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November 05 2013


Letterpress and edge painting by kikisoso

Nick Elliott of Cologne-based kikisoso sent me a stack of these.

kikisoso letterpress card

They were printed in-house using a Golding Jobber from the 1880s, onto Gmund cotton 600gsm.

kikisoso letterpress card

Nick bought the press on eBay then had it shipped from Nottingham to Cologne.

Price on eBay = £840 GBP
Manpower UK = £150 GBP (to carry the 750KG press out of a basement)
Shipping from UK = £280 GBP
Moving the press three metres into Nick’s office = €480 EUR (£410 GBP)

Total cost = £1680 GBP

kikisoso letterpress card

The 600gsm gives a nice depth for the edge paint — colour-matched to the orange on my website (link hovers, favicon). The thick stock makes the reverse indent barely noticeable, too, something I found more obvious with a 300gsm card thickness.

kikisoso letterpress card

Thanks very much, Nick. Superb.

kikisoso — recommended for letterpress stationery, Christmas cards, wedding invites…

July 15 2013


Banknotes for the visually impaired

Over the weekend I was reading a review copy of Eric Karjaluoto’s new book, The Design Method. There’s a page where he mentions how Canadian banknotes are printed with a tactile feature in the corner so the visually impaired can easily tell what denomination they’re holding.

Canadian banknote
Image credit: Bank of Canada

Designing currency is a project I’d love to do one day, so I was curious about what other countries do to help those with a visual impairment. Brazil, Thailand, Malawi, and Bahrain use embossing. China’s banknotes are said to include Chinese Braille. Hong Kong followed China’s lead. And all Chilean banknotes have tactile features in one corner.

The Bank of England has this to say about Braille on notes.

“…on the advice of The Royal Institute for the Blind the bank has not included this because very few blind people now read Braille; it is also regarded as a feature that may well wear out over the life of a banknote and therefore only serve to mislead if a tactile feature of this type became incomplete.”

But it does incorporate a few things to help the visually impaired (different-sized notes, with each using different coloured shapes — similar in many ways to the design of euro banknotes).

What about the decline in numbers of those reading Braille?

The New York Times quotes from a 2008 report by the National Federation of the Blind:

“Whereas roughly half of all blind children learned Braille in the 1950s, today that number is as low as 1 in 10.”

Smartphones are cited as just one reason, and where money is concerned there are two free apps — EyeNote (iPhone/iPad) and IDEAL Currency Identifier (Android) — that tell you the denomination when you wave a note in front of the camera (US dollar). The Bank of Japan and the Japanese Finance Ministry are planning to launch a free app that’ll recognise the yen. For $9.99 you can buy the LookTel Money Reader app. It recognises 21 currencies.

Then there’s the Click Pocket Money Brailler that lets you stamp your notes with the relevant Braille number.

Click Pocket Money Brailler

But obviously you’d first need to know what note you’re holding. There are the apps above, and Ottawa-based Brytech manufactures note readers for US and Canadian currencies. For those in the UK, the Royal National Institute of Blind People has advice and sells various products for identifying different banknotes.

In a 2009 ruling that ordered the US Treasury to come up with ways to help the blind recognise different denominations, US district judge James Robertson said that of 180 countries issuing paper currency, only the United States prints bills that are identical in size and colour in all their denominations.

US dollar bill denominations

That prompted design studio Dowling Duncan (now merged with Mucho) to create its own design that would clearly be more helpful to the visually impaired.

US dollar Dowling Duncan
Dowling Duncan’s dollar bill idea

Many people in the US currently use a variety of folds to determine what’s in their wallets, with these ones recommended by the American Foundation for The Blind.

  • Leave $1 bills unfolded
  • Fold $5 bills lengthwise
  • Fold $10 bills by width
  • Fold $20 bills lengthwise and then by width

Two somewhat-related stories I found while reading: If you live in the United States or Canada, chances are you have cocaine in your wallet. The average banknote tested by Oxford University contains 26,000 bacteria. It’s no coincidence that the study was commissioned by MasterCard. Still, interesting.

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August 23 2012


How to Prepare a Business Card for Print in Illustrator

Advertise here via BSA

Believe it or not, print isn’t dead! Although much of today’s advertising is going to more electronic means, there are still a vast amount of printing being done every single day. Many freelance graphic designers are still working on print projects for clients, communicating with printers, and sending their designs to print.

It is often much easier to publish something electronically than for print. With sending something to print, you have many things you must do in order to prepare your file for printing, depending on the printer you are working with.

In this article, I am going to walk you through the several steps you can do to prepare a business card for print. Although I focus on a business card here, these same tips can be applied to other printed pieces as well, such as post cards, letterhead, invitations, and the like.

First, make a copy of the document

First and foremost, after your document is finalized and before you start prepping it for print, it is vital that you save a copy of the document and work on the copy. I recommend labeling the document with “print ready” or “for print” in the title, so that you know that the print ready file is not the original, editable file.

Some of the things I discuss below are irreversible (without a ton of work) once you do them, which is why it is best to keep the original file so that in the future if you need to make changes, it is easy to do so.

Get printing specs from printer (if possible)

Since every printer is going to want files differently, it is important to contact the printer you plan to send your file(s) to and ask them if they have any specific requirements. They may often tell you that they need the font files or outline the text, account for a specific amount of bleed, save in a certain format, etc. Make note of these requirements and adjust the below mentioned steps as needed. If you don’t know who the printer is going to be, then the steps below should get your file(s) closer to print ready with only minimal changes required once a printer has been selected.

Outline Fonts

The very first thing I do is outline the type in my document. I do this for a couple of reasons: I don’t want to spend time finding the font file and sending with my document and most font licenses don’t allow you to give the files to other people. Some printers I have worked with try to get the font, but I simply just outline the text and explain that the fonts have been outlined.

Screen Shot 2012-08-22 at 12.38.46 PM

In Illustrator, this is done by selecting all of the text (that is editable), then go to Type > Create Outlines (Shift-Command-O on Mac or Shift-Ctrl-O on Windows). The type now becomes vector shapes. Once you do this and exit out of the document, you can no longer edit the text unless you simply redo it.

Screen Shot 2012-08-22 at 12.45.19 PM

Check and adjust your bleeds

A bleed (in graphic design and printing) is any area on a printed document where the ink must run off the edge of the paper. Thus, in your document, you should actually run any colors off of the edge and then some to accomodate for the printer cutting your piece to the appropriate size. As you can see in my business card above, I indeed have a bleed on all four sides of my business card (please note that my business card size above is 3.5 inches by 1.5 inches).

Sending my card to print right now, with the bleed only going to the edge of the 3.5 by 1.5 size, I could get my cards back having some white borders on some of the edges of the card. Why? Because it actually is not a true bleed. Printers reserve a fraction of an itch of wiggle room for their cutting machines. In essence, you need to prep your file to cover their non-exact cutting. You will need to push your bleed further than the actual size of your document.

If your document has a bleed, there are a couple of ways to indicate this in your file and accomodate it, and the way printers want you to do it often varies from printer to printer. Since mostly every printer is different, and every program they use is equally different, below is the way to prep your business card for any program and for most printers.

In Illustrator, draw a rectangle around your business card to the exact size and in the exact place you want the printer to cut your card (in the image below the rectangle has a red stroke so that you can see the shape I drew–you should make yours have no fill and no stroke color).

Screen Shot 2012-08-22 at 12.57.58 PM

Next, while the shape is still selected, go to Effect > Crop Marks. You should now have printer marks around your business card that indicate exactly where you want the printer to cut your cards. Your business card with the crop marks should look similar to mine below.

Screen Shot 2012-08-22 at 1.00.45 PM

With crop marks in place, we still need to make our document program-independent, meaning if our file is opened in a program other than Illustrator, or in an older version of Illustrator, the printer should still see your file. Since older versions of Illustrator and other vector-based programs do not render art boards properly, it can cause your artwork to potentially be cut off or not seen by the printer, so we need to change the size of our art board if we have it set to be the size of our business card.

Select the Artboard tool from the tool panel (one of the last four in the tools panel). Illustrator will then show you your art boards by graying everything out around the art boards. Now grab the art board and push the edges so that they are past your crop marks (see before and after shots below).

Screen Shot 2012-08-22 at 1.06.55 PM

Screen Shot 2012-08-22 at 1.07.41 PM

We aren’t done yet! We still need to set the bleeds. Since I am a very visual person, I like to see where my safe zone, cut area, and bleed areas are. For the sake of this tutorial, let’s say the safe area is 1/8th inch from the cut area (that means all important things that should not be cut off should be 1/8th inch from the edge) and the bleed is 1/8th inch on the outside of the cut area.

To mark off these areas, I like to use guides. I went ahead and set the safe area, cut area, and bleed area in my business card using guides, which you can see below.

Screen Shot 2012-08-22 at 1.30.22 PM

Finally, we push all of our bleeds out to our bleed guide we created, as seen below.

Screen Shot 2012-08-22 at 1.32.25 PM

Check for colors

The business card example I have been using above uses one color: blue. But what if you have several colors in your business card? If you have multiple colors in your business card, then you have two options for printing: digital printing or offset printing.

Digital Printing

Prepping your files for digital printing when it comes to your colors is easier than for offset printing. A word of caution however, just because it is easier to prep doesn’t mean that you are free from color shifts or undesirable colors. While the different types of settings on your program, what the printer requires, and how sensitive you are to accurate colors for a digital print could be an article in and of itself, keep in mind that you could have some color shifts and taking extra care in making sure the colors are what you want is important at this step.

With that caution behind us, for digital printing processes, your printer will either want the document and colors to be CMYK or RGB. For this tutorial let’s say the printer wants your document and colors to be in CMYK. First place to check this out is the document itself. Go to File > Document Color Mode. Make sure CMYK is selected if it is not already.

Next, select everything in your document and go to Edit > Edit Colors > Convert to CMYK. Now all of your objects should be using CMYK colors. You can check this by selecting anything in your document and going to the colors panel. If the color is made up of CMYK, then it is correct, however if the color is made up of RBG, then you need to repeat the steps above. Just remember this could cause color shifts (not always evident on screen).

Offset Printing

If your business card is being printed using offset printing, you can check to make sure everything is properly indicated for the right color. For simplicity, I am going to use the back of my business card above and use PMS (Pantone Matching System) colors. In my card below I have three PMS colors: PMS Black at 90% (Gray), PMS 298 (Blue), and PMS 381 (Green).

Screen Shot 2012-08-22 at 2.02.27 PM

To check to see if your objects are in PMS colors, click each one and look in the color panel. If it gives the correct name of the PMS color there, then you have designated that object as a PMS color. If you see numbers for either CMYK or RBG colors, then you must designate that object as a PMS color.

To pick a PMS color, go to Window > Swatch Libraries > Color Books > Pantone Solid Uncoated (or the option of your choice). A new window will appear with all of the PMS swatches. Select the object then select the appropriate swatch.

Now in the color panel you should see the name of the PMS color you selected. Repeat for all the other objects in your document. I went through and did all of the objects in the appropriate PMS color for my business card seen below (note color shifts from the one above – read my note above about color shifts).

Screen Shot 2012-08-22 at 2.27.15 PM

The best way to check now to make sure the printer will see the right colors is to print color separations digitally. You can do this on your computer and it requires no actual physical printing. Unfortunately, Illustrator doesn’t make this process easy so please bare with me.

Go to File > Print. In the print dialogue box, select “Adobe PostScript” in the printer drop down and select your local desktop printer in the PPD drop down. Next, select “Output” in the option box on the left hand side. Your print dialogue box should look like this one.

Screen Shot 2012-08-22 at 2.37.02 PM

Next, select “Separations (Host-Based)” where it says “Composite.” Click the printer icons to the left of every color that is not one of the PMS colors you want to print (so that the printer icon is no longer in that box). Finally, click “Save” at the bottom and in the dialogue box save it to your desktop for now.

Find the file on your desktop and open it in Adobe Acrobat. This will convert the .PS file into a .PDF file so you can view it. Each page of the resulting PDF will show in black what each color will print. You can see where the page count is in Adobe Acrobat the name of the PMS color for that page. Flip through and make sure everything appears right. If something is wrong, you can go back and check to make sure every object is designated the correct PMS color. Below is a screenshot of the PMS Black at 90% separation for the back of my business card.

Screen Shot 2012-08-22 at 2.47.19 PM

Die-cuts, Foils and Spot UV

If you have special effects going on with your business card, they require attention as well. Three common effects used in printing today include die-cuts, foils, and spot UV (or spot gloss). Foils and spot UV can be prepped the same way for printing, however die-cuts are prepped for differently. Depending on your printer’s requirements, they may either want these special effects in a different document or in a different layer in Illustrator. We are going to do them in a different layer.


In short, die-cuts are special made dies (or cutters) that are designed to create a special shape (think cookie cutters). They are often used to cut circle business cards, business cards with rounded corners, or a custom shape. I am going to show you how to prep a card for rounded corners die-cutting, but the same applies to any shape.

Taking the back of my business card above, I would like to add rounded corners to it. The best way to do this is to do it on a separate layer. Create a new layer and name it “Die-Cut.” Next, using the Rounded Rectangle tool, I create the shape that I want my final business card to be. You can see the shape (with no fill or stroke color) in the image below (I have some bleed on my card that is why the shape is not all the way out to the edge of the gray). Finally, all you have to do is inform your printer the name of the die-cut layer!

Screen Shot 2012-08-22 at 3.02.04 PM

Foils and Spot UV

These can be done in a similar fashion as die-cuts, only making the shape a solid black color. Let’s walk through the process together for the spot UV on my business cards (keep in mind it is exactly the same as foil too). As you can see below, I want part of my logo in spot UV over the front of my business card, show in black below. All I have to do is make sure it is where I want it to be, then move it to a new layer (create a new layer, name new layer “spot UV,” select new layer, right-click object then select Arrange > Send to Current Layer).

Screen Shot 2012-08-22 at 3.16.23 PM

A little messy looking, I know, but this along with telling the printer you want spot UV (or foil) should be all the indication they need to properly print your cards.

File Delivery

Again, every printer is different, however once you do all the prep work above, the only file you should have to send to the printer is a PDF file of each side of your document (or however they want you to send it to them). If your printer can take .EPS or .AI files, then you can send them your print-ready files in that format as well, but also send them a PDF so that they can work from either type and see how you want your final product to be.

I always like to be on the super safe and clear side, so I often send along a JPG or PNG version of the card as well, one for each side and one for the color part and one for any special effects, just so it is crystal clear to the printer. Doing a little bit of leg work on your end can help get your card printed faster and accurate. It also never hurts to ask for a proof as well, and approve the proof, so that if something does come back incorrect, the printer will be responsible for it if you approved the proof.

A note about detailed business card designs

The one I used in this tutorial was a simple design with only a few colors, however if you have an extremely detailed business card, you may run into situations that require more prepress work, such as intricate lines with strokes, overlapping objects, trapping and knockouts, photographs, several special effects, etc. It is almost impossible to cover each one in this article but a quick Google search and/or a chat with your printer should help you in your prepress work.


Taking the extra steps to ensure your business card (or any printed document) is prepped for the printer will not only save you some headache with your printer, but also save you money, as some printers charge you prepress fees for this type of work. Why get charged a fee when it is easy to prep your own document? Just keep in mind that a lot of headache can be saved by talking to your printer to find out their requirements first.

February 03 2012


Print vendors: where to find them

Woodtype specimen CMYK

Jessica Hische made her Inker Linker searchable by location (worldwide, but with US focus).

Lovely as a Tree contains a UK database of commercial printers.

Rob Giampietro published a list of mainly US print vendors (some within Europe).

Tina Roth Eisenberg shared US-based letterpress studios (with many more in the comments).

Designers & Printers is a free directory where print companies list their services.

Here’s a Google Map from the archives showing your recommended UK commercial printers.

Maybe this’ll help a little with your client dealings.

Woodtype specimen photo by Grant Hutchinson.

Published on David Airey, graphic designer

Logo Design Love, the book

Related posts on David Airey dot com

January 17 2012


Paper from GF Smith

The postman delivered a nice surprise this morning.

GF Smith paper samples

GF Smith paper samples

GF Smith paper samples

GF Smith paper samples

“The design of our latest selector reflects the different ways in which people select our papers. In some instances, colour is the primary concern, before material type, texture or weight. However, these priorities are often reversed, making style the key point of reference. So now we give you three modes of paper selection: Select Colour, Select Black+White or Select Range.”

GF Smith paper samples

GF Smith paper samples

GF Smith paper samples

Beautifully designed by London-based SEA, request yours from paper-specialist GF Smith.

Published on David Airey, graphic designer

Logo Design Love, the book

Related posts on David Airey dot com

December 31 2011


From the reader #6

Specsavers lettering

How lettering is made for public display (sign-making). On Eye blog, via Khoi Vinh.

Top 15 Music Videos Of 2011, on ISO50.

The Icon Handbook is now available to buy, on The Hickensian. Andy Clarke shared his thoughts.

Puyehue volcano

The Year in Volcanic Activity, on The Atlantic, via Kottke.

Mikey Burton card stamp

Get your own custom stamp from the Cranky Pressman, on Mikey Burton, via swissmiss.

Coverjunkie’s best magazine covers of 2011, on CR Blog.

Book sculpture

What do you do with books that gather dust? Create book sculptures, via inspire me now.

Stephen Coles shared his favourite font sources.

ink&paper is a lovely short film about the last letterpress and paper shops in Los Angeles, via AisleOne.

Have a brilliant new year, everyone!

Previously: From the reader #5

Published on David Airey, graphic designer

Logo Design Love, the book

Related posts on David Airey dot com

May 17 2011


Advantages and Disadvantages of Self-Publishing

With the use of the Internet, self-publishing has become easier. This article is for writers, illustrators, and almost anyone who dreams of publishing their work.

This is a product of my research and understanding of things about self-publishing. I do not have any published material out there that you can buy, at least not yet. So you see, this topic is really of great interest to me, and I hope you share the same sentiments. If the thought of self-publishing is new to you, I am hoping that by the end of this article you will want to explore this topic more. Throughout the article, you will read “books and magazines,” but don’t let that put you off if you’re a musician or an illustrator since the same points apply to every creative.

Advantages of Self-publishing

by: Zsuzsanna Kilian


Compared to traditional publishing, self-publishing is faster in many ways, at least until you finally release it. This is for people who want to get their works out there immediately, as soon as a couple of weeks. Weeks? To compare, traditional publishing takes time, several months to a couple of years because you’re not the only one whose work is being taken care of. Remember this, you are not their priority even if you think you are. Self-publishing gives you the power to do things according to your plan, and that includes when to release your book or magazine.

Most undergrads have experienced several revisions on their thesis and they can do nothing to get it accepted unless a revision is actually made, right? To add, most will even be asked for multiple revisions by their professors. Everyone hates that, very time-consuming! Imagine you are your own editor, your own everything, you like your work, what are you waiting for?

Speaking of time, if your book or magazine is related to a current news trend, self-publishing works best since you can publish it while the trend is still popular.


Electronic Self-publishing

Self-publishing is cheaper, if you will publish your work electronically it won’t cost more than a hundred dollars. For writers you can publish on Kindle you’ll only have to pay for the ISBN (see below). Payout is faster too, that is, if it gets a good audience.

Print Self-publishing

For people who have the capital to use for printing, it will probably cost a few thousand dollars to print several hundred copies of your book or magazine. The cool thing about this is when things go as planned, any revenue is all yours. There are also companies such as MagCloud that only print and deliver when a customer buys. See Print on Demand below.


Publishing your work independently is, to a degree, rewarding. The freedom pays off when people start noticing your work. Consider Romantically Apocalyptic and The Oatmeal and other web comics. They have published their works both electronically and traditionally and have received a very good audience. Something like Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol on Kindle, although still debatable, sells better than on hard bound.

Over the few years, Kindle e-books have turned several indie writers into millionaires.

Perhaps the most important point to mention here is that when things go south you can still force yourself to strive harder to achieve the market you want to reach. As opposed to having a publishing house backing you up, when things go awry, they might just pull it off to give way to other more promising products. You are better committed to making it a success than anyone else in the world, and that’s important.

Disadvantages of Self-publishing

by: Pieter Beens


A question every self-publisher asks themselves is “will my work reach my intended audience?” Looking at publishing houses, they have all the necessary resources to market material. Chances are high, if your work is accepted, it will reach a fairly broad audience. On the other hand, self-published materials bear in them the risk of not even being noticed. You are alone in this one.

The idea of self-publishing is very sweet because you get to hold all the rights, but with great power comes great responsibility. For consolation, books and magazines published electronically are less complicated. For prints, you get to handle all printing fees, as opposed to having a publishing house to back you up.

Post-publication is the killer, your success depends on how much time and effort you actually put into initial marketing. Finding reviewers is also a part of this, to add credibility (see Consumer Trust below).

Keep in mind that self-publishing in print requires an ongoing marketing, payment processing, and shipping. You need to be superman to do all these tasks, it really is a challenge, which, if it pays off, pays very great.

Consumer Trust

Perhaps consumer trust is what separates your dreams and success by a broad margin. Self-publishers can’t expect to be popular in an instant, especially when no big and renowned publishing house is helping. The world has always worked this way since the beginning of time. People tend to flock in on the brand name.

Many reviewers still do not review self-published materials simply because there is not yet much respect for it compared to traditional publishing. This also applies to bookstores and libraries, many will not accept self-published books or magazines. This is a great problem because where else can you sell your books or magazines if no one wants to have them?


It’s hard to be critically objective, especially when you are too close to your work. There’s a great deal involved when it comes to the quality of material that is self-published. Authors tend to protect their work no matter what it takes, while an editor from a traditional publishing house will do everything they can to get it to meet their standards. Personally, I don’t want my work to be edited too much. A word or two is okay, but removing a whole line or changing a whole concept is a big no-no.

As Oscar Wilde said, “I’ll leave you to tidy up the woulds and shoulds, wills and shalls, thats and whiches.”

Why Self-Publish?

by: Zsuzsanna Kilian

If you are the kind of person who hates doing revisions, removing parts of your work, and changing whole concepts, then by all means self-publish. You will also have full control over promotion, which is the most important thing after the material itself.

Let’s admit that publishing houses sometimes let go of really good material, thinking that they won’t reach the intended audience and won’t be a hit. Many manuscripts have been rejected because of this, some never saw the light of day because of the rejection while some did through another house (take Harry Potter for example). Few times, people who have the money will self-publish their books or magazines in print.

Admittedly, some time soon I will self-publish some of my works that have been covered with dust all these years. I have read lots of tips on how the whole process works, from writing the first draft to marketing the product continuously. Feel free to add your experience and tips in the comments.

Self-Publishing Tips:


Well, this doesn’t really need to be here since I’m not a great writer, but for people whose native language is not English like me, I suggest you grab a copy of The Elements of Style.


Many writers are self-taught and don’t have a degree in literature or writing, I’m one of them. Even for formally trained writers there are still errors in punctuation and grammar, something that you may not notice if you’re working by yourself. It is not a good thing to edit your work, especially when self-publishing, since quality is already an issue.

Surely, you know someone who you can commission to edit your work for a low price, like a friend who loves reading, a language teacher (your language teacher!), or even a student majoring in the language you are writing.

Don’t spend too much money looking for a professional book editor because self-publishing is a great risk, you may or may not get your money back. If you do spend money on hiring an editor, be frugal about it. I know many English majors and English teachers that can help me and point out my mistakes, and that in itself is a leverage. I will never spend hundreds of dollars to have someone point out my mistakes, most writers hate that (however needed).

Cover and Title

No matter how many times your elementary teacher told you not to judge a book by its cover, do not listen. The design of your cover is very important, including the title. We humans rely heavily on our vision to judge if things are good or not, safe or dangerous, and so on. Don’t take your chances, ask a friend who is a good designer to create one for you, or you can do it yourself.


If you choose to print, you should know what Print on Demand (PoD) is. Basically, it works like this: customer orders book/magazine —> PoD company prints and delivers for a fee. Usually, fees are very low, making it a win-win between the company and the author. This is the most preferable way when you don’t have the budget to print hundreds of books/magazines at one time, it also frees you from looking for bookstores/sellers that would buy in bulk. Some PoD companies also offer editing and formatting services, again, for a very low cost.



Most online marketplaces require an ISBN (International Standard Book Number), if you don’t have it, your book is not qualified for selling. Simply put, ISBN is one way of telling the world who the publisher is, and isn’t it great for self-publishers to have their name written as the publisher instead of some company? Well, that’s a lame explanation, ISBN identifies your books through a 13 digit number which is saved in a database, also used by libraries and book organizations for easy identification.

For more information about ISBN, please visit their website.

Marketplaces and Print on Demand

  • Blurb
  • iTunes
  • Lulu –  Lulu sells ISBNs.
  • Kindle Store –  Amazon’s Kindle have already made a couple of independent writers into millionaires. Yes, not kidding. A perfect example of this is Amanda Hocking who has already written 17 novels, sold over 185,000 copies since April 2010 (according to Huffington Post).

She also sells her books on:


This probably amounts to more than half of the success of your book or magazine, even if your work is good, without proper publicity it won’t go anywhere. Marketing your work is time-consuming and mentally taxing, it is a good thing that the Internet spreads word like wildfire, really helpful for self-publishers of both print and electronic.

The most important, and free, thing you can do is get your presence known through social media. Facebook and Twitter are the leading avenues for marketers! Here’s 1stwebdesigner’s guide for Twitter marketing.

It also raises credibility if you allow at least a chapter or two to be read freely, or a preview of what your magazine contains.

Publicizing print is harder, though, since most bookstores won’t place self-published materials on their shelves. There is a way around this, and it involves courage! If there is a nearby bookstore, you can contact them and ask if they can do business with you (tell them you’re a local, keeps the conversation warm). You have higher chances on small bookstores, but don’t get that through your confidence.

Sending copies to established journalists or authors can also help you gain great publicity. As mentioned previously, many websites and companies won’t review self-published materials, however you can reach out to individuals who may be willing to do a review if your material is strong.

Another important tip for publicity is joining a writer’s group. Not only will writers help you writing your story, chances are there are already published authors within the group that can help you get shelved.

Wrap Up

It is true that self-published materials sometimes have issues with quality (or at the very least they’re perceived to). Self publishing is becoming common and is evolving rapidly. There maybe still some that aren’t the greatest quality, but things are changing fast and self-published materials are getting better and better. The thing is, you need to have confidence in your own work before you ever consider self-publishing it. If you’re not that confident, find an editor of a publishing house and ask for his/her opinion if it’s good or not. It really boils down to confidence.

So, are you planning on self-publishing your work or are you already on the market? Share your works here and add your tips!

August 26 2010


Dayfold’s Little Black Book

Dayfold Print Little Black Book

Dayfold‘s Little Black Book is a useful print guide for designers and print buyers.

Dayfold Print Little Black Book

Dayfold Print Little Black Book

Dayfold Print Little Black Book

Dayfold Print Little Black Book

Excellent promotional tool. Handy, too.

In case you missed it from the inside-cover (above), Dayfold recommends the following:

  • For uncoated stocks, a maximum of 50% C, M & Y with 100% K
  • For coated stocks, a maximum of 60% C, M & Y with 100% K

Visit the Dayfold Print website and blog.

More UK print company recommendations here.

Published on David Airey, graphic designer

Logo Design Love, the book

Related posts on David Airey dot com

January 31 2010


500 Free Die Cut Business Card Giveaway from UPrinting

It’s giveaway time on TDC and this time the fine folks at UPrinting have offered to give 500 free die cut business cards each to three readers of The Design Cubicle. Now’s your chance to “dress to impress” for free!

Continue reading below on how to enter.



For those unfamiliar with UPrinting, they are an online printing company offering quality printing in the areas of business cards, brochures, flyers, stationery, stickers, posters, and more. For great prices you get fast turnaround times and excellent customer support (used them twice in the past). You can even download templates available in all the major design programs that guide you along the setup process for printing specific products.

Giveaway rules and details


UPrinting is offering three readers a set of 500 die cut business cards each, with free shipping within the U.S. (outside of U.S. can enter, but will pay shipping costs out of pocket).


1. Leave a comment below stating what you enjoy most on The Design Cubicle (1 winner)

2. Leave a comment below stating what you would like to see more of or differently on The Design Cubicle (1 winner)

3. Tweet this giveaway with the hashtag #designcubicle and link back to this article (1 winner)

Feel free to enter in all three ways if you like to increase your chances. Best of luck!

Winners will be selected on Thursday, February 4th via email or a DM on Twitter if you are tweeting to enter (make sure you are following me to be notified on Twitter).

January 11 2010


Seeing Double: Two Color Inspiration

Whether you’re a freelancer or an agency pro have heard at one point: “We are trying to cut printing costs so, this job that was originally 4 color process is now only two color”. Your heart sinks… Now, I have to come up with a convoluted piece that only uses two colors.  You can do it and in my experience some of the best executed ads/designs/brandings have been two color. Why? Simplicity! Here are some selected beautiful examples of Two Color Printing jobs.

Dockers k-1 Khakis

Screen shot 2010-01-10 at 11.44.33 PM

Tea Hugger

Screen shot 2010-01-11 at 12.08.47 AM


Screen shot 2010-01-11 at 12.16.00 AM

Pacific Luxury Business Cards

Screen shot 2010-01-11 at 1.36.26 AM

Effektive Poster Mailer

Screen shot 2010-01-11 at 12.41.39 AM

Bella Sicilia

Screen shot 2010-01-11 at 12.47.16 AM

Scrabble Beermats

Screen shot 2010-01-11 at 12.49.35 AM

FAME Open House Party Materials

Screen shot 2010-01-11 at 12.53.47 AM

Inglis & Rock Branding

Screen shot 2010-01-11 at 12.58.00 AM

9 Myles Collateral Materials

Screen shot 2010-01-11 at 1.02.17 AM

Gander Mountain Tall Tales

Screen shot 2010-01-11 at 1.09.44 AM

Tazaa Soap

Screen shot 2010-01-11 at 1.17.16 AM

GF Smith Limited Edition Poster

Screen shot 2010-01-11 at 1.20.25 AM


What are your favorite two color designs? Do you think that two color designs are more difficult to design or they are easier to execute?

Sponsored by

Advertise on Fuel Your Creativity.
Fuel Your Creativity 2009 cc (creative commons license)

Seeing Double: Two Color Inspiration

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