Even Sticky Marketing Messages Get Stale


Even the stickiest marketing messages can get stale and outdated over time. On average, everyday we’re bombarded with 14,000 advertising messages when you add up all of the emails, billboards, TV Commercials, etc.. Only a few of them stick.

It’s a daunting number but still far fewer than the estimated 1 million stale pieces of gum stuck to the famous “Gum Wall” in Pike Place Market in Seattle. In the 1990s, visitors began sticking their gum to the wall while waiting in line at Seattle’s Market Theatre in Post Alley.


Once named the world’s second-germiest tourist attraction, Seattle’s Gum Wall is second only to Ireland’s Blarney Stone. Pike Place Market’s gum wall will soon be scrubbed of 20 years’ buildup. Seattle is refreshing their gum wall this weekend because they are running out of space. But you can be sure that the tradition will start over and a new fresh wall of stale gum will appear very quickly.

Seattle is refreshing their gum wall this weekend because they are running out of space. But you can be sure that the tradition will start over and a new fresh wall of stale gum will appear very quickly.

Maybe it’s time to refresh your stale marketing message with a more current flavor like this wrapped coffee mug. Imagine your mug amongst the choices in the office breakroom and be sure it stands out. Keep the message simple and graphic strong on this branded coffee mug so this one ends up lasting in the hands of your customers.


​Try Something New

Top Tips for Postcard Design


The postcard has evolved into the marketing instrument of choice for many successful B2B & B2C companies. Marketing Postcards provide a method of presenting your company’s message quickly and clearly, without asking too much of your prospects’ time.

A lot rides on the design of your postcard because you must capture the reader’s attention before they discard it (if you will).

For valuable insider tips on getting the most from a postcard

Size Matters

When many think of postcards, they conjure up images of the old-school 4″ x 6″ ineffective version. Today’s postcards come in many sizes that get you noticed in a mail stack of #10 envelopes.

We recommend designing a 6″ x 11″ postcard with an in-your-face image area to get their attention.

Color Outside the Lines

Always, always, always print your postcard in full color. Wow your prospect with color. Don’t stray too far from your brand colors but certainly don’t be shy about making them big and bold.

Use color on the entire postcard and beyond. Don’t use borders; bleed your colors off the edge of the sheet to create intrigue.

Use full color postcards for maximum impact.

Write it Right

Keep your copy short and to the point.

The reason postcards are so effective is that we’ve learned to scan subject lines in our email for relevant content. Write your headline copy like you would an email subject line. The advantage postcards have over emails is that you also have graphic images and color to get their attention as well as copy.

Use 2 or 3 word headers, bullet points, and just enough copy to engage your reader. Make them want to look on the other side.

Break the Code

The front of the postcard captures attention, but the back of the card should be designed with the clear response mechanism (or call-to-action) in mind.

Consider how you want people to respond and make it easy for them with a phone number, website, address or map to your location.

QR Codes can be added to the design to allow potential customers to scan the card and give them more detailed information on their mobile device.

Tell the recipient exactly what you want them to do; visit your website, sign up for conference, call for more information, go to your store location on Saturday for the 2 for 1 sale.

The response prompt should be the focus of the back of your postcard.

Postcards can be used for more than just mailing, the offer many benefits:

  • They make for a great tradeshow booth handout
  • Fit nicely into a pocket in presentation brochures
  • Are an effective “leave behind” at sales calls with potential customers
  • Don’t take up much space next to the checkout at your store

Following these design tips will increase the response rate of your postcard.

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Social Blue Bird Seeded in Promotional Products



According to legend, eBay was started as a way to locate PEZ dispensers?

Another startup seeded in promotional products is Twitter. When this early bird was still in it’s nest, many other dot coms were closing their virtual doors.

When Twitter was beginning as a simple social texting platform in 2006, an employee named Noah Glass was at a party called “Valleyscwhag Hoedown” in San Francisco. With all the failed startups, there was plenty of unused swag, so the idea was to gather and gift their dead branded merchandise to the party-goers.

Odeo was one of the flailing startups represented at the party, and also happened to be the corporate parent to a little blue bird we’d all come to know as Twitter.

As the story goes, Glass shared Twitter with Om Malik, a popular tech blogger, who tweeted “looking 4 food,” and then blogged about Twitter the next day and that little bird took flight.

When done successfully, branded merchandise is the strongest marketing tool companies can use to connect with their customers. These days there’s hardly a website or storefront that doesn’t have a Twitter bird on it.

Twitter caught the attention of one person that night, and with a social stage the next day, the buzz about Twitter spread and the curious started trying out this new way to communicate.

To think none of this would have happened if it hadn’t been for some left over t-shirts and key chains. The bird was born because a bunch of people gathered to mark a milestone (or gravestone) of ideas that never took flight.




Learn more about PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS in our article archives.

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Say Thank You with Gifts

A great way to say Thank You to our Employees, Vendors and Customers is with a gift. Of course, the gift must reflect the relationship you have with the recipient to be received as intended. Over-giving comes across as suspicious, while under-giving can appear unappreciative.

Whoever the recipient, be authentic in your giving. Don’t try to disguise your marketing message in the form of a gift. It’s a great idea to put your mark (brand) on your gift to remind them of who gave it to them, just keep it subtle. It’s not a billboard, it’s a gift.

A quality jacket with a monochromatic logo embroidered on the left chest is perfect for an employee who would be proud to sport his company’s brand in a subtle way. On the other hand, don’t hand them a t-shirt with a large, bright company logo that fills up the back of the shirt as a gift.

Useful gifts for Customers and Vendors are preferred because they are not too personal. Photo framesdesk clocksUSB battery chargers are all quality, useful gifts that convey your corporate message without screaming it at them.

Consider the gift recipient, and they will consider the source this year. They’ll be grateful for your gratitude.

Shop for Gifts HERE

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Saddle Stitching vs Perfect Binding

Manuals, catalogs, and other books used in business, are generally manufactured using one of two binding methods. To determine the best option for your book here’s a brief description of each process:


Saddle Stitched books are created by nesting folded pages that have wire staples on the crease of the book’s spine.


Perfect Bound books are created by gluing the pages inside of the cover at the spine with a strong, flexible adhesive.

Page Count is often a determining factor in choosing between the two. There is some overlap in page count, so other determining factors are listed below.

Saddle Stitching is limited to thinner books with a lower page count because the wire staples must be pushed through the paper. 8 – 64 pages is ideal depending on the paper thickness.

Perfect Binding is limited to thicker books because it needs a thicker spine for the glue to adhere to. 36 pages and higher is ideal for perfect binding. As long as the book is over 1/8″ thick, it can be several inches thick like a phone directory.

Spine printing – Each of these options is very different.

Saddle Stitched books do not have a flat surface to print on so spine printing is not an option.

Perfect Binding books allow for printing on the spine so that when the book is on a shelf it’s more easily identifiable.

Lay Flat Pages – Consider the reader’s experience.

Saddle Stitched books generally lay flatter when the book is opened, allowing for better crossover artwork viewing.

Perfect Binding books tend to close back up unless you hold the pages open. A hinged, lay-flat option is available on perfect bound books that costs more and adds to the production time.

Shelf Life – Your choice in binding options can mean the difference between getting one order or saved for future orders.

Saddle Stitched catalogs are frequently mailed for the quick, one time Holiday orders. Then they are typically tossed in the recycling bin.

Perfect Binding catalogs for B2B products are intended for use throughout the year. Perfect Binding creates a sense of permanence. Consider how many old National Geographic magazines you can still find at garage sales vs. old Popular Mechanics magazines?

Production Time – Saddle Stitched books are quicker to manufacture

Cost – Saddle Stitching is typically the more affordable of the two options.

Contact Us Today for Custom Printing

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K.I.S.S. your Mail Hello!

A rising trend in Direct Mail is the use of Self-Mailers. Keep it Simple with this effective mailer. Self-Mailers include postcards and any mailing that is not contained in an envelope (or box).

It’s no secret why the Self-Mailer is so successful in today’s busy world.

Here are the benefits:

Less Intrusive. Self-mailers require less of the recipient’s time compared to mail that must be opened.

Lower Production Costs. The cost of inserting and packaging is eliminated

Get to the Point. Capture their attention, tell them why to buy from you, tell them how to buy from you.

Consistent. Lower costing, less intrusive, focused mailers can be sent more frequently to the mailbox of your clients, prospects or donors without breaking the bank.

If you apply the K.I.S.S. Principle when designing your self-mailers you’ll reap the rewards of an efficient, effective Direct Mail Program.

Spot Color vs. Process Color


Recognizing the difference between Spot Color and Process Color will help you spec your printing projects to your printer for accurate cost estimates and job planning.

Starting with definitions of the two options, we can then discuss other determining factors to guide you in making the right choice.

Spot Color
This color is created by mixing ink using the Pantone Matching System (PMS) before the ink is loaded into the press. Hundreds of different ink colors can be matched by mixing specific formulas using 14 standard colors. A very basic example of this is that Blue & Yellow make a Green ink color. The formulas are precise and can sometimes rely on 4 or 5 different mixing colors to achieve the exact color. This is a solid color of ink and you will not see anything but that color when you view it with a magnifier.

Process Color
Printing 4 standard colors of ink on the press creates this color. Every Process Color project is printed with the same 4 colors – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Black, also referred to as CMYK (the K for Black was explained in last months Markit-in-a-Minute). The press does not mix the inks, it simply prints a percentage of small dots for each Process Color to achieve the desired color. You have to use a magnifier to see it but the Green color you see on your printed piece is actually very tiny dots of Blue and Yellow. That’s how the press can print green without having green ink on the press.

Spot Color vs. Process Color



  • Precision color reproduction
  • Only one pass through the press


  • Cannot reproduce color photos
  • Cannot print on digital press



  • Unlimited color options
  • Digital reproduction available


  • Some colors do not reproduce accurately
  • Cannot reproduce Metallic or Fluorescent colors

Many other considerations can help determine which way to reproduce your color for the best result. If it seems overwhelming, give us a call. We can talk about this until we’re blue in the face.

The Man with Two Brains


It wasn’t long ago that designer’s studios were equipped with tools like X-Acto knives, drawing boards, T-squares and dark rooms. The evolution of computer graphics has increased the efficiency of design, and allowed for spectacular effects that were not possible before.

The technology of design, however, can get in the way of great design if you don’t understand the strengths of the designer you choose for the project.

It’s a left-brain, right-brain thing.

Would you ever ask your CPA to provide your quarterlies in a font that represents your brand? Or hire a painter to download the appropriate apps on your tablet to run your business? In essence, this is similar to what designers are asked to do every day.

Every designer has different strengths and you’ll waste resources and overspend if you don’t know their specialty.

Don’t waste your money hiring the designer who created your logo to change a name on a business card every time you hire a new employee. It’s like asking the team that designed you car to change your tire.

Having more than one designer is best, so you can use them only when you need their specific talents. Some are great at font selection, others are color specialists, while the best choice for the project may be the designer that can most efficiently get the changes made in a file created in software program that none of us non-designers understand. Also, be sure they all understand the basics of your brand.

A team of designers will keep your brand fresh and current.

Great on-going design for your business requires a solid understanding of your brand, eye-catching imagery that doesn’t get in the way, and a compelling message that leads your prospect down a direct path to purchasing what you are selling.

Don’t have time to manage a team of designers? Get to know us!

Branding Sets the Stage for your Event


In our article archives you’ll read about the importance of brand integrity through consistent design. This holds true when branding an annual event as well, but it’s OK to have some fun with it.

Branding sets the stage for your event; it’s your first impression to all new attendees and it serves as a reminder to all repeat attendees for past events.

Think of your event brand as a concert T-shirts of sorts, and past attendees will be your greatest recruiters. “I remember when I saw Mumford & Sons in 2011, you should go this year”.

Here are three key points in branding an annual event…

  1. Keep the main focus on the recognizable part of your logo.
  2. Add the year – 2013, ’13, XIII, etc.
  3. Add a landmark, or image that represents the location like the Space Needle, an Indy Car, or a Golden Palm Tree for a tropical location.

Very quickly, you’ll create an archive of past events and the people will start asking, “were you at the Chicago Symposia in 2012 too?”


Markit Caps off the NYSE Closing Bell

Yesterday McGraw Hill Financial (NYSE: MHFI)  made their recent name change official with a rebranding event at the New York Stock Exchange.

Markit Motion, Inc. was chosen to provide products to support the McGraw Hill Financial rebranding effort. One of those products was a ball cap with their new logo. 


The company’s leadership team rang the Closing Bell, as hats showcasing the new logo were handed out on the NYSE floor.

The Markit Team kept the confidential new logo under wraps until today’s release at the New York Stock Exchange.

“ We were thrilled to be a part of this high profile rebranding” says Markit Motion, Inc. founder, Rick Garrett, “it was exciting to watch as Markit capped off the day!”