The Digital vs. Print Color Dilemma

One of the most frequently asked questions we get are about the colors and formats of files. Specifically, the file type easiest to work with and what color profile the file should contain. Our recommendation is: High Resolution PDF with 1/8th inch bleed on each side in CMYK format. However,  even when all the correct steps are taken, there is a chance that the colors on the screen will not match the ones being printed. This is because of the way that colors are created on a screen and on print. It is also why at Kendall Press, we always print out samples for our customers before printing out large batches of product. In this article, we will talk about how to decrease the variation between digital and print as much as possible, and the reasons behind the variations. Why do files look different on screen from when they are printed?

RGB vs. CMYK

Let’s start with some basics. Many people know about the two major color formats: CMYK and RGB. RGB simply stands for Red, Green and Blue, while CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. The two methods however, differ in more than just which colors are used as the base, but also how they are used to create new colors. Specifically, the RGB color wheel is additive and used widely in electronic displays; it uses light and adds RGB values to create different colors. CMYK is subtractive; it creates different colors by removing different CMYK values. This becomes easier to understand when you consider that in CMYK, light is being reflected while in RGB, the light is being created.  If you look at the pictures sampled below, RGB is used in screens to produce colors. This color creator is from Microsoft Word. When creating the color white, notice how RGB all have full output (255).

RGB white

When producing the color black, the screen simply produces 0 colors.RGB black

Comparing that to CMYK; white is the base value with 0,0,0,0, and  CMYK values are added to reflect different colors. Interestingly, in CMYK, there are multiple black colors. One, obviously being just 0,0,0,100. Another, is the black that is created from simply converting RGB black into CMYK (this ends up being 75,68,67,90 in CMYK).

What Does this Mean to Me?

This means that even when switching color formats on your screen, the screen itself can only do its best to imitate what the colors would look like on paper. This has a lot to do with the fact that screens have a back light, while printed material reflects light. There is also the consideration that certain screens have different resolutions and quality which can further impact the difference between what is seen digitally vs. what is printed. A good general rule of thumb to limit this differentiation is to keep your screen brightness at 50%. Avoiding neon, or extremely radiant colors can also help as they generally don’t translate well on paper. However, it is important to note that most of the time, for everyday, personal printing needs, these color changes are unnoticeable. Kendall Press, being a printing company that deals only with excellence, we have to make sure that everything is as close to perfect as possible. This is one of the reasons why we print samples before printing large quantities of product.

The Adobe Suite Color Dilemma

It’s been reported that when opening files that contain Pantone colors, using Adobe, the color values shown can sometimes vary between different Adobe programs. This is because the formula that Adobe Illustrator/InDesign/Photoshop uses, can convert Pantone colors into different CMYK values.

Pantone Colors

The problems comes when Adobe Illustrator, In Design, and Photoshop convert Pantone colors into different CMYK values through Adobe’s own formulas. However, Pantone is the international color standard. this means that all the standard Pantone colors should have the same values throughout the Adobe Creative Suite program. Because we are not just a printing company but also do design work, among other services, we realized that the colors sometimes come out differently. So we reached out to Pantone, purchased and installed the Pantone Color Manager to standardize colors in our software, thus giving us an edge in making sure that the colors we see on our screens, match as much as possible to the ones that will be printed. Of course there also metallic colors that are printed through a printing press. By nature, these colors are near impossible to represent digitally because of how they reflect light.

Hopefully this information is helpful for you as a lot of it is unknown. The knowledge of the Adobe Suite incorrectly translating Pantone colors is one that is uncommon even within the printing industry! As Always, feel free to provide any questions or feedback below.

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Rack Cards

Rack Cards - Design example ©KeithSpiroPhoto

What are rack cards?

Traditional rack cards are easily recognized as the vertical advertising cards found at most visitor’s centers, hotels, and rest stops. They are often single, glossy, full color marketing pieces that share a small amount of information about a business in an eye-catching way.

[Read more…]

EPK – Electronic Press Kits

In our last post, we explored the value of a press kit and its key components. Today, we’re going to expand on that discussion by focusing on how to make an EPK, or Electronic Press Kit, as a digital way to jumpstart your marketing programs and engage potential ambassadors for your brand.

EPK - standard press kit material image

An EPK can simplify distribution.

Similar to the printed press kit, the digital version is a great tool for getting your message out quickly online with a consistent tone of voice. The basic information included in an EPK template remains very similar to what you need in a physical press kit:

An introduction
A highlight of the product or service being presented
Background on your company
Frequently asked questions and answers
A call to action.

The key difference with an EPK is your ability to use the real-time web to expand real world references and to track which information is of the greatest interest to your audience. This will allow you to quickly modify material as needed, leading to more effective iterations in shorter cycles.

Here’s how this manifests in a digital press kit:

[Read more…]

What is a Press Kit and Why do you need one?

press kit contents

What is a press kit and why do you need one?

Press kits, also referred to as media kits are useful for businesses of all sizes. What once started out as a response to the media’s request for a “press kit,” a packet of information about a company or a product, has morphed into a product that any business can use to support their mission.

Items commonly included in a media kit (in the order in which you’d want to display them:

Cover page – the first impression – so keep it simple and useful. Why the package is important, to whom it should be most useful, contact information for the follow-up point person, some type of table of contents of what is included behind this cover page. You can vary these each use. For example, networking events provide a wide range of opportunities to be seen.

A new product or service release – if there is a new product or service being introduced, this is the place to put it. The first page behind the cover – with details, photos, descriptions of the features and benefits of your new offering. Is it possible to include a sample, a coupon for a purchase or discount? Any fact sheets and specs would also go here. Absent a new launch your second page would be a comprehensive business info page. The who, what when, where why and how of clients that should be looking for you.

Corporate or business info page – This is the company overview. What your company does, when it was started. Unique information that might encourage the viewer to dig deeper or ask questions

Press Release or published article – have others already talked about you? Put that information here since a non-employee, non internal marketing piece is stronger than any pitch you can present. But go ahead and include your own press release to guide prospects and the media in the direction you want to be known for.

FAQ sheets – go ahead and create or compile those frequently asked questions which can help guide interviewers and prospects toward your mission, goals and objectives as well as commonly encountered feedback

Call to Action – is it an order form, a time driven promotion. Is it a request for the media to attend a launch, a lunch or a presentation. Whatever it is, make sure it is clear about the purpose and value to the recipient

Many times we are asked to create a custom logo pocket folder that all this information goes into and in those cases we recommend a pocket for the folder with a slot for your business card. You can be as plain or as fancy as budget and time constraints dictate but as a package the media kit should stand out and be viewed as a one stop – total resource – about you, for your recipient.

Press Kit created at Kendall Press of Boston and Cambridge

What about digital kit requests?

With everyone online, many people ask us how to handle requests for electronic versions of these kits and what, if anything, should be different about them. Check in next week for some answers or subscribe to our articles to get notified about our next post.

Keith Spiro for the team at Kendall Press

Smarter Searching – Using Google Operators

Search operators in Google - Google advanced search

The internet has connected us like never before, providing a vast wealth of information at our fingertips that is accessible 24/7. To discover that information, most of us rely on the complex algorithms of search engines to serve up the content we seek, with search results proposed based on matches between our search queries and the structuring of information within a given webpage.

While it’s easy to find answers to our most common and general queries, it can be frustrating when searching for a more specific set of information. With billions of web pages making up the world wide web, countless more being added daily, and an increasing number of content producers competing to get to the top of the search results, advanced search methods are becoming increasingly key to getting better search results.

One of these advanced search methods is the employment of search operators. These are specific terms that can be used to narrow or expand a search. Since Google is the most used search engine, accounting for 67% of all searches, here are five search operators that can help you search smarter and find exactly what you’re looking for with Google.

[Read more…]

Useful Windows 8 Keyboard Shortcuts

Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts - Windows Metro screen

Are you using Windows 8 or Windows 8.1? Odds are if you aren’t yet, you will be soon. Microsoft recently announced that they have sold more than 200 million Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 licenses since the new operating system was released in October 2012. That means that the next time your company needs to purchase a new PC, you can expect your new system will have Microsoft’s latest offering running under the hood.

The biggest difference between Windows 8 and earlier Windows versions is an emphasis on the operating system’s ease of use with a touchscreen. Microsoft created a brand new layout and a host of noticeable changes to the interface. However, with over 100 keyboard shortcuts programmed in, it’s still easy to navigate Windows 8 quickly and efficiently with a keyboard and mouse. Here are 10 useful Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts to get you started so your office doesn’t miss a beat. [Read more…]

Organize Your Inbox by Setting Up Rules in Outlook

Setting up rules in Outlook - Microsoft Outlook Logo

Last week, we talked about how important it is to write an effective email.

As a follow on, today’s post is going to answer the question, “How can I keep my inbox organized?” with a 10 step tutorial on how to set up rules in Microsoft Outlook. Setting up rules in Outlook is a great way to help organize your inbox if you’re receiving a large quantity of emails, and can be used to isolate specific types of emails into a series of easy to browse folders. While this quick tutorial is specifically for Outlook 2013, the steps to set up rules will be nearly identical in most other versions of Outlook. [Read more…]

How to Write an Effective Marketing Email

How to write an effective marketing email - Outlook inbox screencapEmail is a popular choice for both companies and consumers alike when it comes to marketing, and it’s easy to see why. From a business perspective, email is a cost-effective way to reach a large group of people with timely information. For consumers, email offers the ability to collect information and offers in a single repository for review as frequently or as rarely as desired, while taking up zero physical space.

Because there are so many companies competing for attention, it’s more important than ever to know how to write an effective marketing email that will get the results you want. That’s why today, I’m going to cover six things to keep in mind when it comes to writing an effective email that your customers will read and respond to.

1) Keep your subject simple, but informative

Use your subject line to tell your recipient what they’ll find by opening your message, and leave the details to the body of the email. Include your company name to help identify yourself. Effective subjects explain why you’re contacting the recipients (“Thank you for choosing Kendall Press“) or identify the content of your email (“Kendall Press Newsletter”). [Read more…]

How to Prep Files for Print – A guide to getting the best results

Kendall Press happily provides this short course on what is meant by “HI RES FILES” for printing. Here’s how to prep files for print to ensure that you get the best possible print output quality from your print shop.

Why Twitter Matters – Why We Use Twitter, Part 2

We covered the first three reasons we use Twitter earlier this week, citing the value of virtual communities, the incredible range of users, and the ability to preserve momentum in your conversations. In today’s post, we’re giving you three more reasons why Twitter matters, and why we’ve found it to be a beneficial tool for businesses of all sizes.
Reason #4: It Challenges us to Focus our Message
We’ve mentioned before that we like challenges, and Twitter represents a wonderfully useful challenge. Because of the limited space available in any instance of communication, being capable of condensing your message is incredibly important!

Why twitter matters - A photo from Jeff Pulver's #140 conference
You get 140 Characters…choose wisely.
Twitter challenges us to think hard about what our message is, what we’re trying to communicate, and to expand our vocabulary when we start running out of space. This means that we’re always thinking of new, succinct ways to describe what we do so we can share that information with our audience. We have assisted clients with business communications needs for 28 years. We know that precise messaging is a key component to successful messaging!
Reason #5: It’s a Tool Sharpened for Efficiency
Focusing on our messaging is ultimately how we discovered just how effective and efficient Twitter is as a tool for uncovering and creating unique interactions. By adjusting our messages appropriately, we learned to communicate successfully with as large or as small an audience as we want, when we want.
Naturally, when we first started using Twitter, we found ourselves spending more time working to gain traction than we originally planned. That’s because, like any other tool, using Twitter effectively comes with a learning curve.
Hashtags? @ symbols? These are the basic parts of communicating with other active users, and understanding how to properly implement them will widen your reach, the visibility of your message and the ease with which you can make tangible, worthwhile connections.
Reason #6: We’ve figured out how to make it work for us.
The most important reason why Twitter matters, and why we use it as much as we do, is because we’ve figured out how to make it work for us as a valuable business tool. On a daily basis, we can identify the positive effects using Twitter has had for our company, and point to relationships that have either grown from, or been nurtured by, interacting through this medium.

why twitter matters - A photo from #140edu, Jeff Pulver's education conference
Jeff Pulver and his #140 conferences always help point us in the right direction

As a small business, we understand how important it is to manage your time, and your employees’ time, effectively. With a standard 2,080 working hours available to you in a year, there are always hard decisions to make in determining how to best invest that time.

If you’re having trouble seeing the value or gaining traction with Twitter, or any other new tool, contact us today. We’re here to be of service.
Jason,

for the team at Kendall Press