Now that we’ve set the mood, let’s talk about black ink
What is black, anyway? Conceptually, “black” isn’t a color, it’s the absence (or near absence) of light waves reaching your eyeball. This happens by either shutting off pixels in a display, or creating a surface that doesn’t reflect ambient light. There’s a color model for each.
RGB Pixels, or Additive Color: The red, green, and blue primaries in this model match the receptors on your own retina, so you might say RGB is your eyeball’s native language. To render “Black” the definition is RGB 0,0,0; and this gives you a blank screen on smartphones, monitors, and projectors.
Since printing relies on reflection, not projection, we can’t directly print in RGB. A translation is needed, and as with two fundamentally different languages it’s never perfect. “Black” in RGB often translates to a printing color that doesn’t include 100% of black ink (CMYK 75,67,67,90). This unpredictability is just one of many reasons to select CMYK for your print document color space, and color definitions, unless there’s just no choice.
CMYK ink and toner, or Subtractive Color: The language of almost all color printing, CMYK is the reciprocal of RGB. In the diagram you can see that the primaries of one model are the secondaries of the other. In theory 100% Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow would equal black, but they don’t so our print-shop founding fathers added black ink as a fourth color and we’ve lived happily ever after.
For clear, sharp type we want 100% black and nothing else so that the edges of the letter forms won’t be compromised by other colors peeking out. But is 100% black always black enough? What if your layout has a gigantic solid black background, and we’re worried about the possibility it’ll show pinholes, grayness, or we’ll have to run so much ink that adjoining graphics will start to plug?
Rich Black is a color swatch that can be created to alleviate the problems of a large, 100% black solid. In your layout program simply build a color swatch in CMYK with these numbers, CMYK = 30, 30, 30, 100. Use that swatch if you want to create large areas of solid black, and we’ll easily lay down a dependable impression with real depth and uniformity. To travel from the sublime to the absurd, however, follow me one step further.
Image Credit: Surrey NanoSystems
Vantablack, from Surrey NanoSystems,is the extreme end of subtractive color, and has been employed effectively by cartoon roadrunners since the 1960’s. It’s carbon fiber nanostructure absorbs (does not reflect) in excess of 99.9% of visible, ultraviolet, and infrared light. Objects sprayed with an aerosol version of the product appear two-dimensional, which is a clue to the degree we depend on variances in reflected light to orient what we’re seeing.
So far we can’t print this stuff, and assume most uses are super hush-hush, but if you want to be at the cutting edge of dark-black technology there’s a watch available made using Vantablack that only costs $95,000.
For those of us who aren’t that rich, there’s always rich black.
Date posted: April 27, 2017
Gandy Printers won a trophy at the Tally Awards; but that’s not the point.
Gandy Printers’ First Place Award for Technology – Design
Several years ago a friend asked for help with a sponsorship for Capital City Youth Services; specifically printing for their Tally Awards. He’s a longtime customer and made a quick pitch why he was passionate about CCYS. 2017 is the fourth year we have participated.
This year we were happy to win a Tally Award, for Technology – Graphic Design, which was gratifying as we’re proud of what we do. We got our picture taken and had a great time at the Tally Awards, but that’s not the point.
Here’s a spoiler:
Leon County schools reported 870 homeless youth during the 2015-2016 school year
24 Hour Hotline: 850-576-6000
While delivering the programs I was given a tour by Jess Tharpe, CCYS Outreach & Development Director, who explained the scope and complexity of the organization’s mission. Twenty minutes later I had learned something important; there’s a large, unseen population of young people in the Big Bend who have no place to go for food, clothing, and shelter. I learned about the scarcity of services to alleviate the impact of teen homelessness. Most important, I learned about the multi-faceted approach CCYS takes to engage these young people.
To get an idea how large a need CCYS addresses, consider this:
Leon County schools reported 870 homeless youth during the 2015-2016 school year, many of these youth are served by the CCYS emergency shelter.
CCYS served more than 1,250 youth last year across all programs.
CCYS’ crisis hotline is available 24 hours for referrals. Any youth, family member, caregiver, counselor, friend, etc. can call to see if CCYS can be of assistance.
To get an idea of how effective CCYS’s six programs are, consider this:
82% of youth remain housed or employed after receiving street outreach services.
92% remain non-adjudicated (have not been arrested) 6 months after receiving services.
If you might like to help, consider this: “CCYS works to alleviate the immediate problems of youth during runaway or other crisis situations, reunite runaway, transient and other youth in crisis with their families, strengthen family relationships, help parents and youth decide on future courses of action, prevent juvenile crime, and prevent domestic violence and abuse.”
Much as our customer asked us, we are asking you to support Capital City Youth Services. Gandy Printers is glad to know there are dedicated professionals undertaking this mission, and proud to be a sponsor.
Date posted: April 5, 2017
Digital vs. Offset in 180 Seconds
Digital vs. Offset: Terms of Art
It’s tricky to talk about digital vs. offset printing because the terminology is either imprecise or obscure. Virtually all printing begins with a “digital” file, and web-based messaging is also described as “digital.” Almost no one knows what “offset” even means. It’s more useful to think about what the printing file actually does.
Xerox Versant 2100 Digital Press
Digital printing might better be called “direct” printing, as the file itself is sent to and drives the imaging device (laser or inkjet). In a simple setting the printer can be producing final product in less than five minutes. Even for a complex job the “getaway time” rarely exceeds fifteen minutes, and is a small component of the price.
Regrettably, after the jackrabbit start, digital presses run slowly and use expensive consumables (toner or inkjet ink). The low setup cost is followed by a stubborn cost-per-copy that does not decline significantly as the run length increases.
Offset printing adds an expensive step to save you money. The digital file is used to create printing plates that will be mounted on a series of press cylinders to transfer, or “offset,” the inked image to the paper. Creating, installing and aligning the plates, even in an automated environment, is time-consuming, but offset presses run at high speed and can handle a wide range of substrates and sizes.
Ryobi 920 Offset Plate Ready to Load
Once an offset press is set up and running, during which time the digital press may have run three or four complete jobs, the productivity is astounding. It’s not unusual for press operators to move four tons of paper through the press in an eight hour shift.
Which is Better?
Both. Both are better; they’re just better at different things. At each end of the spectrum are simply unsuitable jobs. Barring very particular circumstances we would not run 250 business cards offset. By the same token, 4,000 two-sided color flyers would be prohibitively expensive run digital-direct. Somewhere in the range of 750 copies, depending on the job, the pricing curves cross over each other. That said, however, the job you need by tomorrow is probably digital-direct.
There Has Never Been a Better Time to Buy Printing!
It’s probably misleading to frame this as “One Versus the Other.” Even though offset is still seen as more reliable, direct-digital printing is a fully mature technology, with all major manufacturers on their third- or fourth-generation machines. Although the exact nature of the image may vary from one platform to the other, both are equally capable of delivering commercially great results. Maybe it’s better to consider overlapping spectra of usefulness, with the happy consumer able to evaluate which serves the need better. Lot’s of choices; good news for all of us!
Date posted: February 21, 2017
Printed Text Makes You Smarter; Science Proves It
Photo credit: Victoria Twead – victoriatwead.com
Does printed text convey your message more effectively? Yes, according to a study published in the International Journal of Educational Research.
The 2013 study measured higher comprehension rates among students who read printed text compared to their cohort reading on a digital screen. This sheds light on why targeted print messaging is so effective.
With humans having an attention span approximated at one-second-less than a goldfish (8 seconds) we’re faced with two choices. We can play into this trend by shallowing to a Twitter-like depth, or consider the benefits of a message that punches through and sticks around. If the latter is your choice, print is your medium.
Experience tells us printed text is more persuasive; primarily because of the lack of accompanying distractions. A direct mailer in your hand does not also preview messages that your credit card is due. A brochure describing a product or service is not attempting to sell you something else in the margins. Even if your goldfish-like brain momentarily short-circuits, you are still experiencing the tactile presence of the printed item, and are more likely to return to it.
Printed messaging can be technology-leveraged. Just because we’re talking about ink (or toner) on paper does not imply a lack of technical horsepower. First, cost-effective print marketing depends on carefully targeting your audience (database). Second, make the message interactive in any way technology allows by use of variable data, discount codes, or direct (foolproof and simple) cues to your web presence. Third, and perhaps most important, be sure the layout is produced at the highest level the budget will allow. Message consumers have become extremely discerning, and a “homemade” look will stick out like a sore thumb. High production values play into our final point, below.
A printed message is a gift. Is this an exaggeration? Maybe, but not much. Consumers know that an email costs virtually nothing, whereas printed material is a significant investment. Millennials, particularly, have grown up with the “Nigerian Prince,” and tend to ignore digital messages from unknown senders. Tangible print messaging, on the other hand, is viewed by the same group as being inherently trustworthy. Additionally, many demographic groups will not reflexively throw something away they perceive as “high-quality.”
Relevance, credibility, and longevity are the watchwords. There will be a quiz!
Date posted: January 26, 2017
Get What You Expect From Your Print Project
Will You Be Happy With Your Print Project in 2017?
To “Get what you expect” requires an expectation; a belief that something will occur in the future.
An experienced graphic designer peers with satisfaction at her screen after the final touches to a brochure are complete; how is it she is so confident the final product will succeed? How does she know the effect will be what the client wants? How can she be so sure it will win an Addy Award?
The printed piece is a fundamentally different entity that the screen image; how the transformation happens should not be a mystery to you. The more you understand the more likely you are to be satisfied, even thrilled, with the result.
Here are common techniques for managing a print project, ranked from most to least effective.
Compulsive attention to detail is one approach. This person carefully considers the color model of the printing, and is sure their file is prepared to match. All their colors are Pantone-specified having examined the printed swatch books. A folding template is employed right at the beginning, and actual paper samples are carefully scrutinized. Finalized timeline, proofing, and delivery details are communicated in clear written form. In my entire career I have worked with a surprisingly small number of people who use this approach, and like anything rare I value them tremendously.
Most people use a business as usual approach. This is what you do because you did it before and your expectations were met, or, if not, it wasn’t bad enough to change. The vast majority of print projects fall into this category, and with good reason; if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Consider, though, the possibility you’re setting the bar too low; maybe ask a few follow-up questions to learn how the process can be improved. Printers have a bad habit of fixing customer mistakes, for the sake of expediency, without telling anyone. Just because it ain’t broke doesn’t mean it can’t be better. Maybe much better.
Then there’s good old-fashioned dump and run. You don’t have time to mess with it, now it’s our problem; and you’ll take what you get. We understand and we’ve got your back; we promise to do everything possible to keep you out of trouble and not give you any grief. Seriously. Sooner or later we’ll have a problem, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
Remember that printing is custom manufacturing. Since it’s made just for you it’s important you provide enough information, and ask enough questions, to insure the project you understand is the same one we plan to produce. Our goal is that, when you open the box, the product is right on the button; and that we’re all thinking of the same button. It’s an old saying, but a true one: there are no stupid questions.
Date posted: January 13, 2017
Gandy Printers Completes $1.1M Equipment Upgrade
RMGT Series-920 5-Color Press at Gandy Printers
Final touches over the Holidays mark the completion of a year-long overhaul here at Gandy Printers. New and upgraded equipment has made every area of our shop faster and more reliable. “My father built Gandy Printers up to be Tallahassee’s first color printer, and we are now Tallahassee’s most advanced, high quality color printer,” said Bernie Gandy III, as we broke for Christmas. “Our customers now get the turnaround and quality they expect with less wear and tear on our people. Our guys have the right tools to do their job.”
Most notable is the installation of Ryobi-MHI’s Series 920 5-color printing press, running LED cured inks. This system utilizes UV light and specially formulated, non-petroleum based inks to provide true instant drying. Built for our short and medium run work, this press sets up in a fraction of the time needed by the old machine, and runs four times faster. Direct linkage to the prepress computers provides inking presets, so we get up to color right away, and the quick drying inks provide a cleaner, powder-free sheet that can be handled immediately. All of this means less waste, and product that moves through the shop faster!
If you like YouTube, and want to know more this machine (a lot more) click HEREand the lovely lady from RMGT will tell you all about it. The wonderful part is that, unlike most sales pitches, everything she says is true.
We’ve made improvements in our digital printing room and bindery as well. If you’re a Gandy Printers customer, please accept our thanks for making these improvements possible. If you’ve not tried our shop yet, or in a while, we’d love to show you around. Make a New Year’s resolution to give us a call!
Thanks for a great 2016, and Best Wishes for the New Year from all of us at Gandy Printers.
Date posted: January 2, 2017
PANTONE® Color of the Year, 2017 – “Greenery”
PANTONE 15-0343 “Greenery”
Pantone LLC, the global authority on color, has designated PANTONE® 15-0343 “Greenery” as Color of the Year for 2017. The company describes “a refreshing and revitalizing shade, Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings.”
Never at a loss for words, Pantone Color Institute® Executive Director Leatrice Eiseman says; “Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the hope we collectively yearn for amid a complex social and political landscape. Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate, revitalize and unite, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose.”
Who are we to disagree?
You can read about this visual delight, in detail both sumptuous and technical, at the Pantone website Here.
PANTONE® is the standard language of color communication from digital design to printed image, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Any creative professional working in or across multiple media, (digital, textile, print, fashion, paint, etc), should make a New Year’s resolution to visit the Pantone website Here. You’ll be rewarded with ideas, inspiration, and the good feeling that there are people in this world who care about color even more than yourself.
Date posted: December 22, 2016
Happy Earth Day!
Earth Day has inspired us and we’d like you to know that your efforts to use recycled paper on projects this month will not only save you money, but it will help save our precious Earth. Here at Gandy, we have worked hard to build up strong sustainable business practices and this month especially, we’d hate for them to go unnoticed. One of our lovely designers made this info-graphic showing our good efforts in the simplest way we know how.
We really appreciate our readers! Thanks from us AND the planet!
Date posted: April 8, 2016
Planning Ahead For Success
Daylight savings is around the corner. The forecast is more unpredictable than usual, with alternating layers of pollen and frost covering everything. It seems another Tallahassee Spring is in full swing.
2016 is moving right along; a little too fast for some of us. All of the sudden April deadlines, so innocent in January, are blankly staring us in the face. Looking for a way to prevent your deadline from becoming a dreadline? The answer is easier than you thought.
Planning ahead seems like the logical solution to deadlines, but more often than not it falls by the wayside. The thrill of a tight deadline gives some of us the motivation to achieve our goals; the rest of us drag out feet in the face of a deadline. Regardless of where you fall, planning ahead is the perfect solution for you!
For the Adrenaline Junkies
You thrive in high-stress situations; wouldn’t planning ahead kill your drive? Not exactly. The ability to complete projects on a short time frame is something to be proud of! But always waiting until the last minute will eventually backfire.
The world moves faster today, and many of us multitask to keep up. I’m multitasking as I write this article! Anyway, when multiple projects and approaching deadlines coincide, thriving under pressure can quickly turn to drowning in it. Planning ahead is a great way to coordinate deadlines!
You can still thrive under pressure while effortlessly juggling your tasks. All you need to do is set a schedule for completing your projects. This ensures that each assignment gets the attention it deserves while maintaining a work pace you are comfortable with.
For the Deadline Dreaders
You always get things done, but you’ve always dreaded deadlines. They generate stress, and not in a motivational sort of way. Having a deadline may even negatively effect the quality of your work. Whether it’s procrastination or fear in the face of a deadline, there is a solution.
Setting a schedule can help you, too! Having a plan laid out for tackling projects can minimize or even eliminate the dread you associate with deadlines. Planning ahead allows you to manage your projects by setting daily or weekly goals. This shifts your focus from the deadline to the work itself.
For Every One Else
Of course, these are just 2 extremes. There’s a wide spectrum between the two; can planning ahead really be the solution for everyone?
You bet! I can think of very few situations when planning ahead is harmful, almost none of them occurring in the workplace. Planning ahead can benefit you and your coworkers in more ways than just meeting deadlines. Clear planning can minimize office confusion and even save money on upcoming events and projects!
So Where Do You Start?
Simple. Make a list of everything you need to accomplish along with their end dates. Next, get a calendar or planner and map out when each project should get attention. As new projects arise, add them in to your calendar. It’s OK to rearrange your schedule as new, more pressing things arise.
Want to avoid running out for another thing to clutter your desk? Most computer software and email programs already have a calendar built in!
Date posted: March 4, 2016
How To Improve Loyalty With Customer Appreciation
With all the benefits of hosting a Customer Appreciation Event, it’s a surprise that so many businesses fail to utilize them. Perhaps that can be attributed to the daunting nature of these events.
Never fear! We’re here with a fool-proof approach to planning your next event. And the best part? It’s divided into 4 simple steps!
STEP ONE: BRAINSTORM
Meet with your team, build the foundations of your event.
Determine your budget. If from the start it doesn’t meet your expectations, begin fundraising efforts.
Decide what sort of event to host. Keep in mind the wide variety of events possible and what they can say to your customers.
Locate venues that complement your theme. Bonus points for them being easily accessible and a reasonable driving distance.
Assemble an invitation list. This list will change as plans progress, but it’s essential to have a starting point.
STEP TWO: PREPARATIONS
After laying the foundations, make arrangements to flesh out your plan and start making it into a reality.
Arrange necessary reservations. This can include the venue, catering, entertainment, and guest speakers to name a few.
Design invitations and have them printed. Find a designer to create a custom invitation for your event. Many print shops have in-house design teams.
Develop a marketing strategy. This event needs to be promoted. Utilize social media as an inexpensive way to spread the word.
Order give-aways for the event. Give your customers something useful to take home from your event. Bonus points for it bearing your company logo or tag line.
STEP THREE: PROMOTION
Once you’ve planned your marketing approach, implement it.
Send out invitations to your mailing list. You may also want to consider evites, too.
Launch your marketing campaigns. Monitor their response and increase promotion accordingly.
Develop and finalize the event itinerary. Be sure to keep it interesting, and refrain from turning the event into a sales pitch.
Assign an employee to maintain your social media presence. Regular, relevant posts and updates will help build the hype.
STEP FOUR: FINAL PREPARATIONS
This is it! Double-check your lists and triple-check your reservations!
Verify all of your reservations. If something falls through, you’ll want to know ASAP.
Finalize your headcount using RSVPs. For people who did not respond, give them a quick call. infographic
Depending on your business and employees’ duties, you may want to coach them on how to treat customers at the event. Better safe than sorry.
Leave room for changes. Murphy’s Law is alive and well; it’s better to be prepared for the worst than blindsided by it.
Here’s an infographic to help illustrate these steps!
Date posted: February 7, 2016
Spring Clean For Your Community
It happens to the best of us. Something in our life breaks and falls by the wayside, taking up valuable space until ultimately we throw it out.
Even here at Gandy Printers we ran into this same problem when an old copier and wide format printer bit the dust. To avoid simply throwing them out, they sat in a hallway collecting dust and clogging office traffic.
Of course the first thought is dispose of them; surely no one could have a use for our junk. But we couldn’t bear the idea of sending them to a landfill, wasting our resources and contributing to the ever growing stream of wasted electronics in our country.
And then it hit us – Duh! Why not donate them??
A quick call to Goodwill confirmed that one man’s trash truly is another man’s treasure. They were not only glad to accept these outdated machines, but they ] also sent over a truck the very next day to pick them up.
Now these two obsolete machines will be dismantled for recyclable parts. This will contribute to the employment of the people in the Tallahassee area.
High of 923º. 89% humidity. Rain on the horizon. It looks like Tallahassee has once again missed out on the winter weather. Here in the Sunshine State Capitol we’re no strangers to heat and humidity. We keep umbrellas in our cars and offices; our A/C units are more than well-maintained. But what about your outdoor banner?
The elements can really take a toll on your signage; as a result the average outdoor banner last about 1 or 2 years outside. Extreme weather conditions, such as we experience here, can cut that lifespan back even further.
What was once a great way to promote your business is now a cracked, sun-bleached nuisance that might actually be driving your business away.
Take control of your storefront again by updating your outdoor banner. A new banner is a great way to generate interest in your latest offerings. It’s also an inexpensive way to improve your business’s curb appeal!
Date posted: January 16, 2016
Cutting Corners on Die Cutting
Other printers may sell you on die cutting, but can they really deliver?
Many popular printers lack the machinery to produce die cut materials in-house, leading them to outsource their die cutting needs. Outsourcing can add days, even weeks, to production time and drive up the cost of your project.
Why can’t there be an easier way?With Gandy Printers, there is!
We are proud to provide all of our services in-house. If we advertise it, we accommodate it without the nuisance of outsourcing. We love saving our customers time and money, and keeping all of our operations under one roof makes that possible.
Now, back to die cutting.
Die-cutting is a process used to cut a thin flat material, such as paper, into a specific shape using a steel cutting die. It can be used to punch out a decorative shape, or it can be used to create the main shape of an object by cutting the entire sheet of paper.
The die is a specialized tool used to cut materials using a press. We carry standard dies for various perforations and cuts. We also have a collection of dies that past clients have had designed. For a truly unique presentation, we can design a custom die for your project.
At Gandy Printers, every project that is die cut passes through the hands of Robert Skipper.
Skipper runs the machinery responsible for die cutting. He constantly manages the machine, ensuring that each page is expertly aligned for a more consistent final product.
Here are a few examples of how die cutting can enhance your next order.
Date posted: January 10, 2016
Rebrand for the New Year
What is Branding?
The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination thereof, that is intended to identify the goods and services of a seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.”
Your branding is responsible for showing your prospective clients that you are their best solution. Cohesive and relevant branding assures your customers of your credibility and connects with them on an intellectual or emotional level. Effective branding also motivates them to do business with you.
Branding influences the majority of your customers’ response and interaction. A good advertising platform combined with intuitive design can help your customers better understand your business. It can also increase their need to do business with you.
When Should I Consider A Rebrand?
Over time, changes in your business, the market, or you client base affect your branding’s effectiveness. A shift in your company’s products or change of ownership may render your current branding irrelevant. A shift in the market towards newer technologies may date your branding.
It’s times like this that you should consider the need for a rebrand.
Updating your brand can give you an advantage over your competition and even reverse a drop in customer confidence or profits. A rebrand can streamline your marketing materials, saving you money. Timely rebrands can also help your business grow by assuring your customers that you are competitive and innovative.
Types of Rebrands
There are three types of rebranding: a brand refresh, a brand merger, and a full rebrand.
A Brand Refresh updates your company’s current image without renovating your entire branding platform. This is a great way to eliminate outdated branding and accommodate slight shifts in your goals and objectives.
A Brand Merger combines multiple branding platforms. This is useful during company mergers or management overhauls. This type of rebranding retains the ideals and concepts of the original brandings while defining their relationship. In times when this approach doesn’t work, a full rebrand is the next option.
A Full Rebrand completely re-imagines your branding. This type of rebrand is useful if your company or business has recently changed its goals, leadership, or services. A full rebrand can also help your company reach its full potential by better connecting with your audience. If your branding is misleading or irrelevant, a full rebrand is the best approach.
Your Next Rebrand
Inevitably your company or business will need to rebrand. Before deciding which rebrand is best for you, you need to determine your branding needs and the shortcomings of your current approach. This can be difficult, especially if you have never rebranded before.
That’s where we come in. At Gandy Printers, our graphic design experts are ready to help you make the most of your next rebrand. Our goal is to provide you with all the tools you need to succeed.