Print Preview Using LPi Express

Posted on August 30, 2013 by - Catholic Tech Talk

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” — Benjamin Franklin

Franklin’s adage is just as true today in the cyberworld as it was in colonial times. Before you submit your publication to LPi to be printed, walk through the following steps to prevent any issues.

  • Always preview your PDF file by clicking the Preview your .pdf file link on the Ready to Submit screen. Clicking the Preview your .pdf file link gives you one last opportunity to review your publication.
  • When you click the Preview your .pdf file link, what you will see is what we will print. If everything looks good to you, close the preview window and click the Submit button.
  • If you spot something which you wish to change, close the preview window and click the Reset button to return to your publication.
  • Make whatever changes you wish to make and then print your publication to the LPi Express printer again. And don’t forget… preview your PDF file again before clicking the Submit button. This will eliminate the need to submit your publication a second time.

*If you do need to submit your publication a second time, please call us as soon as possible so that we can intercept the job which you submitted previously.

Logo Design Tips

Posted on July 31, 2013 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

Logos are not just for global brands like Apple and Starbucks. They are a powerful tool for any organization aiming to differentiate itself and establish a loyal following. A logo can give religious institutions a recognizable identity that represents the core values and mission of the congregation. What makes a good logo?

Simplicity

There are several reasons why a logo should be relatively simple. Imagine viewing it from afar, perhaps on a sign. It should be clear from a distance. Alternatively, it must be readable at a reduced size, for instance on an envelope or business card. Keep in mind that complex elements may become lost at a smaller size. Finally, simpler designs are more memorable and therefore easier for patrons to recall and identify the organization associated with the logo.

Appropriate Colors

Logo colors should be evaluated and selected carefully, as they lend meaning and symbolism to the organization they represent. Colors can influence emotions and convey various messages depending on the viewer’s culture. In general, bright colors are considered upbeat and friendly, while darker colors are seen as more serious and professional. The logo should also have enough color contrast to be effectively made black and white when necessary (for example, when faxed) without losing important design elements.

Timelessness

Trends come and go, but a great logo should withstand the test of time indefinitely. Avoid designs that might go out of style in order to avoid the need to rebrand the organization too soon.

Unique Design

Steer away from generic logos. Certain trends, although visually appealing, are often overused and end up becoming cliché. Crowdspring has several great examples of unoriginal logos in their post on “Overused, Overdone Logo Concepts.”

Consider what sets your organization apart from the rest. What is your mission? Are there any distinctive architectural elements, or nearby geographical landmarks such as lakes or bridges? Include those unique elements in the logo in order to make it your own.

Church Logo Examples

Below are several great examples of LPi customer logos.

Logos

Logo Usage Suggestions

The logo should be used on all printed communication materials including letterhead, bulletins, flyers, directories and newsletters.  It should also be included in outdoor signage.  Don’t forget to place it online as well; logos must be prominently visible on websites, social media pages and email signatures.

Keep the logo consistent by developing a style guide with directions for proper use to ensure it remains the correct colors and does not become distorted or altered in a way that makes it unrecognizable.

Next Steps

Ready to develop your own logo?  Don’t forget that graphic design services are free for LPi customers.  Feel free to contact one of our designers to get started today.

Are you Linked into “Linking”?

Posted on June 21, 2013 by - Catholic Tech Talk

If you use Publisher, Quark or InDesign to create your publication, one of the options you have when placing images is to link them to your publication file. But what does that mean and why would you choose to do that?

LinkGenerally speaking images files are large and take up lots of storage in your computer. When embedded in a Publisher, Quark or InDesign publication, the file you are working on becomes larger and takes more memory and hard drive space. In most circumstances this is an acceptable practice, and while it will make the program respond slower, the average computer used today is able to process data so quickly you will not likely notice. The same can be said for the space used by larger files in that most computers have very large hard drives and expansive amounts of RAM so that the effect of these larger files is rarely a issue to the average user.

This brings us back to the question of when is linking a good idea? Linking allows all high resolution image files to remain in one centralized location such as a server. This is commonly used at companies that work with high volumes of large image files such as newspapers or magazines. The files remain on the server and are not being copied to individual workstations across the company network slowing it down. When the document is finally ready for printing, proofing or final print, the software then finds the original high resolution image file and sends it to the printer.

The drawback to linking files to a page layout program is that, if the link is ever broken the high resolution file can no longer be used when you need to print it. When this occurs you will see a warning like the one in Microsoft Publisher. It states Publisher cannot find the following linked picture. It then lists the image that is missing. Publisher then offers up three options, find the linked picture and update it, print the low-resolution picture currently displayed in your publication, or print an empty space in place of the missing picture. In that instance you will always want to find the original file as printing the low resolution image or an empty space would only possibly be useful for proofreading.

As you can see, linking images is best avoided for the average user of page layout programs since it amounts to more confusion. Simply inserting the high resolution graphic is generally the best bet. The files you will find on LPi’s Art and Media Portal are all designed to keep the file sizes compact to allow for quicker downloading while at the same time making your bulletin or newsletter look great!

Color Makes You Key (CMYK)

Posted on April 1, 2013 by - Catholic Tech Talk

CMYKYou may see the letters CMYK mentioned with regard to printing. While it may seem to be an acronym for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, on closer inspection you’ll note it does not.

The obvious issue is the letter K which oddly enough stands for the “key” as in the key plate. Just as with a keystone, the key plate is a crucial part of color reproduction.

In the subtractive color model, cyan, magenta and yellow inks are used in varying amounts to create a variety of shades and hues that more or less represent all the colors of the rainbow. This is done by the inks subtracting reflected light off of our white paper.

In theory, if you combine equal amounts of those three colors what should appear is black. Smaller percentages of equal amounts would thus create shades of gray. In practice, however, the impurities of mass-manufactured printing inks will produce a dark color, but one that is rarely close to what we would call “black.”

This is where the Key plate comes into play. In printing, the key plate is used with black ink. Since this ink is a purer black than the three process inks can produce added together, images reproduced on press will have richer contrast and darker areas will look neutral.

Black ink can be manufactured less expensively than cyan, magenta, and yellow, so when color separations are made, the three colors are often replaced with certain amounts of black which is an added benefit.

Black ink is also used for type. This has the advantage of producing sharp type with only one impression on press. If we instead used the three color inks, minor changes in alignment would create a blurred effect that made the type unreadable.

So next time you see the letters CMYK, you’ll be a little wiser as to how key the letter K can be in making a good impression in your printed bulletin or newsletter!

Spring Cleaning Your Bulletin

Posted on March 11, 2013 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

Spring CleaningSpring is here and it’s time to spruce up your home, get rid of clutter, and get things organized. This year, take your spring cleaning beyond your home and yard and take a fresh look at your bulletin.

Consider these tips for breathing new life into your bulletin:

  • If it’s no longer working, throw it out: Whether it’s a burnt-out computer or a vacuum cleaner with no air flow, we all own things that are no longer useful. Look through your bulletin from the cover to the last page and see if there are items that are outdated, no longer relevant, or just plain don’t belong.
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  • Get rid of duplicates: When you’re reviewing your bulletin, you might find several items that do or say the same thing. Do you really need a staff directory on the cover and on the inside pages? Removing it from the cover can free up space for a fresh photo or cover. Always look for ways to diversify your information and get your readers attention.
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  • Put things back in order: Over time spaces in your home can get “out of balance.” So many chairs pile up in your kitchen that you can’t cook. Your new giant flat-screen TV covers up your family pictures. Simple organization can usually get things back in order. Do this with to your bulletin. Maybe all of  your articles look exactly the same. Try placing an article across the whole bottom of the page instead of just two columns running up and down every page. Shift some articles around, use new images to break up text, and get things back in balance.
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  • Design a new cover: A new bulletin cover is a great way to breathe new life into your bulletin and encourage parishioners to take a closer look. If you need assistance with creating a new look, contact LPi and our designers would love to help.

Spring cleaning really does put a smile on your face. Isn’t it time for a fresh new look for your bulletin? Giving your bulletin an annual spring cleaning, ensures it reflects the current needs of your church community and you won’t even have to get your hands dirty.

Setting Tabs in Microsoft Publisher

Posted on November 30, 2012 by - Catholic Tech Talk

One of the easiest ways to maintain an even structure in Microsoft Publisher is to use tabs in the margin bar at the top of your document. Using tabs makes placing detailed information more visually pleasing and easy to understand. Pressing Tab by default gives you a gap of about a quarter of an inch in a document. This can also cause a text box to unevenly place text.

Note: It’s best to set up tabs before placing text, but we’ll use already-placed text in this demonstration. If you have already-placed text and want to use tabs, simply highlight the text you want to use tabs with

First let’s organize this text by spacing out this information using tabs. Since there are three text segments, we will space out the text by pressing tab between segments. For this example, we want text to appear to the left, center, and right of our text box.

We first click on the text box and choose where we want our first tab point to begin. We want to line up the left hand side, so we’ll left-click twice on the ruler icon at the top-left edge as indicated by the red highlighted dot.

This brings up a menu and we select the Left alignment. We could also choose to have dots appear in between our tab spacing by choosing an option in the ‘leader area.’

Now that we have set the Left tab, we repeat the process by double-clicking the ruler in the center of our text, and then clicking the Center bubble. We repeat this process on the right-hand size. The end result should look like the example below.

As you can see, the text is organized and much easier to read. These tab settings are completely customizable to whatever project you’re working on. Tab spacing and the amount of tab sections can all be adjusted to suit your needs.

Keeping Tabs on Your Content

Posted on January 9, 2012 by - Catholic Tech Talk

Looking for a neat way to keep things in line within your bulletin?  Give your space bar a break and consider using Tabs, a convenient method for organizing your information in a clean, easy-to-read format.  When set up correctly, all you need to do is press Tab on your keyboard, and Microsoft Publisher will automatically position your text in the location you want.  You have the option of lining everything up to the left side, right side, center, or at the decimal points.  Search for “Tabs” in Microsoft Publisher’s Help menu for more information and detailed instructions.

Tabs are very useful for laying out your mass times and intentions, activity schedules, contact information, and many types of lists and forms.  Check out the following examples and try these quick tutorials for your bulletin or newsletter!

Three Column Weekly Activity Schedule

List activities for the week, using columns for date, event, and time.

Steps:

  1. Create a new text box with the heading “Upcoming Events.”
  2. Enter a date, then press tab.  Enter an event name, then press tab again.  Finally, enter the event time.  Press Return or Enter to begin a new line.
  3. For example, Type Nov. 27, then hit tab.  Type Choir, then hit tab.  Type 9:00 am.  Press Enter.   Repeat this process for several lines.
  4. Highlight all of the text you inserted, and then click Format, Tabs.
  5. Click Clear All to remove any previous formatting.
  6. Click in the field under Tab stop position.  Type 1.15 as your measurement.  This will determine the placement of your tab.
  7. Select Left alignment.
  8. Click Set to apply your selections to your highlighted content.
  9. Click in the Tab stop position field again, and type 3.5.
  10. Under Alignment, click Right.
  11. Click Set.
  12. Click Ok.  You’ll notice that your lines are now reformatted.  If things are not lining up the way you want, just start at step 3 again, and adjust your tab stop measurements and alignments as needed.

 

Contact Information

Use tabs and leaders to organize names and phone numbers so readers can easily find the specific information they need.

Steps:

  1. Create a new text box with the heading “Contacts.”
  2. Type a first and last name, then hit tab.  Next, type that person’s phone number or extension.  Press Return or Enter to start a new line. Repeat this process on the next several lines, until you have typed all names and phone numbers.
  3. Highlight the text you inserted, and then click Format, Tabs.
  4. Click Clear All to remove any previous formatting.
  5. Click in the field under Tab stop position.  Type 3.3 as your measurement.  This will determine the placement of your tab.
  6. Select Right alignment.
  7. Under Leader, select Dot.
  8. Click Set to apply your selections to your highlighted content.
  9. Click Ok.  You’ll notice that your lines are now reformatted, and should include dots between the names and phone numbers.  If things are not lining up the way you want, just start at step 3 again, and adjust your tab stop measurements and alignments as needed.

 

Weekly Collections

Use the decimal alignment tab to position collection amounts in your Stewardship area.

Steps:

  1. Create a new text box with the heading “Church Support.”
  2. Type “Previous Balance,” then press tab.  Type your previous balance amount in this format: $x,xxx.xx.  Hit Enter or Return to begin a new line. Type “Contributions,” then press tab.  Type your parish’s contribution amount in this format: $x,xxx.xx.  Hit Enter or Return to begin a new line.  Type “Total,” then press tab.  Type your total donation amount in this format: $x,xxx.xx.
  3. Highlight all the text you inserted, and then click Format, Tabs.
  4. Click Clear All to remove any previous formatting.
  5. Click in the field under Tab stop position.  Type 3.2 as your measurement.  This will determine the placement of your tab.
  6. Select Decimal alignment.*
  7. Under Leader, select Dot.
  8. Click Set to apply your selections to your highlighted content.
  9. Click Ok.  You’ll notice that your lines are now reformatted, and all numbers should be aligned at the decimal point.  If things are not lining up the way you want, just go back to step 3, and adjust your measurements and alignments as needed.

*You can also try using the right alignment setting for this example.

Although it may seem daunting at first, with just a little practice and some determination, you can master the above techniques and use them to make your publications more attractive and helpful for your readers!  Remember that all of the above examples can be adjusted to fit your needs.  For instance, if you typically use different categories for your church support section, name them accordingly.  Or, if you’d prefer a 2-column activity list, just create one set of tab stops, instead of two.

Have you tried using Tabs in your publications?  Please comment about your experiences.  Would you recommend Tabs, or is there a different method that works better for you? Share your tips and tricks!