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If you haven’t bought your holiday cards yet, I encourage you to consider buying ones that were lovingly handmade and printed on a letterpress. A good place to shop for them is Etsy. My search for “letterpress holiday cards” at yielded 58 pages of beautiful cards to peruse!

If you haven’t shopped there before, you’re in for a treat. The cards I bought on Etsy from Vandalia Street Press just arrived and they are really lovely.

I say, get keepsake-quality handmade artisan cards and support working artists at the same time. It’s a win-win!

Another Printing Disasters—and How to Avoid Them story…

Quality check of finished banners before they shipped to Squeaky Green Organics

In part 1 of my trade show displays crash course, I discussed vendor and manufacturer considerations.

In Part 2, I will share with you the many questions that I’ve discovered are crucial to ask before designing or producing a display that will work well for the user and for the trade show.

Read more about trade show displays →

Another Printing Disasters—and How to Avoid Them story…

When I was a novice print production manager, a few highly experienced print reps took me under their wings and  gave me offset printing crash courses. This on-the-job print education helped me make my agency and our clients look good—and kept my feet from landing in the poop more times than I can count.

Lately I’ve been producing portable trade show displays for my clients, and although I’ve produced them before, I’m finding that the many considerations and materials choices available today make producing these displays quite complex.

If you’re in the young pup stage of this kind of production management, you may find this trade show displays crash course useful.

Read more about print management for trade show displays →

Another Printing Disasters—and How to Avoid Them story…

One of my readers asked me to write an article about how to select a printer. I have been pondering this question for quite a while now, sifting through the many factors I consider when recommending the best printer for my clients’ projects.

In this increasingly virtual world, I still strongly prefer to work eyeball-to-eyeball with my printers. I want collaborative partners who will work closely with me as we create great products.

This means I buy local when I can, and if all goes well, I will be a repeat customer: I believe that building on past project successes makes subsequent jobs go more smoothly and produces better products.

So how do you find a printer with whom you will enjoy an eye-to-eye relationship and from whom you will get the results you want?

Referrals are Good

Finding a good printer is a lot like finding a good doctor—I value personal recommendations from friends. Ask a few trusted professional colleagues to recommend their favorite printers. Or, if you know any graphic designers, I’m sure they will be able to steer you toward a good-quality local printer or two.

Be sure to tell the recommender a bit about the types of projects you are planning to print and ask whether or not the printers they suggest have done similar projects for them.

Once you have a short list of printers to consider, call each one and arrange for a representative (often called a print rep or a rep) to call on you and present the company’s capabilities. If the person who has recommended the printer mentioned that their rep is great, ask for that rep by name.

When you meet, asking the right questions can help you determine whether the printing company is a good fit for your projects and for you. I call these questions the Four Ps of Printer Selection.

Read more about the Four Ps of Printer Selection →

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog, Printing Disasters—and How to Avoid Them, did in 2010, and here’s a high-level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 9,100 times in 2010. That’s about 22 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 20 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 66 posts. There were 63 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 17mb. That’s about 1 picture per week.

The busiest day of the year was June 16th, with 204 views. That day my article, The reflex blue blues was republished with permission by The most popular post that day was Ah ha! (This means that the readers were directed to by a link at

Where did you come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for holiday wishes, what does a print production manager do, reflex blue, printing disasters, and press check checklist.

Top 2010 attractions

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010. If you missed these popular stories, you might enjoy visiting them:

Now what?

What would you like to read about on the Printing Disasters blog in 2011? I welcome and invite your suggestions; please use the comment feature to share them with me. Thank you!

Another Printing Disasters—and How to Avoid Them story…

Imagine my excitement

A design and strategy firm’s e-newsletter caught my attention this week. It featured an annual report the firm had produced for a client in both print and interactive form.

In describing the project, the strategist’s number one point was, “Print is not dead.” It went on to tout how print’s tangibility effectively supports brand communication.

Print is Still Integral

I am excited to see a design firm pitching the stance I’ve been promoting for over a year: Print is (still!) an important, integral aspect to any brand’s strategy.*

Granted, print design was not where the new business was to be found over the past two recessionary years, and hungry creative firms had to be responsive to what prospective clients were willing to buy.

But I’m happy to see this evidence that the pendulum is swinging back toward design and brand strategy professionals regarding print as a critical brand communication vehicle.

Hot tip

If your design firm has dropped print design from your sales pitch, I suggest that you add it back in—before the other guys beat you to it.

* See my blog articles, Brand Learning Styles and the Place of Printand “…People crave color and texture, the tangible and the real.”

© 2010 Nani Paape

Another Printing Disasters—and How to Avoid Them story…

InDesign’s new “oh wow” features

This evening I went to Seattle’s Adobe InDesign User Group to see previews of some of InDesign 5’s new features.

Although my own InDesign needs are simple, I can see that many of the new features will make production of printed pieces much quicker and easier for designers and add accuracy to preparing files for print.

Read more about CS5 →

Another Printing Disasters—and How to Avoid Them story…

In the previous article, I discussed designers’ challenges of maintaining consistent brand color. This topic stirred my curiosity, so I contacted Jim Raffel, a color expert I’d connected with on Twitter, to learn more.

Introducing Jim Raffel, color measurement pro

Jim is co-founder of ColorMetrix Technologies, LLC, a company that develops color verification and process control solutions for the printing and consumer packaged goods industries. Jim explained that these customers adopt color measurement systems to help them deliver consistent color in printed products.

Read more about brand color management →

Another Printing Disasters—and How to Avoid Them story...

The Disappearing Task Force Model

The college I attended liked to create ad hoc committees they called Disappearing Task Forces, or DTFs for short. DTFs came together to complete set tasks, then disbanded. In effect, they disappeared.

I always liked that model: Get together, get it done, go away. Come to think of it, that’s how I work as a by-project print production manager. My solo designer clients and those with small studios tell me they value my fast, thorough work and technical advice. They like skipping all that running around and being freed up to focus on their billable design projects.

Read how this looks in practice →

Get to know ganging

Are you familiar with ganging? That’s the term for grouping two or more print projects together onto the same printing form. It’s a great way to save money on print jobs.

Ganging is used to good effect for business cards when several of them are printed onto one press form. For the example illustrated above, Sue and Mary needed 500 cards each, but Joe needed 1,000 cards. So Joe’s card appears twice on the form, while Sue and Mary’s cards appear once. In this example, 500 sheets would be printed.

Read more about ganging print projects →

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© 2009-2015 Nani Paape & Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material in any form without express and written permission from Nani Paape is strictly prohibited. Are you aggregating my copyrighted content onto your website? If so, it's polite to at least ASK instead of just waltzing off with it. WITH my permission, SHORT excerpts and links may be used, provided that full, clear credit is given to Nani Paape and, with appropriate and specific direction and link(s) to the original content.