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Why change to HTTPS? It’s the safe thing to do.
picture of sheriff walking through townYour “gold” is your digital information, such as private files, web-surfing habits, and your identity.
The report of my death was an exaggeration
Evidence continues to mount that print and paper have benefits for how we buy and even how our children learn. Here are four relevant dispatches with links to more details.
Short-Run full-color envelopes printed fast
We’re excited to announce that we’ve just installed a new, specialized envelope printer that can handle your envelope jobs in spot and full-color process, quickly and in practical quantities.
Irresistible Mail: Education from the USPS
We came across something we thought you’d be interested in. The United States Postal Service has posted a great little slideshow about direct mail innovations. Called Irresistible Mail, it highlights new technologies that use …
6 wide format facts for designers & marketers
1. Smart marketers rely on digitally printed signage. The wide format market has a global retail value of $55 billion, and is expected to grow at a 6.5% CAGR through 2017.   2. Wide format works. 76% of respondents to a recent survey said …
Custom printed magnets: A better tchotchke
What role did a magnet play in our 12 Touch marketing campaign? Our magnet provides one more unique touch that builds awareness, and showcases atchotchke that we can produce in-house. Designed with a fun message and image, accompanied by a hand-written note …
Why we love Mohawk Maker Quarterly
Mohawk Maker Quarterly publicationMohawk Maker, published by Mohawk paper company, celebrates craftsmanship and craftsmen, people who make real things—designers, potters, photographers, woodworkers and the like—in a colorful journal, available free to subscribers.
Augmented Reality: a powerful tool for marketers
iPhone scanning a layAR trigger on a wall calendarAR is a hot technology – think Pokémon Go – that lets you tie together printed information and digital information delivered to a device, in a single coherent communication. Early adopters have used AR on products. We’ve put AR on paper.
How to run a killer B2B direct mail campaign using dimensional mailers
Example of a dimensional mailer - a calendar rolled up in a small, cylindrical shipping tube.Dimensional mail is a great way for B2B marketers in small and medium-sized companies to start up a conversation with key prospects and keep sales momentum moving. To succeed with dimensional mail, marketers have to learn to think and work in a new way.
Graphic Design: Print in a new dimension
Die-cut box, custom printed on hp Indigo press, used as dimensional mailer in 12-Touch prospecting campaignThere’s a whole new world open to you: full-color dimensional pieces of your own design printed with your brand and message. You can even personalize each one with your name, names of your recipients, a coupon serial number, or any other information you like.
Graphic Design: Getting people to open your direct mail
Adding personal note to prospecting letter, custom printed on hp Indigo press, used as mailer in 12-Touch prospecting campaignGreat printing starts with great design. When it comes to a marketing campaign, great printing – meaning printing that rings the cash register – must start with graphic design grounded in sound marketing principles.
Feel the color
Photo of girl on bicycle, wearing purple dress in a field of purple flowers, printed on textured paperClassic Crest Stipple Cover is a premium, bright-white, heavy sheet, textured for a subtle, pebbled feel, and manufactured by Neenah to strict environmental standards.
Go Heavy
Rhino printed on heavy cardstock showing how to design with paper in mindTango 18 point is a bright, clean-white and very sturdy sheet that feels weighty and substantial in the hand. Tango is manufactured by WestRock using certified sustainable processes.
Excite with Black & White
Excited young boy with old-time camera printed in B&W of Flo Digital cardstockFlo Digital Cover is a high quality gloss coated sheet at an economical price. It is a sheet that respects your brand and your budget and it’s a Laser Image Printing & Marketing work horse – part of our standard stock selection.
Winning the Gwen Doster Judges’ Choice Award
The Printing Industry of the Carolinas (PICA) celebrated its 50th PICA Awards Banquet April 16, 2016 at the Embassy Suites & Convention Center in Concord, NC. Over 270 industry professionals attended the milestone event. Winner of 20+ PICA awards in prior years, Laser Image Printing & Marketing was delighted …
The Fifth Wall
Floor graphics can be applied to sidewalks, parking lots, streets, elevators, stairwells, courts and even the bottom of swimming pools. Now you can print vivid images on specialty stocks made for virtually all “floor environments,” whether indoors or out.
Paper – It’s meant to be touched
We’ve put together a book, Come Alive with New Creativity, so you can see and feel what can be achieved with great design and HP Indigo printing combined with well-selected papers. Get your free copy.
Interesting News about More Trees
The most accurate census of the world’s trees ever taken concludes there are a whopping 7.5 times more trees on earth than previously estimated.
Wall Art – An exciting wide format design innovation
Imagine decorating entire walls with colorful patterns and images of your own design, using your own photos or drawing on a vast library of stock resources.
New! HP Scitex FB550 printer
Our HP Scitex FB550 flatbed printer prints signs, displays, banners & posters on flexible or rigid stock up to 64″ wide.
Why is Apple purchasing woodlands?
Apple buys 36,000 acres of woodlands in eastern US to preserve a working forest as a sustainable source of fiber for making product packaging.

Why change to HTTPS? It’s the safe thing to do.

picture of sheriff walking through town

There’s a new sheriff in town and he’s keeping your “gold” safe from Internet riff raff.

Your “gold” is your digital information, such as private files, web-surfing habits, and your identity.

Think of how immense and wide open the Wild West of yore was; miles upon miles of undeveloped landscape. Trolled by scoundrels and lawless ne’er do wells, some towns in the Old West didn’t even have a lawman.

Like back in the Wild West, the internet is still in it’s early days and unfortunately is not always safe. Leave town (a.k.a. your own secure, computer network) using a web browser and your digital “gold” is ripe for the picking by outlaws.

Be safe: Put an “S” in it

When surfing the web and typing an address into your browser (such as http://www.domain.com), have you noticed the “http” prepended to the front? HTTP (short for Hyper(T)ext Transfer Protocol is a set of standards allowing for basic interaction between client (your computer) and a server (other computers) across the World Wide Web. Add an “S” – as in HTTPS – and it means those interactions are now more secure.

The amount of personal digital information shared over the Web is growing dramatically. More “gold,” more scoundrels. HTTPS is a first line of defense against marauders on the Web.

It all begins with a handshake

When setting up to exchange data between a client and server, the handshake phase is the most critical part. During the handshake, if a server has a security certificate, it can encrypt and secure all communications wit the client using an encryption key (a random string of characters created explicitly for encrypting and decrypting data). Encryption keys are designed to ensure that every session key is unpredictable and unique.

A typical cryptographic key handshake

graphical representation of cryptographic key exchange

  1. Your browser informs a server you would like to interact with it.

  2. The server sends a copy of its public key.

  3. Your browser creates a key specific to the session and encrypts it with the server’s public key, then sends it to the server.

  4. The server decrypts the encrypted session key using the public key to get the session key created by your browser.

  5. The server and your browser now encrypt and decrypt all transmitted data with the session key. This allows for a secure connection because only the browser and the server know the session key, and the session key is only used for that session. If the browser was to connect to the same server the next day, a new session key would be created.

Ride safe

When your client and the server have completed handshaking, you should see a padlock (sometimes green, sometimes the word “Secure” next to it) in the address bar of your browser. Saddle up for a safe ride, you have your own sheriff riding shotgun next to you. Your gold is safer than it’s ever been.

Interestingly enough, if you close your browser window then open a new one and reconnect to the same server, the process starts all over again. New connection, new sheriff.

Imagine the exponential growth of the Internet: wagon trains full of settlers arriving every day. Inside every settler’s wagon is literally their life savings. Now imagine for every wagon, no matter how much gold it carries, each one has their own sheriff. More connections, more sheriffs. Sure, scoundrels are still around each bend, but the threat is greatly reduced.

Somehow the Wild West just seems a bit safer now, doesn’t it?

The report of my death was an exaggeration

Mark Twain writing

Evidence continues to mount that print and paper have benefits for how we buy and even how our children learn. Here are four relevant dispatches with links to more details.

94% of students say it’s easier to concentrate when reading from paper
Because there are fewer distractions when reading on paper, compared to reading on a device.1
E-book sales slip
Analysts predicted e-books would overtake printed books by 2015. Instead digital book sales slowed. E-book sales declined 10% in early 2015, Netflix-like e-book subscription services struggled, and the number of independent bookstores grew.2
Students learn better when working on paper versus keyboards

Students taking notes by hand learn better than those using laptops. Note taking by hand is slower, forcing students to organize material as they listen, leading to better comprehension of key points.

Among kindergarteners learning the alphabet and older students writing essays, those working on paper learn faster, read better and express more ideas than those working on computers. Brain scans – including those of kindergarteners learning the alphabet – show working by hand engages more of the brain’s centers for language, thinking and memory.3

Direct mail outperforms digital marketing in major neuromarketing study

In a controlled study that has a strong message for marketers, neuromarketing researchers using brain-imaging tools and eye-tracking tests found that direct mail more effectively promoted buying responses because it is easier to understand and more persuasive than both digital email and display marketing.

“Neuromarketing” applies brain-imaging tools to the study of marketing stimuli. This study used electroencephalography and eye-tracking tests to make measurements.4

Interesting observations about the state of print.

We can only wonder though, if Mark Twain had written his famous quote on a laptop instead of pen and paper – would he still agree?


References:
  1. http://www.twosidesna.org/US/94-percent-of-students-said-it-was-easier-to-concentrate-when-reading-on-paper
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/23/business/media/the-plot-twist-e-book-sales-slip-and-print-is-far-from-dead.html?_r=1
  3. http://www.twosidesna.org/US/The-Importance-of-Writing-By-Hand
  4. A Bias for Action Canada Post Corporation, July 31 2015

Short-Run full-color envelopes printed fast

Collection of full-color printed envelopes

We’re excited to announce we’ve installed a new, specialized envelope printer that can handle your envelope jobs in spot and full-color process, quickly and in practical quantities.

Our fully digital machine also prints variable data, so as an option you can have us address your envelopes on the fly, and even add custom messages. This way we can get your mailings out faster, and with greater impact.

Short-run envelope production specifications:

  • Four color process printing
  • Spot printing
  • Close matching of PMS colors
  • Variable data printing for personalized messages, addressing and bar coding
  • Practical run lengths: as short as 10 or 20 envelopes up to runs of 5,000+
  • Very fast turnaround: most orders delivered in 2 business days from proof approval
  • Prints sizes A2 up to 10 x 13

Laser Image provides full mailing services. If you need list acquisition and presort, along with insert printing, folding, inserting, and delivery to the Post Office, we can handle that too.

Irresistible Mail: Education from the USPS

Splash screen for USPS Irresistible Mail website

We came across something we thought you’d be interested in.

The United States Postal Service has posted a great slideshow about direct mail innovations.

Called Irresistible Mail, it highlights new technologies that use specially prepared mail pieces to trigger digital programs.

It covers ways to gather analytic insights about how people respond to your mailings.

You’ll find lots of linked resources to dig into, too—articles, white papers, and reviews of real campaigns.

We found Irresistible Mail colorful, well designed and to the point.

Give it a look – we think paper & pixels is a great way to reach your customers!

Transition splash screen for USPS Irresistible Mail websiteClick the image to open the USPS website

6 wide format facts for designers & marketers

Banner for American Tobacco Campus

  1. Smart marketers rely on digitally printed signage. The wide format market has a global retail value of $55 billion, and is expected to grow at a 6.5% CAGR through 2017.1
  2. Wide format works. 76% of respondents to a recent survey said they have entered a store based on signage alone. 68% have purchased a product because its signage caught their eye.2
  3. In the same survey, 68% of respondents said they believe good signs reflect the quality of a store and its products. Over half said they’re less willing to enter a store with poorly made signs.
  4. Today’s marketers allocate big budget dollars to signage. On average, 16.1% of all marketing dollars go to wide format graphics.3
  5. The most popular wide format applications are banners, posters, signs, and point-of-purchase displays.
  6. Best of all, there are lots of exciting substrates out there to choose from for your wide format projects. For example, this Digital Media Product Guide from MACtac describes a wide variety of their innovative solutions. Want to experience MACtac products by walking through 3D virtual room galleries? Check out their DesignScape3D app for Windows, Mac, iPad & Android.

Need more information?

Please call or contact us anytime to learn more about the large selection of wide format services we offer.



1. Printing Impressions (March 13, 2014), “Boosting Your Wide-Format Business”, http://www.piworld.com/article/boosting-your-wide-format-business-free-webinar-now-available-on-demand/


2. Small Business Bonfire, “Four Reasons You Should Be Using Signs for Your Retail Business”, http://www.smallbusinessbonfire.com/why-use-retail-signs/


3. InfoTrends, “Wide Format Printing: A Critical Element in the Communications Mix”, http://www.infotrends.com/public/Content/Multiclients/Brochures/BDSWideFormatPrinting.pdf

Custom printed magnets: A better tchotchke

refrigerator magnet

In previous posts about Nuts & Bolts of a Marketing Campaign we’ve talked about the importance of graphic design, dimensional printing, dimensional mailers, Augmented Reality and how we used these in our own 12 Touch marketing campaign. Now we add tchotchkes, those small objects that are more decorative than functional and are meant to be fun or eye-catching, like a custom printed magnet.

To open doors for our business development team, we’ll go to great efforts to build attention and interest. This makes sense because the long-term value of a new customer is very high for us. Besides, direct sales can be tough these days. Getting an appointment isn’t easy. Groundwork must be laid.

What role did a magnet play in our 12 Touch marketing campaign?

Our magnet provides one more unique touch that builds awareness, and showcases a tchotchke that we can produce in-house.

Designed with a fun message and image, accompanied by a hand-written note that played off the theme of the magnet – we hoped people would find it amusing enough to keep and display and even prompt them to give us a call.

We print small, refrigerator-sized magnets like this one, and large ones for vehicles. Our standard stocks are:

  • 14 mil Magnum Magnetics for “refrigerator” magnets
  • 20 mil Magnum Magnetics for vehicle magnets

Magnets can be UV coated or laminated and corner-rounded for added effect. And at Laser Image we print in the quantity that suits your need.

Try a magnet for your next premium tchotchke. With clever design, magnets have value and staying power – literally.

Why we love Mohawk Maker Quarterly

Opened copy of Mohawk Maker Quarterly magazine

Photo Credit: Mohawk

At Laser Image we love the Mohawk Maker Quarterly so much that we have to recommend it to our friends.

The Mohawk Maker Quarterly, published by Mohawk, celebrates craftsmanship and craftsmen, people who make real things—designers, potters, photographers, woodworkers and the like—in a colorful journal, available free to subscribers.

In Issue #8 you can read about how great branding is rooted in creating positive feelings, why good design matters, and why Pitchfork.com, the music fan’s online go-to, launched a print magazine.

It’s fascinating stuff, short, sweet articles for anyone interested in designers making beautiful things you can touch and hold in your hands.

Read it online—or better yet sign up for your own free subscription to the magazine. It will make you happy to see it—and hold it—when it shows up in the mail.

Augmented Reality: a powerful tool for marketers

iPhone scanning a layAR trigger on a wall calendar

(This is the fourth post in our Nuts & Bolts of a Marketing Campaign series)

When the Laser Image graphic design team envisioned our 12 Touch Campaign, they decided to showcase as many of our print capabilities as possible.

One of their show and tell creations is the dimensional mailer below that uses Augmented Reality (AR) to deliver a multimedia message.

AR is a hot technology – think Pokémon Go – that lets you tie together printed information and digital information delivered to a device, in a single coherent communication. Early adopters have used AR on products. We’ve put AR on paper.

Direct mail piece for the 12 Touch campaign

Direct mail piece for the 12 Touch campaign

Click image to enlarge

In our mailing, AR works like this. The mail tube encloses a wall calendar as a premium gift for the carefully selected prospects on our list. And it’s a special calendar with a “trigger image” on it. The trigger image is a feather in the top-left corner, and it does something new and exciting.

A printed band around the outside of the calendar invites recipients to download a special app, and then to scan the feather with their cell phone cameras. When they do, a custom video starts up and plays on their screens.

In AR marketing, the print piece that triggers media on your reader’s phone doesn’t have to be a calendar. It could be a postcard, a poster or banner, the label on a wine bottle, or whatever suits your particular campaign. It’s up to you. You just have to embed an image in the piece to serve as the trigger.

The technology is flexible, allowing you to use it to fit your needs. The trigger image can take you to a website, can send an email, help you purchase a product, make a phone call, “like” something on social media, play a slide show. Recipients can view the message on cell phones, tablets, laptops with cameras, and, sooner than we might like to think, wearables.

It’s easy to imagine how AR can leave strong impressions and get across complex messages.

In the mailing under discussion here, we wanted to hit a triple. We designed the mailer to:

  • Demonstrate our abilities with Augmented Reality marketing
  • Highlight, via the video, our custom wallpaper (wall art) product
  • Intrigue our recipients by showing them something fun about Laser Image through the use of AR and video

Custom wall art is another capability we’re working hard to make marketers aware of. Printed on wallpaper stock in vibrant latex inks, and tiled for ease of installation, wall art is designed to the dimensions of your room, using custom images and patterns, or even your own photos. Use wall art to completely refresh a corporate lobby, a restaurant, a living room or baby’s nursery, or any other room where you want to showcase your own messages, palette and taste.

Take a moment to view the short video of us redecorating our lobby with custom wall art. It is the same video featured in the AR mailer above.

Is Augmented Reality a marketing tool for you? Is custom wallpaper? Give us a call. We’ll be happy to tell you more about these exciting new possibilities and discuss how they could work in your marketing mix.

How to run a killer B2B direct mail campaign using dimensional mailers

Dimensional mailer - rolled-up calendar mailed in a tube

(This is the third post in our Nuts & Bolts of a Marketing Campaign series)

In a previous post we discussed an example of a dimensional print product that we delivered by hand as part of our 12 Touch Campaign. But what about dimensional mail pieces such as boxes, tubes, or padded envelopes?

Dimensional mail is a great way for B2B marketers in small and medium-sized companies to start up a conversation with key prospects and keep sales momentum moving. But to succeed with dimensional mail, marketers have to learn to think and work in a new way.

Well-planned dimensional mail campaigns are more affordable than you may think. What’s better, they often deliver response rates and returns on investment that are far higher than those of conventional mail campaigns. This makes them a great choice for marketers who want to turn high-value prospects into big customers.

Because of its unusual shape, a dimensional mailer usually zips past the gatekeeper to the desk of your prospect, who is unlikely to discard it unopened. The mailer takes the form of a 3D piece, so your designer has a big canvas to lay out your offer, message and brand. Inside the mailer you have room to include letters, sales collateral and promo items. And by its size, design and thoughtfulness, the mailer itself sends a positive message to prospects. It says to them, “To me, you’re worth sending something special.”

So how do you run a dimensional mail campaign that pays off?

The key is to think quality over quantity. This means:

  1. Do whatever it takes to compile a small but super-qualified list
  2. Invest in a memorable campaign that delivers your message with impact
  3. Follow up tenaciously and immediately with your prospects

Note that the emphasis on a small list and a sophisticated custom mailer is the opposite of how conventional mail campaigns are run. This is the new marketing thinking I referred to above.

In conventional campaigns, marketers work to get the cost of mailers and postage as low as possible, and go for the largest distribution they can afford. They content themselves with very low response rates, hoping to make it up in volume. Dimensional mail programs require that the direct marketer focus on quality prospects, quality mailers, and quality follow up.

1. Your list
Because dimensional mail costs more to print and post than conventional mail does, you want to make doubly sure it gets in the hands of high-yield prospects. Small, internal lists are a great for this. In many cases, your list doesn’t have to have more than 100 names on it to bring you a great return—so long as it’s the right list.
Review your company’s database to identify your very top prospect companies. Then do online research and make as many phone calls as necessary to your target companies to make absolutely sure you’re mailing to the right people.
2. Designing your campaign
Good creative is worth it. Find a design partner who can help you come up with a memorable concept that strongly communicates your offer, along with first-class copy and graphic design. Talk to your designer about personalizing the printing on your mailers for added rapport. This is easy to do.
A great creative partner will help you decide whether to use a tube, a pre-cut box (for example, Mohawk’s MakeReady pre-converted substrate), or a custom box designed to underscore your message. A skilled designer also knows how to keep you within your budget, and will help you decide what to put inside your mailer to grab attention and reinforce your offer.
3. Follow up
Follow up. Follow up. Follow up. By phone, by email, by personal visit. You won’t succeed otherwise. The whole point of dimensional mailings is to intrigue your prospects with your brand, your offer, and your thoughtfulness, so they’re warmed up to talk to you further. Make sure this happens.
It’s good practice to send mail out in batches small enough that you can follow up on each and every piece. This should be whatever number your reps can handle, even as few as 10 or 20 a week. Digital print shops can accommodate batch mailings like this, even if you’ve designed a complex full-color, personalized mailer. Use their on-demand capability to your advantage to follow up effectively.

At Laser Image we can help you with any or all steps of your direct mail campaigns, including dimensional mail. Call on us for graphic design, full color printing, on demand production of staged mail programs, mail piece assembly, list preparation, addressing and bar coding, and delivery to the post office.

Graphic Design: Print in a new dimension