Did you Pruf your work?

May 20th, 2019

Submitted by: Bob Carr, bcarr@premieruplink.com, www.linkedin.com/in/carrprint

One of my publishing clients had a poster with the words “Did you Pruf your work?” displayed prominently in their offices. It was a constant reminder that the written word is full of pitfalls and proofreading your work is essential to good communication. However, proofreading your own work can be less than ideal.

A One-Digit Disaster

Quite a few years back one of my clients had created a new mailer for a financial seminar. Ten days after mailing he had still not received a single response. A few days after that, my client received a certified letter from a very angry person who was getting dozens of phone calls from people wishing to sign up for his seminar. My client looked at his brochure and his heart sank, he had printed 100,000 pieces with the wrong phone number.*    Lesson: Always dial the phone number as it appears on the proof. And today – type in the website, e-mail address, Twitter account, etc..

Electronic Media

Text messages and Tweets, by their nature, create short cuts to spelling and grammar. Those short cuts invariably affect our ability to create, as well as proof, a well-constructed sentence.

TIPS

I would like to thank my former co-worker Kevin Tangney – an excellent proofreader with the following insights:

“The fundamental and rudimentary thing in proofreading is to have a knowledgeable, detail-oriented person carefully read the work of another. For 99% of people, reading your own work is of limited value at best; and although MS Word’s spell check is somewhat helpful, it does not replace proofreading. For example, MS Word cannot tell you when you use the wrong word and it’s the correct part of speech. If you type, “We hunkered down in the boot” instead of, “We hunkered down in the boat,”. Only a human can detect something like that.”

When writers and designers proof their own work they look for what they expect to see and therefore can miss errors. I have found that good proofreaders are similar to folks that can find a single 4-leaf clover in a patch of clover. Their brains are wired to detect the anomaly.

I also found this website with a long, but useful, collection of proofreading tips.

http://www.lrcom.com/tips/proofreading_editing.htm

*The end result of that wrong phone number was that my client ended up buying that number, paid for notification of the changed number, paid to have a second mailing sent and fired the designer.

 

When paper and Pixels Converge

April 25th, 2019

By Donna Moulton

There really is no limit to what is possible for mail when print is combined with mobile technology. Mail recipients can receive interactive experiences launched from the mail piece with the use of a smartphone. From cover to cover we explored the USPS Irresistible book for mail innovations that can take your next campaign to new heights.

The Irresistible book showcased 8 mailable pieces. These innovations were:

  • VR (Virtual Reality)
  • Textures (Varnishes & Finishes)
  • NFC (Near Field Communication)
  • AR (Augmented Reality)
  • Formats (Unique Folds & Die Cuts)
  • Video (Video – Enhanced Print)
  • QR (Quick Response Codes)
  • Digital to Direct (Data-Driven Messaging)
  • Buy Now (Shoppable Social Media)
  • Analytics (Trackable Data)
  • VDP (Variable Data Printing)
  • Neuroscience (Cutting-edge Research)

I was very impressed with the overall quality of the book and each mail piece. The USPS irresistible books are always exciting to receive and open and this one by far takes the cake. All 8 pieces were beautifully enhanced with the use of mobile technology. Additionally, the finishing techniques really made them stand out. Four color process pieces with varying finishes such as spot gloss, spot UV, satin AQ, foil stamping, embossing, die cutting, varnishes and overall UV coatings were all used.

If you love specialty finishes like me, you’ll really enjoy this book. The best part is that they integrated technology into every piece and all of them fit the mailing requirements for size and specifications set by the USPS. These pieces also double as a great model and inspiration for planning your next direct mailing piece.

My favorite pieces include:

  • Cirque De Lune (This piece has foil stamping, embossing and spot gloss throughout the envelope box and the postcards inside including 4 innovations: share mail, AR, Formats, Video)
  • Opt -1 virtual reality kit (This piece uses an app on a smartphone that takes you on a white water kayak expedition while simultaneously showing you ads for camping equipment. This piece also uses 4 innovations: VR, Format, Texture and Scent).

Overall I give this piece a 10 out of 10 because the USPS Irresistible books are just what the title says Irresistible.

Below are more photos of the Irresistible Mail book:

For more information on how Premier can help you design your next irresistible mail piece or to receive a copy of the USPS Irresistible Mail book contact us at info@premieruplink.com

2019 Pine Awards of Excellence

April 12th, 2019

 

PINE’s Industry Awards Gala is an annual event presenting awards to the association’s print competition winners and provides a unique opportunity to showcase projects and network. There was an impressive body of work submitted for the twelfth year of PINE’s Awards of Excellence. The judges were captivated with the outstanding print produced in New England.

This year Premier earned 7 awards. Members of our sales team proudly accepted the awards on our behalf. Prize-winning pieces included variable data mailers, posters, perfect bound books, wide format pieces, and direct mailers. (below are some images from the event and images of the award-winning pieces.).

We were excited and honored to be included in the event and share that pride with our clients and all the hardworking team members at Premier!

For more information how Premier can produce your next award-winning piece contact us at info@premieruplink.com

USPS Irresistible Mail

April 4th, 2019

The USPS has put out another book in their Irresistible Mail series. The Irresistible Mail website showcases new innovations for printing with the use of mobile technology. Together they create eye-catching memorable interactive experiences that are launched via a mobile device.

The site showcases 12 innovations to consider adding to your next direct mailing piece. These include:

  • VR (Virtual Reality)
  • Textures (Varnishes & Finishes
  • NFC (Near Field Communication)
  • AR (Augmented Reality)
  • Formats (Unique Folds & Die Cuts)
  • Video (Video-Enhanced Print)
  • QR (Quick Response Codes)
  • Digital to Direct (Data-Driven Messaging)
  • Buy Now (Shoppable Social Media)
  • Analytics (Trackable Data)
  • VDP (Variable Data Printing)
  • Neuroscience (Cutting-edge Research).

Each innovation category showcases a statistic and explanation about the innovation followed by a short video of a direct mail piece utilizing the new innovation. If you are looking for more direct mail ideas, the Irresistible mail gallery will be right up your alley.  It has approximately 100 images and articles that will spark your creativity when designing your next direct mailing campaign.

For more information on how premier can help you with your next direct mailing piece contact info@premieruplinik.com

For more information on the Irresistible mail book visit https://www.irresistiblemail.com/ and be sure to check back in next week when we do a review of the book itself.

A Generation of Late Payers

March 14th, 2019

Did you know that Gen Z is having a hard time understanding and paying their bills? A recent consumer survey conducted sponsored by Visa shed some light on the current “epidemic”.

According to Forbes, the generation after Millennials, Generation Z, which they defined as people born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, make up 32% of the global population, making them a larger cohort than the Baby Boomers or Millennials.

Here is what we learned:

They Don’t Understand Bills

When it comes to reading and understanding bills, 30% of Gen Z find their bills to be confusing. Additionally, this generation has more anxiety than any other age group when it comes to paying their bills. This translates into calls and late payments.

They Forget To Pay

In the last 12 months 53% of Gen Z payed a bill late. The reason behind it is that they have not developed the financial habits to promote prompt on-time payments. For Gen Z its not a matter of not having the money to pay their bills, they simply forget.

Gen Z Needs Bill Paying To Be Easier

Companies aren’t meeting the needs of Gen Z who are looking for easier ways to pay their bills.

Suggestions:

  • Format bills for mobile devices. 87% of U.S. consumers use smartphones
  • Personalize messages and keep them short and sweet
  • Innovative payment methods, such as text message payments. Text messaging is now the preferred customer service channel of Americans.
  • Accept payment with credit cards. Some companies do not yet accept them in every way consumers could interact with them (mobile, web, live chat, in person, phone). This is a frustrating experience for all consumers, with Gen Z being the most frustrated at their inability to pay by card.
  • Engage them and convert them to a recurring payment plan. Consumers using recurring payments have 70 percent lower delinquencies.

All data comes from consumer survey sponsored by Visa and conducted by Aite Group.

Fun and Appreciation

March 8th, 2019

We gathered the team up recently and headed to Brewport for an Employee Appreciation and get together to celebrate the successful results of a busy production challenge. We celebrated the hiring of 22 new employees in the past year and several work anniversaries. The evening was filled with trivia where staff won all types of prizes (think grills, chairs, speakers and more).  We celebrated with music, pizza and some choice craft ales. Warm thank you to the staff of Brewport. Thank you all for another great year!

Bills, Statements and the Security of Your Customer/Patient Information

February 8th, 2019

In today’s data driven environment, companies and their vendors are handling sensitive files that include personally identifiable information (PII).   What are printing and mailing companies doing to protect your information and mitigate your risks?

First and foremost, you want to partner with a vendor that recognizes and embraces the need to protect your data.  They must be committed to formal information security audits and certifications.  This helps companies demonstrate their commitment to improving and maintain strict guidelines and procedures to protect your valuable information.

The following are two of the most important audits your vendor partner should participate in to demonstrate their compliance:

HIPAA

What is HIPAA?   HIPAA is the acronym used for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act instituted in 1996. The act requires organizations that work with sensitive health-related information to adhere to national standards for code sets, unique identifiers, and data security. This act is in place to protect sensitive information (as related to health and identity) belonging to individuals.

How can your provider be HIPAA compliant?

Third party companies assess current data security and help make corrections to make the organization HIPAA compliant. It is a great way for non-medical industry organizations to show that they understand HIPAA regulations.

  1. Employee Training.

For handling documents with sensitive medical information, employee education is essential. HIPAA training and testing guarantee that staff know and understand the correct ways to handle sensitive information.

  1. Secure Facilities.

The facility must also be secure for printing, assembly, and the mailing of sensitive medical information. The facility must also put an emphasis on keeping passwords, network access, and electronic files safe and secure.

 

HITRUST CSF (Certification)

HITRUST CSF certification is a security and privacy framework.  It is a comprehensive, flexible and efficient approach to regulatory compliance and risk management.

Achieving this certification demonstrates a high level of due diligence and shows that you are doing everything you can do protect the data for which you are responsible. If you’re managing sensitive data, it’s critical to protect yourself from risk in order to maintain a strong relationship with your clients who are also trying to mitigate their risks. The HITRUST CSF is certifiable and attractive to covered entities because they know it’s a great way to measure, mitigate, and control risks.

Because the HITRUST CSF incorporates elements of other frameworks, it aligns itself nicely with the frameworks that different companies need.  HITRUST CSF was built on the primary principles of ISO 2700/27002 and has evolved to align with a growing number of standards, regulations and business requirements including HIPAA, COBIT, NIST, PCI, ISO, and more.

Unlike a SOC report, a HITRUST report comes with a certification. HITRUST is a much more detailed report with about five times the number of controls, incorporating requirements from the variety of standards (mentioned above) included within the HITRUST CSF framework.

 

We printed and mailed over 50 million documents with PII in the past year.  Our customers recognize our commitment to quality, accuracy and information security.   For more information about our programs and certifications, contact me at shuban@premieruplink.com.

 

6 Prepress Tips For Print Ready Files

January 15th, 2019

1) Double-check spelling and grammar

Reduce typos by proofreading your copy in reverse. Start by reading the last word on the page and then move left and up. By doing this you are forcing your brain to look at the words without automatically filling the words and letters in.

2) Convert text to paths

Depending on the printer outlining fonts is a good practice to get into before sending your art. By outlining your font you are ensuring that the pre-press specialist will not need to have a copy of your fonts to setup the file for production. Unless the printer needs to edit your copy before production, most prefer all the fonts to be outlined in your print-ready file. Turning Fonts to outlines effectively means that the text is no longer text – it has become a graphic, and the text cannot be altered. The Mac shortcut is CMD+A (to select all copy on page), SHIFT+CMD+O (outline fonts). Once you have outlined your fonts save the file with a new name so your original file is still editable. If you are unsure if you should outline your text give your printer a call and they will be able to tell you the best way to save your print ready file.

3) Include linked images

If you are sending your native art files (Illustrator, InDesign, etc.) to your printer it’s a good practice to make sure all linked graphics and fonts are included. Packaging a file puts the native file, fonts and any linked images into one folder that you can zip and send. Illustrator also has the option of embedding links and makes any placed graphics a native part of your AI file.

4) Different apps for different uses

Many of us can tend to have tunnel vision when it comes to designing in our favorite applications. However, what’s good in Photoshop isn’t always good in Illustrator and vice versa. This chart helps provide an overview of which Adobe Creative Cloud application is best for different types of work. Following these general guidelines can make your work easier and make for a smoother process when it’s time to print your graphics.

 5.) Define Bleed

Taking your design from the digital to print involves making sure your file’s bleed, crop and cuts are lined up properly. These marks indicate the edges of your design and where cuts should be made once things are printed.

Crop marks indicate where your design will be cut, and the bleed is where parts of text or objects extend past the page boundary to compensate for trimming. By not adding the bleed you the risk of having a white border along the sides of you piece, where the paper extends beyond your digital design. Also your printer will most likely send back your artwork to add the bleeds.

6) CMYK vs. RGB

Print ready files should have all images converted to CMYK as RGB is the color standard for monitors. The RGB color gamut isn’t ideal for print as most of the colors can not be replicated with inks. If images aren’t set to CMYK you may see a color shift occur during the production process which can lead to unsatisfactory results.

For more information on how Premier can help you with your next printed piece. Contact us at info@premieruplink.com

2019 USPS Postage Updates

December 28th, 2018

United States Postal Service rolled out the new postage changes that will go into effect January 27th, 2019. These new rates show an overall increase of 2.5% for mailing or market dominant products. The most important areas to note are First-Class Mail and Presorted First-Class Mail.

The largest change we will see is in Commercial First-Class Mail with the largest increases for single-piece letters. Metered single piece rates will now be $0.03 below stamped pieces.

First-Class Mail®

  • First-Class Mail® Letters up to 1 ounce will increase from $0.50 to $0.55
  • First-Class Mail® Flats up to 1 ounce will stay the same ($1.00)
  • First-Class Metered Mail will increase from $0.47 to $0.50

Presorted MailUSPS Presort can save you money off your annual postage bill. Presort is a discount for customers who have their mail sorted before it is sent over to the USPS. Presorting offers discounts based on service level, mail shape, and weight. If you send over 5,000 pieces of direct mail at a time then switching to presorted mail is smart.

  • Mixed AADC (MAADC) automation letters and AADC automation letters has increased to $0.428 & $0.412
  • Automated presort flat rates increased to $0.383

For USPS Marketing Mail the average increase is about 2.5%.

US Postal Service Postage Highlights:

The good news is that the USPS has continued its use and expansion of the mailing promo incentives. These can provide up to an additional 2% savings.

We will go into detail on how you can take advantage of these savings in the next post. These new postage changes go into effect January 27th, 2019. For more postage changes visit the USPS: https://pe.usps.com/pricechange/index

 

For more information on how Premier can help you, please email us at info@premieruplink.com

9 Times Makes An “Impression”

December 20th, 2018

We are pleased to announce that for the 9th year in a row we have made the Printing Impressions 400 list. Premier continues to climb the list thanks to our growth in areas of high-speed inkjet digital printing, direct mail, variable card printing, and fulfillment. Premier has seen 100% growth since 2010 and that number continues to rise.

This list is the industry’s most comprehensive listing of the leading printing companies in the United States and Canada ranked by annual sales volume.

The PI 400 provides recognition to the companies that are included in the rankings, along with offering a glimpse at how the industry is changing each year. This year a major trend in 2018 has shown that companies that have targeted specialties like packaging, direct mail, wide-format digital printing and inkjet printing have grown the most organically.

For more information on how Premier can help you, email us at info@premieruplink.com. Better yet, send us some examples of your current work and we will provide ideas for effective enhancements and redesign at no cost!

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