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Are the days of paper calendars numbered?

Are the days of paper calendars numbered?

Just as e-readers and tablets have muscled printed books and magazines into smaller market shares, so smart phones and tablets with calendar apps have drawn many users away from the printed calendar, it seems. These devices all come with calendars, notes, and scheduling capabilities complete with alarms. The schedules can be backed up to cloud servers and data can be retrieved anywhere you can get a signal. Switching from paper is a no-brainer, right? And yet … printed calendars are still here. Yes, perhaps it is true that dinosaurs walk among us. But – perhaps – there is more to it than that. Studies have proven that students who take handwritten notes in class retain more information than those who type or record lectures, and that same neural connection is true when writing appointments by hand. If you want to improve your odds of remembering the appointment, write it down. Speaking of writing, journal-style calendars also have spaces to doodle and take notes. This simple organic action may be a big reason why many people keep their old calendars as journals and diaries. What paper calendars lack in technology is made up for in personality. Wall calendars, for example, have … Continue reading

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Take Advantage of the USPS Mobile Barcode Postage Discount

Odds are, if you are a retailer, you are already trying to drive traffic to your website to place orders. Adding a QR Code to your mailing pieces simply adds one more way to direct customers there. And now, through August 31st, it can also garner you a 2% discount from the USPS. The discount is available for qualifying Standard Mail and First-class Mail letters, flats, and cards imprinted with a 2-D code that can be read or scanned with a mobile device. There are, of course, requirements to follow in order to qualify for the discount. Those can be found at https://www.usps.com/mobile-barcode. This is an especially good deal for retailers with catalogs and direct mail cards. Obviously, there is the immediate money savings on postage, but for goodness sake, don’t simply slap the code on your mail piece and call it good enough. Use this tool wisely and it will not only save you money, it can also generate sales. Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind: 1. Use good art. The right placement, clarity and size are paramount to success… and failure. Nothing turns a customer off faster than being frustrated by a “convenience” that is … Continue reading

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A Salute to Our Forefathers

A Salute to Our Forefathers

As we pause our presses on July 4th to celebrate our nation’s independence we would like to extend our gratitude to those early American patriots who used print as a means to gain and protect the freedoms we enjoy today. Muskets and cannons will be mimicked with fireworks this 4th but, as printers, we can’t help but reflect on the importance of presses as weapons in the fight for freedom. It was through the printed word that the democratic ideals and calls for independence could be spread throughout the colonies. Newspaper printers took strong editorial stances and backed the idea of an independent Republic. It was a chance for the working class, and not just aristocrats, to have a voice. Pamphlets were a particularly effective means of communication then, just as they are now. “Common Sense,” part of The American Crisis pamphlet series written by Thomas Paine, inspired colonists to action during the American Revolution. It is estimated that more than 500,000 copies of it were sold during the Revolution alone. Considering the population of the colonies was approximately 2 million at the time this is an amazing number and a testament to the importance of the written word. Paine was assisted … Continue reading

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Top 10 Things We Love About Digital Printing

Top 10 Things We Love About Digital Printing

We love digital printing. We love thinking about. We love talking about it. We love doing it. And with Valentine’s Day fast approaching we’d love to share why: 1. Fast Turns. No offset plates = short set up time, and at 110 pages per minute our presses are fearless in the face of deadlines. 2. Ton of paper choices. When it comes to stock, digital printing is anything but plain white vanilla. Our digital presses can print on weights all the way up to 24 pt. and on a variety of colors and finishes – metallic, pearlized, textured and recycled stocks, even plastic! 3. Inline Collation. Electronically collate page images while mixing total black pages with color. Genius. 4. Auto duplexing. The ability to print both sides of the sheet with one pass through the press makes digital fast, efficient and cost effective. What’s not to love? 5. High quality. Vibrant colors and sharp details make our hearts flutter. 6. No shop smell. No alcohols, chlorinated solvents or acids means no stinky vapors. Ahhh… we really, really love that. 7. No messy inks. Digital presses use non-toxic dry inks in closed containers, making it safer for our employees and greener for everyone. … Continue reading

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Expand Your Reach with Every Door Direct Mail™

Every Door Direct Mail mailboxes

Recently we discussed the personalized targeting capabilities of variable data printing in direct marketing. But what about those times when you simply don’t have a database established yet? The United States Postal Service is offering a new service that allows you to reach every customer in a chosen area without having the street addresses or even names. With Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM™) you can target areas by neighborhood, ZIP Code or city. USPS letter carriers will deliver your ad or promotion to every mailbox along the selected routes. Because they are already making those stops while delivering the daily mail the cost is extremely reasonable – as little as 14.5 cents per piece for postage. EDDM Retail is a great way to deliver coupons, offers, sales, specials and event promotions to desired audiences in a specific area. It isn’t necessary to know the names or street addresses. Just use the approved EDDM format of “Local Postal Customer”. EDDM Retail is geared to smaller businesses with smaller mailings of 5,000 maximum mail pieces per mailer per day. There is no need for a postage permit and there is no annual fee. However, there are certain size and weight restrictions. To … Continue reading

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Final Impressions of 2011

As so many people do at this time of year we took a moment to look back on 2011. We were pleasantly reminded of the many good things we enjoyed this year. Some things have changed, others remain the same, but ultimately it is our relationships that we remember most fondly. Employees, customers and community involvement all gave us reasons to smile. One of the more noticeable changes we experienced was the update of our website (www.flexpress.com) to better reflect our team philosophy. Each and every member of Flexpress is here to work for our customers and the new design is our way of acknowledging all the people who make us successful. We also put together a couple of videos of our crew and have posted them on our YouTube Channel (FlexpressDigital). Those videos were really fun to make and we think a terrific way to let you know more about our great group of people. We intend to add more in 2012. We hope you check them out. We ventured into other social media outlets, as well: Facebook (www.facebook.com/FlexpressDigital), Twitter (@FlexpressUSA) and Google+ (FlexPress). It has been a fun learning experience and has allowed us to connect with friends … Continue reading

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Are QR Codes Here to Save Print?

Are QR Codes Here to Save Print?

It seems many pundits are ready to write print media off as a dying industry. Newspaper and magazine subscriptions are dwindling. The post office is having financial problems. eReaders are cutting into traditional book sales. Marketing dollars are being spent in a wider variety of ways as the Internet and electronic devices continue to offer up new ways to reach consumers. Yes, it is an undeniable fact that new technologies are changing the way marketing is done. But that isn’t all bad news for print. Take for instance the emergence of QR (Quick Read) Codes. QR Codes were created in 1994 for use in automotive industry inventory control. Now, it seems, those crazy quilt configurations of black and white squares just might be print’s new best friend, if not actual savior. It is a safe bet to say everyone has seen one. The number of people using them grows daily. A study released in June 2011 by comScore found that the users were more likely to be men (60.5% of scanners) and aged 18 to 34 (53.4%) and have a household income of $100,000 or above (36.1%). The premise seems simple enough in a magical teleporter kind of way. Use … Continue reading

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Thoughts on Labor Day

Monday, Sept. 5, is the 129th anniversary of the first Labor Day celebrated in America. With our current global economy in mind, it is even more important than ever to thank the good folks who keep our businesses running. So on this holiday, as we celebrate the contributions that workers make to the strength of our country, we’d like to say thank you to those whose labor makes our company stronger. At Flexpress we see the dedication our employees put into their jobs every day and want to send out a warm “thank you” to each one. We also want to thank our customers for partnering with us. We strive daily to earn the trust you put in us to deliver what you need to keep your businesses strong. And, of course, our vendors deserve a big nod of appreciation for working hard to provide the equipment and materials we need to do our jobs. It truly is a team effort and we sincerely hope everyone enjoys the rewards of our collaborative labor. To all, we say “Sit back and enjoy a much deserved rest on Monday.  You’ve earned it!”  

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Digital vs. Offset Printing

Digital vs. Offset Printing

“When is a job better suited to digital vs. offset printing?”  It is a common question. And also one with constantly changing answers. In the past the arguments for offset used to be very easy to rattle off: better resolution/quality; the ability to use PMS colors rather than rely solely on CMYK; more paper options; larger sheet size; better cost per unit on long runs. But technology is moving at an amazing speed and digital presses are putting those arguments to rest. Digital press resolution is improving to the point that the naked eye has difficulty seeing the difference in dpi. There are now digital presses on the market capable of printing actual PMS colors – as well as white ink, which was unheard of only a short time ago. As noted in a previous blog of ours, paper is no longer limited to plain white bond. Specialty papers in various weights and finishes, even plastic, print beautifully on our iGens. As for sheet size, that is expanding, too. The largest digital press currently on the market can take a 13”x47” sheet! That leaves the matter of the size of the job. Historically, digital printing has been the choice for … Continue reading

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Paper Proofs – Keeping It Real

Paper Proofs – Keeping It Real

We care about quality and we’ve got the proof to show it. In our previous post we touched on some ways good file preparation can improve the final printed piece. This time let’s focus on something we do to ensure the best results – our proofing system. It’s simple, really. We supply proofs for approval on the actual stock your job will print on, printed on the actual press that will run it. Yes, we know many printers today rely on PDFs emailed to the customer for final approval. Although we will do this if the client requests it we are very firm believers in the “No Surprises” way of doing business. Sending PDFs for approval can have a number of drawbacks. If viewed on a monitor the color will not be accurate because the screen is RGB and monitors vary wildly in color depending on their settings. Printing the PDF out on a desktop laser printer for review is also a hit or miss proposition. The best way to know if the job will be output the way you want it is to see it in all its printed glory. An actual proof that you can hold in your … Continue reading

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