Let’s talk about… PMS

May 5, 2010

I’m guessing that if you are like most people, the title of this blog meant something totally different than what it means at Print Resources. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your gender), this post does NOT cover any sort of female physiological or hormonal disorders.  (Or how to avoid crying for 30 minutes straight about the lost dog on tv.)

I’m talking about something much more important to your business, your brand, and your promotions – COLOR!

Rainbow Dog

I'll never lose you in THIS!

Specifically, the Pantone Matching System (PMS) – a system for correctly matching ink and material colors across a wide variety of applications. Because when you can print anything from a t-shirt, to a business card, to a stress ball, to a pen, to a… holy cow that’s a lot of different ways to print! What if you end up with McDonald’s yellow instead of Burger King gold!?

The answer, my friends, is PMS. (See.. it IS good for something…)

PMS  Color Swatch Book

A PMS Swatch Book

The evolution of the PMS color system is a pretty cool story.  Basically, a guy named Lawrence Herbert, who worked part-time for Pantone Printing and had a chemistry degree from Hofstra, decided to take on the enormous task of organizing the stock of inks and pigments Pantone kept on hand.  Considering the fact that I avoid organizing our small collection of catalogs like they are covered in Anthrax, Larry seems like a pretty ambitious guy.

Mr. Herbert’s system organized colors by shade and assigned each a number. A few decades later, all that ambition led to a $100 Million Dollar company based almost entirely on producing the tools necessary to make sure the Colts stadium cups don’t show up on game-day printed in Patriots blue.

This week, your new word is PMS.  (Okay maybe several words and not really that new for some of you, but “new spin on an old acronym” is a mouthful…)

Have you ever received a product that just wasn’t “kelly green” enough?  Or looked at your logo on your computer and seen Blue instead of the Purple on your business card? Knowing your PMS colors takes the guessing game out of color by ensuring that the printed ink matches your branding. In turn, this protects your brand, and could save you time, money, and a lot of frustration when you order printed products.

For example, one time we ordered some custom putty for a client of ours.  We requested PMS 144 Orange, but when the packages arrived the product looked neon red! Luckily it was just a chemical mistake by the supplier who immediately fixed the problem, replaced the product with the correct color within 24 hours, and apologized profusely – but had we not known what PMS 144 was supposed to look like, this could have been a much costlier mistake!

putty

144 Orange... and... whaaa!?

Do you know your PMS colors? Do you reference them when you place orders with your printing and promotional products company?  Do you have any horror stories of something showing up in the wrong color?

Feel free to share your stories/colors in the comments section!

Later Gators!

P.S. Want to know your PMS colors, but not sure where to start?  See if your company has a Corporate Identity Guide, ask your graphic designer, or heck…. ask us!

P.P.S. Print Resources PMS colors are 143 Orange, 653 Blue, and 2602 for Promo Purple.

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Supplier Hero!

April 19, 2010

It’s a bird!  It’s a plane!  It’s…. Adam from EMT!

Super Adam

Super Adam!

I would like to give a huge, huge thank you to Adam from EMT for pulling out all the stops and coming through for us on a last minute project. We were a little late, and a little picky, when it came to a pin order for one of our best clients, and Adam fought hard to make sure we had exactly what we wanted and had it here just in time to make an important deadline.

And then, wouldn’t you know it, he got that order to us a day early!

A great big THANK YOU to Adam at  EMT for excellent customer service and for being our Supplier Hero!

Check out some of the excellent products that EMT (an Indianapolis based company) offers; including lapel pins, paper air fresheners, patches, dog tags, and more!

Here are a few photos of the project that Adam helped us to complete:

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ExactTarget (a Super Client!) hands out these “CMO Power Packs” to Chief Marketing Officers at tradeshow and convention meetings/educational sessions.  The packs are targeted to the “busy marketer” and include a travel iPhone charger, travel power strip, and a pack of “Subscribers Rule!” pins so CMOs can share the SR! philosophy with their own companies.  Learn more about ExactTarget here!

The Trinket & Treasure Chest

April 13, 2010

Some people like to refer to our industry as “trinkets and trash”.  And I can’t say I blame them.  I mean, really… there is a lot of junk out there.  I know.  I’ve seen it.

But there are also many products that we actually find useful, or just love for their creative design, or that really support our campaign message. And I’ll wager a bet that these products have prompted us to do exactly what they intend – purchase a product or service. (trash *treasure!*)

Since we are immersed in the industry here at Print Resources, we get the pleasure of finding, testing, and loving the little “treasures” that come our way.  Sometimes it’s something new and different.  Sometimes it’s something old and boring but we really do use it!  And here’s a shocker – promotional product companies actually send out samples of their product so you can see what their all about, test it out, and then blog about it to the world.  Hmmmmm….. 😉

Anyway, I thought I might share with you some of our personal favorites in a segment I’m calling “The Trinket & Treasure Chest”.

Episode 1:

Erin’s Refillable Glasses Cleaning Kit

Erin uses this glasses cleaning kit almost every day.  Well.. every day she wears her glasses… (Which is almost every day…)  She likes to walk around the office with it on her belt loop just in case a rogue piece of dust or finger print tries to mess up her day.  It would also be a great item to keep in your car, as the hook on the back would easily slide onto a seat or door pocket. A win-win for convenience and fashion.

Erin & Glasses Kit

yeah buddy.

Robin’s Flexible Calculator

Robin sits about 6 feet away from Erin, and used to spend much of her day “calculating” on a noisy calculator which grated on Erin’s every last nerve.  Then Robin got this awesome, flexible, quiet calculator at a trade-show last year, and now Erin and Robin are BFF! Plus, it fits conveniently in any bag, and it won’t shatter into a million pieces when you drop it. Perfect for those of us who are both numerically challenged and clumsy.

Robin is Calculating

2+2 = ???

So there you have it folks.  Two products that we use often and that we really like.  Feel free to discuss the merits of these two products, or send me a picture of you with your favorite product.  Maybe a team sweatshirt?  Maybe a pen? Maybe a travel beard/mustache/nose trimmer? Whatever!

We’ll keep testing out stuff here at Print Resources and let you know what we find.

Catch ya on the flipside.

Junk Drawer Search & Find

March 22, 2010

I was searching through my parent’s junk drawer this weekend, attempting to find a hair band (success!) when it occurred to me that my parents have a LOT of promotional products in this drawer. I thought it might be fun to start a little game I’ll call: Junk Drawer Search & Find.

I imagine that many people have a junk drawer full of promotional products.  Pens, pencils, chip clips – all sorts of stuff.  I know some people refer to our industry as “Trinkets & Trash”, and of course, we call it a “junk” drawer – but the fact of the matter is: we keep it! (My parents fully admitted that they have not actually purchased a pen in years.)

See how many promotional products you can find in my parents’ junk drawer. (Sorry about the quality of the photo.  I took it on my mom’s iPhone in the heat of the moment.) Then read the rest of the entry for the answers! (Link below image.)

Read the rest of this entry »

The 13th Nugget

March 11, 2010

Okay, I’ll admit it.  I have a bit of a love affair with New Orleans.

I have good reasons.  For one, my boyfriend grew up there, so I am literally in a relationship with a real New Orleanian. I also went to school down there for a while, which gave me ample opportunity to eat delicious Cajun/creole/southern/fried/soul food.  Just typing that sentence made me want to jump on a plane and get a Roast Beef Po’ Boy for dinner.

Heaven on a Plate

Dripping with extra tasty goodness.

Like any great relationship, my affair isn’t one-dimensional.  I could go on and on about the things I love about the crescent city.  (And if you’d like me to tell you, I’m sure my coworkers would appreciate the break.) But this is a blog about promotional products, so today I’d like to discuss one of my favorite promotionally related words/traditions from The Big Easy. (Promotionally = not a real word.)

Your new word for the day is: lagniappe. (Pronounced ‘lan-yap’)

When I moved to Louisiana in the fall of 2006, I had never heard of this word.  One day my boyfriend used it to describe an extra chicken nugget he’d received at the drive through.  He described it as “a little extra gift, like a thank you for your purchase.” I’m pretty sure they just counted wrong, but who doesn’t appreciate an extra chicken nugget?

I love this word; lagniappe.  One, it sounds nothing like how it is spelled. And that is because it is a Creole word – a melding of French and Spanish and any other language around back in the 1700s.  ( ♥history♥) Two, it is steeped in tradition.  I mean, it’s only been around for over 300 years, which is more than you can say for the word “texting”. (Okay also not a real word… Maybe in 300 years.)

Lagniappe is defined as “a small gift given with a purchase to a customer, by way of compliment or for good measure; bonus.” Examples?  How about that 13th donut the baker threw in, just as a thank you.  Or the time you purchased a souvenir on vacation, and the shop owner gave you a bookmark, just because.  Or that free dessert the waiter threw in for making him laugh?  All lagniappe.

So how does this relate to promotional products?  Because my guess is that much of the lagniappe you receive/give is a product right from our industry. There are thousands of inexpensive, but useful, items that would make great lagniappe, and (most importantly) keep you on the top of your client’s mind.  A pen is a great example.  Or a keychain.  Or how about these awesome cookies.

Logo Cookies

I just found these recently and am kind of obsessed.

So my question to you is, what is some of your favorite lagniappe?  Do you remember those businesses that threw in that ‘little something extra’?  Did it prompt you to choose one business over another with comparable services?  And what are some ideas that you could use in your business to give that extra, unexpected “thank you” to a customer? Share your comments and ideas in the comment section below!

(Because, as awesome as it would be, we just can’t ALL give away chicken nuggets.)

Here We Go(Go)

March 5, 2010

Three days ago I was riding… errr.. running… errr – whatever you call it when you are utilizing the elliptical machine at the gym (ellipting?) – and, along with all the other random nonsense that one thinks about while trying not to think about the minutes left until the agony is over, I thought about a cup.

Awesome Cup

This cup.

The cup is, specifically, a 16oz. Acrylic Double Wall Tumbler from one of my favorite drink-ware suppliers.  (Who also happens to supply free samples to their clients – a nice perk of working in the industry of free giveaways.)  Other than its neat design, durability and the fact that it is pink (the color of choice for sophisticated ladies… and 3-year-old girls), it does the same thing all cups do.  Hold drinks.

But for some reason, I just love this cup.  Maybe it’s the straw?  Maybe it’s the lid?  Maybe it’s the fact that it fits perfectly in the corner of my desk and I don’t have to worry about spilling water on my keyboard?  (May have happened before…more than once…) Whatever the reason, I love this cup!

My mental adoration of this cup spun quickly into a tornado of other thoughts.  Maybe other people would love this cup too?  If I love this cup, and remember instantly where it came from, maybe my clients would want to give it to their clients to remember them?  And come to think of it, there are a lot of creative things my clients have done with our products that would be fun to read about. What if I shared these stories with the world!?

Not that the idea of blogging about your business is new, but the thought that I might actually have something to talk about that would be worth reading was certainly a revelation.  And it all happened so fast that when I looked down to see that I still had about 25 minutes to spend ellipting I pretty much wanted to throw the cup across the gym.  Good thing it is “virtually” indestructible.

indestructable cup

Not a scratch.

In those five minutes I had made up my mind.  I’m starting a blog about the Print Resources Promotional Products department and all the cool stuff we try, see, and do.

So here it is. Promo A GoGo. A place to share new and unique product ideas, success stories, creative uses, and things we love.  But it’s not all about us.  Really, it’s about you. After all, our clients are the reason we have any stories to tell at all.  Come to think of it, I believe it was a client of mine who prompted me to order that awesome magical cup in the first place.

In which case, I’d like to raise my glass (or mystical acrylic cup) to you. And also to the elliptical machine, for burning calories without destroying my knees, and generating grand ideas.

Cheers!

-Robin

Shout Out: Thanks to my co-workers, Jessica, Erin, and George for allowing me to interrupt your busy work days to ask you for the 10th time what I should name this blog.  You guys rock.