Do you have any cool pictures laying around?

Every year since 2006, we’ve printed a calendar that we distribute at no charge to everyone that we come in contact with. Hopefully you’ve received one or more in the years past. We usually have some sort of cool theme for the calendar. We have always used pictures that the Brandywine family has taken ourselves. This year, we wanted to do something different. This year the theme is…. You.

For the first time ever we are accepting pictures from our fans! if you have a cool picture (or ten) we want it! Just remember, it needs to be cool enough for someone who doesn’t know you to look at for a month.

Feel free to send in as many pictures as you would like, but we can only use the best 14 pictures that we receive. If your picture is chosen, you will receive 1000 free full color business cards, and several finished calendars to distribute yourself.

Here are the rules:

1. We can only use landscape (Longways) pictures, please don’t submit portrait (Tall) pictures.

2. Send the highest quality pictures that you have. If you have a choice of the size, make it the largest possible size.

3. Submissions must be received by November 25th 2011 to be considered.

3. There’s only three rules… it shouldn’t be hard.

We will accept pictures from anyone, so feel free to forward this on to your friends and family. Send any possible pictures to

We’re really excited about this project, please help us to make it successful and, send us your cool pictures!

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Have you seen the BrandywineMobile?

We’ve been looking forward to getting one of our vehicles wrapped for quite sometime. When we found out that In Depth Wraps teams up with the Forsyth Central High School graphic arts program every year, it was a no brainer for us. We immediately volunteered for the project. Here’s how it worked:

#1. I made a presentation to the class about Brandywine Printing and the products that we produce.

#2. The students had two weeks to submit a design for our vehicle wrap fora grade.

#3. In Depth Wraps went over ALL of the designs with us. Once we crossed the designs out that we didn’t want to consider, we still had 25 to choose from. These kids are very talented! In the end, we loved two designs, and asked if they could be merged.

#4. We turned over our Honda FIT to In Depth Wraps and waited for the unveiling.

#5. On Friday morning we went to Forsyth Central High School and saw our newly wrapped car along with the art students that submitted the designs.

The two winners are Rachel Fahey & Max Goligoski. They did a great job, and now their designs will be viewed all over town. Check out the video below:

Brandywine Printing Vehicle Wrap by In-Depth Wraps

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Welcome to the Brandywine Team!

If you’ve been doing business with Brandywine for over 7 years, you might remember working with Millie Reed. Millie was with us for several years until she had an opportunity to work with her husband at a different printshop. That different printshop was Brigham Press. Recently, Brandywine Printing and Brigham Press joined forces, and Millie is with us again! This partnership will provide a better service for the existing customers of both companies.

If your’e new to the Brandywine camp, let me give you a run down of who you will run into along the way.

Millie – Customer Service. Millie is the first person that you will encounter at Brandywine Printing. She will be the person on the other end of the phone most of the time.

Josh – Estimating. Josh is like the man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz. Nothing can happen without him, but you don’t normally see him. Josh makes sure that everyone knows what they are paying for a job to be printed.

Steve – Sales. Steve is the man that will come to your office. He knows all of the processes that are available for any printing project. If you don’t have time to come by and see us, ask for Steve. He’ll come out and see you .

Anthony – Prepress/Design. Anthony makes sure that every job looks professional before going to press. If we design a logo, that really means that Anthony s designing a logo. Anthony, unfortunately has to spend a large portion of his time fixing customer files so that they will print correctly.

Bill – Production. Bill puts the ink on the paper, and makes sure that all of the bindery operations are performed correctly. Bill is responsible for all of the offset printing that goes out the door.

Kathy – Digital Printing. Kathy makes all of the digital printing that we produce sparkle! She was thrust in to this position when our digital business took off. She also makes sure that all of the invoices are correct before they are mailed.

Derrell – Purchasing. Derrell makes sure that the light bill gets paid. It’s hard to print in the dark! He also helps Bill out with some of the smaller offset printing projects.

Derek – Blog Writer. Derek’s main job is to keep the public aware of what’s going on at Brandywine Printing.

Hopefully, your printing experience with brandywine is a great one! Now that you know who everyone is and what they do, feel free to swing by the shop, or call, and let us help you with your next printing project!

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How to know when to go digital or offset…

Unless you buy printing for a living, you might not know the difference between Digital Printing and Offset Printing, much less which one is best for your current project. I will try to clarify some of the different indicators that we use to determine which process is best for you. At Brandywine, we offer both solutions, so we don’t lean toward either process due to our equipment limitations, we do what is best for our customers based on their budget and quality expectations.

The first thing that we generally look at is quantity. If we are running less than 1000 sheets of paper for any job, we automatically consider digital first. Likewise, if the sheet count is higher than 2000, we start with offset. Remember, sheet count isn’t necessarily the same number of finished pieces, but that is for another blog.

Next, we think about the purpose of the finished piece. If it’s something that needs to look exactly the same every time it’s printed, we generally stay away from digital printing.  Digital Printing is great for a lot of things, but the technology is still lacking when it comes to matching color over time. Sometimes “time” may be from one day to the next, depending on temperature, and humidity. Using Offset Printing, we have precise control over any color.

Then we take into consideration any bindery process that may be needed after the job is printed.  If the job needs foil stamping, or embossing, or some other precise finishing work, we will generally consider Offset before Digital. In some cases Digital works here just fine.

There are several other circumstances that we take into consideration, but the thing to remember, is that we are experts.  We know which process is best for each and every project that comes into our shop. We always take the path of least resistance, which saves our customers time and money.

Even if you don’t use Brandywine for your printing needs, be sure to ask any questions that may concern you between Digital and Offset Printing. Make sure that whoever is doing your printing knows the difference, if they don’t, how can they offer the best solution?

Check out this video from International Paper for more information:

Posted in Binding, Brandywine, Digital, Experts, Offset, Paper, Printing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are You on Time?

The older I get, the faster my life seems to move. I remember spending the weekend with my grandparents as a kid. After supper we would all go out and sit on the front porch for hours, until it was too dark to be outside. We would just sit and talk, or maybe my grandpa would roll a ball back and forth across the porch with me. Sometimes neighbors would stop by and sit with us, which made for more great conversation.

Now that I’m an adult with my own front porch, I don’t seem to ever make the time to sit on it. We bought the rocking chairs with the full intentions of sitting out there, it just never seems to happen.  Recently I’ve decided to analyze my life and figure out why I can’t seem to make more “Front Porch Time”. This is what I came up with.

The bottom line is, I don’t manage my activities well. I spend too much time at work. I need some help from you, so that I’m not there as much.  In return these tips will help save you money. This is what you can do for me to help me have more “Front Porch Time”.

• If you have an event that you need tri fold brochures for, plan ahead and order them at least 10 days before the event.

•If you’re getting married and need programs, get your info together and order your wedding programs a week before your wedding, instead of the day before. (This may sound crazy, but it’s the way it works 90% of the time)

•When ordering the sports programs for your son or daughter’s football, softball, baseball, lacrosse, wrestling, golf, equestrian, water polo or track team, please plan ahead, and don’t order them three days before you need them.

•You know that trade show that you registered for last November? Go ahead and plan ahead. Figure out what kind of sales collateral you need and get it printed before you buy your airline tickets.

Understand that we can do all of the things above as fast as you need us to, we’re kind of known for doing that sort of thing, but it still steals time from me and my staff. Not to mention the money you could save by planning ahead. We always apply rush charges to rush jobs.  A rush charge is kind of like paying a “lack of planning tax”. A good rule of thumb is to allow yourself seven days for us to complete your project. The more complicated, the longer you should allow.

I can’t tell you how many times we printed a project for someone who just had to have it by a particular date. So we rush as fast as we can, and give them the exact product that they asked for, in the time frame that they needed, only to discover that they were in such a hurry to get the files to us, that they made a major typo. This is where one of those sayings from my grandpa coms into play, “There’s never enough time to do it right the first time, but there’s always time to do it a second time.” The most expensive job that I remember re-printing due to customer’s mistakes was around $3100.00. That means that they paid $6200.00 for the job, because they didn’t plan well, and they missed their original deadline.

The moral of the story is: Plan well, it will save you money, and other’s time.

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What have you done for the environment today?

I consider myself a bit of an outdoorsman. My most favorite place to be is in the woods, surrounded by God’s creation. I hate to see development come in and destroy my favorite places in the world. I think that some of us think this way, and get emotionally involved when trying to help the environment. We get so blinded by our mission to help, that sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees (pardon the pun).

I hear people talking about the environment and what they can do for it everyday. It frustrates me, however when I hear the different ideas that people think help the environment, versus what actually helps. Of course in my industry, the idea that frustrates me the most is the term, “save a tree”.

My life has been simplified by the reduction of paper in our office. What used to take several file cabinets, now takes up a seven inch square on my desk in my Mac Mini. So I agree that the paperless life is more organized and easier than dealing with all those random papers. So if folks want to eliminate paper for those types of things, more power to ’em. However, using the environment as an excuse not to use paper is quite uneducated, and will actually accomplish exactly the opposite in the long run. Here’s the breakdown:

•Paper companies employ tens of thousands of people, and a lot of them manage forests and make sure that trees are growing properly. They don’t just buy property to clear cut and then leave it barren.

•These forests create lots of jobs, and while the forests are growing (for decades) they provide lots of homes for animals, not to mention the Co2 that is converted to oxygen.

•As we stop using paper, (to help the environment) the paper companies are forced to sell these managed properties. The companies that generally purchase this accessible property plan on developing it (not very good for the environment).

•So not using paper accomplishes exactly the opposite of what we are trying to prevent.

If this information peaks your curiosity, do some research on carbon. Energy is created through using carbon. Educate yourself on this, and arm yourself with the information that you find.

I stumbled onto this cool little video that International Paper posted on Youtube, and thought I would share it with you.  Enjoy!

If you like reading stuff more than watching videos, check out this article from PBS:

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How much do you weigh?

Hold onto your hat for this one, I’m going to attempt to explain the difference between paper weights.  Not the kind that sits on your desk. No, the confusing labyrinth of numbers that come into play when deciding which weight paper to print your letterhead, or those flyers for the church fund raiser on.  If you’re in charge of printing the HOA newsletter for your home owner’s association, how do you know if you should use 80# text or 80# cover?  I’m going to try to shed some light on the situation, but I have to warn you… there are people who have been in the printing industry for decades who can’t explain this, so if it doesn’t work out for me, give me another chance… Maybe I’ll try to explain something easier, like the BCS.

Ok so lets cover the basics first. There are two things that need to be understood.

First and easiest to understand, is thickness, or GSM (it stands for grammage somehow). GSM is confusing to folks in our industry, because it is a fairly new system in America, because it is based on the metric system. The GSM is calculated by weighng the paper and counting the grams per square meter (g/m²).  Somewhere along the way we replaced the “/” with an “S” and came up with GSM.

Next, we have the more complicated “Basis Weight”. This is the typical way that we have referred to paper in America for decades.The basis weight is calculated by taking 500 sheets of a type of paper and weighing it. But not just 500 sheets the way your probably thinking, no, I’m talking about “parent sheets”, these vary from 17″ x 22″ all the way up to 25″ x 38″. So if you think about all the different sizes, and thicknesses, you can understand how this stuff can be very confusing.

There are several “types” of paper that have to be determined before any “weights” can be calculated. Some of these types include Bond, Writing, Book, Text, Offset, Cover, Index & Bristol.  Those are the the most popular types of paper used in the printing industry. Once the type  of paper is figured out, the weight comes next. Each type of paper has a particular parent sheet size that is weighed 500 sheets at a time. Using this formula, standard copy paper (20# bond) is weighed in 17″ x 22″ sheets, so apparently 500 of these sheets weigh 20 lbs, or what we call 20# bond. Not to keep boring you, but for clarification purposes, I’ll do another one.  60# text is weighed in a larger sheet size, 25″ x 38″. So 500 sheets of this large sized sheet weigh 60 lbs, and we call it 60# text.

Imagine that each type of paper has it’s own column of weights listed. If the all of the columns were then placed beside each other based on the actual thickness of the paper, some of the weights would be the same thickness, with totally different weights.  For instance 24# writing and 60# text are exactly the same thickness.  I have made a chart the best way that I could below.  Hopefully it will hep make some sense out of all this crazyness!

#1 20lb Bond/Writing 75 gsm same weight as 50lb Book/Text/Offset
#2 24lb Bond/Writing 90 gsm same weight as 60lb Book/Text/Offset
#3 28lb Bond/Writing 105 gsm same weight as 70lb Book/Text/Offset
#4 32lb Bond/Writing 120 gsm same weight as 80lb Book/Text/Offset
#5 50lb Book/Text/Offset 75 gsm same weight as 20lb Bond/Writing
#6 60lb Book/Text/Offset 90 gsm same weight as 24lb Bond/Writing
#7 70lb Book/Text/Offset 105 gsm same weight as 28lb Bond/Writing
#8 80lb Book/Text/Offset 120 gsm same weight as 32lb Bond/Writing
#9 100lb Text 150 gsm similar weight as 67lb Bristol
#10 67lb Bristol 145 gsm similar weight as 100lb Text
#11 90lb Index 165 gsm similar weight as 65lb Cover
#12 110lb Index 200 gsm similar weight as 80lb Cover
#13 140lb Index 255 gsm somewhat similar weight as 100lb Cover
#14 65lb Cover 175 gsm similar weight as 90lb Index
#15 80lb Cover 215 gsm similar weight as 110lb Index
#16 100lb Cover 275 gsm somewhat similar weight as 140lb Index
#17 130lb Cover 350 gsm no other comparison on this list

I hope that this little lesson in my world helps you understand what paper that you need for you next project.  If you’re still confused, just give us a shout and we’ll help you make the right decision. Until then, I’ll be watching my weight!

Posted in Experts, Offset, Paper, Printing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Responses

Will you give me some money?

One of the things that I love about our industry (that’s the printing industry… incase you found this blog accidentally) is that most businesses need printing to some extent.  Some businesses realize that, and some don’t… we’ll talk about the folks that do.

I am cheap.  When it comes to my money, I don’t like to turn lose of it at all.  Unless I’ve had my eye on something for a while, or maybe if I stumble upon some sort of investment, I don’t spend money.  This “quality” sometimes makes it difficult to be a business person.  Sometimes it prevents me from providing the exact product that someone wants, because I wouldn’t spend my own money on the same product.

So I put my thinking cap on (it’s a little tight these days, I don’t use it much) to try to figure out what made people buy the printed material that we provide. This is what I came up with:

First, all printed material is a form of communication, so we’ll have to agree that every product that any printer offers, conveys some sort of information.  The two things that motivate people to buy printing:

#1. Emotion

#2. It makes the buyer money

So first we’ll cover the emotional purchase.  This would be something like wedding invitations or baby announcements. These are things that convey information that make people feel good… so it’s an emotional purchase.

On to the second motivator. If it’s not an emotional purchase, then it must make you money. Now seriously, stop and think about this.  WHY would you spend money on printing if it doesn’t fall under one of these two categories. Really, let me know if you think of a reason.

We print for two different kinds of companies, non-profits, and for-profits. Both types spend money with us on printing, and the reason that both of them do is because it makes them money. Period. Non-profits still have an operating budget just like every other company (should). The difference is that they generally aren’t’ delivering product to generate money, they rely on other revenue generators.  Most of the time these sources are other companies or individuals that donate money to the cause. This is where we come in.  We print a message for the non-profit in order to make potential donors aware that this may be an excellent place for them to contribute to. So you see, even with non profits, it’s still about money.

The rest of the businesses that we print for are generally trying to increase their product awareness, or improve their image, or educate their prospects  (kind of like this blog). If you think about it, there really isn’t a product that we offer that doesn’t make businesses money in one way or the other. I’ll list a few and you think about them:

Trifold brochures

Pocket folders

Advertising slicks

* those are obvious, how about these next examples*

Custom invoices

Purchase orders

Bill of laiding

Quote sheets


All of this stuff either generates sales (money) or makes systems more efficient (money). And to be honest, even though we love helping people, our end motivation is also money. So we’re all in the big money pot together.

We’ve been printing for a long time, so we’ve printed a lot of different things to make other folks money.  If you need any ideas, set up an appointment to come in and talk with us.  We’ll make sure that you don’t spend more money than you could make with any particular project!

Posted in Brandywine, Experts, Marketing, Printing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Response

Do you bleed?

Lets talk about bleeds.  Not bleeding… like bloody messy bleeding.  I’m talking about your design bleeding… you know, off the edge of the paper.  See, most people don’t understand that ink can’t magically run off of the edge of a sheet of paper.  Think about it like this, if the ink goes all the way to the edge, there must be a portion of the ink that falls off the edge right?  So where would it go?  See, that’s the where the problem is.  The ink that runs off the edge does have to go somewhere, and unfortunately, technology hasn’t provided a good place for it to go at this point.  So until a better answer reveals itself, here’s how we do it.

Let’s start with this template:

The size of a standard business card is 2″ x 3.5″ (inches) but you should make your document size 2.25″ x 3.75″. This will allow us to cut of .125″ off of all four sides of the business card.  So your background color, or image can go all the way to the edge (the red line) of your document, but you have to remember that we will be cutting some of it off, so mind your margins. Oh ya, margins… you might be one of the folks that wants to squeak every possible square millimeter out of the available real estate out of your business card. If so, i need you to take a break.  A business card with improper margins screams, “I designed my own business card, because I’m to cheap to pay a professional, and that makes me unprofessional as well!”  So, mind your margins!  I don’t mind if you design your own business  card, just follow the rules, and make it look professional.  The minimum distance from the edge of the card (the red line) and any edges of your text, or images that you want on the card (the blue line) needs to be at least .1875″ (3/16″).  I personally think that .25″ (1/4″) looks even better.

So if you do everything right your business cards should look like this:

See those little lines at the corners?  We call those, “Crop Marks”.  They are the cutting guidelines that we use.  They are guidelines, not set in stone.  That way, if something looks un-balanced, we can use some of the bleed to fix a visual problem.  If you made your document the right size, we have 1/8″ to play with!

Here are some incorrect versions of the same card.

The first one has crop marks but no bleed.  If you connect the lines from side to side, and top to bottom, you’ll see that if we cut those lines it would be right on the edge of the card.  The down side to this would be that we either have to cut a little into the card, making it smaller than a standard size business card, or we risk having a tiny white line, on one or more of the sides of the card.  Either of those options would be ugly, and unprofessional.

This is an example of the most common file that we receive from customers.  The document size is exactly 2″ x 3.5″, with no bleeds or crop marks.  We can live without crop marks, as long as you tell us how much bleed you put in the the file.  But you have to build in bleed.  We can’t just scale it larger, because that messes up the margins.

So the moral of the story is, either follow the rules when designing your own business card, or hire a professional designer to do it for you.  Oh ya by the way, if the professional designer doesn’t know these rules, make sure they get a link to this blog, you’ll save us a bunch of time, and help them be more “professional”!   😉

Posted in business cards, Design, Experts, Printing | Leave a comment

Are you an Expert?

Someone called the shop the other day looking for a “Printing Expert”. I never really thought about being an expert before. “Printer” was just a title that I shared with Benjamin Franklin and a few thousand other folks in my chosen profession. I wasn’t exactly sure what separated a printing expert from any other printing professional. So I asked some of our customers and vendors what they thought a printing expert was, and did I qualify. This is what I learned:

The first category that I’ll talk about are printing brokers. Printing Brokers are good sales people, and some know a good deal about printing, but only a handful could be considered “Printing Experts”. Brokers will find a prospect that needs printing, get all of the specs for the job, and contact several print shops that they trust, looking for the best price. Their relationship with the printers that produce work for them is based on trust, because they rely on the printer to deliver the printed piece, on time. In the 80’s brokers could be very successful, but these days the need for printed materials is not as broad as it once once was, and it’s harder for brokers to find good pricing. As a matter of fact, these days, there are a only a few “trade shops” (wholesale) across the country that I know about. So in my opinion, printing brokers are rarely experts.

Some printers are good at what they do, but they don’t do much. At least they don’t offer much in the way of a product line. They are experts in the products that they offer, but those products are not very broad. They generally specialize in black and white copies, and color copies produced on a high speed copier like the ones at Kinko’s. These guys have invested in equipment, but only the basics. They will take on some larger projects, that need to be outsourced to larger shops with more sophisticated equipment, but they generally shy away from the more complex pieces that might need to be die cut or foil stamped. So I wouldn’t take away that these kind of printers aren’t experts, but I would call them “Copy Experts” instead of “Printing Experts”.

The next possible Printing Experts I’ll review are the mega commercial print shops. These shops are obviously either experts, or just gazillionaires. The equipment that they use costs millions of dollars, and the customers that they serve, pay them millions more. They take care of the biggest companies that you can think of. You would have to be an expert in your field in order to deal with fortune 100 companies on a daily basis. So, yes, in my opinion, the big guys are definitely printing experts.

Now we’ll talk about about the print shops that I know the most about. These are the family businesses, and the shops that some person started as a dream, or a hobby. They’re artists, because the owners are the people running the printing presses. These printers are the ones that serve the American Businesses that fuel our economy. The companies that purchase the printing that these shops produce need the largest variety of products. They need business cards, ad slicks, pocket folders. They need materials to go in the pocket folders, they need letterhead, and envelopes. They want cool creative things that are foil stamped, embossed, die cut, folded and glued. They need all kinds of materials for their sales people to be effective. They need postcards and all sorts of other printed stuff to get their message out to their prospects and customers. For a printer to be able to serve these customer’s needs they must be printing experts. These printers have to know every aspect of all of these processes. All of the other printers that I talked about are specialists. This category of printers is a cross section of American commerce. They absolutely have to be “Printing Experts”

By the way, Brandywine Printing falls in the last category that I talked about. The four Brandywine team members that have been in the industry the longest have a combined 115 years experience. Not to mention that the owners can operate every piece of equipment in the building…. except for one. Come on by the shop for a tour to find out which machine it is, until then, consider us your “Printing Experts”!

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