Document Depot's Blog

Print in th Digital Age 

4/9/2014

  • Advertisements on the internet are often broadcast to target a large audience, in contrast, print collateral allows businesses to market their message to a selected group of customers and deliver it directly to their door. 

  • Print is an extremely flexible media: from brochures to postcards to catalogs, businesses can choose different print forms to communicate their information to consumers.

  • While advertisements on the internet occur only on certain pages and can be aggressive and flashy, people can look at printed direct mail advertisements in their leisure time. These advertisements can stay at hand for weeks on end.

  • Using print alongside other channels, businesses can increase the effectiveness of their marketing. Direct mail can lead to store visits, phone calls or even internet orders. 

    • 86% of consumers buy an item after first seeing it in a catalog 

    • About one-third of people making a purchase online have a catalog on hand. 

It is important to consider using print to advertise because it paper remains relevant and highly effective in helping businesses reach their communication goals.

 

 

How to scan for legal and archiving purposes

8/13/2013

The Paperless office is achievable!!  Now why would a printer be touting the "paperless" office?  I like my desk to be clean as much as the next guy but whether we choose to keep our records on paper, or we are keeping them electronically, what we are really talking about is how you receive information, how you track it, store it, and ultimately dispose of it.  

Prepare your systems
When planning to keep a large number of pages electronically, you want to make sure your computer has a good (possibly twin) hard drive with plenty of space.  You should also start with a backup system in mind.  If you have an electric surge you can lose all of your data in an instant.  External hard drives, dual drives, and cloud based services are all viable options and you may choose more than one.  The key is to back up regularly and consistently.  

Your scanner and scanning
Most scanners are pretty good these days.  You always want to minimize your file sizes.  The first and best way to do this is to scan in greyscale when possible.  A greyscale image size is 1/10 the size of the same size color image at the same resolution.  The 2nd way to minimize your file sizes is to keep your resolution low - but NOT TOO LOW.  Most communication that comes out of digital print systems is produced at 300 dpi, so scanning at a higher resolution is a waste of time.  Use minimum 150 dpi, (less may not produce accurate reads) and mazimum of 300 for archival purposes. 

Your file structure
This is the hard part really..   Try to imagine that your files are a paper filing cabinet.  Structure your file tree the same way as you would a filing cabinet.  Payables in one place, receiveables in another, then by client, then by date, or whatever structure works best.  Your current paper filing system is probably as good a place as any to start.

Ongoing scanning
A paperless office is more a way of life than a project.  Try to get in the habit of opening your mail, scanning things you want to keep and destroy the rest.  Do it regularly so that it doesn't pile up.  If you are able to keep it up, you will have a cleaner desk, and maybe you will have greater peace of mind..  and that is what we are doing this for - right?

Help is available!
We can help you get started with scanning services, file indexing and structure.  We helped a small firm this year eliminate over 40 cartons of records and go paperless moving forward.  We can help you get there too! 
Call us at 609-520-0094 even if it's just to get some pointers.  - Ed

 

 

How to scan artwork for printing

7/8/2013

Scanning has different requirements than scanning for web.  The main requirements are higher resolutions!  
 
 Your computer screen has a 72 dpi resolution, but most printers print at at least 300dpi.  That means printed images require 4 times as much resolution as images intended for print.  Thus, while an image may look good on your computer screen, it may not look good when printed.  Also, when you are looking at your screen, your screen may be small.  While a 2" x 2" image on your screen may appear big, the same image may appear small when printed.  

Printing larger:   When you intend to print at a larger size than your original, you need to scan at a higher resolution, so that when you increase your image size, data loss will be minimized.  So if you have a 3" x 5" original and you would like to blow it up to 8 x 10, you need to scan at a minimum of 600 x 600 resolution in order to print at 300 x 300 dpi resolution with no data loss.  I arrived at this by calculating the ratio of the increase (5" to 10" is 1-2 ratio) with the dpi result of 300 x 300, which is typical for most output.  

 So when choosing your scanning resolution, begin with the end in mind.  If your output is going to be printed, and larger than your source material, then you need to scan at higher resolutions.  If not, your work may appear pixelated or just of low quality.  
 
Next time we can consider some other factors; color and contrast

 

 

How to scan artwork succesfully

6/24/2013

The process of digitizing artwork is much more involved than most people realize.  There are 3 main routes for digitizing artwork.  There are also 2 main purposes for digitizing artwork - scanning for web, and scanning for printing.  In this post, I will talk about scanning for the web.  In my next post, I will talk about scanning for print, particularly for art reproduction prints. Scanning for web display requires that the final image size is small and has minimal color depth.  This is so that the image is small enough to transmit over the web without long download times. Most screen resolutions are at 72 dpi.  This is much lower resolution than print images which are typically output at 300 dpi.  Many web applications also may require images to be at a specific dot size.    Most web file formats (jpeg, gif, png) limit color depth (also to save on file size).  The result of preparing images for the web (cropping, downsampling, and bit reduction) usually results in images which give poor results when printed. When scanning an image for web,  we want to capture the image at a higher resolution than our final resolution.  This allows us to  make sure that we don't miss something in the original that we want to be able to see. Most home scanners have scan beds which are 8.5 x 11 to 8.5 x 14.  They are usually capable of scanning at a bit depth of 24 to 48 bit depth and up to 1200 dpi which is more than adequate for most web applications.  If your originals are larger than your scanner, you can try to find a printer or photographer with larger scanners, or take a digital photo of the artwork.  The latter can be tricky to do well.  I don't want to address how to use scanners in this post, so I will leave it to say that you should follow the instructions which come with your scanner if you need to learn how to use it.  

 Once an image is scanned, it will typically require some editing.  Cropping, downsampling for specific purposes, adjustment of colors which may be affected by scan conditions all may be necessary for best results.  This can be accomplished with photo editing software.  Adobe Photoshop is a professional program for this type of work, but Photoshop LE, Gimp and other software allow for simple editing and cropping.

Finally, your scanned image needs to be saved in a format required by your web destination.  The most typical are jpeg, gif or png.  

Oversized artwork requires special considerations.  If your artwork is larger than your scanbed then capturing the artwork digitally can require some other techniques.  I will discuss them in a future post.
If you have any questions about scanning or how we can help you reproduce your images, contact me at ed@documentdepot.net