Our New Look

It has been just about 5 months since we re-branded to our new name, Streamline Print & Design. We appreciate the wonderful response to our new name and look. I hope you’ve had a chance to stop by and see the changes we’ve made to the front of our store!

Combines Perforated & Solid Vinyls

Streamline Print & Design New Storefront

Our sales continue to be up month over month compared to previous years, and we know that it is it is because you continue to trust us with your business printing.

Thank you for staying with us, as we continue to strive to provide quality printing at a reasonable price.

As a way of saying “Thank You” to our continuing customers, we are offering 10% off our regularly priced business cards through the month of May and June. Just mention this email “New Look” when you come in!

Our New Logo

Streamline Logo
You may wonder why we chose this design for our logo. The colors in the circle represent the 4 colors used in digital printing: CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow,  Black). Streamline refers to our location–near the Missouri river–and our object–to streamline your business needs by providing a variety of printing in one location. We make it easier for you to get all your printing done in one place. We added the words “Print & Design” to emphasize what we do–not only can we fill your printing needs, we can also help you with your design. Whether it is designing a new logo, or designing the layout of your brochures, flyers, or business cards–let us help you create the look you want for you business.
We look forward to seeing you, and doing business with you, in the coming months.
Thank you,
Linda Decker

Expert Tips for Logo Design

The right logo for your business can be a tool that generates awareness and interest for your goods and services. The wrong logo can drive your potential customers away because it tells them the wrong story, is hard to read, or reminds them of your competitors’ brands. It is easy to think of effective and attractive logos, but harder to pinpoint what makes them that way. Our expert designers want to share with you four simple tips for excellent logo design: keep it simple, make it unique, remember versatility, and pay attention to messaging.

Mona_Lisa_headcrop

Keep it simple – The first tip is first for a reason: if you get this one right, you’ll have an easier time with the rest. Simplicity in logo design means you limit the total number of elements in your design, and arrange them so that they don’t interfere with each other. It also means that you avoid complex pictures that require a lot of different colors to look right. Mona Lisa is a classic painting, but makes a poor logo.

Tusk Dental Logo FINAL-01

Make it Unique – This tip is easier said than done, but basically it requires that you do your homework before you sit down to design your logo. Look at examples of other people’s logos, especially logos for companies that share part of your name, or who do what you do. Without too much effort, using an online image search, you will find examples of what others have done, which can help you decide what to do, or at least what not to do.

Remember Versatility  – For most businesses, your logo will need to look just as good on a 3.5 x 2 inch business card as it does on the side of a truck, or even a building. You may want to have it embroidered on a shirt or posted online for the world to see. It helps to have a logo where the written elements, words or letters, are close to the same size, so that they are all readable at any size. Also, it helps to keep the overall shape of your logo compact, to avoid creating awkward wasted space when you put it on a page with other text or pictures.

Saki Logo

Pay attention to messaging – Perhaps the single most important value of your logo is the symbolic power it has to teach other people – at a glance – what your business is all about, and to give their brain a simple way to remember you. Even though this is our fourth tip, really it should be the first step in your design process. Start with a concept, a message that you want to portray symbolically, and you’ll be on your way to making a logo that stands out. But remember it will need to be versatile, so keep it simple.

Speaking of simplicity, if you sit down to design your logo and you’re still drawing a blank, remember that we’re here to help. Our expert designers would be happy to work with you to create a logo that is just right for your business.

-Dennis

Perfecting Your Printed Pictures

“A picture is worth 1000 words”—that is why we use pictures whenever we can to describe our business. Pictures enhance the words we use to name our business. Pictures catch the eye so that potential customers will give us a second look. We want your prints to look sharp, not blurry. That is why we ask for high quality pictures, like this artwork used on a banner to promote the Fun Farm corn maze in Kearney:Corn Maze Banner

By now most of us are familiar with “pixels” (the many tiny dots of color that make up a picture) and “pixilation” (when a picture looks grainy or blurry).  A high quality image has a high-density of pixels per square inch.  We call that dpi, or dots per inch.  The size of the file—how many megabytes the picture file is—is a good indicator of the quality of the picture; the larger the file size = the more dpi = the better the quality.  As you can see, a picture will pixilate more and more the closer you zoom in, or the larger you make it:

Raster vs Vector (web)

When we create or edit a photo for print, we save the JPG at a minimum of 300 dpi. When you take a photo, put your settings at the highest quality for maximum use. The higher the quality the better the picture will look when it is printed.

We can use lower quality pictures for some printing, such as business cards or small post cards, because the printed size is very small. Where the quality of the file really makes a difference is in printing signs, banners and posters.

Typically lower quality pictures are found when searching the internet. Always pay attention to the file size when you download a picture from an internet search. If you are purchasing artwork from a website, be sure to check the size of the file; often the larger the file the more you will pay, but if you need a large print it will be worth the price.

When a picture is sent by text, the texting program automatically reduces the dpi. If you want to print a picture taken by your phone camera, you will need to send the file by email.

Pictures downloaded from Facebook are often lower quality, and can only be used when printing small pieces.

For more tips on how to get a nice photo for print, just give us a call! 816-459-7552

-Linda & Peter

Where Did Linda Go?

This month’s Blog is from Linda!

As some of you may have noticed, I (Linda) am not always in the store these days to help with your printing. Recently my husband Owen took a job in Gainesville, Texas. This means that I must also move to Gainesville.
Because I have built many relationships with you, our customers, over the past two and a half years we have been in business, this has not been an easy move. However, thanks to modern technology, and with the help of Doug Clark, owner of IT Central, I can still oversee a large part of what happens in the store. I am able to remotely access all of our computers, work on design, set-up for printing, and pretty much do everything except put the paper in the printers.
Linda Move Blog Pic
So even though I will not always be in the store, I am staying involved in the day to day business. I am also splitting my time between Missouri and Texas, so don’t be surprised if I am there when you come in!
Our story started five years ago, when we moved to Kansas City. We bought a home north of the city, planning to create a place to live in and to retire to. We deepened our roots by planting trees on the property, and starting a business in Kansas City. My son Peter and I worked the regular hours in the store, and my husband Owen worked his regular job during the day and helped out at the store after work.
When Owen decided to take the job in Gainesville, Texas, we realized that I would not be able to work in the store as before. Well, we are a family owned business, and fortunately we have a number of children. So we asked our son Dennis, who was living in Florida, to move up to Kansas City with his family to help us in the store.
Many of you have met Dennis. He and Peter, along with Caleb, will be at the store to help you with all your printing needs. I look forward to seeing you when I am in Kansas City.
Oh, and in case you were wondering–we haven’t sold the home. In fact, Dennis & his family live there and maintain the house and acreage.  We plan to retire back to Kansas City when the time is right.
Regards,
–Linda Decker

Business Cards: The Suit Your Name Wears

What are you wearing right now?

Wearing clothes is a rather uniquely human behavior – one of the many that sets us apart from other creatures on earth.  People wear clothes to protect, to decorate, to communicate, to entice, to impress, etc.  The clothes we wear changes with the climate, the technology, our wallets… you can’t read a book by its cover, but a good book cover does sell the words inside.

Although books and the printing press came long after the needle and thread, over time people began to use printing for many of the same reasons they use clothing.  What we’re dressing up has definitely changed, though – instead of presenting our bodies, printing presents our names, our abilities, and our ideas.

What do you wear to work?

A police officer wears a uniform; an attorney wears a suit; a salesperson wears professional attire – we dress to help us do the job we have.  Almost always, the job includes making the right impression on the people we meet in the course of business.Cell-Phone-Repair-171x300

Your business card is the suit your name wears.  A name cannot be seen without clothing – it is invisible.  The right card can make your name look like a million bucks.  Thick card stock, special finishes, special treatments – these
are the bling in your name’s outfit.  Impressive business cards leave the impression of trustworthiness, good taste, and permanency.

Depending on your profession, the type of clothes your name wears become more or less important – but the way the cloth fits always stands out.  Well crafted design is the key to well fitted business cards.  Because each person’s business has its own shape, their cards must also be tailored to their exact, custom needs.

What does your card look like?

Have a look at your business cards.  Feel their weight, their texture.  Do they make the right impression, or does your business card need something more to show your name’s quality?  How well do the cards fit – is it time for a redesign?

We design and print the clothes your name wears every day – call, email or stop by for a free consultation.

-Peter

Why We Print

Recently my brother, Dennis Decker, moved from Florida to join our business as a manager.  Dennis graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in English.  His focus is customer service and employee management.  Dennis is a talented,  genuinely friendly person.  I hope you enjoy working with him as much as I do.Dennis A

One thing that Dennis brings to the business is a focus on our why.  We spent some time thinking about why we do what we do, and came up with several basic beliefs that differentiate us from the competition:

 We believe in the value of hard work.   

 The easy pay-off never leads to long term happiness and satisfaction.  While some look for the easy buck, we know that working hard to achieve success ultimately leads to much higher satisfaction.  We’ll work hard for you, just as you work hard for your customers.

We believe in the value of each person.

 We believe that each person has intrinsic worth.  Our faith in God leads us to see each person as our brother or sister in the great family of humanity.  Each and every customer deserves our support and good intention, and we work to uphold the trust you put in us.

Because of this, we work to treat each job as unique and important.  We will not force your business into our template; instead we work to meet the custom needs of each individual.

We believe in small business, and we want you to succeed. 

 Your small business represents your opportunity to take what you know, add in your hard work, and earn financial success for you and your family.  New businesses account for a disproportionately large number of the successful innovations in our economy – an individual or small group of people have the flexibility to create new things in ways that large companies cannot or will not.  Furthermore, small businesses keep the money in the local economy: shopping locally means more money in your own pocket later on.

Of course, with all the advantages of small business there are also drawbacks.  Small businesses have fewer resources to deal with the technical and administrative challenges faced by every company.  Their small size makes them more vulnerable to changes in the business climate.  Few small businesses have all the expertise needed to succeed on their own, and they must rely on expert outside help.   Just as we must rely on outside help for tax preparation or HVAC maintenance, most small companies must rely on outside expertise for marketing and design.  We want to help you succeed, and that means bringing our expertise to bear on your printing and sign needs.

Color Formats: RGB vs CMYK

RGB vs CMYK – or, Why do My Colors Look Different When Printed?

 Every industry has acronyms that nobody else knows.  Today I’m demystifying the printer terms RGB and CMYK.

RGB stands for Red Green Blue, and refers to the color format used by computer screens and digital cameras.  Computer monitors are made up of millions of red, green, and blue lights.  Because computer screens use emitted light, RGB is additive and the combination of Red, Green and Blue is white.  RGB is very flexible – it can display a very wide range of color.

RGBCMYK

CMYK stands for Cyan Magenta Yellow Key, and refers to the color format used by most printing systems.  Contrary to computer screens, printed media don’t emit light – they rely upon reflected light.  Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow ink or toner reflects only a certain shade of color.  You could also say that each shade of ink or toner absorbs all light except cyan, magenta, yellow or black.  As we add these colors together, less and less light is reflected, until the color is black.  To avoid having to always use a composite of 3 colors to make black, we add the fourth color, black, which is referred to as key.  CMYK can display a wide range of color, but not as wide as RGB.

Implications:

Anything that originated as RGB, for instance pictures from a camera, or any document that the designer created using the RGB color scheme, must first be converted to CMYK before being printed.  Because RGB is a light source, while CMYK is only reflected light, printed pieces will generally be darker than objects on the computer screen.   RGB can display more colors than CMYK, so some colors cannot be translated from RGB to CMYK with any degree of accuracy. For convertible colors, there are several different conversion methods.  Furthermore, because of the conversion, printed material will ALWAYS look different than the original RGB design.  Finally, because of the several different conversion methods, RGB originals will print differently depending on the method used to make the conversion.

As you can see, RGB is not the best design medium for printed work, due to the inherent inconsistencies.    What you see on your computer monitor will not exactly match what is printed.  For this reason, good print designers and printers will request CMYK artwork when applicable.

Design Formats: Why does my printer ask for “vector” graphics?

If you have ever had your printer or designer ask for vector graphics, and you had no idea what they meant, this article is for you.  Here is a brief overview of vector and raster graphics.

Raster Graphics (pictures)
Common file extensions: .jpg, .png, some .pdf

 Most digital pictures are made up of pixels.  If you enlarge any picture enough, you will begin to see the pixels – square shapes with a uniform color.  The smaller the pixels are the more that fit per square inch, and the smoother the picture looks when printed.

People often want to print a photo at a larger size than it was originally intended for.  On TV, its a simple matter to “enlarge and enhance” any given photo (or video!).  If you’ve watched CSI or similar shows, you’ve probably seen them “enlarge and enhance” a license plate, face, or other details.  In reality, while you can enlarge a photo as much as you want, all this does is increase the size of the pixels.  A small, blurry image will thus become a large, pixilated, blurry image.  There is no “enhance” function.  Similarly, printers cannot reduce the blurriness of your pictures.  We can only use what is already there.
Raster vs Vector (web)

If your picture is good enough for the size you want to print it, your eyes will be unable to detect the pixels at 100% magnification.  Another way to check your photo resolution is to view the file size.  Most printed photos look better with a bigger file size.  20 kilobytes (kb) is generally too small for print at any size; photos larger than 1 megabyte (mb) are generally large enough to print on a 24”x36” poster with reasonable quality.

Of course, no matter what size your photo is, there is a size of printing at which you will see pixilation.  That’s one reason we have vector graphics.

Vector Graphics
Common file extensions: .ai, .eps, .svg, some .pdf

Vector graphics don’t bother with pixels at all!  Vector graphics are made up of lines and shapes.  Using complex math, vector format files instruct your computer to draw a series of lines and shapes.  Here are some benefits of vector graphics:

You can make them any size, and they won’t pixilate.  100% crisp, clean images.

The file size can be quite small and still have perfect clarity – easier to email.

Vectors can be used to create cutting instructions – for vehicle lettering, contour cut stickers etc.

Vectors can be used to create digitized logos for embroidery.

Vectors can be used by screen burning software for screen printed shirts and signs.

So, why would we ever use raster (picture) graphics?  Well, cameras can’t generate vector graphics.  Pictures of people and other complex color patterns cannot be made into vectors without loss of complexity.  Also, vectors can be more difficult to work with without the right training or programs.

I hope this explanation helps – the more you understand about printing and design, the easier it will be for you to get what you want from your printer.

Why Buy Embroidered Shirts

A Trusted Employee Wearing the Brand

A Trusted Employee Wearing the Brand

Yesterday, a woman walked into our store determined to buy the essential items to set herself up in business. First, she bought 100 business cards, a necessary item, but the barest minimum quantity. Her second purchase was two small magnetic signs for her car. Again, fairly typical of a hopeful entrepreneur with more determination than money. Her third purchase, however, surprised me. Ten polo shirts with her business name embroidered above the pocket.

Considering the modesty of her other purchases, the embroidery seemed like an extravagance. Then I learned that she would be sending her employees into customer’s homes, and it made perfect sense. A guy wearing a uniform shirt that carries the embroidered monogram of his employer doesn’t feel like a stranger. Even if he has a scary beard, or seems young, or foreign, he feels like a trustworthy, reliable employee.

Embroidery signals quality and reassures customers that your employee is trustworthy and reliable. T shirts or other garments that are printed with your company logo or other identifying slogans can have the same reassuring effect. In addition, they contribute to the professional behavior of your employees.

Owen Decker

How Dye Sublimation Printing Works

Screen Printing

One upon a time, the only reasonable way to added a design to a t shirt was screen printing.  Screen printing is what it sounds like, a process of applying a design to fabric using a screen.  Part of the holes of the screen are filled or blocked, and the printing ink goes through those that are open.  By this process, you can only print one color at a time.  Each different color on a design requires a separate screen.  The cost of making these screens is high enough that it only pays to buy printed garments in batches of at least six per color printed.  One color – 6.  Two colors – 12.  Etc.

Direct to Garment Printing

A newer process is direct-to-garment printing.  Once again, this process is what it sounds like.  A garment is placed in a printer, and ink is applied directly from an ink-jet type print head.  We’ll talk about direct to garment printing another time, but it has the limitation that it works best to apply designs to flat pieces of cotton, and requires a costly printer.  Designs of many colors can be printed.  Single garments can be economically printed.

Dye Sublimation Printing

Enter dye-sublimation printing, or transfer printing.  This  technique can be used to apply designs to polyester fabric, and to a wide range of substrates which have been treated with a dye-absorbing polymer.  The key to dye-sublimation printing is a special paper treated with a surface on which an ink can be printed, but which doesn’t absorb ink.  Regular paper is porous, and absorbs inks.  The surface of transfer paper is easy to print on, but doesn’t absorb ink.  Instead, the ink dries on the surface.  Later, the ink can be transferred by heat and pressure (or heat and vacuum) to a polymer surface, such as polyester fabric, that absorbs the ink.

Like direct to garment printing, dye sublimation printing can be used to print multicolor designs economically on as little as one garment.  It can also be used to transfer designs to hats, coffee cups, ceramic tile, etc.  Since the ink dissolves deeply into the polymer, the design is wash-proof, and durable.  All that is required is a printed paper, a polyester fabric or polymer-treated surface, and a gizmo to press the paper against the surface and heat it for ten seconds or so.

See the sublimationprocess