Exploring Print Options



When you are ready to go to press for your next print project, you’ll find that after you’ve finalized your design it’s time to start thinking about the numerous print options you have.

Since these will have a major impact on your final design, we wanted to present a list of a few of the most common print options you’ll have and how they will affect your final product.

Paper Type

An extremely important factor for your project is the paper type you choose. At the most basic level, you will choose coated or uncoated. If you choose coated you will then move to the next choice of gloss or satin.

For more on this choice, see our in-depth blog on different paper type choices. The article is over on the Colorwise book printing site, and though it is specifically written for book printing the same principles apply to all print projects.

Paper Weight

You’ll also need to choose the paper weight for your project. This is essentially where you will determine how thick of a paper stock you want to use.

However, you’ll need to be aware that the paper weight for one paper type is not necessarily equal to the weight of another paper type. Because this can be confusing, we’ve put together a paper weight conversion chart.

Paper Brightness, Whiteness and Shade

The color of your paper will also affect how it displays ink. You’ll need to take into account how the brightness (or whiteness) will affect the look of your final product.

We’ve put together a full guide on whiteness, brightness and shade that should clear up a lot of the questions you have.

Digital versus Offset

Finally, whether you print on a digital press or an offset press will have something of an impact on the look of your print product. Because of advances in digital technology, most of the differences between the two today are barely noticeable.

Today, the choice between digital and offset often comes down to which is the most economical option. Usually this is determined by the quantity of your run, as short runs are usually more suitable for the digital press while long runs tend to be more economical when run on an offset press. Here’s an in-depth look at digital vs. offset. Though this article is again focused on book printing, the same principles will apply to all print runs.

This is not an exhaustive list of all the print options you’ll have, but will give you a good head start on the basics you need to consider. Of course, we’re here to help you every step of the way at Colorwise. If you have any questions during your print process, we’ll be glad to help. Just reach out at info@colorwise.com, or give us a call at 770-664-8199.

Why Print Catalogs are Making a Comeback


JC Penney Print Catalogs

Earlier this year, J.C. Penney made headlines when it announced it would send out its first print catalogs in five years, bringing back a marketing item that was once a defining feature of the brand.

New evidence shows that the number of companies mailing catalogs is growing, and that the previous decline in catalog mailings likely had more to do with the recession than customers going online-only.

Print Catalog Shipments are Growing

The Harvard Business Review (HBR) notes that print catalog shipments grew in 2013 for the first time since before the recession. Denise Lee Yohn, the author of the article, points out that she does not believe this growth is an anomaly.

“Given the new dynamics of multichannel marketing and commerce, as well as the new targeting and measurement capabilities of catalog marketing, I think catalogs are here to stay this time,” she wrote.

Bringing back the mail catalog is part of a turnaround effort by J.C. Penney that may have factored into the company’s recently released earnings that exceeded Wall Street expectations.

Yohn also points out that the multichannel importance is not just for traditional retailers like J.C. Penney but also for digital retailers like Bonobos and Birchbox, which also recently launched print catalogs.

Bonobos VP of marketing Craig Elbert told the HBR that 20 percent of first-time orders on the company’s site come from customers that received a catalog. He also said these customers spend one and a half times as much as those customers that did not receive a print catalog.

This news falls in line with other digital-first companies turning to print, such as Airbnb launching a print magazine late last year.

This Isn’t Your Parent’s Catalog

As companies begin to recognize the importance print can play across marketing channels, they also are realizing that effective catalogs today look considerably different than the Sears catalogs or J.C. Penney Big Book some of us may remember.

In fact, J.C. Penney is not attempting to recreate the Big Book — which at times topped out at 1,000+ pages and featured products from a variety of departments. Instead, the 120 pages of the new catalog features items only from the company’s home store.

This trend toward specialization is one of the reasons companies are realizing the power of print today. Large national consumer databases let companies know where their desired customers are and allow them to cater magazines directly to individual groups. This information coupled with the companies own databases of previous customer information provide even more targeting options. L.L. Bean, a company that has long relied on catalogs to reach former and potential customers, is one of the companies currently experimenting with this concept by producing magazines with varied page counts depending on the customer.

“Can I only send [a frequent website visitor] 50 pages, or 20, as a reminder of, ‘Oh, I’ve got to go to the website’?” asks L.L. Bean Chief Marketing Officer Steve Fuller as he explores new ways of optimizing his company’s famous catalog marketing.

Advancements in print technology allow for shorter runs and more personalization in printed materials. This allows print and other direct mail items to play a more specialized and targeted marketing role than ever before.

Catalog Design is Changing, Too

Personalization is not the only change coming to new print catalogs, their look is changing, too.

Print design trends are utilizing larger images and blocks of text, echoing online design trends. The content of the pages is changing the looks of the catalog, as well.

Many catalogs now more closely resemble lifestyle magazines rather than the older catalogs that presented nearly every item offered by a company. Instead of actually shopping out of a catalog, consumers are presented with the lifestyle associated with the products of the company.

For example, the Williams-Sonoma catalog provides readers with useful cooking recipes, which are shown alongside the products that are required to make those recipes. Not coincidentally, of course, these necessary items can be picked up at Williams-Sonoma stores or on the company’s website.

The company — also the parent company of brands like West Elm and Pottery Barn — takes data very seriously when considering what should appear in the catalogs and who should receive them.

“They’re not just sales-generating tools, they help people decorate,” CEO Laura Alber told CBS News. “In the same way we have great artists, we have great data scientists. They study the response rate from every customer that we mailed it to.”

Like Bonobos, Williams-Sonoma also has found catalog readers spend more money, both online and at brick and mortar stores.

Print Catalogs are Here to Stay

As Yohn wrote in the HBR, it seems catalogs are here to stay. Catalogs are poised to perform as a leading avenue of brand building, and help refine target audiences online and off.

To find out more about how Colorwise can help you create catalogs as another marketing vehicle for your company, head over to our contact page.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Paper Brightness, Whiteness & Shade: Definitions and Differences


Paper Brightness, Whiteness and Shade

Paper brightness, paper whiteness and shade are three of the most often misunderstood variables of paper choice in print projects. However, they all play an important role in determining the look of your final product.

While it’s easy to have a general idea of what the terms brightness, whiteness and shade mean, there can be quite a bit of confusion as to their technical definitions and how they affect the appearance of your final product.

It should be noted that though paper brightness and whiteness are somewhat similar, they are not interchangeable.

Paper Brightness

Brightness measures the amount of reflectance of a specific wavelength of blue light. Brightness is measured on a scale of 0 to 100 – the higher the number, the brighter the paper.

In other words, 95 bright paper reflects more light than an 85 bright paper, therefore appearing brighter.

Using the specific blue light to measure this reflection ignores longer wavelengths, including green and red. Because of this, two types of paper with the same brightness can visually appear very different, even though their “brightness” is the same.

Specifically, the blue light used to measure brightness has a wavelength of 457 nanometers (nm).

Paper Whiteness

Whereas brightness measures the reflection of a very specific wavelength of light, whiteness measures the reflection of all wavelengths of light across the visible spectrum. Because of this, the whiteness measure is more in line with our visual perception.

So, there will generally be a consensus that the higher the whiteness rating (which also uses a 0-100 scale), the whiter the paper.

Using the entire spectrum of visible light, paper with a very high whiteness number can appear to have a blue tint depending on what light source it is viewed under.

The most common whiteness measure, D65 illumination, represents outdoor daylight. This standard is called CIE Whiteness and was developed by the French-based International Commission on Illumination (also abbreviated CIE). Indoor lighting, of course, will change how white the paper appears, and this will vary even more between fluorescent and incandescent bulbs.

Paper Shade

Shade, on the other hand, does not take into account any light reflection; instead, it represents the color of the paper. There are three common groups of white shades:

True White
Blue White
Cream White

As noted above, often the blue white shade is used for paper because it appears to be a “whiter” white than true white. These papers are often labeled “bright white” or “high white.” It has this tint because it reflects more blues.

Cream white absorbs the blues that blue white reflects, and therefore has a yellowish look. True white, as it name would suggest, reflects the entire color spectrum equally, which of course is the true definition of white.

Shade choice is particularly important in book printing. In addition to taking your own preference into account, you also want to make sure the shade of your paper provides visual comfort for your readers. The best choice for this depends largely on the content of your book. If you are interested in book printing, find out more at our book printing division, BestBookPrinting.com.

When Brightness and Whiteness Go Off the Charts

If you’ve looked at a variety of paper, you may have seen brightness and whiteness levels going above the 100 scale mentioned earlier.

The 100 limit is for standard paper made only with pulp. However, additives may be added to make the paper appear even brighter or whiter.

These additives are known as Optical Brightening Agents (OBA), and in reference to brightness they reflect ultraviolet – or UV – light as visible light. In other words, this is reflecting more visible light than the actual light source emits.

Similarly, fluorescent OBAs will cause whiteness values to increase above 100.

North American Paper Standards

Outside the paper industry and print industry, paper brightness is the most common measuring standard in North America. The 0-100 scale is typically based on the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry’s TAPPI Standard T451. Regions outside North America commonly use the International Organization for Standardization’s ISO Standard 2469.

As mentioned above, the standard for Whiteness measurement is CIE Whiteness.

Again, though whiteness and brightness have similarities, the measurement systems used to measure each are completely independent of each other and are not at correlated.


Print Today: Measuring Advertising Effectiveness


It’s news to some people: print advertising is sticking around. But methods of measuring the advertising effectiveness of print is changing. Or, it should be.

Studies show that we consumers are neurologically disposed to respond better to print ads in certain situations – and this is not just true of the old folks, either. Studies show that while Millennials are more influenced by digital ads than other age groups, they pay more attention to traditional ads.

Recently, the Wall Street Journal released the following chart, and it’s no surprise that ad spending on print has dropped in recent years while spending on digital ads has accelerated. But look at what happens to print in the next few years: print spending will remain around the same level where it is today.

Total Media Ad Spending - WSJ Chart

Print clearly will remain a major advertising player, but for it to complement digital and other types of advertising we must focus on better ways of reporting the effectiveness of print advertising. Particularly, we must be able to measure the ROI of print not only on its own, but also in relation to other advertising platforms. Of course, this is easier said than done.

One of the clear advantages of digital advertising is how easy it is to gather data about the performance of ads. When a potential customer clicks on your ad, you can see not only exactly where they came from to get to your site, but also how they then interact once on your site. When enough data is collected you can adjust your marketing plan accordingly.

The Difficulties in Measuring Advertising Effectiveness in Print

Print advertising, however, is not always so simple to quantify.

The use of a QR code once seemed like the answer; the natural link between print and digital. Just like a click on the digital ad, the information transferred from a QR scan provides a wealth of information about where the consumer viewing the ad came from.

But the codes have never taken off with the public as much as marketers might like. Even the inventor of the code recently said it (the code) only has a decade or so left to live. Though he was referring to the original use of the codes in warehouse and manufacturing settings, it is likely that the same is true for advertising.

So we are left to focus on creating better methods to measure the performance of print advertising.

A New Kind of Measurement Tool

A new tool that aims to offer new insights into print advertising effectiveness is the Magazine Audience Performing Predictor (mapp), which delivers performance data of magazine ads within 14 days of the issue’s on-sale date. This is as close to real time performance results for magazine ads as we currently have available. A collaborative effort of Magazine Publishers of Australia (MPA) – and thus far only available for Australian magazines – the tool recently received a global award at the FIPP Research Forum.

Magazine Audience Performance Predictor (Mapp) Logo

Here’s the description of the tool on the MPA website:

Using mapp advertisers can now access timely, real-time measures of current magazine issue performance and magazine audience build over time. [It] enables magazines to be evaluated more accurately in advertisers’ marketing and media models, using a weekly timeframe of performance, alongside other media and key indicators, such as sales. mapp provides, within a week or two after the on-sale date, estimates of the total ratings that specific magazine issues will achieve over their lifespan.

“mapp is a truly innovative project, which quantifies the contribution of magazines to the media mix in a manner that is in line with the forms of data available for other media,” said FIPP’s judges, according to ProPrint.com. “It involves forecasting how advertising messages in magazines will be spread through time, issue by issue.”

What’s Next?

The service is still relatively new, so its effectiveness remains to be seen. Still, it’s great to see innovations coming to magazine ad measuring techniques.

As print spending stabilizes, advertisers will have a better idea of how much they need to spend on print, but the new question will be what print venues will be the best investment. And they will be looking to new tools like mapp to help them make these decisions in context to their publications.

The Future is Cross Platform

As mentioned above, print advertisers not only want better ROI measurements, but also want to know how these ads function in context of their other advertising platforms. Forbes emphasized the importance of measuring multiple platforms at once with the article, “2014: The Year of the Cross Platform Measurement.”

Much of the article is focused on traditional television v. digital video consumption. But the parallels to the print medium are many. Television advertisers are still relying heavily on the traditional ratings measurement tools, while the rise of digital television consumption is sharp (a 30 percent rise from the final quarter of 2012 to the final quarter of 2013). Needless to say, it is now imperative to not only be able to measure both traditional and digital TV viewing, but to be able to be able to combine that data to get an accurate picture of the viewing audience.

Similarly, print advertisers still rely primarily on circulation numbers that are becoming more and more unreliable as reading habits change. While it is easier to measure digital reading habits, being able to discover what reader is reading one article in a magazine and then another (in the same publication) online will put advertisers in a much better position. It will also be a great way for publishers to give advertisers a better representation of not only how many but how readers are reading the material. Of course, this will allow them to better optimize advertising rates.

What Does it Mean Now?

The good news: print advertising is sticking around and the previous decline in print ad sales will level off. This means advertisers are realizing where the advantages of print advertising lies in relation to digital ads and how the two can complement each other.

The bad news: we don’t yet have a great way to measure the results of this cross-platform approach.

However, it is likely that new tools similar to mapp will continue to emerge to fill this void. It remains to be seen just how effective they will be, but we’ll be looking forward to seeing more effective print advertising measuring techniques emerge as we move forward into this new era of advertising.


“Think Different” image source: Wikimedia Commons

Refinery29 Distributes Print Magazines Via Uber



It seems we can’t cover print news recently without discovering a new digital company that has turned to print magazines as part of its marketing strategy. One of the latest is fashion and style website Refinery29, though the distribution method the company is using to get the magazines to its audience may be just as noteworthy than the magazines themselves.

The company placed 30,000 copies of its first printed magazine in the cars of rideshare company Uber, according to Advertising Age. The move may serve to distinguish Refinery29 from other brands during this year’s New York Fashion Week.

Know Your Audience and Go to Them

One of the first rules of marketing is to know your audience and how to get your message to that audience. Refinery29 clearly recognizes how important this is and is using the new print campaign to bring their brand directly into the hands of their target audience.

Not only does the company realize that a ton of fashion-conscious women will flood New York City during Fashion Week, they also recognize that many of them will use Uber to get around. They recognize that those using Uber may have more disposable income than those that take the subway, and – because they chose Uber – may know more about current trends than those that hail a taxi.

Using print magazines in conjunction with new technology, Refinery29 is able to put print magazines physically in front of some of its target audience.

Once Again, Old Meets New

In addition to the campaign being a unique branding opportunity, the partnership with Uber once again illustrates how new digital opportunities can work in conjunction with existing technology – not in competition with it.

Uber has built a widely successful company based on providing the familiar service of getting customers from one place to another in cars. But the company turned the existing taxi and rideshare industry on its head by allowing users to summon a car – and then pay for their ride -on their smartphone. Additionally, Uber often is cheaper than existing alternatives.

This model shows how using new digital technology can work to improve existing technology and services, not replace them altogether. Refinery29 is doing a similar thing by using print magazines to complement its website.

One Off Print Magazines

The magazine, called Refinery29 Editions, is 28 pages with no advertisements. A company spokeswoman told AdAge that the magazine will serve as a bridge between the online world and real-world events. However, there are no current plans to produce further editions.

Image Source: Flickr

Travel Industry Digital Company Skift Turns to Print



Travel industry site Skift is the next in a long line of digital media companies to release print magazines.

As we recently wrote, the concept of a digital-only company turning to print may seem a bit counterintuitive, but Skift joins other companies including Airbnb, Pitchfork and CNET in seeing a place for print in their marketing efforts.

Skift founder and CEO Rafat Ali says the new print magazine will be an extension of the site’s annual travel trend forecast, which is the most popular portion of the site every year.

“We sort of took the next logical step and said we should create something even more permanent than that, which is a print magazine that sort of encapsulates what we’re trying to do in terms of making a definite document in trends in travel,” he told Capital.

The magazine will be released at launch party January 13, and also will be sent to a list of targeted recipients. Ali also says it will be used to add a new revenue stream for the company.

“I do think that print still has a value used strategically with a … digital-only company,” he said, adding that “advertisers still love print magazines, and they love seeing themselves in [them].”

A Future with Both Digital & Print

Clearly, many digital brands see the promise in print marketing as a marketing tool, and though some are already reporting positive results it is still too early to see the long-term impact print will have on a digital brand.

Ali’s recognition of the fact that brands still like to see their ads in print falls in line with research showing consumers respond better to print ads than digital ads. It’s no wonder that media spending on print is expected to level off for the foreseeable future after the recent decline.

The new trend also illustrates how effective marketing collateral is increasingly becoming a mixture of print and digital. To see more about what kind of print materials we have and how we can help print work for your business, drop us a line on our contact page and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Airbnb Latest Tech Company to Launch Print Magazine


Airbnb Print Magazine Pineapple

Airbnb recently became the latest tech company to turn to print marketing with the reveal of its new print magazine, Pineapple.

Many companies have been adding digital elements to their traditional marketing strategies for years now. This move typically began with a website and grew to include intricate digital strategies like social media, mobile apps, email marketing and much more.

But what about the companies that began in the digital realm? As the digital landscape becomes increasingly crowded, many are looking for ways to distinguish themselves and this often means moving toward print marketing, as counterintuitive as it may seem.

For Airbnb, print is the distinctive element. Here’s how the company describes the purpose of the magazine:

This is a printed magazine where honest stories are told by the unexpected characters of our community. It is a crossroad of travel and anthropology; a document of community, belonging and shared space.

Speaking to AdWeek, Airbnb CEO Jonathan Mildenhall said the magazine “will combine the emotional and practical sides of traveling by giving a comprehensive guide to neighborhoods and cities, as well as capturing the sense of belonging that comes from a memorable trip.”

It’s telling that the word “belonging” shows up in both descriptions. The company touts the slogan “Belong Anywhere” across its website, focusing heavily on the community it fosters among its users.

*Sidenote: The name Pineapple comes from colonial New England, where the fruit was a symbol of hospitality.

Building a Tech Brand Through Print

When it comes down to it, Airbnb essentially does one thing: hosts use the service to provide a room (or rooms) in their homes to Airbnb users (typically travelers). The company is providing the service and not the product, which is why the focus on building community is so important.

“Airbnb may not be supplying the end product, but it’s sure selling an experience,” writes Tessa Wegert at Contently.com, “and when a brand facilitates a P2P [peer-to-peer] service it has to gain the trust of users on all sides.” The article also highlights an Altimeter Group report naming a “desire for community” as a driving force behind Airbnb’s success.

In theory, strangers staying in strangers’ houses and sleeping in their beds seems a little creepy. But knowing that you “Belong Anywhere” – or, are a part of a community – makes the arrangement more inviting. The more people know of, talk about and use Airbnb, the less it seems like an anomaly to stay in someone else’s home; it begins to feel like you are part of something bigger.

Part of what has led to the growth of Airbnb is travelers that have used the service recounting their experience to others. Pineapple is the latest attempt to scale that sharing on a larger scale.

Why a Print Magazine Helps Airbnb

The magazine spreads the company’s message through feature articles and photo spreads on three Airbnb cities: London, Seoul and San Francisco (the latter is where Airbnb is based). Exemplifying the company’s community-first message, the article on San Francisco doesn’t focus on the city as a whole, but rather individual San Fran neighborhood of Outer Sunset.

The four-color, glossy magazine features articles and photography from freelancers, though the magazine was put created and managed by an internal team at the company. Noticeably, the first issue has no ads – the bill is being footed by the company. However, Andrew Schapiro, head of brand creative for Airbnb, told the New York Times that the company is looking at “ways of scaling this idea going forward.”

Schapiro also told the Times that 18,000 copies of the magazine will be distributed to Airbnb hosts internationally, and that a limited number will be available in bookstores in North America and Europe.

Building Brand Loyalty Online

So far it appears the company’s approach is working. According to Inc. – which coincidentally just named Airbnb its 2014 Company of the Year – the service now has 800,000 host listings worldwide along with 20 million users. Of those, 10 million used the service in 2014 alone. For comparison: Airbnb offers more lodging than any hotel chain worldwide.

That last statistic may be somewhat related to Airbnb’s goal for the magazine. The NYTimes article quotes NYU professor Bjorn Hanson as saying most hotel brands offer “a publication of some form,” and Pineapple “continues to position Airbnb as a legitimate hotel brand.”

While the company serves as something of an alternative to hotels, that doesn’t mean it can’t steal a thing or two from the playbook of the hotel industry. Namely, fostering brand loyalty for a service that exists online. This may prove difficult for a company that, again, offers no actual end product. But Pineapple is a physical reminder of the Airbnb brand and it aims to foster.


A Post Script: Other Digital Companies in the Print World

Airbnb is not the only tech company moving into the print world. Another high profile company that has launched a print magazine is CNET, one of the oldest online tech publications. Music site Pitchfork launched the quarterly Pitchfork Review in December 2013, and Editorialist – a fashion accessories site founded by former Elle editors – launched a biannual print magazine that has seen good results so far.

Speaking to AdWeek, Editorialist co-founder Kate Davidson Hudson said the site has seen a “huge uptick” in conversion of the online version of content that appeared in the hard copy magazine.

“We were making an effort to find out how we can be at all of our users’ touch points throughout their day,” said Davidson Hudson. “The big missing piece of that puzzle, ironically, was having a tangible medium to connect with them on.”

AdWeek points out that, in this case, the tangible medium grants access to consumers that may not go online first: e.g. “older women who are in the market for a $1,000 bag but might not look for it on the Web.”

This last part speaks to why digital companies are turning to print, and why in many cases the move is successful. The move ensures yet another avenue of interaction with customers, and in many cases that means a whole new way of interacting offline.

It has been proven that there are differences between reading online and reading print, and this is part of what makes the printed magazine useful to some digital companies. It’s certainly not great strategy for every digital company to start issuing print magazines, but some are clearly finding that it’s a great way to expand their brand and add a new aspect to their marketing campaigns with print.


Online Reading vs. Print Reading


Online Reading vs Print Reading Study

A new study from the University of Houston shows that those reading print publications remember more than online readers. The new research echoes similar findings concerning digital versus print advertisements, and adds new theories into just why print reading leads to better retention than online reading.

“All the News That’s Fit to Print

The study examined two groups of college students – the first read the print edition of the New York Times for 20 minutes; the second group read the digital edition of the same day’s paper for the same amount of time. Each group had been asked to undergo a news blackout prior to the study.

After the 20 minute reading session, the participants were asked to note as much as they could remember about what they had read, including headlines, main points and general topics of articles. The groups were not informed of this task before they began reading.

The group that read the print edition of the paper remembered an average of 4.24 news stories, while the online readers remembered an average of 3.35 stories.

“As the U.S. public gets its news more from online newspapers and less from print, new questions have arisen about the differences of both reading experiences,” said Arthur D. Santana, an assistant professor at the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication at the University of Houston and principal investigator of the study.

“In essence, print newspapers are a more effective medium than online newspapers at spurring recollection,” he continued.

Print Reading is More Effective than Online Reading

The study also looks into why print readers tend to retain more than digital readers. Santana also makes some points on the broader implications of the report’s findings. Particularly interesting is the implication that we don’t remember as much of what we read online simply because we don’t have to remember it.

“The knowledge that the information they can find online, even if it disappears after reading, is immediately electronically archived and thus imminently retrievable may make readers less apt to feel they need to store it in their memory,” said Santana.

On the other hand, when reading print we typically are focused directly on what is before us.

“The nature of the Web as a medium that has subsumed virtually all others makes it a site for a variety of uses, including commerce, communication, gaming, and of course, news,” Santana said. “The print newspaper, however, is generally dedicated mostly to news, thus in choosing a particular medium, users bring preformed attitudes about what to expect.”

How Is This Translating to the Real World?

While the study focuses on the differences between these two readership groups, another new study released at roughly the same time illustrates how news media is beginning to look at its audience without a divide between print and online.

In fact, the announcement of the first Magazine Media 360 Report from the MPA- Association of Magazine Media was nearly as notable for how it reported magazine readership information as what it reported. While previous reports from the association reported print advertising revenue, page numbers and circulation, the new report focuses on all current magazine data, including mobile traffic, web traffic, video views and print and digital editions. A coming metric also will look at social media data for titles.

The change comes as the MPA attempts to move away from the falling traditional measurements from print from the past few years. But the move is not an attempt to hide those numbers; instead, it offers a better representation of how the magazine industry functions today.

Of course, as a printing company we want to see print circulation explode to higher levels than it ever has been, but realize that we live in a world where digital must co-exist with print, and we know the future of the industry is print material working in conjunction with digital, not in competition.

Therefore it’s with glad and optimistic eyes we see the Magazine Media 360 report finding the consumer demand for magazine media has increased 10 percent from 2013 to 2014. The primary driver of growth is a 98 percent rise in mobile web views, and the study finds print and digital editions essentially holding steady with 2.1 percent growth over the year (print and digital are not separated in the report).

This hold steady pattern is inline with print ad spending, which has leveled off after a (highly publicized) period of decline. Industry experts see businesses and publishers recognizing the areas where print is still important and incorporating print and digital together into their larger sales and marketing plans.

Combining Print & Digital Strategies

What this means is that publications and businesses should not necessarily view the University of Houston study as a reason to focus on print, but instead as a way to decide what items will perform better in print and which will work better online. Of course, there will be some overlap and these trends will continue to be ironed out in the future. The University of Houston study shows that print remains extremely important, while the MPA report suggests that print activities must be combined with digital efforts to be most effective.

Image source: Flickr

Premedia – How it Relates to Prepress



Premedia has become a commonly used phrase in print shops and other creative offices around the world. However, it is not always immediately clear what this relatively new term means.

For printers in particular, the term is often confused with the more common (and traditional) prepress. Though the two are not interchangeable, they are related in that prepress is a specific type of premedia process.

What is Premedia?

Premedia is anything that happens to a piece of artwork to take it from its original state when completed by the creator to a form that is ready for public consumption. This can range from color correcting a photograph to placing audio effects on a song file to preparing a PDF for printing.

One of the causes of confusion about premedia is that its definition is so broad – but this is purposeful to include a large variety of media.

Premedia in Relation to Prepress

When a client presents their artwork to be printed, anything done by the printing company between receiving the art and actual going to press is the prepress process. Because prepress is a specific type of premedia, prepress activities are also a premedia process.

However, since premedia is inherently designed to include multiple media, it is not only restricted to prepress (or the print industry). A photography company taking a raw photo from a photographer and enhancing the image and then developing and printing it is also taking part in a premedia process. If the company only enhances the image for digital use, it is still a premedia process even though there is no physical material produced. In this case, the completed and enhanced digital file is the final product of the premedia process.

For more on prepress, see our extensive prepress article over at bestbookprinting.com, our book printing division.

History of Premedia

The term was initially created as a way to describe the processing of the newly emerging digital and web communications in much the same way that prepress has been used for so long to describe the print production process. Before premedia, there was no word for the digital production process.

The definition has been left intentionally broad to encompass not only existing media and delivery output channels, but also any that emerge in the years to come.

The Strategy of Your Print Marketing Collateral


Print Marketing Collateral

Print marketing collateral is a must for most small businesses – these materials allow you to put your exact message directly into the hands of your audience.

Print Marketing Collateral Materials, A Definition
Any sales or marketing material designed to support a product or service, e.g. Brochures, Calendars, Catalogs, Direct Mail, Newsletters, Pocket Folders, Posters.

While collateral has traditionally been considered print products (as evidenced in the explanation above), now some digital information falls under the definition, as well. The key to choosing effective materials (both message and medium) is to have a marketing collateral strategy that serves your overall marketing strategy.

5 Ways to Improve Your Collateral Marketing Strategy

1. Search for Consistency Across Media

Marketing 101 advises you to create consistency across all materials (the same logo, the same color scheme, etc.). But beyond this, you need to be sure your message also is consistent across different media.

This does not mean that you have to (or should) say the same thing in the same way on every piece of marketing you produce, but it does mean there needs to be a recognizable aspect of your company no matter the avenue used to deliver the message.

— FedEx (@FedEx) October 28, 2013

In the tweet above, FedEx uses social media to have a little fun and let customers know that their One Rate shipping services are great for the impending Zombie Apocalypse. However, the tone is decidedly more serious over at the company’s FedEx Service Alerts page – and rightly so.

Fedex Strategic Marketing Comparison

Anyone visiting the above page worried about delivery of a time-sensitive package likely isn’t quite in the mood to chuckle about zombies.

Still, despite the tone differences, the company is always on target and focused on enforcing their message: we’ll deliver your package come hell, high water or zombies, and if there are any problems along the way we are going to get serious and keep you informed of what’s going on.

2. Make Print Marketing Collateral Part of Your Overall Content Strategy

Content strategy is a phrase that has been thrown around a lot in the past few years with the rise of online marketing. However, the definition can be a bit unclear.

The great book “Content Strategy – Connecting the Dots Between Business, Brand, and Benefits,” offers this definition:

A comprehensive process that builds a framework to create, manage, deliver, share, and archive or renew content in reliable ways. It’s a way of managing content throughout the entire lifecycle.

In other words, content strategy and marketing materials are not synonymous; the former is the big picture and the latter is just one part of that picture.

Similarly to how there should be a consistency among marketing materials, your marketing collateral strategy should be designed to work to aid and work in conjunction with other parts of the strategy, including both digital and print marketing collateral.

3. Use Print Material in Conjunction with Digital, Not in Competition

Content strategy has grown as a term along with online marketing for a good reason: the digital migration has forced all marketers to reconsider their marketing plans, and they needed a new name for that.

As “Content Strategy” points out, one of the biggest changes ushered in by the rise of digital is the lifespan of content. Digital content has a lifecycle – it can be updated and altered to remain relevant over a large time span and over multiple interactions, even from the same user. Comparatively, print content traditionally has a “linear supply chain” where it is created, published, then archived.

So while digital has forced marketers to move and think in new directions, it is important to remember that print is still extremely relevant. Studies show that because of the differences in how consumers respond to print vs. digital ads, it’s the marketers that take advantage of both forms (and know when to implement each) that will see the wins.

4. Content Marketing is Not Necessarily Digital Content

Often, when you see the words “content strategy,” the phrase “content marketing” will be no more than a paragraph or two away. Let’s get the definition of content marketing out of the way:

According to the Content Marketing Institute:

Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

Notice that the above definition does not include the words “digital” or “online.” Though it seems today content marketing is often applied only to digital content, the concept of content marketing goes back at least decades.

An oft-cited example comes from famous ad man David Ogilvy’s “Guinness Guide to Oysters.” The ad is simple; it’s exactly what it’s title says it is and this content portion speaks directly to the target audience. The marketing part comes in at the bottom of the ad: “ALL OYSTERS taste their best when washed down with drafts of Guinness.”

Guinness Guide to Oysters Print Marketing Collateral

It’s the targeted audience that’s important – notice how specialized it is. It’s not for all food lovers, or even all seafood lovers. Instead, it is aimed at those interested in oysters (and, by a created extension, a specific type of beer). For more info on how the ad is a great example of content marketing, Speak! does a good job getting into the details of it.

All of this is to say, content marketing can be print materials just as easily as it is digital, and both types can be employed as a part of an overall strategy.

5. Know Your Objective and Your Message at All Times

All of this applies to not just the text you are presenting your customer, but also the design, the layout and the medium. The best practices for you will depend on a number of facets individual to your business and your message.

You should always be conscious of your overall message with every piece of content you create – and this applies to both digital and print marketing collateral. The final goal is to be able to clearly define every piece of content’s place within your strategy.