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Matt Fey

Matt Fey is the Media Marketing Manager at PrintingCenterUSA. He holds a BA in Business Administration with concentrations in Marketing from Carroll College. Matt enjoys building relationships with PCUSA's amazing clients and finding ways to showcase the excellent work PrintingCenterUSA continually produces.
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Recent Posts

Basic Tips For Designing A Calendar With A Graphic Artist


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Designing a calendar that you’ll use for a whole year should be an exciting process and easy to do.  Creating a calendar with PrintingCenterUSA’s free state of art design tool and templates makes the process FUN!

 

We recently sat down with Lisa Davis, a graphic artist who runs Wallflowers and Cards, and practices scanner photography as the base for much of her floral artwork.  She has printed her custom calendar with PrintingCenterUSA for a couple of years now so we knew she’d have some excellent basic tips for printing a custom calendar.

 

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Tip #1: Play with a multitude of backgrounds and borders offered on the design tool.

 

When speaking with Lisa about designing her calendar on the online design tool, she mentioned the diverse background and border options as a huge compliment to her art.  “There are so many background and borders and you just have to play around with them to find the best fit. It’s nice to have all those options,” Davis said.

 

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Davis uses Adobe Photoshop a little bit when it comes to her producing her art and was able to utilize the design tool for finishing her 2020 calendar. 

 

“The whole process was fun!  I really did enjoy finding the best fit for my calendar with the design tool.  You just need to have fun with it,” Davis remarked.

 

Tips For Planning Your 2020 Custom Calendar: Learn More

 

Tip #2: Arrange the months of the year based on the color of art or seasonality of the images within your photos or designs.

 

“I base my monthly cover art on what’s in my garden during that specific season,” Davis said of her method.  This is a great way to showcase your art as a designer while at the same time representing the changing seasons of the year.

 

When designing your calendar this approach can help you produce more attractive and timely calendars.  Think about the hues of the season, Davis said.

 

For example, autumn has a more rustic and brown feel to it with the changing of leaves from green to yellow, orange and brown.  As a photographer, graphic artist, or anybody creating a calendar you should consider earth tones in your images during September and October.  If you plan on selling your calendar this approach could increase the value of your calendar because your audience might enjoy flipping through a calendar that represents the four seasons through the year!

 

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Tip #3: Try thinking about your calendar throughout the year for best results and easy design.

 

Sometimes picking only 12 images for a calendar is difficult as an artist!  You might have a lot of fitting images or concepts, but you’re limited on space.

 

“The first calendar I printed with PrintingCenterUSA I wasn’t really thinking about my art and how I wanted to display it in the calendar.  However, this year, my art for my calendar was continually on the back of mind and I’d think to myself that maybe this arrangement is a great February piece, and just remember when it came to time for 2020,” Davis said.

 

Planning your calendar ahead of time or at least thinking about it throughout the year can greatly help you when it comes time to piece together the final project.  Lisa doesn’t necessarily go into her art designing it for her yearly calendar but always knowing the fact she’ll be printing a new one each year has improved her layout.

 

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Designing a calendar should be a fun process that allows you to express your art in a creative format.  Whether you're a graphic designer, artist, photographer or just piecing together a family calendar for 2020, following some very basic tips will help get you going down the right path.  It's never too early to start thinking of next year!

 

Online Design Tool

 

 

Instant Calendar Pricing: Learn More
Instant Photo Book Pricing: Learn More


6 Print Products To Take Your Real Estate Marketing To The Next Level


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At PrintingCenterUSA, we specialize in professional high-quality real estate printing of saddle-stitch and perfect bound marketing guides, property previews, real estate guides, property selling booklets, catalogs, newsletters, brochures, postcards and more.  Today we take an inside look at 6 of the most prominent and high return print marketing products to take your real estate business to the next level!

 

1. Books + Booklets 

Set your real estate company apart by making a positive first impression with printed softcover saddle-stitched and perfect bound books and booklets.  From branding books to property preview photo books, our professional quality, vivid color printing will leave a long-lasting first impression to prospective buyers and sellers.

 

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Often, potential real estate buyers are inundated with homes for sale offerings from their email accounts and general digital presence.  But, realtors looking to market their properties to these buyers turn to books and booklets.  Because print is considered the more trustworthy marketing tactic compared to digital, as a real estate office, you can build a stronger brand by promoting your business in high-quality books and booklets.

 

"Despite the enormous migration to electronic media, neuroscience research shows that paper-based content and ads offer special advantages in connecting with our brains." -Roger Dooley, Forbes

 

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With books, you're able to present a trustworthy brand to people looking for real estate services.  These books can be used to position yourself as an expert in the area using graphs and other valuable data the consumer might be looking for. 

 

 

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Books have an excellent return on investment because of the printing options here at PrintingCenterUSA.  You can choose a variety of cover options and coating options that will add lifetime value to each booklet.  Those options include 100# gloss or matte text and 80# or 100# gloss or matte cover paper which can be UV coated to give a more luxurious appearance.  Along with that rich look, UV coating will hold its value in the outdoors which is crucial in the real estate industry.

 

Instant Photo Book Pricing: Learn More

Instant Book Pricing: Learn More

 

Think about for every booklet you hand out as a realtor, how many people, in turn, see each booklet?  Often that number for one booklet can be 4x as high!

 

2. Postcards

Postcards are an easy and effective way of reaching your target audience who could turn into potential buyers or sellers for your real estate office. Make your real estate business jump out of the mailbox with custom postcards printed with vivid colors.

 

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With so many sizing options available, your agents will be able to sell properties, present open houses and more all on one postcard. Take a look at some of the sizes we offer:

 

4” x 6,” 4.25” x 6,” 5” x 7,” 6” x 9,” 8.5” x 5.5,” 11” x 6”

 

Postcards are essential for reminding your clients and audience of upcoming open houses that might pique their interest.  Along with the high-quality paper options, 12 & 14 PT gloss coated cover; you can UV coat when selling more luxurious listings!

 

Postcard Printing

 

Print on both sides and showcase a home on one side and reviews on the other.  This is an excellent choice for realtors who often rely on word of mouth and reviews from past clients to gain traction in the market.

 

3. Newsletters

Connecting with past clients and future homeowners is crucial for any real estate team; producing a monthly or quarterly newsletter is a great option to build loyalty and continual contact points. 

 

A single or multi-page newsletter can describe changes in the housing market, showcase new team members, or tell of success sales, proving you’re an expert in the industry.  Since real estate often fluctuates with the season, newsletters offer a convenient way of informing on the housing market.  The printed newsletter can be done in conjunction with your email tactics as well.

 

An excellent newsletter makes it easy to maintain and build a strong relationship with your audience. 

 

Instant Newsletter Pricing: Learn More

 

4. Brochures

Sometimes you need a little more space than a traditional postcard offers in which a brochure would make a perfect substitute.  Whether your printing a single page or multi-page brochure for your real estate needs, you'll always see the vibrant colors when printing on premium 100# gloss.

 

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One of the best features of brochures are their multiple variations of folding that will undoubtedly be useful for your company.  Take a look at those options below:

 

 

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There are many ways to display your real estate listings with all the folds above.  Brochures can elevate the properties you're looking to sell to potential buyers and bring valuable information to the fingertips of the clients you want!

Brochure Templates

 

5. Greeting Cards

Relationships are crucial in the real estate industry, but you already knew that.  How can you build on your brand and gain more clients willing to trust and refer you?  Why not give personalized printed greeting cards a chance!?  Custom printed greeting cards are a subtle way to build a relationship and make your prospect or client feel like you genuinely care.

 

Try finding different reasons to send greeting cards, for example: use the information you already have on past clients such as birthdays, anniversaries, or special occasions to send a card.  Send potential prospects a note that you'd like to work with them.  Holiday greeting cards showcasing the real estate team can build trust in the community.

 

The best part about printing custom greeting cards is your ability to market your business, with your logo or slogan, while also being personable to potential clients.  And you'll be able to print as many versions of cards as you want, as long as there is a minimum of 25 cards per version!  So, start sending those personal greeting cards out and building a strong base.

 

Greeting Card Pricing: Learn More

 

6. Real Estate Guides

A real estate guide can list multiple properties on a single page and when you print a guide with multiple pages, think of all those homes you could be marketing!?  You can line up your homes in rows with the crucial information below each image; that information could include pricing, MLS number and square footage. 

 

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Guides are great ways to mix land and home sales on separate pages displaying the features of each property your real estate team might be listing.  Throughout the real estate guide, you’re able to represent your company’s realtors and brokers side by side the houses their selling.  This allows you to save a considerable amount of money for your other marketing efforts.

Saddle Stitch Book Printing: Learn More

Perfect Bound Book Printing: Learn More

 

Conclusion

Real estate professionals know the importance of marketing their business and their client's listings.  High-quality print products are immensely important to the real estate industry and having an inferior product will likely decrease your closure rate as a realtor or broker.  Sell your properties with confidence using superior printed books, guides, postcards, brochures and more.  We know how to help get you started with printing high-quality, effective materials to shine in the real estate industry!

 

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Tips for Landscape Photography with Professional Photographer Randall Sanger


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When it comes to Landscape Photography, Randall Sanger of West Virginia knows a little bit about getting those dreamy shots many photographers crave.  Randall Sanger started taking up photography after graduating high school when his parents gave him a camera for a graduation gift. He’d backpack all over West Virginia getting to hike to places that others rarely see.  This gave him the opportunity to hone his landscape photography skills and eventually become an award-winning photographer and author in the process.

 

So, I spoke with Randy to gather some more insights into some basic tips for landscape photography and working in the industry.  His 10 plus years of producing high-quality images as a professional are sure to bring some insightful tips!

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Camera Settings

Sanger suggested some very basic settings when it comes to manual mode while taking landscape photos.  Firstly, he noted that manual is the “way to go” and allows for the most control over your product.

 

He recommends an f-stop setting of “f16” for a sharper depth of field while setting your ISO to 50 for less noise.  When it comes to metering (a way to measure brightness) Randy always uses the sky for best results.

 

Tips For Planning Your 2020 Custom Calendar: Learn More

 

Time of the Day 

We all know, even if you’re not a photographer by trade, that “Golden Hour” is a prime time to shoot amazing landscape images.  But, we can’t all just rely on those perfect moments as they come and go. The other 12 hours of the day still has a landscape to shoot, so I asked Randy his best advice for daytime photography.

 

“I think using an ND filter or 3-stop filter during the day really helps cut out the harsh light and allows you to shoot throughout the day,” Sanger said.  

 

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He also mentioned the daytime hours brings about richer blue skies and white clouds than you normally see at night which tourism companies often like to see in their marketing materials.  So, shooting landscape during the day has to be in your bag of tricks if you’re looking to move into the field as a pro!

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Post-Processing

Now we all know those photos we see on Instagram with extreme editing and hyper-saturated landscapes.  They may be “pretty” but often that type of editing is taking away from the natural beauty of the landscapes and as a photographer, you shouldn’t have to do a ton.

 

Randy mentioned his go-to tip, “I have a 3-minute rule where if I’m spending longer than 3 minutes on a photo while editing, I’ll move on.”  He’s always believed in “getting it right in the camera” and does very little post process. In Lightroom, he often uses a few key sliders: contrast, clarity, de-haze, highlights/shadows.  These minor adjustments will often get your photos to where they need to be in terms of post-processing without destroying the integrity of the landscape.

 

Online Design Tool

 

Capture A Story

Randy spends most of his time in the Dolly Sods Wilderness located in the Eastern part of West Virginia taking clients of his workshops on photography excursions or just shooting for himself.  Here he finds himself immersed in waterfalls and landscapes that represent an area and can be told in varying photo series.

Randall Sanger's Photo Gallery: Explore Now

 

Sanger mentioned the importance of telling a story when it comes to landscape photography.  Whether you're putting together a photography book on waterfalls of West Virginia or piecing together a custom calendar with stunning imagery, the photographer should be telling a story.

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It was great hearing from an expert like Randy Sanger about landscape photography because of his years of experience producing great imagery.  When looking at his physical custom 2020 calendar and website you can see his dedication to capturing landscapes in the state he loves.  

 

Landscape photography is a great way to show off your skills as a photographer while capturing places we love to visit.  

 

Instant Calendar Pricing: Learn More
Instant Photo Book Pricing: Learn More

 

Photos in calendars and in blog shot by Randall Sanger.


How Much Does It Cost To Print A Book?


 

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At PrintingCenterUSA, we feel that the combination of digital and offset complement each other when it comes to the final price to print a book. We utilize the strengths of each to offer our customers the best of both worlds for quality, price, service and turnaround times.

 

Digital Printer

 

With digital printing, there is no make ready.  All work is done to set up a press for printing and the setup is easier, thus lowering labor costs. No printing plates are needed and the file goes directly to press and prints directly from computer to paper. The first copy is up to color. Costs remain constant over all run lengths.

 

Traditional Offset Printer

Traditional offset printers have much higher nonproductive up-front costs due to longer make ready and set up times. Printing plates need to be made, and there are more setup costs and maintenance associated with making ready. It usually takes about 200 sheets to get your project up to color and ready to be produced. As run lengths increase, costs decline. Short runs under 5,000 are more expensive with most offset printers.

 

Our state of the art combination of digital and offset printing presses allow us to have lower-cost setup so that short-run booklet jobs don't have the overhead that big offset printing shops have, which means we can do the smaller jobs of 10 to 5,000 booklets and 10 to 15,000 brochures for less.  

 

We feel that the combination of digital and offset complement each other. Our state of the art set-up and processes allows us to live in the “Area of Best Value” and come through for our customers when quantities vary or are unknown.

 

Short run digital printing companies only offer quantities up to 500 or 1,000 sheets or booklets. Short run printing jobs under 5,000 sheets or booklets are generally more expensive with most digital and offset printers. At PrintingCenterUSA our offset press fills the gap between 1,000 and 5,000 sheets and booklets. This gives you the best printing costs and the quality of both worlds.

 

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There is a gap in small quantity printing jobs between 1,000 and 5,000 sheets or booklets. Both traditional digital and offset printers are generally more expensive. 

 

 You can see in the above graph how the combination of our digital presses and printing partners offer the best value for short-run quantities of 10 to 5,000 sheets and books and makes low-volume printing affordable, where with traditional printing methods the per-copy cost would be too high to be practical.

 

The graph represents a real-life example between four companies. This will help you better break down your job on a per-book basis and get the whole picture.

 

 

Binding Options for your Budget

Just like page count and quantity the other crucial pricing aspect to consider when book printing will be the binding option you choose.  You can learn more about our bindery options here. When it comes to price, let’s take a quick look at our two most common bookbinding types: perfect bound and saddle-stitch.  

In the below graph you will see RED (saddle-stitch) and BLUE (perfect bound) lines indicating perfect bound and saddle-stitch binding options.  The specs were set up to the same specs as the perfect bound example above.  Notice the price of saddle-stitch binding will usually be the most affordable option when it comes time to choose a binding.


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 The reason for this minor price difference when comparing perfect bound and saddle stitch binding options circles back to time and process.  Perfect binding requires more materials and longer production time. That production time includes roughing up the edges of the book to allow more surface area for the hot glue to adhere to the pages better, and then cure for an extended period of time. This creates a more professional presentation compared to saddle stitch but adds to the cost.  Whereas saddle stitch books do not need the added time to cure (from the glue) because they are simply stapled together.

 

 

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Saddle Stitch uses two staples for binding.

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Perfect Binding allows spine printing.

 

Also, when comparing the two binding options you have to consider the pages once again to determine if you meet the minimum or maximum page count.  Saddle stitch books are an excellent choice for lower page count projects but can’t exceed 92 pages.  Perfect bound books need a minimum of 28 pages and even then that might not be enough to add the illustrious look you’re going after.  Perfect bound books reach a maximum height of 2 inches so be mindful of your page count.  Once you start adding more pages with the perfect bound option, it allows you to add even more professional qualities to your book like spine printing!

 

Remember, price shouldn’t be the only thing on your mind when choosing a binding option and it’s important you consider how you want to display your work.  Brush up on some aspects of saddle-stitch here and perfect bound here.

 

 

 PDF File Checklist

 

Pricing Calculator

Using our Pricing Calculator, we took a look (see charts below) at some of our most common average order sizes and formats to give you a better idea of pricing books for your next project.  Whether you’re printing a perfect bound children’s book or deciding how to best showcase your photography to potential buyers, the cost will undoubtedly play a deciding role.

 

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When pricing a book, using our free pricing calculator will help you better accomplish your budgetary goals.  Take what you learned in the above sections regarding binding, page count and quantity and play around with our pricing calculator to get the price you're looking for.  Maybe you need a color cover but only have text on the inside, be sure to change that in the calculator. Explore the printing options that best fit your book printing needs.

 

Conclusion

Pricing a book doesn’t have to be a complicated process and here at PrintingCenterUSA, we’re here to help.  We offer personable customer service with book pricing experts that can assist you in meeting your financial goals.  Remember when pricing a book for print to weigh the options discussed in this article around quantity, pages and binding variations; these are the cornerstones of nailing down the cost of printing a book.

 

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Fundraising Campaign for Kids Dance Outreach Successfully Wraps Up


Fri, Jun 7, 2019 @ 10:30 AM Matt Fey 0 fundraising

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Committed to making a difference in the lives of children with disabilities, PrintingCenterUSA leveraged the power of its national customer base to fundraise for Indianapolis-based Kids Dance Outreach’s (KDO) Adaptive Dance program. During the month of May, PrintingCenterUSA donated a portion of the proceeds from select products to the nonprofit — raising a total of $5,025 for child dancers with disabilities.  

 

The proceeds from the fundraising campaign will go towards summer programs KDO is hosting, including a course specifically for dancers with Down Syndrome under its Adaptive Dance program.

 

“With school out, kids often become isolated in the summer months — more so for children with disabilities who are too often left out,” said KDO Founding Director Michael Johnson. “As an inclusive organization, when we bring kids of all abilities together our communities are stronger because of it. We are extremely grateful to PrintingCenterUSA for helping to provide further opportunities to dancers with disabilities.”

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Last December, PrintingCenterUSA broke a record in rallying its customer base to make the largest donation ever by a company to the Special Olympics of Montana. The success of that campaign inspired us to continue to make a difference in the lives of children with disabilities across the nation.

 

We are humbled to be able to help KDO carry out its mission of empowering children with disabilities through the power of performance art, thanks to the charitable giving of our customers.