Category Archives: Value of Print

5 Tips: What Designers Know about Great Presentation Folders

Award-winning folder featuring pearlized linen, blind embossment, and 2-color spot

How do you design a standout presentation folder?  Designers have several tricks of the trade – what I call “special effects” – that you can use to create something really special for your company. Even better, an extraordinary folder doesn’t need to cost you any more than an ordinary one.

These tips will help you attain presentation folder greatness.

  1. Treat the interior space of the folder as valuable real estate.  Your documents may cover up this space before your client removes them from the folder… then voilà!  Feature your client list, testimonials or marketing copy.*
  2. Finish the folder… aqueous finish that is.  Aqueous finish seals in the color printed on blank stock.  Many pocket folders are finished with glossy finish by default, but you have options.  The color can be sealed with an aqueous finish – gloss, satin, or matte – just like house paint.  Or you can go for UV Gloss with a super shiny finish.  Conversely, if you’ve chosen a dark folder color, consider a satin finish to reduce signs of fingerprinting.  Just be sure the finish fits the personality of your business.  Travel industry?  Gloss.  Insurance?  Matte.
  3. Add sparkle to your folder design with UV spot.  Folder designers are very familiar with using embossment or foil stamping to make a logo pop.  But consider UV spot for a more modern look.  It can add high gloss shine in a precise place, like right on top of your logo.  And finish the folder underneath in matte aqueous for the strongest contrast.
  4. Create texture using linen stocks or embossment to add interest and perceived value, particularly if you have a conservative color palette.  Or dress up your look with a pearlized linen (which is FSC-certified, too).
  5. If your corporate colors are dark (see Brand Building Great Presentation Folder Design story) and you want a guaranteed crack-free finish, check out Xtreme Coated Cover paper stock.  It’s the only paper I know of with a crack-free guarantee.

* If you use a tint of your PMS color plus the PMS color itself, you can create nice contrast while still running a one-color job…which can save you money.

This article is part of a series on great presentation folder design featured on the Conformer Products’ Blog.

Sari McConnell at smcconnell@conformerinc.com

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5 Tips: Could Your Presentation Folder Work Harder to Build Your Brand? (You Betcha.)

Brand building means consistently delivering your brand message to your target market whenever your consumer encounters your brand.  Your presentation folder is a key touchpoint between your brand and your consumer:  displaying your proposal, delivering your product samples, or introducing your services for the first time.

These tips will convert your workhorse marketing tool – your presentation folder – into a great brand statement.

  1. Use your corporate colors boldly. If you don’t have a corporate color palette, enlist a graphic designer to select one or two colors from the Pantone Matching System (PMS). The Pantone guide is the definitive international reference for selecting, matching and controlling ink colors. Using PMS colors will enable you to specify “your colors” by number for every print job.
  2. Flood coat your paper stock with one PMS color and then use your second PMS color as an accent.  Perhaps flood coat the interior (Side 2) of your folder so the pockets are the first PMS color, and the back panels are in the second PMS color.
  3. Don’t stop at your company logo.  A folder gives you lots of opportunity to integrate the company tag line or a corporate visual image that represents your brand.
  4. Bridge your offline and online marketing efforts.  If you are using in YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and the like, feature these icons on the folder holding your marketing literature.
  5. A busy design can kill a folder’s versatility, so tread lightly.  Think of the folder as gift wrap.  You want it to say “open me,” but don’t let the packaging overwhelm the gift inside.  You want the literature inside to do most of the talking.

This article is first in a series on great presentation folder design featured on the Conformer Products’ Blog.

Sari McConnell at smcconnell@conformerinc.com

Felt & Wire: Putting Inspiration in the Mail

I just stumbled upon a fantastic resource for graphic designers, printers, and envelope and packaging industry insiders.  Get a healthy dose of pure inspiration on the Mohawk Fine Papers‘ blog, Felt & Wire.

Felt & Wire: My Inspiration Today

Living here in Silicon Valley, it’s easy to find yourself almost buying into the idea that online content and social media are so compelling that there is no room for anything that the print or paper industry could possibly offer.

Felt & Wire shows you how powerful a medium ink on paper can “be — ironically, on an online blog — but this only underlines my point that these two mediums can and should coexist for the betterment of the customer experience.  To paraphrase one of the speakers at the Envelope Manufacturers Association annual meeting, they still haven’t figured out how to virtually deliver that scarf you ordered online.  It’s got to come in a package, and the point of delivery is as compelling a moment as you’ll find to speak to your customer in a tactile, ink-on-paper way.  Throw on a QR code that takes you to the “Deal of the Day” on that company’s ecommerce site, and you’ve got a beautiful friendship between online and print mediums.

A Quick Response (QR) Code does exactly that

Which brings me to my next point… If that scarf arriving in the mail is a key customer touchpoint, why don’t companies choose print-friendly packaging?  Sometimes I think companies go out of their way to mail my purchase in the ugliest thing they can find.  Talk about wasted opportunity!

Check out the Felt & Wire posting about an artist named Jennie Hinchcliff, who makes envelopes out of virtually anything.  Wow!  It celebrates the creative spirit in my industry, and on a personal note, brings my career full circle from my early days at Hallmark Cards to my present-day entrepreneurial venture in envelope and packaging innovation.

Have you discovered a resource lately that inspires you?  Share it with us!

-Sari McConnell at smcconnell@conformerinc.com