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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 11, 2013
  A website redesign brings a brand in focus
Intequus had an industry identity issue. They are leaders providing custom hardware solutions for big-deal corporations like Netflix. But their previous website made them seem like less than that.
Stormship started by reviewing and streamlining the Intequus’ previous messaging and marketing visuals, which worked on their own but not collectively. “Stormship did a fantastic job at taking our divergent messaging and visuals and guide us to define the Intequus brand.” says David Guzzi, VP & General Manager of Intequus. The redesigned website—custom built in WordPress in a way that clearly conveyed Intequus’ product offerings to their enterprise-level customers—positioned Intequus as the major industry player that they are.
Posted by: Storm graphic design, Stormship News, technology, Uncategorized 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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Posted by: Storm graphic design, marketing, technology 0 comments
September 16, 2011
  How does it work, you ask?

Joule Unlimited uses their photosynthetic microorganism to produce clean, renewable fuel using sunlight and waste CO2. With the need to succinctly explain its complex technology to a variety of audiences, Joule engaged our assistance in creating a visual to help answer the big question: How does it work?

Stormship’s extensive experience in taking complex or abstract concepts and making them understandable to a layperson was key to creating the visual Joule needed to explain their Helioculture™ platform.

In September, Joule was named 2012 Technology Pioneer by World Economic Forum.

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September 14, 2011
  Custom Apps for mobile devices and desktops

You can give your sales team an advantage in the field by building a customized app that allows them to deliver information to their customers where they want it, how they want it. With tools like Adobe Air, we can help you build applications that perform across different devices and platforms and increase your team’s productivity and efficiency. Got an idea? Lets talk.

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Posted by: Storm graphic design, Stormship News, technology 0 comments
January 4, 2011
  We Love SuperDuper!

Having been burned before by a failed hard drive, we’ve developed a healthy paranoia about backing up our data. Many years ago, we started using Retrospect to back up all of the active projects for our clients. Since then, we never missed a deadline due to hard drive failure.

But… we still had to reinstall everything else back onto the replacement hard drive. And in the era of online registration and verification, what a time consuming pain in the butt. Then several years ago, we started using SuperDuper! (the exclamation point is part of the product name… we’re not THAT excitable). SuperDuper makes a full backup of your hard drive that is bootable! (Okay, that one is ours). It sounded great in theory, but it wasn’t until several months ago that we put it to the test.

The hard drive in one of our laptops died one morning. So we attempted to boot off the external HD with the SuperDuper clone. It worked like a charm and work continued. Even better, once the hard drive was replaced we were able to restore the original files from the clone back onto the laptop. It was like the nothing had ever happened. It was nice to see a product work as advertised!

Posted by: Storm technology 0 comments
September 15, 2010
  Apple lightens up…

We’re a company that relies on Apple hardware and Adobe software to do our thing. So back in April, we were disheartened – to put it mildly – when Apple decided to further their ban of Flash-based products from their iOS platform. Adobe had been working on a tool that would allow Flash to be published for use on Apple’s iOS products when Apple revised their developer agreement to make it undeniably clear that any apps not created following Apple’s rules would be prohibited.

Well, that sucked. Not that we were planning a jump into the App marketplace, but this threw a definite roadblock to any potential plans.

But as of last week, Apple officially relaxed its rules to allow 3rd party-generated apps back into the store. (We won’t speculate if the decision was influenced by a possible Department of Justice investigation…) And Adobe has put their tool to publish Flash to an iOS compatible format back on the production schedule.

Now if only Apple will allow Verizon Wireless to sell iPhones we’d be very happy campers.

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July 20, 2010
  Enhancing interactive content with real-time data

It’s rather frightening to think about how long we’ve been using Adobe Flash to deliver interactive content for our clients. Suffice to say that we have hazy memories of installing it on beige-colored Macs. Because of our fluency in the multimedia platform, we’re always looking for compelling ways to enhance the end-user experience for our clients.

One of those ways is to include real-time data to highlight a company’s capabilities and experience. Stormship recently partnered with two companies that wanted to use their real-time data in different and effective ways.

Stormship designed a new corporate website for SunEdison, a leading solar energy services company, that features live data pulled from their Solar Monitoring API. Visitors to SunEdison’s new site can see a live data stream of how many kW Hours of electricity that SunEdison’s solar grid has generated and learn what impact that has had on the environment. Additionally Stormship created an interactive map that displays all of SunEdison’s solar installations worldwide. The map application was built with Adobe Flash and pulls live data—including kW generated per site, and other site specific information—from an external API importing it on a realtime basis.

UTC Power installed a microturbine system for Clarkson University to provide combined cooling, heat and power for a new Technology Advancement Center. Given an opportunity to tell their story within a multimedia display at the center, UTC Power asked Stormship to design a demo to highlight the technology, processes, equipment and energy generated by this system.

Stormship’s solution used xml web services to pull the information directly from the microturbine system allowing the audience to experience a highly stylized and informational Flash presentation showing how much energy—electricity, heat and cooling—that the microturbine has produced up to the minute.

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Posted by: Storm graphic design, Stormship News, technology 0 comments
July 19, 2010
  So many colors, so little time

Next time you need inspiration choosing a color palette for a website or a livingroom—check out Kuler. We *love* this site. It has hundreds of fresh and inspiring palettes (and equally inspiring names like “lightly rusted” and “Rooster strut”). And its fun to play with too!

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Posted by: Storm graphic design, technology 0 comments
July 10, 2010
  A great tool to convert SWF (Flash) to MOV (Quicktime)

If you google “swf to mov converter” you’ll find that there are a lot of apps out there that claim to do the job.. We’ve tried a few of them in addition to experimenting with our own conversion methods. But we recently discovered an app that does the job as billed – Moyea’s SWF to Video converter. In addition to converting to the Quicktime format, it also converts to AVI, MP4, WMV, and others.

And in addition to that, this app allows us to set a new size for the output video. But the make-it-or-break-it line for us is that it captures the quality of the animations in the SWF that others do not. No jumps, hesitations or distortions. That alone makes it well worth the price of $99.00 US.

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Posted by: Storm technology 0 comments