Monday, December 3, 2018

Tis The Season ....

Goggle the history of the Christmas card and you'll soon find yourself lost in a gallery of cards from every era and every country. From vintage cards circa 1843 to the Top 10 Grateful Dead Christmas cards.

In 1611 a flowery Christmas card was sent by one Michael Maier to James I of England and his son the Prince of Wales . When it was discovered in 1979 in the Scottish Record Office it was named the first recorded Christmas card. The words of the greeting - "A greeting on the birthday of the Sacred King, to the most worshipful and energetic lord and the most eminent James, King of Great Britain and Ireland, and Defender of the true faith, with a gesture of joyful celebration of the Birthday of the Lord, in most joy and fortune, as we enter into the new auspicious year 1612" - was laid out to form a rose.

No mention if Michael Maier was awarded a title for his efforts.

The next cards were commissioned by Sir Henry Cole and illustrated by John Horsley in London. The central image depicts three generations of a family gathered together, raising a toast to the card's recipient. To the left and right are scenes of food and clothing being given to the poor. By all accounts, the image of the family enjoying wine proved controversial however, the idea was early marketing brilliance. In 1840 Sir Henry Cole helped introduce the Penny Post, one of several postal systems in Great Britain in which normal letters could be sent for one penny. A total of 2,050 cards were printed in 1843 and sold for a shilling each.



Christmas 1873 found lithograph firm Prang and Mayer creating greeting cards for the popular market in Britain earning owner Louis Prang the title of the "father of the American Christmas card." The firm began selling the Christmas card in America in 1874, becoming the first printer to offer cards in America. 

From the very beginning, collecting Christmas cards has become a passion. Queen Mary's collection of Christmas cards was so large it is now housed in the British Museum. Cards printed during the "golden age of printing" (1840s-1890s) are especially prized and command large sums at auction. In December 2005 on of Horsely's original cards sold for $11.5 million. But that cannot hold a Christmas candle to the world record as the most expensive Christmas card when a card produced in 1843 (pictured above) sold to an anonymous bidder in 2001 for $28,400.00

Technology for anyone to provide a personalized Christmas card thanks to digital photography. In tandem with our rapid digital printing, we can help you bring that personal touch during this the "most wonderful time of the year."



Friday, November 2, 2018

Shrink-Wrap: What is it and why you need it!


Dirt, dust, moisture, dinged up and damaged corners on printed pieces as a result of your brochures and other promo items rubbing against each other during transit. These are just a few of the enemies of printed pieces. What can you do to protect your investment? Enter Shrink-Wrap! Thin, light and durable, shrink wrap is the printing industry's protection super hero.

Sometimes referred to as shrink film, shrink-wrap is a polymer plastic film that (wait for it!) shrinks when heat is applied. As the film shrinks it conforms to the shape of the item being packaged, totally encasing and tightly securing it. Many printed pieces are shrink-wrapped in bundles however, there are some applications which require each item to be shrink-wrapped individually. Additionally a chipboard backer is often shrink-wrapped with the printed pieces to add stability to the bundle.

Shrink wrapping is considered a finishing operation used extensively in the commercial printing industry and like many other commercial printers Spectra Print offers it as an optional service. 

Why should you consider Shrink-Wrap for your Printing Orders?

Shrink-wrap reduces the chance of crumpled and scrubbed corners by restricting the pieces from rubbing together in transit or shifting in the shipping carton.

Shrink-wrap protects the printing from harmful contaminants such as dirt, dust, moisture and is a simple way of improving the longevity of printed orders especially those that are kept in long-term storage.

Printed loose pieces such as one page flyers or posters that are shrink-wrapped in bundles are much easier to handle, inventory, store, and distribute.

Due to the transparent nature of shrink-wrap it gives a clear view of what is enclosed. Printed pieces bundled in pre-set packs of 25, 50, or 100 pieces are easier to inventory and more manageable especially for high-gloss printing which has a tendency to slide around due to the nature of its slick surface.

Shrink-wrap is a cost-effective packaging option (probably less than you think!) especially when taken into consideration all of its advantages. 

If you have any questions about shrink-wrap give Spectra Prints a call at 715-344-5175. Or if you  have a project that you would like to have us quote, call or visit our website and click on the Request Quote link.

Photo Source: Internet Free Image

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Facebook Cover Size Dimensions



We recently received a question via Facebook Messenger from Alicia if we could tell her the ideal size for her Facebook Cover profile - the photos she had been uploading were blurry. Since Alicia may not be the only one with this question, we decided to share with our followers.

The ideal cover photo dimensions for a Facebook cover size (both page and profile) is 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall for desktop, 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels tall for mobile.

Available for Facebook business pages is the ability to upload a cover video instead of a static photo. The specifications for this are: at least 820 pixels wide by 312 pixels tall and it can be 20 to 90 seconds long. If you found an image or video that you love and the dimensions are a bit off, you can still use it! You’ll want to choose that image or video (or upload it), and then you’ll be allowed to ‘reposition’ it. With the reposition feature, Facebook is essentially allowing you to crop your cover photo in a way that you think best fits in the space.

Not happy with any of the photos you have on hand? How about a site that offers free images for your blog or other social media needs? Be sure to scroll down past the "invitation to use Buffer's pablo service. Farther down the post are several free for use sites.

We also recommend reading the brief sections addressing Creative Commons and the explanation of Public Domain. Both are important for businesses - and individuals - to be aware of before grabbing an image from the Internet.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Social Media Trends To Watch in 2019


According to current statistics relating to social media trends, by the year 2020 80% of the total global internet traffic will be attributed to videos. There is a growing belief among those marketing companies that utilize videos in their campaigns that messages from videos are retained on the minds of their customers. The proof seems to be in the pudding as 73% of business to business organizations who have incorporated videos into their marketing campaigns are reporting positive results in their ROI.

What makes a successful video? We're glad you asked! Here are a few tips:

Don't overlook the Wow Factor. Creating a unique video something that has that added surprise is always a winner.

Forget creating an epic video. Ditch War and Peace. Shorter, precise and concise videos win the day.

Make a great first impression. Make sure you engage your audience within the first seven seconds.

Yes, you can take it with you. Make your video mobile friendly.

No one size fits all. Create different videos with different content platforms. 

In addition to the growth of marketing trends that includes more video, Snapchat and Instagram stories, marketers are rethinking Twitter as the platform failed to grow its followers in 2017.  In fact, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram all have more social media followers.

In our next blog post we'll explore other social media trends for the coming year including live streaming.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Regional 2019-2020 K9 Calendar Launch: Start the Presses!


In an upcoming calendar, 25 central Wisconsin K9 teams will be featured in support of each K9 team’s program. Collectively, the teams will represent six counties throughout the region including Clark, Lincoln, Marathon, Portage, Taylor, and Wood.  

On Thursday, September 7th, the printing of the calendar officially launched at Spectra Print. The creative team along with available participating K9 teams were on hand to experience the "Start the Presses!" moment.

The calendar, which has been been voluntarily coordinated and covers 2019 to March 2020, has been a heartfelt undertaking over many months. Starting spring of this year, Amy Zondlo donated photography of each participating team, with then later handing the images over to Robin Patrick of Moxie Creative Studio who donated graphic design of the calendar. 



“Whenever possible, I captured team images in the light of the relationship overall – the strong bond between K9 and handler, not only the working side of what may otherwise initially come to mind. I learned about the complexity of this bond, yet it was quite basic in the end – to defend and protect one another while doing good in the community,” shares Zondlo. “I experienced several emotions while photographing the teams including initial intimidation based on sheer size and strength of the dog, to amazement in the K9’s agility and obedience, to understanding how a K9 team can help provide comfort and trust, to laughter from the K9 simply wanting to be an ordinary dog playing with its beloved toy – the tennis ball in this instance,” she concludes. 

An anonymous party donated enough paper to print 700 calendars to be shared across participating teams, with Stevens Point-based Spectra Print also graciously donating the actual printing of the calendar. Wire binding, the spiral binding commonly found with calendars, has also been donated. 

Not only will the calendar feature current K9 teams throughout the region, it’ll share educational elements allowing the community to learn more about the different types of K9s as well as why the otherwise common tennis ball is so adored by these dogs. K9s that have served but no longer here will also be remembered. 

Each participating K9 team will receive a supply of calendars to use as a fundraiser in support of its agency’s K9 team(s). Calendars will be available, on a suggested donation basis, at each agency so please contact one of the following for more information:

  • Colby/Abbotsford Police Department
  • Marathon County Sheriff's Office
  • Everest Metro Police Department
  • Merrill Police Department
  • Marshfield Police Department
  • Wausau Police Department
  • Stevens Point Police Department
  • Lincoln County Sheriff's Office
  • Wood County Sheriff's Office
  • Portage County Sheriff's Office
  • Loyal Police Department
  • Taylor County Sheriff's Office
  • Plover Police Department


For additional information on the calendar follow Central Wisco K9 Law Enforcement Teams: 2019 Regional Calendar on Facebook.

Source: Press Release - Photos: J. Reichert

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Content Can Wait ... Wait! What?


Before you start your brochure copy outline or choosing the photographs and color scheme - stop. It may surprise you to hear that an effective, well-designed promotional piece does not begin with the content. Soput down the pen, turn off the laptop and consider to the following questions.

What is the goal of the brochure? While this may seem obvious to you, a brochure is not always about “a sale.” Is your brochure going to be used to introduce your company? Is it going to be used as a tool to educate or as a followup to a presentation? Establishing a clear goal in the beginning will help smooth out the creation process.

Who is your audience? Is your target audience prospective customers, current customers or the general public? Is there a particular section of the market that you would like to reach? When your brochure reaches the hands of the customer/consumer will they have previous experience with your company or product? Knowing your audience is an important process of your promotional literature design.

How will the brochure be distributed? Once it is printed and packed neatly into boxes, you need to figure out how to get that brochure into people’s hands. Will it be mailed or handed out an an event? Will it be included in a folder as part of a presentation? Will someone from your company’s sales department leave it behind as part of a meeting with a client or will it be placed in a rack or on a showroom table? The physical characteristics of the brochure will be determined by the answers to these questions.

What format is best to convey the information? There are so many options available. For instance, a brochure that will be mailed is going to have vastly different characteristics than one that is part of presentation. A mailed brochure could be designed as a self mailer or to fit into a standard envelope. The possibilities are almost limitless.

The best place to start is to contact our sales department. They would be happy to set up a meeting with Spectra Prints’ top notch designers and help you create a brochure that will not only achieve your goals but reach the right audience and showcase your company or product in the best possible light.

Image Source: Internet

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Avenue C: The Road to Employee Wellness



When it comes to our employees health we're all business. At the top of the list is diet. A nutritious diet is crucial to the health and well being of everyone.

At Spectra Print we strive to create a culture of wellness, one that focuses on helping our employees make and adopt a healthy lifestyle. There are mountains of studies that have been done over the years giving us statistics that show when we change our diet, become more active, avoid tobacco and enjoy alcohol in moderation, good things happen.

People who eat well, both on and off the job, become employees who feel better, have consistent increased energy, improve their mood and decrease levels of stress. The result is an engaged and productive employee.

Who knew that vending machines would be making a comeback in 2018?

No, we aren't talking about the vending machines that offer only one choice but rather a vending machine with health-conscious choices. Today, Avenue C, our new self-checkout micro-market, is an investment towards helping everyone at Spectra Print adopt and maintain a healthier lifestyle by offering our employees, on every shift, multiple options when they need to rehydrate, refresh, and refuel.