Monday, September 21, 2009

Online Graphic Help Free

There is no excuse for not learning how to use a graphic application properly. The Internet is providing thousands of sources for teaching people to use software program and to fix problems they run into during normal daily production. MacFixIt, an online source of information on Mac-related repair and troubleshooting advice is now available free to Internet users. CNET recently purchased MacFixIt and plan to expand the information available at the site. Mac users should bookmark this page because it will help them with upgrade issues for the new Mac OS. The URL for the new MacFixIt site is

And if you don't like to read there are always online videos. Enfocus has set up a whole range of helpful product movies, from quick overviews to short feature movies. Find an answer to those problems you face as a print professional every day. The videos deal with such topics as how to detect trim marks, how to use Profiles and Action Lists, how to detect and fix objects without bleeds, how to outline problem text, how to find unwanted spot colors, how to apply Pantone colors and more. To find out more visit or

You will also want to check out and search for InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator and other applications. You will usually find a number of short "how to" videos that can make you even more productive.

Print shop owners and production managers need to carve out time in the production schedule to let the prepress staff take advantage of these resources. The skills learned will help the printer profit, so most of the training should be done during the workday. Most prepress staffers want to be more productive, but getting jobs out gets in the way. Management needs to make sure that the prepress people get time to train.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What To Say To Printing Customers?

Ever wonder what you should be saying to a printing customer? How do you start a dialog without sounding dry and boring? Are you tired of asking, "You don't have any printing today do you?"

Questions should generate conversation that is a two way street. You want to find out what your customer does and the customer wants to find out what you do. A good question to use would be "What printed material do you use to communicate to your customers?" That question would be quickly followed with "May I see samples?"

As the customer outlines what he uses to communicate, a printer will see what printing is done, how often it is done, and find out how effective it is. A savvy printer should be able to identify what printed communication products might be missing, how the current printed products can be improved, and how the printed products can be coordinated to provide a bigger impact on the customer.

What? No newsletter? That might be something that would help the customer sell more. All the customer's products described in one brochure? Perhaps a brochure should be created for single products so the reader is less confused and the product can be more targeted.

At the same time, the printer can be demonstrating his expertise. The printer should be able to provide the customer samples with what the printer is using to communicate with his customers. The printer can lead by example. If a printer is going to talk about printing marketing pieces for a customer, he should have his own marketing materials to use as examples.

Successful printers get out in front of their customers and drill down to get the information they need to make sales easier. It isn't a stilted speech. The information is found with a conversation that lets the customer know he is dealing with a profession.