LT ComDesign, Inc.
Volume 1 Issue 1

Dear Valued Subscriber,

Welcome to the first issue of Looking Good!, a publication totally dedicated to making you look good to pave your way to success. I'm truly excited to bring you advice, tips and resources for building the image of your business or organization. And I thank God for the awesome responsibility to share my knowledge and experiences with you.

Since this publication is for you and about you, please feel free to email or call me to ask questions, as well as give your input on what topics you'd like to see covered.

To Your Success,

LaShaunn Tappler

In This Issue...
  • 4 Tips to Save Money on Your Next Marketing/Graphics Project
  • Word/Phrase of the Week: Branding?
  • Offer of the Month: 15% Off Postcard Design
  • This Month, LaShaunn Recommends...
  • Quote of the Week
  • Tips on Tuesday: Putting Graphic Files in Publisher, Word, PowerPoint, Excel
  • About Looking Good!

  • 4 Tips to Save Money on Your Next Marketing/Graphics Project

    As a small business owner myself, I totally identify with not only wanting to get the most bang for my buck but HAVING to come up with creative ways to get the most bang for my buck. Heck, it shouldn't matter how deep your pockets are, smart business owners and executive leaders should always seek to guard their budgets -- without sacrificing quality or excellence, of course.

    Speaking of's the beginning of the year and with new budgets and projects on your desk, it's important that you execute with excellence, effectiveness and education. Regardless of the budget you have for a particular project, I'd like to offer four money-saving tips to lower your investment on your next marketing/graphic design project.

    1. Plan ahead.

    The old adage, "Time is Money," couldn't be more true in this industry. To alleviate rush charges from graphic designers, printers and/or delivery services, it's best to plan ahead as best you can, working from a realistic timeline. To do this, determine the date you need your materials in hand and work backwards from that date. I highly recommend that you make your first contact to a creative/graphic design firm or printer three to four weeks ahead of your due date. The sooner you begin working with your creative partner, the better.

    Here's a sample project timeline: You need to have a full-color brochure in-hand on Wednesday, February 23 for an important meeting on Friday, February 25.

    Printing turnaround time varies depending on the complexity of your job but let's just say you allot 7 - 10 business days for printing. That means the printer should have your files by Wednesday, February 9.

    Next, you should allow 5 - 7 business days for the graphic design and editing process. Now if you subtract those days, it's Monday, January 31. By this date, you should have already begun working with the creative firm.

    Note: This timeline does not include any shipping/ delivery time, therefore, depending on the location of the printer, additional time may need to be backed out of this timeline.

    Now let's translate this to dollars and cents. Here's a real scenario:

    With the ideal timeline followed above, a customer needs to get (5,000) 8.5" x 11" full-color brochures designed and printed. The total cost for this project is $2,000.

    Another customer goes to this creative firm two weeks before she needs the same brochure. She will probably incur rush charges from the firm (because they must put other projects to the side to complete her job and get it to the printer), rush charges from the printer (they too must put her project on press ahead of others' projects), and more than likely, express charges for overnight delivery or courier services. This same job, with all things being equal except the shortened timeline, now costs $2,600. That's $600 more for the same job. You see, TIME IS MONEY.

    Of course in the real world, you may not have the luxury to plan so far in advance for every project. However, when you do have the opportunity to do so, this example proves you can potentially save yourself a pretty penny.

    2. Reduce the number of colors in your job.

    In the printing industry, what you consider to be a full-color job is really a four-color job. Four colors -- cyan (or blue), magenta (pink), yellow and black -- are used to make up nearly all of the colors in the vibrant images you see in print.

    To reduce costs for your job, ask your graphic designer or printer, at the onset of the project, to price out doing your project as a two- or one-color job. In my experience, taking a one- or two-color project and putting it on colored paper can also have maximum impact.

    So if your budget doesn't quite allow for a full-color investment, ask your creative firm or printer to provide ideas and estimates for producing your project effectively using less color.

    3. Combine two or more pieces to make one multi-functional piece.

    Here's a simple example of an opportunity to create a multi-functional piece: You need a company marketing brochure and a coordinating custom-designed envelope into which you can insert the brochure.

    Consider having the return address and mailing label built into your brochure to create a self-mailer -- thus eliminating the need for an envelope. In this example, the printer is only printing one piece instead of two pieces.

    Whenever you have a multi-piece project, always ask your designer or printer if they have any cost-saving ideas or tips for your project. By the way, this discussion needs to happen BEFORE the project is designed.

    4. Proofread your documents thoroughly BEFORE going to print.

    This is a big one, ladies and gents. In my experience, this is the most common area to rack up unexpected charges. Be sure to do all of your editing BEFORE your project goes to the printer. When a project is at the printer, there is a very detailed process that takes place to convert your graphic files to press proofs. Press proofs are provided for you (or the creative firm) to ensure graphics, fonts, folds, cuts, etc. are exactly as intended.

    This is NOT the time to look for spelling mistakes, to fix grammatical errors, etc. If that needs to be done, the printer will have to go through that very detailed process again and yep, you guessed it, time equals money. Most of the time, you will incur additional charges over and above the printing estimate you received at the start of the project. Depending on the change(s) and the project complexity, I've seen these charges add up to as much as $350.

    If you must make changes, that's understandable. Always inquire about the additional costs to make your changes and evaluate whether or not your changes are worth the additional expense.

    Word/Phrase of the Week: Branding?

    What is branding?

    Branding is the specific identification of an entity, product or service by which the entity, product or service becomes known, used, trusted and quoted by the consumer.

    Branding is comprised of two components: (1) your unique logo and (2) how people think about your business. Building a brand will help your customers or target market in their decision-making. Branding creates a perceived knowledge of what they are going to buy or experience -- before they buy or experience it.

    I must point out that all businesses and organizations -- large and small --should focus on building a positive brand. Churches and ministries are NOT excluded from this, as positive branding has a direct relationship with tithes and offerings.

    Call or email me today to see how I can help you build a brand that's sure to give your business or organization a boost in its bottom line.

    Offer of the Month: 15% Off Postcard Design

    Order postcards by February 28, 2005 and receive 15% off the design cost*.

    Are you planning a direct mail campaign? Do you need to get the word out about a new product, service or event? Are you planning a sale? Use a postcard to tell your target market all about it.

    Postcards are easy to produce and are among the most cost-efficient marketing tools available today. They're so effective because recipients see your message right away without having to open an envelope.

    Some creative uses for postcards? Try using a postcard for mini-newsletters, web site promotions, event promotions, thank you notes, invitations, save-the-date cards, moving notices, or bag/package stuffers.

    Call us today at 630.820.2745 to take advantage of this fantastic offer!

    * Printing and shipping/delivery charges do not apply.

    This Month, LaShaunn Recommends...

    Guerilla Marketing Excellence: The 50 Golden Rules for Small-Business Success -- by Jay Conrad Levinson

    This quick read explains fifty rules aimed at fine-tuning your marketing style. It includes information on the uses of video, television distribution, networking effectiveness, and marketing combinations in an increasingly competitive business climate.

    Quote of the Week

    "We have more control over the impressions people form of us than we often realize." -- Tony Jeary, presentation strategy expert

    Tips on Tuesday: Putting Graphic Files in Publisher, Word, PowerPoint, Excel

    Putting Graphic Files in Microsoft Programs

    If you need to put your logo in a document, or if someone sends you a photo or graphic file that you are unable to open using a Microsoft program (i.e. Publisher, Word, PowerPoint, Excel), follow these simple steps to insert the graphic:

    1. Save the file on your computer and remember where you've saved it.
    2. Open a new or use an existing document.
    3. Click on the Insert menu at the top of the program. Select Picture. Move over to From File. A window appears showing a list of files on your computer.
    4. Navigate to the place in which you saved the file. Select the file.
    5. Click Insert or OK. The graphic should now be in your document.

    About Looking Good!

    Looking Good! is a bimonthly eZine, published every other Tuesday, to provide...

    • do-it-yourself tips and tricks to make your marketing materials and business documents sing and look like they've been done by a pro;
    • ideas, tips and resources to build your business/organizational image;
    • subscriber-only discounts on products & services; and
    • advice on how to attract more attention, look more professional, and pave your way to business success.

    Publisher LaShaunn Tappler is the principal of LT ComDesign, Inc., a marketing communications and graphic design firm that helps entrepreneurs, small businesses, and faith-based organizations build their businesses through improved business communications and high-impact marketing materials.

    "You captured the essence of our organization in a creative and unique way that connects people to our vision and our mission. You are truly a 'premier' marketing organization."

    - Rev. C. Lynn Nabor, Executive Director - Covenant FaithWorks

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