Product Spotlight: Flyer for Business

One of the new product types we recently announced is the Flyer. The Flyer product is a single sheet of paper printed on both sides in full color with a full bleed, available in quantities of 10 copies or more. You can create a Flyer by uploading a one or two-page 8.5” x 11” PDF to MagCloud. Keep in mind that all Flyers must be two pages long, to encompass both the front and back sides of the printed sheet, so if you do upload a 1 page PDF we will automatically add a second blank page to the end of the PDF for you. Like our Standard product, the cost for a printed Flyer is 20 cents per MagCloud page, or $0.40 for each double-sided piece. As always, orders of 20 copies or more receive a bulk discount of 25%, dropping the price to just $0.30 per Flyer.

We feel like this shorter page limit opens up a number of new options for our publishers, and have listed a few ideas below for how you might be able to use the Flyer product for your business:

< Inserts
Update previously printed collateral to be more timely and customized by adding a single sheet insert. Adding a single sheet insert to a previously printed piece like this can provide more relevant information targeted to a specific recipient, or offer an update to existing collateral. For example, if you’re passing out a catalog, you might include an insert about your upcoming product line or summer sale. Similarly, if you are sending previous donors a copy of your non-profit’s annual prospectus, you might include a more personal thank you letter as an insert.

Conference and Tradeshow Handouts >
Whether they are included in the conference materials or handed out at a tradeshow booth, providing printed handouts to attendees to highlight the features of your product or service will help potential customers remember who you are when they get home.

< Datasheets
The Flyer product is a great option for creating single sheets of technical specs on your product or service. The high quality of the digital printing provides a more professional appearance than desktop printing, while the single letter-sized sheet is a format that can easily be included in a packet with other materials, or left behind at a sales meeting.

Real Estate Sales Sheets >
If you’re an Australian real estate agent, why not use the Flyer product to create sales sheets for your newly listed homes. The full color printing will allow you to include photos along with background information about the listing, that can be offered up as a way to entice potential buyers. Since MagCloud allows for shorter print runs, you can order fewer copies initially and print more on demand as they are needed, saving on storage and paper waste.

< Headshots and Resumes
Get your job interview or audition off on the right foot with a professionally printed resume or double-sided headshot.

Newsletters >
Use the Flyer product type to communicate with your clients or members by creating a single-sheet newsletter. With MagCloud’s digital options, you can offer your audience the same newsletter in both print and digital with a single PDF upload.

< Menus
A single 8.5″ x 11″ sheet is the great size for menus, and MagCloud’s print-on-demand model provides a cost-effective and easy way to order additional copies or make updates to the menu as needed. If you’re a caterer, you can take advantage of MagCloud’s shorter print runs to create Flyer-sized menus tailored to each event you cater, whether it’s an intimate dinner party or a large buffet.

Price Sheets >
Are you a photographer offering senior portrait packages? How about a sporting goods store offering bikes, kayaks, and skis for rent? Or a spa owner with a list of services you need to publicize? Whether you are a makeup artist, landscaper, tutor, or dog walker, let your potential customers know the rates for your services with a professionally printed price sheet that can incorporate full-color images of your prior work and personal branding.

< Flyers for Sales and Events
Use the Flyer product for what it was named after: flyers! Print and pass out single sheet flyers for your next retail sale, store opening, or company event. Whether you are hosting a signing in your book store, a concert in your coffee shop, or a spring sale in your clothing boutique, make sure your potential attendees and customers not only know about it but remember it with a printed flyer.

Looking for more inspiration, or wondering where to get started with your Flyer design? Templates that fit the 8.5″ x 11″ Flyer product type can be found around the internet, and even on your own computer. The Microsoft Office Suite, as well as Apple’s iWorks Pages come preloaded with a number of letter-sized templates that can be used for creating Flyer publications. In addition, sites like Inkd and Stock Layouts offer a range of different letter-sized templates in their Datasheet and Flyer sections that you can download for a price and edit to fit your needs before uploading to the MagCloud site for printing and distribution.

Have you already created something for your business with the new Flyer product? Let us know in the comments below!

367 Addison Avenue: Go Beyond Printing to the Heart of Your Business

Small businesses are finding more and more ways to use online resources to help their business grow and be successful. For example, HP MagCloud has helped thousands of businesses and independent publishers engage with their audiences, but did you know that HP has other small business resources available to help owners grow far beyond their communication and publishing needs?

A great resource is www.367AddisonAvenue.com. This HP small business blog features tips and tricks on basic business technology, how-to’s to grow your business, advice from leading experts on trends and upcoming small business technology, and stories about small businesses across the U.S. that are practicing technology innovation.

To all the small business owners and independent publishers out there who are trying to get your businesses off the ground, we encourage you to visit this blog to learn more on topics including:

You can also join the conversation or be the one to start it at HP’s Small Biz Nation community.


Extending Your Brand With a Magazine

Your brand collateral is the most important opportunity to talk about your product or service. But getting your target audience to read your brochure, or catalog cover-to-cover isn’t always easy.

That’s why so many businesses have found that branded magazines are a unique way to pique audiences interest with relevant content and information, while reinforcing their brand message. It keeps them top of mind in a format that gets to their customers or target audience more frequently—be it annually, quarterly or monthly. What’s better—it’s in a form-factor that is both familiar and comfortable for the reader.

Many businesses have found that they can better engage with potential customers and increase brand loyalty by publishing a magazine of their own. According to a study conducted by the Association of Publishing Agencies (APA Advantage Study, 2007) on branded magazines (or as they call them, “customer magazines,”) – customers spend 25 minutes on average with such a publication, compared with a TV ad (30 seconds) and an internet ad (0.5 seconds). That’s 25 minutes immersed with a brand.  And while in-house magazines were once considered glorified advertorials, today the use of subtle branding and genuine editorial content helps many successful businesses tactfully promote themselves. *Want to read more about the study? You can download the executive summary as a PDF here.

How does it work? Well, by presenting your business in a more editorial format you can:

  • develop prospective customers and foster increased loyalty
  • establish your organization or company as current on issues and trends
  • position yourself as an expert in your field
  • be a resource for information that is relevant to your audience
  • reinforce your style and voice
  • give depth and relevance to your brand in an environment you can control

Finding Inspiration

Take for example a few major brands that publish their own magazines: British fashion label Asos’ self-titled magazine includes advertising for products that appeal to their demographic, such as cosmetics, high-end watches and perfumes. They also balance the promotion of their own products by pairing them with complimentary pieces and accessories that work with their customer’s style.

Coscto has it’s very own The Costco Connection, which combines information about what’s new at Costco with a mix of lifestyle and small business articles.

USAA’s USAA Magazine focuses on advice for becoming financially secure, with articles that appeal to it’s wide audience–young and old.

The Lance Armstrong Foundation’s LIVESTRONG Quarterly—delivers compelling profiles and medically stoked articles in a publication that hopes to bolster the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s efforts to ‘make cancer a global priority.’

Each of these do a great job of combining editorial content with promotional content for their products, services, mission or cause. One great thing you will notice about all of them too? They each reinforce their brand through styling and voice, but without seeming like pushy sales collateral.

Getting Started

So how do you even get started creating a brand magazine? Well there are a number of things to consider, the first of which is the actual branding. Much like traditional collateral, a brand magazine should be in line with your  brand’s style and voice, but it where it differs is that a branded magazine needs to be subtle and controlled in how and when you promote your brand. A branded magazine should be designed with the customer’s tastes, interests, style and wants at the forefront; and weave in brand, product or service messaging where it actually enhances editorial and design.

Brand magazines can help you achieve your desired positioning in the minds of your stakeholders and customers. Whether your brand is edgy, luxurious, down to earth, straight to the point, or fun and whimsical, you want that same feeling to come across through your magazine. For most businesses, when you established your branding, you probably came up with words to describe your mission, voice, style and audience.

Put it Down on Paper

Now is the time to grab a piece of paper and start defining the sort of message you want to give to your customer. How do you want to establish your brand? What sort of content will you include, and how should you style it to be in line with your voice, mission and style? Use words to describe your brand and you customer– are they fashion-forward, politically-minded, edgy, traditional, mostly men or women, older, youthful etc?

These are your design principles and the list should be short and sweet. In as few words as possible, make clear the vision for the publication and any keywords people should keep in mind while designing.

Keep this list. Pin it to your wall. It will make for a great litmus test as you move forward and start creating. Every once and awhile go back to the list and be sure you are appealing to your audience and staying true to your brand.

Deciding on Color

This seems like a no-brainer, but coming up with colors that are true to your brand, that you use consistently throughout your magazine, is tougher that it seems. You may find sites like COLOURlovers helpful for exploring colors that work well with your logo or brand colors. Create a palette and save it. Then as you publish new issues, the consistent use of color will also reinforce your brand.

Typography

Now it’s time to define the typefaces to use: sizes, line height, spacing before and after, colors, headline versus body font, etc. With editorial content there is some flexibility in this, but defining a consistent style sheet will maintain the integrity of your publication and brand throughout the publication. Use fancy fonts sparingly, so that they maintain their impact and legibility on the page.

Create a Mock-up Magazine

This will eventually be your style guide, but at first it is a way to flesh out all of the style choices that you will want to make so that you can stay true to your brand. This will also help you keep a visual consistency not only throughout each publication, but also from publication to publication over time. Save this file and use it to start creating your magazine, then keep that original as a starting point for each subsequent issue–it will save you a lot of time!

Now Get Your Brand Out There

Now, you’re ready to publish. If you’re looking for more advice for designing your file, or templates to get you started, remember you can always check out our other Tips & Tricks!

How do you get your brand out there? Have you come up with other unique ways to keep you brand top-of-mind with your customers? Does your organization or company have a branded magazine? Tell us about it below in the comments section!

5 Catalog Design Essentials for Your Business

If you have a small business with a large product or service offering, odds are you have a catalog, and if you don’t, then you’ve probably wanted to create one, but didn’t know where to start. The process can be daunting–with so many elements to pull together and all sorts of design options to consider. So to help you get started, we’ve made a list of 5 tips to keep your efforts and design on track.

1. Know Your Audience

When choosing a design for your catalog, keep in mind your audience and appeal to their style, interests and demographics. Creating a sense of lifestyle will help you connect with customers and position your product as an object of their desire.

2. Reflect Your Brand

Keep your catalog style consistent with your brand style. You want to be sure they can make a connection between your website, logo, and service/products and your catalogs. Whatever you do, design with your brand in mind and be sure the voice and design of the catalog matches the voice and design of your brand. Once you have established a successful look-and-feel for your catalog, resist the temptation to change it. Repetition builds brand recognition, favorable reception and sales.

3. Use Quality Photography

All images should be of the highest quality possible. Make sure your pictures are clear and vivid, not pixilated. Poor quality images will send the message that the products are low quality. If you can’t afford to hire a professional photographer, read up on blogs and forums for great tricks for taking your own product photos. Also try to mix up the type of shot. Catalogs benefit from pacing and surprise – simple silhouetted images, closeups of details, wide angles, full-bleed photographs and lifestyle shots sustain viewer interest and keep them turning to the next page.

4. Space and Layout

The most important thing about a catalog is highlighting your product, so be sure you have ample white space for each item. Cramming text and images into a page, or using the exact same layout throughout the document will make it look stale and won’t encourage your customers to really pause and look over the whole spread. A consistent layout throughout the catalog enhances readability but can become boring, so be sure to break up the monotony of a predictable layout by including a unique page or two to highlight a favorite product or create an editorial opportunity for your customer to connect with the product.

5. Use fonts and color wisely

Be sure to use fonts that fit your brand’s style. If you have a children’s apparel brand, your typeface selections will be very different than if you have a luxury spa brand. Do not go overboard with typefaces, it’s probably best to limit your selection to just three. You can read more about this in our recent typography blog post.

Start Planning and Then Start Publishing

There aren’t any hard and fast rules for creating your catalog, just remember to keep it simple so that your product attracts more attention than your design. After all, the objective is to sell more, right?

A good starting point is to jott down words that come to mind when describing your brand: Is it whimsical? Sophisticated? Luxurious? Fun? These words will make the perfect litmus test as you assemble your catalog. Then every step along the way you can ask yourself, is this publication reflecting this image?

Now that you are ready to get started, take a look at some of the great examples of catalogs on MagCloud. We hope they will help inspire you. Already published a catalog with MagCloud? Share it below in the comments!





Tech Tools For Event Planners

It’s been an exciting couple of weeks in the MagCloud offices. Our friends at SmallBiz Technology gave us a great shout out on their blog! In 7 Tech Tools to Help You Organize Your Next Successful Event, Ramon Ray names HP MagCloud as an “awesome service for printing your event program.” Being featured is great kudos in itself, but we’re mostly thrilled that we are considered a go-to, reliable service for printing your event materials.

 

We’re always looking for ways to make MagCloud better for you, and it’s moments like this that make us feel we’re getting the job done. Thanks, SmallBiz Tech!

Are you putting together an event soon? Will you be using MagCloud’s print and digital services? How about the other superb companies mentioned in Ray’s article?

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

 

Brochures that Engage and Inform

MagClouders are creating some truly attention-worthy brochures for their businesses…and it’s reaping rewards for their bottom-line. For example:

Wendy Whittemore’s Aerial Innovations Brochure mixes striking images with an eye-catching layout.

 Stanley Harmsen van der Vliet’s AML Training Center Brochure presents a lot of copy in a clean, easily-digestible format that somehow manages to offer plenty of white space and images to break up the content.

Ben Gin’s IADLEST Conference Brochure fills up every space with the retro look and feel of the conference location: Opryland in Nashville, TN.

These folks and others are creating amazing marketing pieces with MagCloud! If you’re working on a brochure project, we highly recommend you check out the work already published on MagCloud.com for inspiration.

A great brochure grabs the reader’s attention with eye catching images, great layout and of course compelling content. Here a few design and content things to keep in mind when developing your next business or event brochure.

Include stunning images, but make sure they speak to the purpose of the brochure

Maximize the white space – find a way to tell your story in fewer words and with smaller images. No one wants to read a brochure that fills every nook and cranny – it’s not very attractive to a reader.

Design within a real-life context. If your brochure is for an upcoming Harvest Festival, don’t forget to give a little nod to the season with a few Fall leaves. (Be careful, too much of a good thing is no good either – don’t go overboard).

Assume this is the first time the reader is hearing about your organization. Prominently feature the most important piece of information you want people to take away after reading the piece (product sale, mission statement, event date/location, etc.).

This is also your chance to clearly define your brand with a logo, tagline and color scheme that complement your other brand assets. In other words, make sure your brochure is consistent in design and tone with your company website, social media profiles and other printed materials.

Use persuasive language that focuses on the key differentiating factors of your product, company or event from the competition. You’re offering something unique—here’s your chance to tell the world!

Don’t forget the call to action – tell the reader what you want them to do when they’re done reading the brochure (call this number, visit a website, register online, etc.)

Bring in visuals. We’ve written about this in a previous post and recommend you take a look at our Trends and Resources for Great Looking Business Collateral for a refresher. In short, bring in images, infographics or quotes to highlight that will bring your story to life.

Be concise! Don’t try and tell your whole story within a brochure. Just remember, would YOU want to read a long brochure?

Let us know if you have any other tips for creating brochures. Or, post a link to a great brochure that inspires you in the comments section below.

A Few Inspirations For Your Portfolio

As mentioned in our blog series, MagCloud is here to help publish your portfolio and provide options to create a big impression with a small format. So what’s the next step? We thought we’d offer a few examples to inspire you to start or update your existing portfolio. Portfolios are critical for designers, photographers and other small business owners who want to get exposure for their work and land new clients.

Whether you’re a musician, watercolor painter or even a blacksmith, you can capture a moment of creativity by browsing through more than 300 portfolios already on MagCloud. Draw additional inspiration from portfolios of other notable interior designers, graphic designers, and architects. Below are a few more examples of what your fellow publishers have been working on.

This collection of artist’s portfolios is a great example of using our digest format. For those conscious about budgets and the size of your portfolio, digest size provide an efficient way to share your best work in both print and digital formats.

As a small business, Sweet Pea Floral Creations showcases some of their favorite floral arrangements and highlights from client events and weddings.

Just graduated? Compile your best work for a great supplement to your resume, just like this advertising creative portfolio that Lauren Richer created.

Interior and architectural photographer David Duncan Livingston created various portfolios of his clean, welcoming photographs of homes, hospitality and products.

Below is a run-down of additional photography print portfolios that have caught our eyes.

  • The Art of Enzo Mondejar features an avant-garde take on portraiture by the gifted photographer, Enzo Mondejar. The images are creatively captivating and we hope they offer some inspiration for your print portfolio.
  • Nevertheless is the creative output of Peter Olschinsky, Verena Weiss and Gerhard Weib. This gorgeous layout design can teach us all more about how to present our images in the best light and perspective.
  • Finally, the Lolli POP Project is the work of photographer Massimo Gammacurta and is a great example of letting color explode onto a printed page and take off. Featured in Wired Magazine in December 2010, this project is both eye-catching and salivating.

What other portfolios have you seen that help inspire you to create your own? Share them with us in the comments below.