stationery

The Craft Paper Look for Less

IMG_3873

The bride loved the sweet look of craft paper for an outdoor winery wedding but only needed 60 invitations and really wanted to keep a tight budget for invitations. We used Natural Savoy Cotton for a nice textured finish, very similar to craft. Most of our flat cards come on Natural Savoy and the envelopes are a perfect match. To create the small hang tags, I used a 4Bar card and set up the files with two cards that I could cut down after printing 30 originals. Tags_Front

I ran a DIY test print with various craft paper photos to make sure that the color was right and it really looked like craft (to non-designers who wouldn’t inspect the edge of the card to see if it was legit).

This solution is not for the purist, but it’s perfect for a quick turnaround, very affordable white-ink-on-craft-paper-look wedding suite.

IMG_3871

Advertisements

Do you need custom sizes in small quantities? We got you.

We know how designers like to create original everything so now we have an option for that. If you want a non-standard size in a flat, one-sided format in small quantities, our new DIY Sheet with Cutting is for you. DIY

Here’s how to set up files in Illustrator:

  1. Create a 12″ x 18″ document, either landscape or vertical.
  2. Add guides for the print area: 11.5″ x 17″
  3. Create artwork in desired sizes and fit into print area, place all pieces at 90 degree angles, we cannot cut odd angles.
  4. Make a square or rectangle in the size you want, select it, then go to Objects > Create Trim Marks.
  5. If you have color or images that bleed off the edge, expand them to go at least .125″ beyond the trim marks.

Tip: Leave at least a 3/4″ between pieces for best results.

Minimum: 25 sheets, $1.77 per sheet (if you have a wholesale account)DIY_after

DIY Sheets with Cutting is a great option for a set of odd sized cards, wedding place cards, custom sized postcards, disposable coasters and whatever else you creative types can come up with.

can’t. get. enough. shine.

RoseGoldYep, we added more foil options on StationeryHQ.com because we know you’re obsessed. And so are we. You can already order foil with digital printing through our website. Now you can order foil on A7, A2 and 4Bar size without digital printing on:

  • 130#/21pt Environment Wrought Iron Raw Cover
  • 130# Classic Crest Smooth Cover – Epic Black
  • 130# Classic Crest Smooth Cover – Patriot Blue

And since Rose Gold is a smokin’ hot trend, we added that too. It’s perfect for wedding invitations, save the dates, small art prints and party invites. Turnaround time is 5 business days, find pricing here and don’t forget to log in so you see wholesale prices!

Shout out to Brit Tucker for generously sharing her totally fabulous typographic genius with us – thank you!

Beef up the bottom line with flat cards for the holidays

toolsMost of us creative types are all about the design, the message and the media. We aren’t crazy about the math, it’s usually not in a Top 10 priorities spot when we are brainstorming. Here’s the thing though, understanding the bottom line is kind of, you know, crucial. Flat cards from StationeryHQ are a great way to be well-compensated for your talent and efforts.

If you are a wholesale customer, a two-sided, full color, flat A7 card will start at  $.43 each. So for the sake of argument, let’s say you order 50 for a total cost of $21.50 + shipping. Flat cards on fine papers sell on major retail sites for OVER $2.00 each. That’s $100 for a set of 50, leaving you with $79.50 per order. Do 10 orders like that per week (pretty easy workload, right?) and you’re making about $3,000 a month without breaking a sweat. If you did the same number of cards/orders with folded cards, your margin would be closer to $2,000 per month and you had to work a little harder to set up the artwork. See how fun the math is now?

A few more $ tips:

• Requiring a minimum of 25 or 50 as opposed to 10 gets you more profit with exactly the same amount of work.

• Charge a premium for extras like rounded corners, still no extra work for you but a sassier product and better margin.

• Offer incentives for large orders, many customers will “order up” when they know they are close to a discount or promotion.

• Encourage your clients to order early to save on shipping costs. And so you can enjoy the holidays.

Cheers!

The magical world of flat foil

11x14Since launching Flat Foil Art Prints last week, we keep hearing the same question, “How does it work?”

When SHQ Customer Success Representative Chris was asked this question yesterday, he replied, “It’s magic!” He’s right. It’s so easy, it practically is magic.

Here’s what you do:
1. Create your design using one color only. Your swatch needs to be 40C/40M/20Y/100K.
2. Save as PDF/X-1a, per the StationeryHQ File Setup Guidelines.
3. Upload your file and wait for the magic to happen.

Here’s how it works:
The rich black ink is printed on paper, then the printed sheet is run through a foil machine. The foil adheres to the ink and viola, flat foil fabulousness! You get the same shine as traditional foil stamping but not the slight depression you can feel on a foil stamped card.

And the best part? No die is required. That means faster production time and lower cost. And you can upload your files the same way you do for our other non-custom products.

The small type on this card is 7pt. ITC Lubalin Graph - looks great in foil

The small type on this 5″ x 7″ card is 7pt. ITC Lubalin Graph – looks great in foil

Large solids actually work really well and small type works too. I tested a .75 pt. stroke and the foil came out beautifully.

We’re calling them art prints but since they come in sets of 10, I’m using them as flat cards and 8″ x 10″ notebook covers. Yes, my friends are the types who prefer a bit of snark and a well-designed cuss word in their birthday/thank you cards 🙂

Foil makes a sassy notebook at a great price.

Foil makes a sassy notebook at a great price.

 

We are testing options for foil combined with digital color. We already know that it can be done but so far the results are inconsistent. Stay tuned for more options if flat foil sells as well as we are predicting!

White Ink – how the heck should files be prepared?

You can do some beautiful things with white ink. Whether it’s on kraft or one of our other stocks the effects can be stunning. We already produce quite a few offline orders with white ink and in 2014 we will offer kraft with white ink online…..just don’t ask me for a date yet. Laura Mitzelfelt from www.lmitzdesign.com shared this PDF so you can see how she prepares files for white ink (Thanks Laura). PDF_with_White_Ink_Channel

1. First, you will need to set up your white ink swatch. At the menu at the top, go to Window > Swatches.

White_Ink_StationeryHQ_1
It should bring up this menu: Click on the button to the left of the trash can to create a new swatch. You will want to name the swatch White_Ink (case sensitive), set the color type to Spot Color, and plug in whatever CMYK values you want so you can distinguish your white ink printing from the rest of your design.

The options should look similar to this:

 White_Ink_StationeryHQ_2-300x210

Now, you have set up a spot color for white ink!

2. You can apply this color swatch to any object by selecting the object, and then clicking on the White_Ink color box that was created in your swatch window.

3. If you would like a white ink layer underneath a design (such as light pink text that won’t show well on Kraft stock), then we need to make sure the white ink layer does not knock out the design. To do this, you will need to duplicate the designs that need white ink underneath them and change the color to White_Ink. Make sure that the white ink layers are on top of the actual designs. Then, go to Window > Attributes to bring up another window. Select all of the white ink portions that need to be underneath a design, and then check the box that says “Overprint Fill”. This will ensure that the white ink layer is separate from what is underneath it, and will not knock the design out when the print ready PDF is created.

White_Ink_StationeryHQ_3

4. Once your design is completed, you can save your PDF by going to File > Save and selecting Adobe PDF as the file format. The best settings to use are below:

White_Ink_StationeryHQ_4-300x278

Should you be using Illustrator, InDesign, or Photoshop?

We are frequently asked by designers, “Should I be using IllustratorInDesign, or Photoshop?”

Normally, we would urge them to use the tool that they are best and most familiar with. After all, you can do the similar things in all of the programs and achieve very similar results. However, there are some key differences between the three that can affect how your artwork will print.

While Photoshop is an amazing tool for image and color editing, it can present printing challenges when it comes to wedding invitations, birth announcements, and other fine stationery. The reason for this is because it is a pixel based program. From a distance, you may not notice this. But if you zoom in, you will see that your letters and designs are built pixel by pixel. For the finer details, it can be very noticeable.

Illustrator and InDesign, on the other hand, work with shapes, called vectors. Vectors are based on mathematical curves (oh boy…), and because of this, it doesn’t matter how big or small they are. The shape will always remain crisp.

Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 5.21.52 PM

Comparison of an Illustrator PDF vs a Photoshop PDF

We (and our competitors) produce through digital printing, which is not as high resolution as conventional offset printing. Most of the time, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference; however, digital printing tends to have more trouble with small or thin text. Our digital presses print with dots instead of actual lines, and when the text gets too thin, the dots just can’t do a good job of replicating what it looks like on screen. Because of this, it is even more important to make sure your files are created in the best quality possible.

If you were to create and save a design in Illustrator, then save the same design in Photoshop, and then print them both on the same sheet, they would actually appear different. Illustrator outputs vectors and then the press changes it to dots. Photoshop creates dots (pixels) and then the press creates different dots. It is more reliable to count on the vectors to be converted into dots than pixels. Hopefully this makes sense.

Of course, for many designs this might not be a big deal, but when it comes to time crunched wedding invitations for a bridezilla, do you want to take any risks?

Long term, we really recommend adding Illustrator or InDesign to your toolbox for an optimal printing experience. We believe that this will help to make your customers happier.

Jaimie

Let Your Design Shine

Need a little “glam” for your next piece? In case you didn’t already know, we offer foil stamping in an assortment of colors to add that special shine. Here are a few words from Red Pearl Designs:

The foil printing turned out beautiful! I was extremely impressed with the quality and fast service I received from StationeryHQ. Thank you for the great work!

RedPearlDesigns_image_201312-300x207

So, what are you waiting for? Let your design shine now.

I absolutely love working with your company…

To start the week, here are some kind words from Rachel Green, owner of Printed Ink Designs:

I absolutely love working with your company to print and ship my stationery items. It has been such a blessing to have a good company that I can rely on that produces great products! I have been so happy to have found you all and I love the customer service that you provide. I am also very happy with the products that you offer and it has allowed me to expand my product line and grow it into what I really want it to be.

Thanks for making us smile, Rachel! We hope that your words help to make others smile as well.

Happy Monday!