April 15, 2014

A Little Message About Bleed

If you’re like me when you heard “bleed” for the first time in reference to graphic art, you definitely didn’t envision the same thing as would a seasoned graphic designer.

Your mind’s path may have led you to something more like this:

But graphic art bleed is actually referring to this:

As you can see from this image, bleed has it’s place almost at the paper’s edge.

So, why is bleed so important? It’s because bleed is essentially extra printed material! Bleed is included in the final print file so that the end product will show color edge to edge (not white edges, unless of course your background color is white).

Bleed allows wiggle room for printers because it is subject to shrink by the heat of the heater during the dye sub process. It also allows extra wiggle room during the finishing process as cutters will need to cut off excess material, and seamstresses or seamsters, respectfully, will need material to hem and sew. Bleed may or may not be included in the final product, depending on all these factors.  

And considering all these factors, bleed also helps to ensure your graphic art will come out as expected. Because, isn't that what you really want anyway?

So, please consider what happens with bleed when you start designing. Here’s some quick advice:

  • Don’t put your text or logos on the bleed section! But, do extend your background colors onto the bleed section of any template that includes a bleed border.

  • When placing text and logos, always allow room for margins. To help guide you, our templates include a “Yellow Safe Zone” so you know to place all important logo and information here, and only here.

  • One of our graphic designers, Aileen, says it’s like decorating a cake. “Yellow Safe Zones” (see templates) are for words and design. Are you going to want your design on the edges? No, you want to leave a nice margin so it looks appealing. But you still need to frost the whole cake before you put your message in the middle.

April 2, 2014

What Should I Put in My Trade Show Booth?

You may be asking yourself, “What should I put in my trade show booth?”  And the answer to that of course depends on what size is your booth, how much can you afford to spend on trade show displays, and what it is that you’re showing and selling?  Will you reuse your equipment at some point during this year, or within the next couple of years?  

Even if you only plan on going to one trade show, you might consider investing in some portable trade show displays.  At a trade show, everyone has them.  You don’t want to fill up your booth with too many displays, but you do want your booth to be tidy.  No one wants to walk into a messy store.

For starters, most everyone, if not everyone, has a nice backwall display—so that is a must.  If you can only get one display, get a backwall to put right up against the back booth-divider-wall. So, do you want something curved, or straight?  Maybe you’re looking for a lot of attention. In that case, seriously consider a backlit display. It’s more expensive, but people will spot you easily, coming at you just like moths in the evening fluttering around a porch light.  Unlike moths, you’ll definitely let them in!  Think about it: you can potentially turn that $2,488 you spent on a 10’x8’ Mammoth Light Box (single-sided graphic package) into, say, $50,000 plus in revenue from new customers.  Just remember to diligently and quickly follow up with your trade show leads!  

Next, do you want to use a podium, or would you rather have a table? A table is nice if you need room to display items or literature.  If you need a table, you’ll either have to bring in your own or check into the convention services to pay to borrow a table. Once you set that up, you’ll want to consider a table throw.  Does your logo have a gradient or have 3+ colors?  If yes, then invest in a custom printed table throw.  If your logo has 1 or 2 colors, consider a heat press table throw—an alternative option.

Are you handing out brochures, price lists, or catalogs?  If you don’t want a table or you want something extra, maybe you need a literature stand. It displays paper items nicely and non-verbally tells potential customers that it’s okay to take them.

Do you have another message you want potential customers to know?  If yes, remember not to clutter your backwall graphics with too much information!  You might consider adding a skinnier banner stand to place in your booth.  Looking for a sophisticated look?  If yes, check out some retractable banner stands. There are lots of retractable banner stands, but they are all made just a little differently.  Do you want the pole in the base?  If yes, check these out: Portable Roll Up, Butterfly, Zinc or Imagine. Do you want a reusable stand in which graphics can be changed out? If yes, check out the Silverstep.  Do you want a skinny base with feet that stick out? If yes, check out the Portable Roll Up or Cinch. Do you like a wide base without feet? If yes, check these out: SilverstepOrient, Baby Step or Steppy.

Otherwise, if you’re more price conscientious, check out some indoor banner stands.  Just remember, with the back leg of a Grasshopper or X Banner Stand, you’ll need to designate a larger space to place it.  Either choice, retractables and indoor banner stands are pretty easy to set up and break down.  Your choice also depends on what you like, how you want others to perceive you, and the material on which your graphics will be printed.

If you have an iPad, definitely bring it and buy a jotter stand.  Sure, you can hold an iPad and that’s free, but with the jotter stand, you’re providing ergonomic comfort for potential customers.  You’re also giving yourself security because the head of the jotter stand locks with a key.  If your iPad tried to leave your booth in the hands of a stranger, it’d be easy to spot since they’d be carrying the whole entire stand, and it’s roughly 20 pounds heavier than the iPad alone.  

Hope this helps and good luck!

By Victoria Rodriguez