Friday, May 29, 2015

Modern-Day Postcards

 We love when we get a handwritten postcards from friends visiting exotic, sunny locales. Though we wish we got more of them – we’re suckers for the personal touch – it doesn’t happen very often. 

Facebook and Instagram made sure of that. The logic is understandable: Why agonize over different ways to write “Wish you were here!” when you can blast pictures of your totally awesome, celebrity-like, jet-setting life to everyone and their mothers in cyberspace?

And yet, the postcard still lives. We receive fun and colorful postcards quite frequently, just not with the traditional postage stamp or the picture of the sunset backlighting lush palm trees.

Postcards have evolved with the times and have adapted to the digital era, becoming more customized and more personal. They are the new harbingers of good times and milestones, benefitting greatly from the clarity of HD photos and state-of-the-art graphic design programs.

Modern-day postcards are full of witty quotes, fun fonts, and all-around eye-candy. Sometimes they’re so clever or so lovely that they dominate prime fridge real estate for months on end.

Here are the types of postcards we love getting in our mailboxes:

1.     The Save-the-Date

2.     The Graduation Invitation


3.     The Birthday Invitation


4.     The Bridal Shower Invitation


5.     The Baby Shower Invitation


6.     The Family Holiday Postcard


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Perfect prints, every time: Bleed

(Follow along with this tutorial here:  Youink Card Wizard )

When printing hundreds of cards at a time, minor variations in image placement may occur, and even for a machine, it may be difficult to print right to the edge of the paper.

To remedy this problem, printers ask that your design extend to the "bleed" line, and you may have wondered what that means and why it's so important. We'd like to explain this part of your print job so your cards look perfect, every time.

When printing your design, it's best to leave a margin of .25" between the edge and your artwork and information. Printer's use this extra space to make sure that during the cutting and trimming of your cards, there is some leeway around your design and that no images or information get cut out.

The red line is the bleed or cut line, and the blue dotted line is the safety zone. Your design should extend to the edge of the red bleed line, and all important information or images should stay within the bounds of the blue safety line.

This card is done right. The artwork extends all the way through the red bled line, and all the information is comfortably within the blue safety line.

This card is not done correctly, the information goes over the blue safety line and is in danger of being cut off.

You should not have any important design elements or text between the bleed and safety lines, or you risk that information getting cut out of your finished card.

We hope this article helps you print the perfect card for your business!

Monday, May 25, 2015

What is a Postcard?

A postcard is small and roughly 6 inches by 4 inches. This seemingly small, inconsequential bit of paper that tends to hide in the folds and layers of your mail can pack a big punch.  

The handwritten message, the specially chosen image on the back, the playful post-script at the bottom, the postage stamp in the corner all represent a feeling – a feeling that is beyond what you can give by an email or text.  

It’s like a thrilling shot to the heart of the person on the receiving end.  It gives that warm feeling that makes you feel so loved and appreciated.  Postcards warm the soul and let you know that someone actually took the time out of their day to think of you. 

A post card is an ocean of feeling on a seemingly small piece of paper.  Reach out today and send a postcard.  You will not be easily forgotten.


-A postcard-


Friday, May 22, 2015

Business Card Humor: Striking the right balance between funny vs. function

A surefire way to ensure people will take notice of you and your business card is to inject some humor in the card itself. Whether or not you ultimately leave a good impression or an awful one is entirely different story, but like we said, at least you will be remembered.

So where is the line between funny and faux pas? Humor is highly subjective and by nature will not land with every audience. The more sensitive or politically correct may even take offense. But the gamble may be worth taking if you’re betting on making an impact and becoming the center of attention.

You may even find your card going viral, like the ones we had to share with you below. Admittedly, we find all of them funny on some level, with some entertaining our higher brains and others hitting our primitive funny bones, but it’s safe to say that some clearly do a much better job than others at finding the right mix of creativity and professionalism.

We laughed at this refreshingly artless, overly honest assessment of the caregiver’s skills. But the hard truth is that it probably won’t inspire any confidence in a prospective client looking for someone competent and trustworthy. Not being the worst wouldn’t be our go-to qualifier to convince people to entrust their precious offspring to us.

Cheesy as it is, we can appreciate punny humor, especially with an added visual. Give this realtor credit for wanting to stand out from the sea of staid headshots in front of boring and stately backdrops. On the downside, an effective business card should be able to give the recipient a strong understanding of what the person specializes in, and the message that Frank is a competent and trustworthy realtor gets sacrificed for the quick laugh.

Expectations were successfully subverted by this devilishly clever card. Looking like a kind of help line for but actually fueling the addiction elicits the laugh you feel kind of guilty about but secretly relish. Is it funny? Yes. Is it tasteless? Definitely. Alcoholism isn’t something to take lightly, and it’s surely not something you want to encourage, but you can’t help but admire the spunk of this card. Jury is still out on this one.

In the same vein as the previous card, this goes for the “shock and guffaw” tactic. Being able to take the viewer from abject fear to helpless laughter in less than ten words deserves some applause. That’s much harder to achieve than you think. And like many a great artist, this photographer is not afraid of negative space. We only hope these cards don’t find their way into the hands of any bank tellers or TSA agents on the clock. That could be…inconvenient for everyone in the near vicinity.

This one is my personal favorites for several reasons. At first glance, it looks like any run-of-the-mill divorce attorney business card. But then you notice the perforation right down the middle and the contact information in both corners, which is a subtle, elegant, and hilariously sad way to illustrate the nature of the situation requiring Mr. Mahon’s services. Enjoy it while you can, because it’s one of the only laughs you’ll get from the disintegration of your 20+ year marriage.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Growing Print Industry????

The computer, the smart phone and the internet have played a part in the destruction of the print world in the physical universe. E-readers, E-books, social media, online marketing, online news sites and more have greatly reduced the demand for printing services. 

Yet somehow the industry has managed to recover from a huge drop in 2009.  Various investments in software and technology for the printing industry are beginning to pay off, as shop owners have been able to mitigate labor costs. The growth has been steady ever since. 

In 2012, printing industry revenues were at $76.6 billion and forecasted to decline at a rate of 1.8% a year have not come to fruition.  The industry has grown to an astounding $83 billion, as reported by in their May 2015 report.

According to IBISWorld, the online print industry is continuing to grow and is helping to drive the market.  “Industry players have stated that technological changes have increased capital requirements in this industry. 

As a result, commercial printers are increasingly investing in technology that can provide targeted and customized printing options for its customers and integrate more online media.”
Foreign-owned companies like Vista Print and are taking a large section of this growth.  Vista Print is a $1.2 billion company growing at a rate of more than 20% a year.  While the market is growing at a steady rate of 2-3% per year, the online space for printed goods is stealing that market share, growing at 20+% every year.

The typical mom-and-pop local print shops are finding it hard to transition such a personalized, often relationship-based product service with an incredible amount of diversity to the online space.  The technology is expensive and nearly impossible for them to build themselves. 

That’s where US-based company Youink comes into play. 

Youink is giving new life to these brick and mortar shops online.  They have created a marketplace that connects the local shop with online clientele and provides great tools for creating the product as well.  The founders of Youink recognized this need and set out to help.  They recognized the struggle, analyzed the players in the industry, and wanted to give customers a better solution while helping local communities.  “We want everyone to thrive,” says Youink CEO Chance Windham.

The print industry has demonstrated that it is more than just a novelty.  The first business cards can be tracked hundreds of years back, and they are still the best way to give out contact information.  The times have changed, but nothing can replace the power of human response to a striking, tangible print. 

Monday, May 18, 2015


I get written on, handed over, traded and sometimes pulled out of a fish bowl. 

I sit there with friends on a desk, just waiting for the opportunity to be of service.  

I am a business card.  

I help to remind people of my owner when they are not around.   I relieve you from the exertion of memorizing, yet my presence quickly recalls the details of my owner’s merits and availability.   

I share contact information when I am needed, acting as the bridge between a need and a solution.

I am not forgettable.  I am not a bump of a phone or a transfer of a file that will soon be lost in the digital mists.

What I am is a Business Card.  

A tangible memory worth saving.   

Friday, May 15, 2015

Entrepreneurs- Just Start

Many people that have asked me how to get started working for themselves.  They see and yearn to emulate others who have decided to throw off the yoke and become their own bosses, but one thing or another keeps them from following suit. Some say they just don't have the million dollar idea yet.  In other cases, money, or more precisely the lack thereof, becomes the issue. The list of reasons, questions, and doubts I’ve heard on the topic goes on and on.

All of these people have at least two thing in common:
  • They want to be entrepreneurs.
  • They tend to be creatures of inertia.  
These two things do not fit well together.  It's virtually impossible to stagnate and simultaneously become an Entrepreneur, simply because of how much work it actually takes to run a business.  
From my experiences in life, I know all too well about looking for and obsessing over that million dollar idea.  When I was younger, that was all that I did, letting time fly past while hoping for that eureka moment. 

At some point along the way, I started my entrepreneur career.  I can’t pinpoint the exact moment, but I know I just started. The next thing I know, I'm 10 years into it, having found both success and failure along the way.   I've built multi-million dollar businesses and had others flop like a dying fish. 

The point is that I did it. 

Here is my advice to anyone who wants to know how to start a business or is looking for the next big idea:

Simply put, just start.  

To elaborate, don't look down the road at all of the work that needs to be done.  You may overwhelm yourself with some of the difficult tasks ahead.  Take one step at a time.  I am an avid runner, and each time I run and start feeling the burn, I remind myself it is just one step after another.  Next thing you know, you just ran a marathon. 

Do yourself a favor -- Just Start. 


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Start-Up Survival: Part 2

All the vital tools that help a business person like yourself to get your message across – the sharp business cards, the eye-catching flyers, the seductive banners, the witty slogans – help you get customers to pay attention. Or better yet, bring them to your front door. 
The other part of the balancing act is keeping your business afloat to accommodate that increasing number of those valuable customers and keep operations running smoothly.
Last week, we covered the high level topics new businesses need to figure out first when starting out: the Vision, the Team, the Strategy, and the Action Plan. Now we’re going into the nitty-gritty points that small businesses should always have tightened up before charging full-steam ahead.

Legals and Agreements
Surprisingly, a lot of people go into business with each other on a handshake and hope for the best. In an ideal world, this should suffice. But the reality is that people are imperfect, no matter how much you love and adore them, and profit shares and business responsibilities should always be spelled out clearly and concisely so there’s no room for confusion, frustrations, accusations, or hurt feelings. Protect yourself and your business interests if you want to continue doing what you love.

The financial systems of a company are its lifeblood. Every business owner must have a strong grasp of their accounting, their cash flow, their expenses, and their revenues. If you don’t know what’s coming in and out of your bank accounts, something is terribly wrong. How do you make important business decisions if you don’t know if you can afford to make them? Take it from us: You don’t want to fall behind and balancing your books, because that won’t be fun scrambling to get them in order when tax season comes around. 

Contact and Communication
How do customers contact you if you don’t have an email, an address, or a phone number listed anywhere? Or what if you have all those things but no one to check up and manage all those avenues of contact? Purpose, meet defeat. Nothing will sink you faster in a customer’s estimation than being difficult to track down or difficult to communicate with. How often, how well, and how fast you can handle an inquiry is a reflection of the value you put on customer service. Nowadays, companies have to go above and beyond and not just be accessible but proactive in reaching out to the public through social media, native ads, and other creative avenues. 


Creativity is limitless, and most entrepreneurs spend their days in the land of dreams and ideas. But businesses and people live in the real world, the realm of regulations, order, and laws. Whether they are laws specific to an industry, health codes, tax laws, or labor laws, businesses and employers should always seek out to understand what regulations apply to their everyday operations. A single violation, fine, or lawsuit due to negligence could cause a business to go under overnight, so entrepreneurs must always question the rightness of actions and pay attention to changes in regulation.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Happy mother's day!

Sending LOVE to all the MOMS in the world that raise a family AND take care of business! ‪#‎Mothersday‬ ‪#‎entrepreneur‬ ‪#‎success‬ ‪#‎motivation‬ ‪#‎youink‬ ‪#‎printsmarter‬

Friday, May 8, 2015

Kickstart your future with  

‪#‎entrepreneur‬ ‪#‎startup‬ ‪#‎success‬ ‪#‎motivation‬ ‪#‎youink‬ ‪#‎printsmarter‬

Perfect Prints: The Youink wizard tutorial

We here at take great pride in our easy to use, intuitive, and powerful template design wizard.

In this tutorial, we’ll cover the basic and advanced features of our design wizard, and provide you with the tools to bring your creative vision to life!

The design wizard

This is the template designer. If you’d like to follow along with the design used in this tutorial, it can be found here: Example card

You’ll immediately notice a red border, which is your “cut line.” Artwork should extend all the way to the edge of this border and will be visible under it.

You’ll also notice a dotted blue border, known as your “safety line”. Because your card is cut along this line, your contact information as well as any important artwork should stay within the bounds of this line.

You can toggle these lines on and off just by pressing the “HIDE SAFETY LINE” and “HIDE CUT LINE” buttons underneath the wizard in order the view the creatives on their own.

To flip to the back of your design, use the “BACK” tab along the top of the wizard, and you can revert to the front using the “FRONT” tab.

To switch to a vertical, portrait orientation, just click the “Rotate” button underneath the template designer.

You have extensive font options as well that allow you to adjust the font style, color, and size, or you can choose to stretch, skew and rotate your text.

When you click on any text input field, a blue box will highlight the selected text. You can use the handles on the sides of the highlighted text to enlarge or shrink the text to a custom size or the center handle to rotate your text.

Underneath the text input area, you’ll see the font name, size, and a color wheel. Pressing these buttons allow you to adjust the font style, size, and color easily.

Once you’ve adjusted your creative design to your liking, you can click the “Next” button to review your design and choose your card quantity and paper stock, or “Save For Later” to create a different design.

If you’re logged in to a user account, you can click the “MY CREATIVES” tab in the top menu and review or order any of your saved designs.

Most importantly, have fun with your chosen design! Adjust the options to your liking, or just experiment to see what looks good. By taking the time to familiarize yourself with the powerful options found in our design wizard, you’ll have sharp, professional looking business cards, flyers, or postcards in no time! 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Start-Up Survival: Part 1

By Angela Nguyen

After being either directly involved or tangentially involved in well over a dozen different start-up companies, I’ve learned a thing or two about both the nuts and bolts that need to be in place in order to keep a place running and the need to cultivate the spirit and identity of a company early on. Both are incredibly important, but for the purposes of this article, I’ll start on the latter, the items we generally consider as parts of the big picture.

Most companies will tell you what they are selling and what their product does or what their services are supposed to achieve. But the great ones will tell you the “why” of their existence. They’ll tell you how their vision guides how the company operates and presents their offerings as an attractive addition to your daily routine.
With so many companies doing the same thing and offering similar benefits and features, it is important to appeal to your audience’s higher self in order to effectively lure them away from the competition. Is your company a free-spirited, creative force? Is it for rebels with a cause? Is it for young professionals with little time on their hands? Know your target demographic, because they will get your vision and connect with you through it.

You’re only as strong as your weakest link, and in the critical early stages of a startup, you have precious little time and resources to waste on people who cannot pull their weight. Be realistic about every single person you bring on to your team to help you run and operate your business, and don’t compromise on the integrity of your vision because you want to spare your friend’s feelings. Decide roles and identify strengths and weaknesses early on so you can plan out what you either need to learn or who you’ll need to staff to make up for the deficit.
And if you do bring someone on to fill an occupational void in your start-up, try to bring someone on who is better than you at the job, who will have the patience to break concepts down to you and help you fluidly bring your vision to life. You don’t want to be managing and teaching everyone everything. You just won’t have the time.

It’s tempting to want to try every strategy under the sun to get traction in sales and awareness, to pull every arrow in your quiver and let them fly in all directions, hoping one of them will hit your target. But the reality is you are probably starting off with a limited amount of money and manpower, and you won’t have the luxury to take your time with a ton of trial and error.
That’s not to say you won’t have to do some split testing – few plans work perfectly with so many factors out of your control, but you can minimize wasted time and money be honing in on a focused plan and coming up with other contingency plans in order to be able to roll with the potential punches headed your way. The world moves at a fast pace, and new companies have to know how to move even more agilely to get ahead.

But what good is a strategy if you have no action plan to put it to work? With a grand plan in place, you’ll need to appoint the people responsible for carrying out the different parts of it, delegate the tasks, and set achievable goals and realistic time lines for completing the tasks and hitting benchmarks.
Decide what timeline works for your business. A 90-day action plan may work for you. It’s long enough to set a high enough goal to aspire to and motivate your team, but it’s not so much room that you can’t reasonably predict market changes. Planning a year in advance might give you peace of mind, but so much can happen in that given time span that it may change drastically.

Even little actions are movement in the right direction. Have big goals as well as plans spelled out for the smaller, more manageable tasks that you know can get done in a finite amount of time. Keeping the momentum and not falling into planning paralysis is part of maintaining the balance of a healthy startup.