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General Interest, Invitations, Post Cards, Rack Cards, Welcome Bloggers

Now that those year-end holidays are behind me I’ve got my sights set on the next big holiday.  Well, it’s not exactly a holiday, but it rivals New Year’s Day and the Fourth of July for sheer festive celebration.  I’m talkin’ about Super Bowl Sunday!

There’s nothing like hanging out with friends, brews, and a wide screen TV.  Who’s playing? Does it matter?  It’s a party, and rumor has it that we might even be graced with a Gangnam style commercial by our favorite global sensation, Psy!
SuperBowl_Invites_1v1-2
I’m definitely in the mood for a party, so I thought I’d try my hand at designing my Big Game invitations.  I’ve got a few Read more

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Business Cards, General Interest, Green Printing, Welcome Bloggers

Overnight Prints Keeps it Green. You Can Too.

We here at Overnight Prints pride ourselves on not only our print quality and on-time delivery, but also our unparalleled devotion to environmentally safe practices. Besides using eco-friendly paper, Overnight Prints is also the only major online printing company that uses waterless printing presses, which dramatically cut down on waste and toxins. Being as how sustainability is a particular concern for us here at OvernightPrints.com, I thought I’d share a few, very feasible tips on how to show your own appreciation for our environment (aside from hugging trees, of course).

  • Recycle. Most of us recycle our  cans and glass bottles, but many other materials in our homes are  recyclable, including paper, and almost all types of plastic. To  find out whether the plastic can be recycled, look for the plastic  identification code on the bottom or the side.
  • Conserve water. The majority of  water waste in a household results from improper watering of lawns.  Make sure you’re watering the grass and not the sidewalk, and get a  rain barrel to reserve rainwater.
  • Plant a tree! You can help reduce  greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce energy costs for your home  (more trees = less energy wasted for air conditioning). Not only  will you help make your urban dwelling more beautiful and green, but  you’ll be creating a natural habitat for other creatures.
  • Ride your bike or use public  transportation.  
  • Switch your lightbulbs to CFLs and  purchase energy-efficient appliances.  
  • Shop at your local Farmer’s Market  and support your local economy. 
  • Repurpose everything you possibly  can. Use discarded paper as scrap paper and order recycled promotional pieces  from your favorite recycle-friendly online printer.
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Business Cards, General Interest, Welcome Bloggers

Business cards are versatile promotional tools that can be formal or informal, depending on the type of image you want to portray. They’re a must for networking events, and are ideal for promoting your business and yourself. Write down promotions on your cards, or design them as appointment reminders, to name a few of the different ways you can make use of this powerful marketing tool.

Another good idea is to take it one step further and display your talent—freelance artists and designers who want to not only network with others and gather a buzz about their work, but showcase a little sample of what they do at the same time, might consider a colorful logo or an illustration sample of their work, so as to display their talent subtly and without much effort.  (Because, let’s face it, you can’t carry your 4′ x 6′ photo prints everywhere!)
So, what can you include on your card? In addition to the obvious necessities—name, title, company name, telephone numbers and email address—a business card should display your social media contact details, which is a great way to network with others in an informal manner.  People often hesitate calling others, but are more comfortable adding someone to their Facebook friends list. It also helps you create the impression that you’re up-to-date with new technologies and social trends, and not still stuck in the Alexander Graham Bell age! It really is up to you what design you choose or the information you put down on your business card.

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General Interest, Resellers & Designers, Small Business, Welcome Bloggers

One of my pet peeves is when a small business owner tries to pack everything they can possibly think of into their brochure, then they sit back and wonder why their brochure isn’t earning the return on investment they’d hoped for.

You see, they mistakenly believe brochures are printed to inform customers.

The fact is that brochures are not tidy little information-givers.  They’re marketing tools and should be strategically designed as such.  That’s why less is more when it comes to printing brochures:  less clutter, more sales.

Your brochure should have a singular and definitive goal, and that goal should be designed before you jot down the first line of copy.  Your goal might be to motivate customers to call you for a demo, visit a website, sign up for a newsletter, make a purchase or visit your retail location.  You can answer all their questions when they follow up.

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t give any information; but it does mean you should only tell your customers what they need to know in order to be motivated to take the next step in the purchasing process.

Tell your customers:

  • How your product or service will make life easier and better, and solve a problem
  • Why your product, service and company is the best solution
  • Any supporting data to that end
  • Why now is the time to buy with a time-limited coupon offer
  • What to do next

Anything else is extraneous information that gets in the way of your marketing pitch.  Naturally, each of these points manifests itself differently for every individual company and campaign.  One company might promote itself as trustworthy because it is a family business with decades of experience, while another in the same industry might promote its trustworthiness by explaining the benefits of a new cutting-edge technology.  Put yourself in your customers’ shoes to determine what would motivate you to buy.  That’s what your brochure should contain, and nothing more.

Ask yourself:  Is this information going to help me make a sale?  Why?  Justify every aspect of your brochure by demonstrating how it will help you make sales; if a block of text or design element has no sales purpose, cut it.  Don’t let your pride get in the way of profits.

Employ your graphic design prowess to draw customers in to your key selling points, offer, and call to action; but don’t clutter.  White space is inviting space, it helps customers focus their attention, and it’s comfortable.  It can be your best design and marketing tool because it frames your other elements, without the need for frames.

 

 

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General Interest, Greeting Cards, Welcome Bloggers

This  simple but “crafty” Photoshop tutorial is inspired by the kind of  handmade cards that you often see being sold on Etsy, HowAboutOrange, and Dawanda.

This really easy Photoshop tutorial is perfect for those readers who are new to Photoshop and who want to develop their skills in working with paths, fills, and styles  (Note: You will need to utilize  both Illustrator and Photoshop to create the card in this particular tutorial, but the various photoshop effects can be applied to any “path” elements and objects that you wish to create)

greeting_card_thankyou

>>DOWNLOAD ORIGINAL GREETING CARD PSD FILE HERE<<

Read more

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Business Cards, Corporate Identity, General Interest

Many variables play a role in how your print marketing materials are perceived by potential customers.  Your copy, your offer, and your design are three considerations upon which the utmost importance is placed.  But there’s more to customer influence than what goes on your postcards, posters, business cards, catalogs, and other print marketing materials.  In fact, some of the most subtle nuances of your presentation can help your brand leave a lasting impact and motivate direct sales.  Your choice of paper stock is one of those variables.

Paper stock matters because it directly impacts how your designs look when printed on paper as well as how your marketing materials feel in your customers’ hands.  The following details reasons why paper stock is indeed important to maximizing your return on investment.

Good Paper Stock Enhances Your Design

Glossy paper stocks make your designs more brilliant, so that they practically pop off the page.  Matte paper stocks enrich your colors and add depth to your designs.  Both lend impressions of your company that cannot be conveyed by words alone:  authority, confidence, trustworthiness, attitude, success, and other identity-related adjectives.

Good Paper Stock Comforts Customers

Premium paper stocks don’t just look pretty; they feel good, too.  When customers hold a smooth, thick, robust business card they feel as though your company can be trusted, because your company’s card is professional.  The best part is you can get professional printing on premium paper stocks at deep discounts when you know where to look.  Think about which company you would trust if two competitors handed you business cards:  one, flimsy and flat; the other thick and glossy.

Premium Paper Stock Maximizes ROI

Not only will customers be more impressed and comfortable doing business with you, but your marketing materials will last longer with wear, tear and weather.  That means you get to put your campaigns to work longer on a single investment, thus maximizing your return.

What are the Best Paper Stocks?

The best paper stock depends on the project in question and how it will be deployed.  You can go to any product on the Overnight Prints website to learn more about the benefits of each specific paper stock.  You might learn, for example, that you could print business cards on standard premium-quality 14-point paper stock with a glossy coating on one or both sides (for penning in appointments on the fly).  Or, print an even thicker 16-point gloss business card.

Not sure what paper stock to print on for your business cards?  It all depends on what impression you want to leave on customers and your overall brand image.

First, let’s assume you want to print professional-looking business cards.  You can instantly throw out the flimsy, cheap business card paper stocks many discount printers have.  You do want to yield a return on your investment, after all.  Next, consider the following questions:

Is your company new, fresh, exciting, or innovative?

A glossy 14-point or 16-point paper stock might be the best choice.

Is your company bold, cutting edge, or authoritative?

Go with a thick and robust 16-point gloss paper stock.  Add a UV coating for an extra-thick, extra-glossy sheen.

Is your company traditional, new age, or artsy?

Try a 13-point matte paper stock, which adds richness and depth to your colors and design.

Do you often set appointments or jot down additional information for customers on the fly?

A 14-point glossy paper stock, coated on one side only, will give you the fresh appeal of gloss on the front and the ability to write with a pen or pencil on the back.

Follow these tips, and you will be able to print a professional-looking business card that enhances your design, feels great in your customers’ hands, and promotes your brand image at the same time.

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General Interest, Mailing Services, Small Business, Welcome Bloggers

In spite of (and actually, because of) the influx of digital promotions in the marketing realm, a well-planned direct mailer remains one of the best marketing tools at your disposal.  In fact, direct-mail marketing is better today than ever before.  Why?  Because so many of your competitors are focusing exclusively on digital marketing, creating an opportunity for you to reach and influence your target customer base in areas being neglected by others in the industry.

A strategic approach to direct-mail marketing will yield exceptional results.  Your mailing list, design, copy and printing , as well as your choice of direct mailing service, have a direct impact on your return on investment.  Do your research and select a direct mailing service that meets the following criteria.

Experience

Your direct mailing company should have at least five years of experience sending successful direct-mail campaigns under its belt, or at least your job should be managed by someone who does.  Your direct-mail service has a vested interest in your success, since happy customers are repeat customers, so an experienced company will be able to catch any glaring errors before they become disasters.

Convenience

Full-service companies such as Overnight Prints are perfect direct-mail partners because they offer both convenience, and they can help your entire campaign launch without a hitch since they oversee the entire thing from start to finish:  design, printing, mailing list generation, and mailing.  What’s more, you’ll get better pricing by going this route and increase your overall return on investment, since such companies can spread profits out over multiple products.

Quick Turnaround

Many direct-mailing campaigns are time sensitive, so you want to select a company that offers quick turnaround.  Two to five days is good, and will ensure your holiday promotions arrive before January.

Verified Mailing

You don’t want to waste your marketing investment on unverified or repeat addresses, so make sure your direct-mail service employs CASS verification and removes any duplicate addresses from your mailing list.

Customer Support

You should be able to speak with a qualified account representative who can answer any of your questions by calling a published phone number, in addition to via email.  A direct-mail service with good customer support will also be one that pays attention to the details of your project.

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Flyers, General Interest, Posters, Welcome Bloggers

Looking through my garage the other day, I had a vision of myself on an upcoming episode of “Hoarders.”  If you can at all sympathize with this feeling, it may be time to look through your closets, attics, and garages and gather everything that is no longer needed (like, for example, the stationary bike with the pedals that have been similarly stationary for quite some time now). Put outdated clothing (e.g. the flannels from your “grunge” period) and items that no longer fit into a pile. Once this project is complete, you will likely have quite an inventory. Before donating it, consider having a yard sale. The weather is warm and a yard sale is a great excuse to get outdoors.

Aside from enjoying the sunshine, you can make some decent cash by selling unwanted belongings. However, this event will only be successful if your advertising is effective. Online ads are convenient and often low-priced but not everyone is computer-savvy. In some towns, yard sale patronage is comprised of the older generation and many of these folks do not own a mastery of the computer.

Capture their attention by using online printing to create full-color posters and attach them to street signs and telephone poles at major intersections. This advertising lets everyone know where and when the event will be held. They are large enough to fit a brief description of what will be sold as well as some photographs of these items.

While tumbleweeds are blowing through the yards of other sales in town, your yard will be jammed with shoppers. It may even be necessary to do another quick run-through of the home  during mid-morning in order to gather more items to sell. At the end of the day, the yard will be bare and you may very well have a large wad of cash in your pocket…not to mention room to actually park your car in the garage.

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The fact that we live in an increasingly technological world is not a groundbreaking idea to most. This trend, of course, also applies to the business world. It is an undeniable fact that almost all data, including contact details, are stored electronically nowadays. Regardless of how technologically-based business has become, the fact remains that plain old business cards can still be relevant.

Below are some reasons why business cards are still important even in 2012:

Business Cards Increase Name Recall

Simple truth: Human beings (this includes your potential customers) does increase the chances of being remembered – no matter the actual physical layout of the card or what kind of work you’re in. Wouldn’t you rather see a customer walking away with your business card than walking away with nothing? Business cards really do help a person stand out and be relevant.

Business Cards Are Easier to Hand Out in Large Crowds

Given the technological savvy of most consumers these days, business cards should theoretically have been phased out. After all, you could simply store names, addresses, and phone numbers on your phone now. As is true with a lot of other ideas that SEEM like they should be true, this is not always the case. Storing numbers electronically is fine when on a one-on-one setting. But imagine the horror should you find yourself somewhere like a business convention. Who has the time to store every number in your phone? And after it’s all said and done, would you even remember who these new friends are with nothing but a name and a number to help you?

With business cards, you can continue giving your pitch to that important investor without that awkward pause whenever he tries to type in your contact info into his smartphone – he could do that at a later time like, you know, when you’re done talking.

You can literally throw business cards around a convention and someone will surely pick one up. While that last statement sounds ridiculous (and not something I’d recommend you try; but hey, they’re your business cards so do whatever you want with them), I’d say it’s still better than introducing yourself one person at a time hoping someone actually stores your number for reference.

But if you’re all about technology – you know, the kind that can barely watch TV shows on a TV anymore, fret not. Business cards can be modern too…

Business Cards Can Be Customized to Fit Your Market

Your business cards don’t have to be dull. Try to be creative so you can have business cards that are custom built for your customers. You can print business cards in custom shapes. You’d be surprised by the variety of business cards out today. Again, you are only limited by your imagination. Use your cards, not only to provide contact information, but to also promote your company and brand.

Business Cards Are Good for SEO

I know how much marketers have thrown the term “SEO” around and for good reason. These days, almost everything is done online. Even if you’re not running an e-commerce business, there’s a good chance you still have an online presence (you should have at least a Facebook page). Having those URLs in your business cards will help boost your inbound traffic.

There you have it. These are just a few of the reasons why business cards are important.

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You’ve heard of the elevator speech.

That’s when you have from 30 seconds to one minute to pitch your organization, your product or yourself to a policy maker, venture capitalist or potential employer.  It may not occur on an actual elevator.  But savvy CEOs, entrepreneurs and salespeople commonly practice their elevator speeches and use it in business and their personal life.

Screen shot 2012-03-01 at 7.31.18 AM

A business card is like an elevator speech, except you only have about 3 seconds to define yourself and your value proposition.

Three…seconds.  Probably less time than it took you to read the preceding paragraph.

And in those three seconds you have to convey who you are and what you stand for.  A tough assignment.

Most business is still conducted face-to-face.  If you fail at the moment you hand someone your business card, the consequences can be dire.

Most business cards are pretty boring.  They don’t have to be.  How do we communicate something serious in a way that is memorable yet whimsical, makes a point but isn’t frivolous?

Cartoons.
Screen shot 2012-03-01 at 7.35.30 AM

A cartoon is a very effective means of communication.  It makes an instant impression.  Gapingvoid business card cartoon art is designed to open doors and initiate a conversation with people.  Face-to-face.

Use a cartoon to make that first impression.  You might not get a second chance.

Choose a cartoon and add personal details to create your own gapingvoid business card.

–BR

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As Kermit sings, “It’s not easy being green.” Especially if you’re involved in the printing or paper industry.

Kermit

We all like white paper. It’s easier to read and easier to print on. But paper isn’t naturally white. To make paper white requires bleaching. White, good; bleaching—using chlorine, bad.

I was initially confused by the alphabet soup of claims for chlorine free paper products.   Read more

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New gapingvoid business cards from Overnight Prints!

Hi Everybody,

With everyone’s attention fixated on the Internet we tend to forget that most business is still face-to-face.  If you fail at the moment you shake someone’s hand for the first time, the consequences can be dire.

This was more obvious when that’s all there was, but in many industries not much has changed.  Face to face sales calls, conventions, trade shows, are still big drivers, the fact is that for many businesses, the Internet just leads to more Read more

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school_banner_blog

Back to School Ideas
Summer is almost over and it’s back-to-school time all across the USA! No need to be sad though, back-to-school is an exciting time, full of fresh beginnings and brilliant new things to be learned and discovered!

Whether you’re a parent packing your kids off to school, a returning college student, or a teacher with a whole new brood to take care of, you will need to refresh your school supplies. Here are a few of our favorite back-to-school products:

Address Labels

Let your little ones choose their favorite address labels from our template library and use them to label school supplies, books, lunch bags and more.

Here are our top five back-to-school picks:

cat_address_label Read more

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I realize that this sounds obvious but there’s no point in being timid about it – being timid doesn’t get you work. Be excited about your new design business – you should shout it from the rooftops! Let everyone know; friends, relatives, ex-colleagues, acquaintances, the guy you sometimes talk to at the coffee shop! Tell them that you’ve just started a design business and to pass on the information to anyone they know – give them a few business cards for their wallets.

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Flickr is a great place to network with people and to generate work leads. There is, however, one major problem with using flickr to promote your work: Flickr does not allow the promotion of services or the selling of your artwork. Even though you can’t put a price-tag on your design work in Flickr, there is no reason why you can’t utilize the massive social networking and community aspect of flickr to connect with potential clients and other design professionals.

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Business Cards, General Interest, Mini Business Cards, Resellers & Designers, Small Business

A mini business card looks like the regular business cards cool and hip little brother. It’s a smaller, sleeker version of the business card that lives in the pockets and wallets of small business owners, graphic designers, creative professionals, young entrepreneurs, and just about anyone else who likes their business cards to stand- out from the crowd.

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General Interest, Green Printing, Resellers & Designers

We thought that it was about time that Overnight Prints made something that talked about ourselves as a company and about the things that differentiate us from our competitors. But we didn’t want this video to be a typical corporate affair with a man in a suit telling people how great our company is! Instead, we wanted to make something that really speaks to our designer and small business customers about our quality printing, our fast delivery service, and our green company policies.

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General Interest, Small Business

Direct mail is probably the most effective way to connect with customers and to offer them your product or services. More importantly, it represents an opportunity for you to “speak directly” to those customers who are most likely to need your product or service. The following article outlines the ways that customers can create cheap and effective marketing campaigns for their small business.

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General Interest, Resellers & Designers, Small Business

I’ve had a lot of design customers telling me that they’ve been using our Calendar designer to create a really easy and cost-effective custom design portfolios to send to clients and agencies! I tried it out for myself, and it works great!!

Creating print booklets of your work for self-promotional purposes can be expensive. Especially if your plan is to distribute them between multiple clients and agencies. Although, fancy bound booklets look great, it’s just not practical to create more than 2 or 3 copies. Especially if you’re on a tight budget.

portfolio_image

 

 

Using our Calendar designer, freelancers,artists, illustrators and designers are able to create affordable portfolio promotions that greatly benefit from being printed in hi-res on 4-color presses.

Read more

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General Interest, Greeting Cards, Small Business

It’s nearly that time of year again!! That special time of year when designers, freelancers, and other creative types start to plan their custom Christmas Cards and come up with something brilliant for their clients and friends. The temptation is always there to do something easy and traditional; something “snowmany”, “Santa Clausy”, or “snow sceney”!

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Corporate Identity, General Interest, Resellers & Designers, Small Business

As our email and site banners proclaim: “This is our best deal EVER”. Simply put, if you make a $50 order from us today, then you’ll receive a discount for $50 in the New Year to spend on any print products you want from our site! We wanted to give back something special this year and we feel that this is the strongest offer we can give to our customers.

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Business Cards, Corporate Identity, Fonts, General Interest

Although I’m a Mac guy and I personally like the “cold metal” look of my G5, I’m not keen on Steve Wozniaks fancy laser-cut stainless steel number. It’s not very practical, affordable, or even particularly attractive! I prefer Steve Jobs simple business card design from the 70’s. Despite its “dated” font (Motter Tektura – the old Apple font) it has a simple elegance.

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Business Cards, General Interest, Small Business

In October, You may already be planning your Christmas promotions, but you’d be unwise to forget Halloween and the money-spinner it can be for many businesses.
In fact, consumer polls have shown that Americans are actually planning to spend more on Halloween this year than last (even though we are all a little “spooked out” by the continuing recession.)

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Flyers, General Interest, Photoshop, Post Cards

Your Comp Card should act as a visual resume. They serve as a standardized way for models and entertainers to promote themselves. Generally, they refer to an 8.5” x5.5” postcard. However, it’s not uncommon to create a 4″ x 6″, 8″ x 10″ or other flyer -sized version. The most important aspect of creating a comp card is to communicate your visual resume as effectively as possible.

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General Interest, Welcome Bloggers

Freelancers and design professionals are often asked to create designs for CD and DVD’s. For most designers, printing CD jackets is a no-brainer – they’re used to dealing in proofing and checking the quality of printed-paper products. But what about printing the CD face? This is not so straightforward. When taking your designs to a company that specializes in short run CD printing, it’s important to know the two major differences in the way that your CD face will be printed

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General Interest

micalogo

 

After posting a feature about the students of MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) I was told that I should give all  MICA students a discount (“for being so awesome”)

I couldn’t agree more!

However, in return for a fantastic 30% off all print products, I would like MICA students  to post their work on our new Overnight Prints Flickr group. We are trying to grow a community of designers, and would love you to be part of it!

Read more

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General Interest, Illustration

I was recently contacted by Kristen Acampora, a Junior at Maryland Institute College of Art who wanted to feature her business card design on our blog site. Upon visiting her blogspot, I was really surprised at the excellent illustration work being produced by the students and recent graduates at Maryland.

I’d like to help promote their work and share their wonderful illustrations with the readers of this blog:

Stephanie Kunze

Annie Wu

Read more

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General Interest

Unless there’s a printing company in a galaxy far, far, away that can warp space and time, OvernightPrints.com is now, officially, the fastest printer in the universe! Our new and improved print service has been named BITGIT (buy it today, get it tomorrow.) It represents not only a faster delivery time, but also a general improvement in our overall print service – customers are now able to order from our website and specify the EXACT DAY that they wish their prints to be delivered.

With BITGIT we are officially the fastest printers in the universe Read more

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General Interest

On Saturday 10th April, I attended the Find art show at the Eyetorrent Artspace in Costa Mesa, Orange County. It was a night that celebrated “all things creative” – bringing together a community of artists, graffiti artists, musicians, a freestylin’ hip-hop band, pinstripe artists, and other vendors.

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Corporate Identity, General Interest, Photoshop, Small Business, Welcome Bloggers

A few weeks ago I posted a blog asking Overnight Prints customers and blog visitors to send me links to their work so that I could showcase their work on this blog. The response was incredible! The following list of designers and their work is representative of the diverse, unique, and talented customers that we have!

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Bookmarks, Business Cards, General Interest

Say the word “bookmark” and most people will immediately think of somber libraries with stern-faced librarians, or bits of tasseled old leather in-between the pages of dusty bibles! However, a bookmark doesn’t have to be such a grim and serious product. It’s actually one of the most usable print products for your home or office.

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General Interest

The Relationship between designer and client is often a contentious one! Designers can feel aggravated by the client’s lack of respect for their expertise and for their general lack of creative vision. As a designer, I’m sure you’ve had a few of those “I’m working for a complete moron” moments when nothing you do is pleasing to the client and all their suggestions and ideas seem ludicrous!

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