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June 9, 2014
  Digital vs. Offset printing: which is right for your project?

Even just a few years ago, most designers felt the same about digital printing as they did about the concept of “desktop publishing”. But the reality is that digital printing has made huge strides in respect to quality over recent years. And as the options for quality printed materials have grown, so has the confusion.

me: I’ve got some printing quotes for you.
client: “No we are all set- we get cheaper pricing from our guy.”
me: Ok…that’s great. Are they printing digital or offset?”
client: What’s that? I don’t know. What’s the difference?

Offset printing has been around for over a century, and works by transferring ink from a plate to a rubber sheet, which then rolls the ink onto paper. Exact color matching, larger sheet sizes, more paper options, and superior image quality are just a few of the benefits of offset printing.

Digital printing is when a digital image is sent directly to an inkjet or laser printer that deposits pigment or toner directly onto a wide variety of substrates including paper, canvas, etc. Digital printing is done without a printing plate—saving time and money in many cases.

It takes a trained eye these days to tell the difference between digital and offset, but not all digital printing is the same—there are huge variances in quality. “Some machines produce color output that more closely matches offset printing.” says Gina Deschamps of Deschamps Printing in Salem, MA. “We run HP Indigo Digital presses. In our opinion, the Indigo press looks closest to offset printing.”

Consider Digital Printing if: 

  • you require a quick turnaround time
  • you have low quantity job (1000 or less); ideal for smaller formats (i.e. business cards, datasheets)
  • your content and messaging changes frequently or you are creating something with a short shelf-life
  • you have a low quantity job that has a high page-count (books or manuals)
  • you have variable data/image items like customized postcards.

Consider Offset printing if: 

  • you have high quantity job (more than 1000-1500)
  • if your job is a larger format piece such as a pocket folder or a 6+ panel brochure.
  • if you need to assure that you match exact ink colors (PMS matching)
  • when you want to print something that makes a statement with superior image quality, different paper stocks or finishing techniques.

There is a place in the market for both offset and digital printing, and there are so many great options available today. At the end of the day, your printing vendor should be able to help you decide the best way to approach your project if you give them the information they need to give you cost-effective options.

Posted by: Storm digital printing, graphic design, marketing, offset printing, printing, technology 0 comments
October 4, 2013
  Making Better Presentations, One Deck at a Time


People are often challenged with creating an effective PowerPoint for a presentation. There are the issues of creating the content and graphics on a rapidly approaching deadline. So how do you go about building a great PPT deck?

Our normal response is “Let us do it for you!”, but there are times where that’s not feasible. So we’ve put together a presentation that outlines the “recipe” for making better PowerPoint (or Keynote or Prezi) presentations. We’ve uploaded the deck to SlideShare and you can view it by clicking this link.

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Posted by: Storm graphic design, marketing, Stormship News 0 comments
September 20, 2013
  IBM’s Predictive Analytics Video
King Fish Media asked to partner with Stormship and SAC Designs to develop a new two minute video for IBM SPSS Statistics. Working from an info graphic developed by King Fish, we crafted a story and developed the storyboards used to produce a compelling video. Stormship and SAC Designs managed the full production of the video, including scriptwriting, motion graphics design and storyboarding, voiceover recording, and video production.
The end result – a video that was very well received by both King Fish and their client IBM. We look forward to more collaborations with them in the future!
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November 5, 2012
  Envipco is Redesigning the Beverage Container Recovery Experience

You may be familiar with beverage container recycling machines—the ones that you see at supermarkets. Envipco, a world leader in the industry, asked us to create an engaging interface for their newly designed family of Reverse Vending Machines. We were asked to design a user interface that takes advantage of their new high-resolution color LCD display. 3-dimensional images allow the user to easily identify the accepted container types. While color, and bright friendly icons convey the machine’s status to the user—ready, warning, or error. And the user has an uninterrupted tally of deposited containers and cash value. See the results here.

In addition to designing the UI, Stormship created a new print collateral system that highlights the features and benefits of these machines, as well as Envipco’s other recycling systems and industry-leading technologies.

Stormship’s work followed a redesign of Envipco’s Reverse Vending Machines (RVM) recently completed by Thomas Swyst Product Design.

Posted by: Storm graphic design, marketing, Stormship News 0 comments
August 10, 2012
  Producing videos for profit. (Nimble’s, that is)

Stormship has maintained a number of long-standing client relationships over the years. We’d like to think that it has something to do with the quality of our work, our desire to work as part of the client’s team, and our ability to meet challenging deadlines on occasion. Maybe all three.

Fred Love of Nimble Storage is one of those clients who keeps coming back to Stormship. When asked why, he cited similar reasons to those stated above—proof that we’re not making this stuff up. And while Fred noted that we have created “almost a dozen video projects in six years” with him, he also said “Stormship made us look like a more established player, and that has an immediate impact on our bottom line.” That kind of feedback is worth a million to us.

The result of our latest collaboration is the Nimble Storage 3-Minute Overview video.

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October 28, 2011
  Large format graphics, interactive displays, print collateral and a good attitude.

You can spend months getting ready for a tradeshow, but the final stages are critical. Working with a team that’s got your back is key. With five years of experience providing graphic solutions for SunEdison, we were up for the challenge. Expand on the current brand for the booth graphics—check. Add a fresh spin to the interactive displays—check. Help make the client’s event a success—check.

If you have a large scale event or project coming up, contact us to learn how we can help your team make it a success.

View the SunEdison interactive »

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July 12, 2010
  Pay-for-performance—when it’s a no-brainer.

In the graphic design industry we have this lovely thing called a “deliverable”. You know, a tangible “thing” a client can see or sometimes even hold that helps establish the value to the service we deliver. But for other b2b services industries, their deliverable is not quite as tangible. So how do they gain the trust and loyalty of a client? Some are finding success with Pay-for-performance models.

One example of a business that’s having great success with a results-based model is Green Leads. They provide their b2b clients with appointment setting and lead generation. As opposed to paying an outsourced lead gen vendor a monthly service fee–which is basically just an hourly rate with margin added to it–Green Leads only gets paid when they deliver a qualified meeting with the prospects their clients are targeting. “Lead gen programs are all about return on investment. With pay for performance appointment setting, our clients know exactly what the ROI of the program is going to be. They spend $X, they get Y meetings,” says Linda Flanagan, COO of Green Leads. “There is never a question of ‘what did you do for me lately'”.

Another area that benefits from a pay-for-performance model is SEO consulting. The traditional model for providing SEO consulting includes substantial up-front fees, without any direct incentive for the vendor to produce results. Because there are no performance guarantees, this model can leave clients feeling like they have no guarantee of any ROI. But BlackFin Media—Stormship’s lead technology partner—does it differently. “We measure and report the results to our clients, and bill only for the rankings that we achieve on the three major search engines,” says Chris Edwards of BlackFin. “… our team uses safe yet effective techniques to improve your website’s organic search engine rankings relative to your competition, driving targeted traffic to your site every day. Our unique results-based SEO service makes clients feel that they have a vested partner in their SEO campaign, who is motivated to achieve and maintain top rankings.”

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