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The Real Personal Computer

The year was 1981 and IBM just launched the 5150 Personal Computer. The 5150 started the personal computer revolution, but it took time to spread from the early adopters. It started with small businesses and built momentum when the Apple Macintosh was introduced in 1984. It wasn’t until the mid-1990’s, when the internet was made public, that made the personal computer popular to the average consumer.

The iPhone is the new personal computer
Image courtesy Apple Inc.

While this was all happening, we witnessed the revolution of the cellular phone. The cellular phone started as a large briefcase bag that you had to carry around with you or leave inside your car. They morphed into large cordless ‘bricks’ which look really funny these days.

Which brings us to today. These devices, that we cannot get away from, are tethered to our bodies and have become indispensable to our daily lives. Our cell phones are not telephones, they are our new personal computer. Smart phones are powerful computers that allow us to make phone calls through the internet using a technology called voice-over-internet-protocol (VOIP). They not only allow us to communicate via voice, but also allow access to text messaging (SMS), email, video calling, social media apps, photos and browsing the internet. People claim that if they leave their home without their wallet they will continue driving, while they will return home to grab their cell phone. As social media, games and apps build even more momentum, people will be even more attached to their phones.

Near Field Communication (NFC) technology is now being built into new smart phones. NFC will allow us to start our cars, make purchases and allow for customized content. Near field communication is a sensor/chip inside a phone that uses a customized short-range frequency that is dedicated exclusively to your device. We have been using this technology for many years with devices such as keyless office entry or ‘speed-pass’ payment methods. This technology is now being built into smart phones for your convenience. Think about this: wallet, keys, phone; two of them are going away – pick one.

One note to keep your eye on, cell phone service providers are now charging data usage by your usage in kilobytes. For those of you that are not aware, or have unlimited data plans, each time you visit a website on your smart phone, you are downloading the html code/data of that site through your phone’s internet browser. This data that you download is being tracked by your service provider and you will be charged based on the amount of data that you are downloading. I don’t like this trend and we need to support service providers that allow unlimited data plans. If all the service providers switch away from unlimited data plans, we, the consumer, will pay significantly with higher cell phone bills. Doesn’t that sound like the beginning of internet browsing with the old ‘dial-up’ connections?

Furthermore, if you own a business or you’re a marketer, you need to get your business online. With the emergence of the Real Personal Computer (our cell phone), there are tremendous opportunities to those that can be found through search engines. The day will come when your potential client uses their phone to search for what they want to buy. Your business needs to have a web presence and a mobile friendly website to take advantage of new business and lead generation opportunities. Think about the potential of mobile marketing with everyone glued to their phones…

An analogy would be to compare the computer revolution with the telephone industry. We’ve gone from using large desktop workstations to small handheld devices.

They are now one.

How often do you conduct Google search on your cell phone? Please leave your comments below…


Blog Color Management Design Fun Marketing Photography Video

Four Color Televisions? Really??


When i first saw this commercial I laughed. What will they try to sucker us into next?


How do they think they are going to take an RGB signal, therefore RGB color gamut, and create more pixel information and re-create more of an image that was never there to begin with?

My guess is they’re taking the red and green signals and just amplifying the two together to create more yellow. This will alter the white point, or color temperature, of the screen and never match any color.

How can you add an additional color to additive color theory? What will the additive color purists think?

Most people, however, prefer a blue/white appearance because if appears brighter. We have all seen this case with paper for commercial color printing. Optical brightening agents in paper manufacturing create the blue/white finish of paper. The paper ‘appears’ brighter, but in reality it’s just ‘bluer’.

In the subtractive color world, only so much light can be reflected off the surface of the paper. Therefore, if the paper was neutral in ‘whiteness’ it would appear dirty with more yellow being added instead of blue.

Inkjet printers now use as many as 12 colors to create beautiful color prints. This is understandable because using just CMYK can not create the same gamut as RGB.

Personally, I would rather have a sharper image with great contrast over ‘cartoon’ color.

What do you think?

Blog Design Marketing Printing

When to Print Digital Versus Offset Printing

There are three factors in making a decision to print a brochure on a digital press versus printing on an offset press.

  1. Quality. There is little doubt that offset printing is better in terms of resolution. Photos, screen tints and gradient screens are far superior printed with a metal plate on an offset press. Contrary, a digital press will have a slightly larger color gamut due to the nature of the toner (digital ink) being fused to the substrate. This method of digital printing will provide brighter colors on uncoated stocks. Overall, the resolution and crispness of type/screens on an offset press far exceeds digital printing to the trained eye.
  2. Turnaround time. Hands down, digital printing is the choice. Without having to make expensive metal plates and time consuming ‘press makeready’, the ability of digital printing to output a single press sheet, without metal plates or ‘press makeready’, is a tremendous advantage. On the downside, the slower speed of a digital press makes longer runs more time consuming than an offset printing.
  3. Price. The major price difference between printing digital versus printing offset is the quantity. Lesser quantities will favor printing digital, while larger quantities will favor printing offset. The ‘per unit’ price of a digital printed piece will be higher than offset. However, the expense of making plates and ‘press makeready’ with offset will cause the ‘per unit’ price to be linear – as the quantity goes up, the ‘per unit’ price goes down. Finding the price intersection is the key.

As you can see, there are many variables to consider printing digital versus printing offset. There is no clear-cut decision. If quality is paramount, stick with offset and pay a little more. If you’re just looking for 50 brochures, digital printing is your choice.

You can see the numbers yourself. has an instant pricing calculator for both offset printing and digital printing. Use the instant pricing calculator to determine when to use digital printing versus offset printing.


Blog Color Management Design File Prep Marketing Photography Printing Profiles

Secrets To Printing Chocolate

Printing chocolate can be very demanding.

The problem is a rich, appealing image of chocolate contains all four process colors and depending what profile is used, or converted to, there is a greater chance of not getting the results you’re looking for.

GCR Neutral Density Curves 320 TAC
Neutral Density Curves of GRACoL color profile. Notice when the image gets darker, the more Black ink is used. The gray gradient line from left is neutral gray from white to black.

An ICC color profile with a high percentage of GCR (gray component replacement) will produce the best results. Using GCR will lower the contaminate color (in the case of chocolate – cyan) and replace with a percentage of black ink.

For instance, using Photoshop’s default North American General Purpose settings, a nice brown/chocolate color will produce CMYK values of 40 cyan, 75 magenta, 100 yellow and 40 black. uses an enhanced CMYK gamut and that same color would separate/convert as 15 cyan, 65 magenta, 95 yellow and 60 black.

By just using the correct profile, a more controllable/predictable color would be obtained on press. Also, overall ink consumption would be reduced by nearly 10%. This is a result of adding the four process color percentages (255 versus 235), also know as Total Area Coverage (TAC).


Blog Design File Prep Marketing

Number One Reason for Delays in Print Turnaround Time

The number one reason your print order can be delayed is do to errors in producing print-ready files.

All commercial printers are searching for the holy grail of PDF files; PDF X-3 , PDF X-4.

A PDF X file is ready to RIP (raster image processing). The RIP is the computer/software that reads, interprets and renders your images onto printing plates. If there are issues with submitted files, the RIP will error out and the print job will be stopped. That’s when you receive the “phone call”. will be installing an AutoRIP feature online shortly. This will be a FREE, simple way to preflight your files before placing an order with us.

Any errors will be noted so they can be repaired before you incur any charges for sending new files.

Blog Design Fun Marketing

The Future of Publishing?

Well said….

Blog Design Marketing Printing Profiles

Number One Reason for Reprinting a Print Order

According to a recent survey from GATF (Graphics Arts Technical Foundation), the number one reason for printers’ reprints was due to unacceptable color in print. There has been a general lack of communication, and knowledge, in the print industry that’s been the main cause. Surprisingly, there are many printers that do not have color profiles for their printing conditions. These printers should be avoided due to the lack of being able to produce consistent color off their press.

Blog Design Marketing

Round Corners Sustain Business Card Life

Who likes to handout a tattered business card?

For a few dollars, simply add round corners to your next business card order. Round corners will increase the life of your cards, unless you carry your cards in a 24kt gold case.

Round corner business cards will prevent the corners from getting bent up and are found under the “finishing” pull-down menu.

Round corners are available in 1/4″, 3/8″ and 1/2″ radius. One quarter inch is most common.