’m describing is sketching (in this case) eggplants using pencils and paper, creating both contour drawings (essentially outlines) and heavier modeled drawings (darker images showing highlights and shadows to give a 3D look to the art). I did these and also a gesture drawing (sketchy, showing movement) of a vine, which may run up a scholar’s margin in the layout of my client’s print book.

In all cases I had to consider whether the style of the rendering of the subject matter would complement or detract from the type treatment, photo, color screens, and colored type of the double-page spread.

First I scanned the contour drawing of the eggplant and the vine into the computer, saving each as a grayscale TIFF. For the mock-up I used a resolution of 266 dpi. Had I chosen to render the drawings as line art (as black-only pen and ink drawings), I would have opted for a much higher resolution (to avoid seeing any pixellation). However, I wanted to preserve the gray shades of the pencil drawing, so I produced the art and scanned it as a softer image with various levels of gray.

I did the same for the darker, modeled eggplants and for the more sketchy vine and eggplant contours. (Keep in mind that this is early in the design process, so having a handful of options for the spot illustrations is a good thing.)

Using Photoshop Tools to Adjust the Scanned Drawings

This is where it got interesting. I then used Photoshop’s Levels command to selectively lighten and darken the images of the vine and eggplants, just to experiment. Too dark, and they would compete with the photos and type on the double-page print book spread. Too light, and they would disappear.

I also had drawn the images larger than their final size. With the contour (line-only) drawings, significantly reducing the final image size when placing the drawing in the InDesign file made the contour lines around the vegetables too thin and hence too light. So I had to go back to Photoshop and adjust the Levels command to darken everything. I tried the Threshold command, but it rendered the image entirely in black pixels (no shades of gray), and this looked too heavy.

In contrast, for the scanned drawing of the vine, I had inadvertently captured too much of the background tone of the paper. When I placed the art in InDesign, I could see the shaded background. So, again using the Levels dialog box, I lightened the background while darkening the pencil lines: only not too dark, since I didn’t want them looking like pen and ink drawings.

I also used Photoshop’s “Dodge and Burn-in” functions to selectively lighten and darken areas within the heavier, more developed image of the eggplant. In addition, I found that using the Smudge tool (the little index finder icon), I could blur areas as I might do by hand with a charcoal drawing or a paper “blending stump” or “tortillon.”

I even used the eraser tool to omit extraneous lines from the drawing. I found that by using a large brush shape with “feathering,” I could make smooth gradations between light and dark areas of the eggplant drawing.

Finally, I used various blurring and sharpening filters (Gaussian Blur, for instance) to either sharpen focus on the pencil strokes or minimize them.

So, essentially, I did on the computer all the things I might normally do with a soft drawing pencil and a gum rubber eraser on an actual drawing on paper. Fortunately, and unlike an actual drawing on paper, I could make copies of a drawing file, try different things with each, place them in the InDesign file, and distill and print a PDF copy. Then I could compare them. You can’t do that with just paper and pencils.

Recoloring Images

Using the hue and saturation controls in Photoshop, I found a way to turn the black and white drawing into a purple one, just in case. I thought my client might prefer that, and I didn’t want to remake the original drawing using colored pencils. Fortunately, I was able to set the original coloration (which was black only) and the “target” coloration, which I created in the Photoshop dialog box by specifying amounts of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. This was a “replace color” function, and in the research I did it seems that there are a number of ways to do this. Fortunately, in my case I instantly changed the color of everything in the drawing. If this interests you, you may want to check Google for descriptions and video tutorials.

The Takeaway

So what can we learn from this? Most of the designers I know will produce everything from scratch in a vector illustration program (like Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw), usually using the pen tool and solid strokes and fills of color. Or they will use Photoshop for bitmapped drawings. Personally, I find this tedious and time consuming, particularly when I don’t know whether a client will like the final look. In contrast, I can draw something or at least produce a quick sketch pretty quickly.

I think it’s a wonderful option to be able to blend traditional drawing or painting methods with the capabilities of the computer. These include ease in revising drawings (you can make one version, copy it many times, and then change these copies in myriad ways), the ability to copy parts of images or entire images instantly, the ability to change the overall tonal range of a drawing (one small area or the whole thing), and the ability to colorize an image.

If you’re a print book designer or illustrator, you may be doing this already. Or you may just be creating art from scratch using the computer. But do consider this hybrid approach. It could make your life a lot easier, especially for sketchy illustrations you might need for roughs, just to communicate your design vision to a client.

06 Advantages Of Using Brochures For Business

Saturday, May 22nd, 2021

Putting all your products’ essential information in an attractive business brochure is a cost-effective and efficient way to spread the word. The significant part about getting the printed brochures for your business is that they can be distributed quickly. Online brochure printing can be as simple or attractive as you want.

Compared with other online marketing options, brochures are an affordable advertising plan. Plus, most professional printing service will work with you to design and produce sleek brochures that fit your budget. Once you have the eyes of some of your potential customers reading your brochure, you can gain trust. For example, most businesses include their goals and objectives in their brochure. This information helps customers see the caring and devoted side of your organization. When customers read about how you care, they start trusting your company more.

Promoting Business through Flyer Printing

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021

These days, every business requires effective promotion to succeed. Whether you are running a small scale business or a medium, an attractive promotion technique is extremely essential to let people know about your brand and products. Now, most successful business organizations prefer using flyers for promotional activities. Whether you plan to put your products on discount deals or need to introduce a newly launched product in the market, flyers are best way to convey your message to the customers.

A lot of people say that because of the uncontrolled use of social media these days, it is a great option to promote your brand online. Still, the promotion through flyers works in an amazing way, actually much better than the online promotions. These days, there are several best flyer printing services available online, and you can choose one according to your specific needs.

While moving out for work if you get a flyer, then you will obviously read that on your way to the office. Therefore, promoting a business through flyer printing is absolutely the perfect way.

Benefits that a flyer promotion can serve you with are as follows:

Easy to reach the target audience

With the help of flyers, it gets very easy to promote your brand and business. You can choose the best flyer printing services online and get perfectly designed flyers for your business promotions. After that, you can get those flyers distributed to other places like parks, streets and you can even get them inserted in newspapers to reach homes.

Customers get attracted by creative advertisements

You can ask your flyer printing service provider to make it a bit more creative for attracting customers. And for that, you need to choose the best designs that align with the perfect content for the flyers. This technique will help your flyer advertisement to look unique and the customer as well gets your message in a creative way.

Easy to read on the move

A great benefit of using flyers for promotion is that the customers can easily carry that for reading on the move. When you visit a mall and someone gives you a flyer, then you will definitely look at that and go ahead reading that only if it looks attractive. This is the biggest advantage of promoting business through flyer printing.


In general, business promotions demand a lot of investment. But, promoting your brand through flyer printing gets very easy on your pocket. Additionally, it works amazingly when it comes to boosting the business growth and increasing profit ultimately.

Therefore, if you are also looking forward to promoting your brand and products in the best possible manner to earn higher profits and attract more customers, then it would be best to choose flyer printing. These days, there are multiple options available for printing services online, but you need to choose the best and the most reliable one as your brand image matters a lot.

Custom Printing: How to Approach a New Print Job

Monday, January 25th, 2021

8 Steps To Get Your Business Card Printed In The Best Way Possible

Friday, December 11th, 2020

No matter what business you are in, a business card is a crucial marketing material that can win a lot of new customers when utilised in the right way. It is one of the major things a potential customer will see in regards to your business, and therefore, it’s essential that it makes a lasting impression.

If you want to create a long and lasting impression with your business card, then you need to make sure that you opt-out for the best online printing companies. Obviously, almost any business card design will be unique but the more unique and impactful you can make your card. Often dull and boring cards will get thrown away or forgotten about, but a colourful and vibrant business card will ensure that the individual remembers your business.

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Infographic: 7 Tips To Choose Online Custom Printing Services

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

While selecting online custom printing services for your business, you need to pay attention to certain factors. First and foremost, figure out what you are expecting from a custom printing online services provider. Be clear about your specific needs. Figure out how much you can afford to spend on the services of such a company. Ensure that the company you are opting for is highly reliable as their service quality will have a direct impact on your business. Think about the service medium(online or local) that you want to choose. Most successful business ventures opt for custom printing online services. (more…)

Glossy Or Matte: What Should I Know About Each Type Of Coated Paper

Monday, August 10th, 2020

When creating print media for your business, you often have the option to choose from three different types of paper. Most commonly you will want regular stock paper, but for publications that are made to impress audiences, you can also choose one of two types of coated paper; either matte paper or glossy paper.

Both matte and glossy paper are appealing in their own ways and are used for business cards, brochures, postcards, catalogs, calendars, stationary, and more. If you are gravitating towards using a coated paper for your materials but aren’t sure which one to pick, here are the key differences you would notice when printing with each from online printing websites.


Both types of coated paper handle colors and pictures differently, and when it comes to using coated paper in general, the colors will be slightly different from the digital images that you are looking to use. This is important to keep in mind.

If displaying vibrant colors is what you are after, it would be wise to choose glossy. The sheen of glossy paper makes colors more saturated than actual, which is ideal if you are looking to draw attention with your graphics. Glossy paper is also great for images and graphics that are of high quality, as it is capable of displaying visuals with sharpness and clarity.

Matte on the other hand can work in subtle ways, as it’s smooth nature can highlight minor details better than glossy paper can, such as textures, accents, and more. Matte paper is ideal for photos and other graphics where lots of detail is required. Believe it or not, but it is matte paper that absorbs more ink than glossy paper does.


When considering coated paper for print media, the use of text should not be overlooked. Words, sentences, and paragraphs all need to be easy-to-read, and the coating of your paper can actually play a part in the legibility of text.

If you want the short answer of which generally makes text more legible, the answer is matte. Matte paper has little to no sheen to it, so there will be no glare for those that want to read a publication in a lit room or in daylight. Matte coating also is not as easy to smudge as glossy coating, so you can also choose matte paper if you want text to remain clear and readable in that regard.

There is one scenario in which companies might choose glossy paper if they have readable copy, and that is if their text is light and their background is dark in color. This would actually make their text more clear and brighter compared to matte paper.

Manufacturing And Costs

Both coated paper types are made from the same chemical coating. The difference lies in how much coating is on each type of paper. Matte paper will have enough coating to make a paper look smooth, but not enough to be reflective. Glossy paper will have a thicker coating that makes it shine, but it can definitely cause smudges, fingerprints, and oil-based stains.

As mentioned before, matte paper will use more ink over glossy paper, so printing costs will generally be higher for materials that use matte paper. Typically, though, if businesses choose a paper based on low costs, they will choose an uncoated paper.


Alternatives to regular paper for printing include glossy and matte paper. They both handle ink differently and contain different properties to make them either shiny or smooth. We do not consider one coated paper to be generally better than the other.

Business Card Color Tips for First-Time Businesses

Friday, August 7th, 2020

Business Card

Designing business cards for your company can be fun, but it also involves making many important decisions. While some business owners don’t find the appearance of business cards a priority, it is actually more important than many might think. Not only is what information on the card is vital, but also the colors.


Business Card Printing: Paper Color and Texture Choices

Sunday, July 12th, 2020

I’ve been revising a client’s logo and corporate identity package over the last several weeks. Each time I send her PDF proofs of concepts and potential uses for her new logo, I take some time to walk away from the process and take a break, so I can come back with fresh eyes and new ideas.

To put this in context, let me describe the project. First of all, I created a logo using a screen printed image of my client’s face, with her head leaning on her hand and her hair vignetted to disappear around the edges of the logo image. My client wanted the logo to have a bit of a sophisticated, film noir feel. The rectangular screen print image rests above my client’s name (first, middle, last), which is set in a classic sans serif face, centered over the name of her company in a modern sans serif face. A thin rule line separates the two lines of type.

The most recent version of the prototype business card uses a vertical orientation with her logo above her contact information. On her initial letterhead proof, I positioned the logo at the bottom right of the page, with the screen printed image to the left of the logotype instead of above it.

As noted, the overall goal (that is, the tone my client wants to project for her business) is to capture an air of high-born glamour.

The Next Step

When I sent my client these two pieces of her corporate identity system, I also asked her to consider how she wanted to use color in her work. So while she gives thought to that question, I have started answering it for myself as well. These are my first few thoughts on the process.

First of all, I suggested that she consider an uncoated, cream paper stock.

Most of the time (in my experience), paper is bright white (often called solar white or blue-white). A blue-white press sheet does not draw attention to itself, but it does reflect light back to the viewer very well and faithfully (without changing the color of the inks or toners). This is usually desirable.

However, in some cases you do want to draw attention to the paper, and in my client’s case, since her image has an antique feel to it, I thought a cream stock (also known as a yellow-white or natural white) might be ideal. In fact, I thought it might give the vignetted image (with its feathered edges) the feel of a brown sepia tone print.

Another benefit of the uncoated cream stock, particularly when you consider the simplicity of the card, is that it would add color to the business card without adding color to the type or image. Presumably the screen print image of my client (the logomark) plus the logotype and my client’s contact information would be printed in black ink, and the only additional color would be the cream background.

Another option would be to print the logo and contact information in a dark brown to continue the sepia toned image approach. (That is, everything would have a brown tint.) My only concern would be whether this would require the use of excessive laser toner for the brown color build (a problem that could be avoided with offset printing by creating a PMS color rather than a 4-color build).

Finally, I suggested that my client consider any textures and/or perhaps speckles in the paper she chose. Particularly for a business card, thinking in terms of tactile impressions is wise, since the hand receives the card (and absorbs its feel and surface texture) long before the eyes are aware of its text and images.

In my client’s case, a textured, uncoated stock would resonate with the older, glamorous image of the business, predating the Internet and other digital communication. The cream color of the paper, plus its rough texture, would make reading the card a more personal experience than reviewing the information on a gloss-coated, bright-white paper. And any speckles in a cream business card stock would draw further attention to the card’s being a physical product.

Thoughts and Potential Concerns

Let’s say you were trying to achieve a similar effect in your own commercial printing design work. Here are some things to keep in mind to ensure your success:

    1. Uncoated paper absorbs ink. It’s important to make sure you provide an image (text, logo, etc.) that has defined highlights and shadows. In my own case, I changed the tone curve of my client’s vignetted portrait image in Photoshop. I opened up the shadows slightly, and I also made sure there would be bright whites in the image. I knew that any potential overinking would make the image look muddy and flat. And the uncoated press sheet would be less forgiving than a bright-white coated sheet.


    1. In my own case, I liked the simplicity of the design. Not adding a separate color (like a red or brown color build) to highlight my client’s name or logo image would make all art and text hang together (i.e., all black ink or toner), creating a sense of unity. In your own work, make sure your design and paper choices reflect the marketing goal of the business card (i.e., what you’re saying about the company’s image and values). Make sure the client’s brand, the visual design treatment of the card, the color and texture of the paper, and the reproduction technology you have chosen (digital or offset) support one another.


    1. Keep in mind that offset printing more often than not provides a superior product (compared to digital toner printing). Show your business card art to your commercial printing sales rep and ask for her/his advice. If she/he thinks the images will plug up using digital laser printing, ask about offset lithography (which will usually cost more). When in doubt, request samples. Custom printing issues of this sort are usually more evident in halftones than in line art or type.


    1. If possible, get samples of the paper you have chosen, and print out your mock-ups directly on the printing stock. Although you can simulate color printing on a computer screen, I have really found no better way to simulate the look of custom printing on a colored paper (even just a cream stock) than printing on the paper itself. If your artwork will be printed in black, you can make a prototype easily on a laser printer. If you want to add color as well (let’s say you have some type in red and you want to print on an uncoated cream stock), you’ll have to use an inkjet printer.


  1. Remember that the paper substrate changes the perceived ink color. If you’re printing black ink on cream stock, that usually will not present a problem. But if you’re printing any other color (let’s say skin tones on a cream stock), this could make for unappealing color shifts. This is another good reason to produce digital color proofs on the actual custom printing stock.

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