The First & Last Step In Printing

Wedding Programs – Setting the Tone of a Wedding

May 30th, 2011 | Comments Off on Wedding Programs – Setting the Tone of a Wedding | Posted in Weddings
Wedding programs may not be adopted by every wedding couple but for those who wish to do so, the ideas in this article will serve as an excellent guide. A wedding program adds a little something extra to the big event and is a record of the ceremony. Guests feel included when they have a program and can better understand the planned ceremony. Of course a wedding program makes a great keepsake for the bridal couple.
You can make of your wedding program anything you desire, make it a formal statement of the evening ahead or add elements that are light hearted in nature. Add a picture or two and get as creative as you possibly can. When your guests take their program home as a keepsake it means you have achieved what you set out to do – create something memorable.
If you don’t want your guests to discard their programs soon after the wedding you need to add an element of the unexpected that will make them want to keep a souvenir of the wedding. A sample program would ideally include a picture of the bride and groom with the wedding date, names of the bridal couple’s parents and the wedding party members, ceremony of events including the hymns, prayers and church proceedings, reception information and a beautiful closing in the form of a love quote or something more unique.
You can create the cover of your program to have the names and date, a picture of the two of you and maybe a scroll design. Give details of the ceremony beginning with the processional music, greeting, readings, hymns, prayers, vows and so on until the recessional music is played as the couple leave the church. Keep to the order in which the ceremony will proceed to include your guests from other faiths.
Information about the bridal party will include the names of the parents of the bride and groom, officiant, grandparents, maid of honor, best man, bridesmaids, groomsmen, readers and soloist if you plan to have a special wedding song.
Don’t forget to put in the directions to your reception. The program can include one liners about the bridal party – keep it humorous; special thank you messages and a general thank you message to the guests for making a memorable event more special by their attendance.
Wedding programs that incorporate funny pictures of the couple and personally written wedding vows make for a great keepsake.

Wedding programs may not be adopted by every wedding couple but for those who wish to do so, the ideas in this article will serve as an excellent guide. A wedding program adds a little something extra to the big event and is a record of the ceremony. Guests feel included when they have a program and can better understand the planned ceremony. Of course a wedding program makes a great keepsake for the bridal couple.

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Getting the Seating Right at your Wedding

May 30th, 2011 | Comments Off on Getting the Seating Right at your Wedding | Posted in Weddings
Weddings are happy events filled with loads of excitement but they are also one of the most stressful times you will ever face in life. There’s so much to plan, coordinate and accomplish that its quite easy to overlook something really important. People seldom pay much attention to the seating arrangements and this could pose problems.
In point of fact getting the seating right is really very important for a successful reception. Imagine that you have two aunts who simply cannot get along and you inadvertently put them next to each other at the reception! Would you want to be responsible for the mayhem that follows?
When planning the seating arrangements think carefully about the ties that bind and the little family squabbles. Also consider that you will serve alcohol and this can get people properly steamed up. Rather than tearing out your hair in frustration, read on to find some useful tips to help you devise the perfect seating plan which will avert disaster.
Family members and close friends who are part of the wedding party go right up front at the head table. It is best not to deviate from this plan as there are only so many people you can seat with the bride and groom. Whoever you put at your table others are going to be insulted, so stick to the bridal party only and there will not be room for complaints.
Try to place people who share similar interests together, don’t go putting an artsy person next to a dry as dust lawyer! Even if people are total strangers meeting for the first time, pairing them off properly will get the conversation going. Your aim is to make sure that the mood around each table is upbeat and joyful, not dancing on the tables joyful but happy on such a special day.
Music at weddings is invariably loud, don’t go putting the elderly guests near the speakers, it will be very annoying to say nothing of the discomfort they will experience. Loud noise is not good for people with hearing aids – it can interfere with their hearing ability.
When seating people at a table you need to make sure that every person at the table knows at least one other person. This will help get the conversation started and people will feel more at ease having someone they know nearby.
You should make use of these tips as a guideline to drawing up your seating chart.

Weddings are happy events filled with loads of excitement but they are also one of the most stressful times you will ever face in life. There’s so much to plan, coordinate and accomplish that its quite easy to overlook something really important. People seldom pay much attention to the seating arrangements and this could pose problems.

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Is Your Advertising Working Hard Enough for You? Part 2

May 27th, 2011 | Comments Off on Is Your Advertising Working Hard Enough for You? Part 2 | Posted in Articles
We continue here with our advertising ideas.
Some monthly magazines offer discounts for multi-ads placed over a 3, 6 or 12 month time period. Most publications have a different rate schedule for different types of advertisers – so depending on your product or service, you could qualify. And if not, sometimes just asking for the discount will give it to you.
Buy leftover space or airtime. This is advertising that the publication, radio or television station hasn’t filled by their usual deadline. Of course you’ll have to take the spots that are available, but again, depending on your business and the product or service you’re selling, that inconvenience could still be worth the discount and the exposure you’ll receive.
Use classified ads. They’re not just for employment offers any more. You’ll find classified ads in magazines and newspapers. Before writing your ad, go to your local library, and look through the back issues of the magazine or newspaper that you’re considering. Look at the ads that catch your eye, or that are repeated month after month. Those ads wouldn’t be in there each month, if they weren’t making the advertiser money. Use those ads as springboards for ideas when you’re ready to start writing your own classifieds.
Test your ads. Start out with the cheaper publications, so you can find out what’s working and what’s not. Play with them, and tweak them. Once you’ve got an ad that works, keep using it. You can run it more than once, or in more than one publication at a time. When it quits bringing in customers, or you start noticing a drop in effectiveness, then it’s time to change it.
Do you own a retail business? If so, check into co-op advertising funds that may be offered by your vendors. Co-op programs provide joint advertising for your and your vendor, and you’ll get a portion of the cost of the ad reimbursed because the ad mentions the vendor. (Note: most Co-op programs have strict guidelines, so check with your vendors and make sure you’re following the rules).
Barter for goods and services. This can be especially effective with radio stations and local papers. See if you can provide your products or services in trade for the cost of advertising. (Also called “trade” or “In-kind” ads, the radio station or publication gives you the ad in exchange for products or services of equal value, and then uses those products or services as part of a promotion or contest for their listeners or readers). This can also be a great way to get additional free publicity, so if you decide to try this method, get creative and think outside the box!
Reuse your ads in other advertising medium. If you’ve got an ad that’s especially effective, or looks great, reuse it in a circular, brochure, handout, flyer or direct mail piece. Use the graphics on your Webpages.
Finding a healthy mix between online and offline advertising, looking for ways to extend your reach and your advertising rand, and cutting costs creatively will help you ensure that your advertising is working hard for your success.
Last time we gave you some ideas for effective and affordable advertising. We continue below with our advertising ideas.
  • Some monthly magazines offer discounts for multi-ads placed over a 3, 6 or 12 month time period. Most publications have a different rate schedule for different types of advertisers – so depending on your product or service, you could qualify. And if not, sometimes just asking for the discount will give it to you.
  • Buy leftover space or airtime. This is advertising that the publication, radio or television station hasn’t filled by their usual deadline. Of course you’ll have to take the spots that are available, but again, depending on your business and the product or service you’re selling, that inconvenience could still be worth the discount and the exposure you’ll receive.
  • Use classified ads. They’re not just for employment offers any more. You’ll find classified ads in magazines and newspapers. Before writing your ad, go to your local library, and look through the back issues of the magazine or newspaper that you’re considering. Look at the ads that catch your eye, or that are repeated month after month. Those ads wouldn’t be in there each month, if they weren’t making the advertiser money. Use those ads as springboards for ideas when you’re ready to start writing your own classifieds.
  • Test your ads. Start out with the cheaper publications, so you can find out what’s working and what’s not. Play with them, and tweak them. Once you’ve got an ad that works, keep using it. You can run it more than once, or in more than one publication at a time. When it quits bringing in customers, or you start noticing a drop in effectiveness, then it’s time to change it.
  • Do you own a retail business? If so, check into co-op advertising funds that may be offered by your vendors. Co-op programs provide joint advertising for your and your vendor, and you’ll get a portion of the cost of the ad reimbursed because the ad mentions the vendor. (Note: most Co-op programs have strict guidelines, so check with your vendors and make sure you’re following the rules).
  • Barter for goods and services. This can be especially effective with radio stations and local papers. See if you can provide your products or services in trade for the cost of advertising. (Also called “trade” or “In-kind” ads, the radio station or publication gives you the ad in exchange for products or services of equal value, and then uses those products or services as part of a promotion or contest for their listeners or readers). This can also be a great way to get additional free publicity, so if you decide to try this method, get creative and think outside the box!
  • Reuse your ads in other advertising medium. If you’ve got an ad that’s especially effective, or looks great, reuse it in a circular, brochure, handout, flyer or direct mail piece. Use the graphics on your Webpages.
Finding a healthy mix between online and offline advertising, looking for ways to extend your reach and your advertising rand, and cutting costs creatively will help you ensure that your advertising is working hard for your success. And contact Minuteman Press Fourways or Randburg for affordable design and printing services.

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Is Your Advertising Working Hard Enough for You? Part 1

May 27th, 2011 | Comments Off on Is Your Advertising Working Hard Enough for You? Part 1 | Posted in Articles
As a small business owner, every rand you spend is a rand that comes right out of your pocket and affects your profit margin, especially when you’re trying to grow your business. If you’re going to succeed, you have to pay close attention to your bottom line and look for creative, innovative ways to cut costs while still getting what you need.
That old saying that it “takes money to make money” has never been truer than when it comes to promoting your business.
So when it comes to spending money on advertising, how do you make sure that your advertising is working hard enough, without spending a fortune?
Thanks to the Internet, you’ve got lots of options for finding cost-effective advertising that does what it’s supposed to – bring targeted customers who are hungry for what you’re selling, right to your door. But don’t forget about cost-effective offline methods as well.
Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
Focus your advertising rands on your target market. The tighter your niche, the better your chances of finding the customers who are looking for exactly what you’ve got to sell! So rather than going wide, and trying to sell to everyone, narrow your focus, and then, if possible, narrow it some more! Figure out who your “ideal” customer is, and then create an advertising campaign for them. Once you know who you’re selling to, look for media that target that demographic. Depending on your product or service, think community and neighbourhood newspapers, high school sponsor advertising, chamber of commerce directories, etc.
If your ideal customers aren’t defined by a specific geographic location, look at regional or specific demographic publications. Perhaps a regional paper runs an annual issue that focuses on an issue or activity that reaches your target market. Use local cable television to broadcast your ads only in certain markets. You’ll get cheaper rates and a more focused demographic.
Always ask for a discounted rate. (Many publications offer an “agency” discount of up to 15 percent. If you are acting as your own in-house advertising agency, you might qualify for the special rate.
Keep an eye out for the rest of our ideas and in the meantime, if you need any printed advertising, contact Minuteman Press Fourways or Randburg for quality printing.

As a small business owner, every rand you spend is a rand that comes right out of your pocket and affects your profit margin, especially when you’re trying to grow your business. If you’re going to succeed, you have to pay close attention to your bottom line and look for creative, innovative ways to cut costs while still getting what you need.

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How to Write Ads that Pull In the Money: Part 2

May 26th, 2011 | Comments Off on How to Write Ads that Pull In the Money: Part 2 | Posted in Articles
Use This Formula To Write A Good Selling Ad
1. Grab their attention with a hot headline!
2. Keep their interest with a line or two about your USP.
If you are using a short ad format, like Google Adwords, you are limited to a headline and 2 lines of ad description. In a standard ezine ad, you will have more room to make a longer ad. A good rule of thumb is to keep the advertisement simple in nature no matter how much room is allowed for your ad. The eyes of the people on the Internet scan an ad in mere seconds. You never want to clutter the space in your ad with unnecessary words.
3. Build the prospect’s desire to know more about your product. Use one line to tell them why they should own the product. Use one of campaign points 2, 3, or 4 mentioned in the Product Selling Points.
4. On the last line of the ad use a strong call to action.
This formula is taught in business colleges as the AIDA method of ad writing. To sum up the parts of the AIDA formula, you first you get the prospect’s Attention with a good headline, then develop their Interest in the product, next you give them a reason to Desire the product and then ask them to take a specific Action that leads to the sale.
With practice you can write advertisements that lead to a very high response rate. This will help stretch your advertising budget and increase your ROI. With this simple system in your hands you can now create ads that will bring you the most business for the least cost.

Last time we discussed questions you should ask yourself before starting to write ad copy.  Here is the formula we promised.

How to Write Ads that Pull In the Money: Part 1

May 26th, 2011 | Comments Off on How to Write Ads that Pull In the Money: Part 1 | Posted in Articles
Before writing the sales copy for your next product, you will have to write a series of ads for the promotion of that product. For example, you might want to promote a new information guide for people who just purchased the Windows Vista software. Here are the main points to consider when you sit down to write ads for your new campaign:
Product Selling Points
1. Write a list of 5 product benefits.
2. Explain in your own words the advantage of owning the product.
3. Write down why your product is different or better than your competition’s product.
4. Write down what need your product will satisfy for the user.
5. List your call to action. Describe exactly why the customer should buy your product now.
Putting It All Together
The reason for listing the answers to numbers 1-4 above is to establish a Unique Selling Position (USP). The USP is the basis for the body of your ad and will determine if you capture the interest of your prospects. Think of your product’s USP as what makes it different and better than your competitor’s product.
Point number 5 is your call to action. This is the line of your ad that will get people to take action and investigate further. This line should clearly tell your prospect what you want them to do next. You will get a higher response rate on your ads if you do this in every ad.

Before writing the sales copy for your next product, you will have to write a series of ads for the promotion of that product. For example, you might want to promote a new information guide for people who just purchased the Windows Vista software. Here are the main points to consider when you sit down to write ads for your new campaign:

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Movable printing press – one of the greatest inventions

May 25th, 2011 | 2 Comments | Posted in Printing
Impressive and life-changing inventions have enabled people to understand and control their world more fully, to explore the world more easily, and to enjoy their free time more completely. One of these inventions is the movable printing press.
Movable Type Printing Press
Johannes Gutenberg was born in Mainz, Germany and became a noted goldsmith. In fact, his knowledge of metals was an important factor leading to his creation of a movable type printing press in about 1450. As early as 1439-1440 Gutenberg had assembled a printing system utilizing a screw press similar to those used to press grapes. Gutenberg was the first person to make metal type from an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony, an innovation that was more durable than earlier type made of clay, wood, or bronze. Gutenberg also began using oil-based inks, an improvement over the less durable water-based inks common to printing of the day. By 1455 Gutenberg had two movable type presses operating and was able to produce the first of his famous Bibles.
Gutenberg’s invention enabled scientists to share their discoveries through journals, helping to bring about the scientific revolution. The new, faster presses also helped to distribute the classical literature of previous centuries so that people could learn from the works and discuss them.
Today, thanks to Johannesburg Gutenberg, this invention is used daily (modified, off course) by millions of people all over the world.
Contact Minuteman Press Fourways for all your printing needs today.

Impressive and life-changing inventions have enabled people to understand and control their world more fully, to explore the world more easily, and to enjoy their free time more completely. One of these inventions is the movable printing press.

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Photo postcards – snapshots of yesterday

May 25th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted in Postcards
Vintage Real Photo Postcards or RPPC, for short, are perhaps the most desired cards that passionate postcard collectors hunt and collect. The reason for their appeal is that by their very nature there are at best only limited quantities of any particular event, view or subject since they were not mass produced, unlike other postcards which were manufactured by the printing process. Another attribute of the real photo postcard is that it is an actual photographic snapshot with all the minute details captured as opposed to an artistic rendering pictured on other types of postcards. Later on, chrome postcards came into fashion and merged coloured photographic images with mass production combining the best of both worlds. However, to the avid collector, it is still real photo postcards that are in high demand and hotly sought after.
Somewhere around the early 1900’s, the first real photo postcards were produced. Although they are being made even today, they flourished from 1910 to 1950. A photographer or an individual could, with the help of a postcard camera, take photos and produce their own postcards. This was done using a negative and developing the image straight onto postcard-sized photographic paper with a typical pre-printed postcard flipside. Real photo colours were either black and white or sepia (yellowish brown tones). They were mailed worldwide just like ordinary postcards.
Real photo cards are often confused with Black and White printed postcards. After all, they are both black and white! Some Black and White postcards even have a glossy finish, making the distinction between the two types even harder. The best method to establish whether a postcard is a real photo or a printed black and white is to inspect it under a loupe or a magnifying glass. If a dot pattern is seen, then the postcard has been printed. Whereas, if the image does not have dots and is even or solid, then it is a real photo.
There are several approaches to dating real photo postcards. The easiest way is to check to see if it has been sent through the mail. If the postmark’s cancellation date is readable, then obviously, you know the card’s age. Next you can look for a date written directly on the photograph that may have been added by the photographer. Without these clues, the last way is by examining the back of the postcard for distinguishing marks, generally located in the stamp box area. There you might be able to determine the manufacturer’s identity of the photographic paper. Knowing the characteristics of the marks that were used by each manufacturer and when their business operated can roughly date the card. Some manufacturers changed their marks over time, allowing a collector to further narrow down the time period of his postcard.
Real photo subject matter is best described as anything and everything. The ability to act like silent photographic eyewitnesses to events, the beginnings of small towns and large cities and even disasters, like floods or fires makes them very valuable historic records. They documented advancements in technology and transportation, such as, trains and automobiles. Real photo postcards recorded social culture and portraits of the rich, famous, important and beautiful people. They showed everyday people doing everyday things too.
Due to the limited number of real photo postcards, their popularity has been increasing and their prices rising accordingly which can be verified by watching online auctions. All the same, their sentimental value is priceless. These little snapshots are cherished reminders of yesterday.
Bring your photos to Minuteman Press Fourways or Randburg and make your own real photo postcards.

Vintage Real Photo Postcards or RPPC, for short, are perhaps the most desired cards that passionate postcard collectors hunt and collect. The reason for their appeal is that by their very nature there are at best only limited quantities of any particular event, view or subject since they were not mass produced, unlike other postcards which were manufactured by the printing process. Another attribute of the real photo postcard is that it is an actual photographic snapshot with all the minute details captured as opposed to an artistic rendering pictured on other types of postcards. Later on, chrome postcards came into fashion and merged coloured photographic images with mass production combining the best of both worlds. However, to the avid collector, it is still real photo postcards that are in high demand and hotly sought after.

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How to Make A Great Flyer for Marketing Online and Off

May 24th, 2011 | Comments Off on How to Make A Great Flyer for Marketing Online and Off | Posted in Business Flyers
Flyers are a good standby tool for marketing both online and off. And there’s no need to be a genius to create a great one, either. Here are some basic guidelines to design your own flyers.
1. MICROSOFT WORD – Begin with a basic software program like Microsoft Word or Publisher. Open up the program, then look under “File” then “New” to see if there are already existing flyer wizards for documents or templates. If so, start there and adjust one to suit your needs.
2. COLOR – First take a look at your project budget. Is there room for full-color printing of hard copies to distribute? If not, don’t worry. Regular black ink on colored paper produces nice looking, professional flyers. Coordinate the paper color with a theme for the month, like green paper for St. Patrick’s Day or red or blue for the 4th of July.
3. TEXT / FONT – Don’t have too many different fonts, text sizes and styles in one document. Just choose a couple of complimentary fonts and sizes. For ideas on which to use, start a collection of flyers that are stuck on your door, around your mailbox and placed on your car’s windshield. Search your favorite industry web sites for ideas, too, by looking at their online documents for downloading. Print them out and check to see what you link and don’t like about them.
4. PULL TABS – Add pull tabs to the bottom, so that if the flyer is placed on a bulletin board, passersby can pull off a tab and take the info home with them. Check the Help menu for directions. Basically you add a wide text box along the bottom portion of the flyer. Then you insert one row of columns. Click on the first column and write what you want to say – not much fits here so take care! Maybe use your URL or website address and phone number. The text will run horizontally like normal, reading from left to right. So what you do is highlight it and click on “Format” from the top menu, then “Text Direction” do make it run vertical and fit in your tabs. Do the same for each tab.
When you’re finished, make print flyers for local distribution. And turn the document into an Adobe .pdf file to distribute online. Upload it and include links to it in your emails and forum posts. Attach the pdf to emails when you know recipients accept attachments and can take a look, too. Reach out online and off with great looking flyers and grow your business one step further!

Flyers are a good standby tool for marketing both online and off. And there’s no need to be a genius to create a great one, either. Here are some basic guidelines to design your own flyers.

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Graphic Design – Don’t Blow that 1st Impression!

May 24th, 2011 | Comments Off on Graphic Design – Don’t Blow that 1st Impression! | Posted in Graphic Design
Whether it’s a company business card, a letterhead, a poster, an ad in the paper, a web site, or any host of business presentation materials, you need superb graphic design to stand out in this highly competitive world. Like the old saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
Great first impressions are made by outstanding graphic design.
There are people who take years in university or college to study graphic design. The good thing is that if you’re not one of them there’s still hope!
Large corporations contract companies or highly capable individuals who can look after their corporate identity, but the rest of us need to either hire the local printing shop or do the design work ourselves.
Today, being able to create a good company image is not the stumbling block it was years ago. Most computer programs, like word processors, desktop publishers etc., have ‘wizards’ that will help you create an identity for your business by using existing templates. All you need to do is plug-in your own information. These programs can create business cards, logos, brochures, newsletters, posters, and a host of other related presentation materials.
There are even software programs that will create a very professional company logo, whether your business is very conservative or very outlandish.
Web sites are also a major part of a company’s identity, more so if you are actually developing or own an online company. By searching the Internet, you can buy templates for your web site that will almost be a perfect fit for your business, whether you are selling online or offline.
Even the presentation of information, the actual words that tell about your product or service, or anything related, needs to be considered a graphic design element. Consider some of the posters that promote milk. The advertising companies that promote the drinking of milk could write a multitude of words explaining the chemical make-up of milk and why you should drink it.
Instead, they add a large photo image of an active person drinking it outdoors, with a cow in the background, and place one word in the corner of the poster, “Milk”. Everyone gets the meaning immediately from the photo, which is then reinforced by the word, or a few words.
When doing your own graphic design, the best principle to follow is that ‘less is more’. Allow for lots of space. People find it hard to focus on things that are cluttered. Think of a desk. You don’t really notice the desk when it’s cluttered with papers and junk. Remove the clutter and everyone notices the desk. Keep things clean and simple.
If you do have to present a lot of words, try adding visual interest by adding pull-quotes, which are boxes set in the text that quote some of the highlights of the actual text. The box adds interest.
People usually notice the biggest, boldest item first, and then go left to right if no clear indication is given. In a newspaper article, it’s usually the photo first, then the headline, then bolded captions, then the actual article.
There’s no shame in looking at a design that works for someone else, and emulating it, but not copying it.
By keeping in mind what your ‘desk’, or focus, is, and by using all the tools at your disposal, many of which are free, you will be able to produce graphic designs that are both eye catching and profitable.

Whether it’s a company business card, a letterhead, a poster, an ad in the paper, a web site, or any host of business presentation materials, you need superb graphic design to stand out in this highly competitive world. Like the old saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

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