2012 Lindenmeyr Paper Show – a Success as Always!

On Thursday, May 17th, Lindenmeyr Munroe had its annual Paper Show. The event was at the Omni William Penn Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh. Art Groll of Lindenmeyr Munroe has handled the event for the past 19 years.

It is always exciting when we receive the invite for the event. Every year the invite is creative and engaging. Art shows his lighter side to promote the event. This year’s theme was “Make Your Own Art.” The invite had Art in the form of a paper doll. The invite was a way to inspire creativity with the use of print.

Several paper vendors were on hand to showcase their offerings. The vendors are an excellent information resource. These are the same papers we use on a daily basis. It also gives the Marketing and Design team at AG a chance to think of ideas for our clients. It also allows a chance for networking with other industry professionals. Nearly two-thirds of our staff was able to attend the event. It is always interesting to see what is new in the paper industry.

Local designers and printers are also showcased at the event. There are numerous pieces displayed in the center of the room. AlphaGraphics in the Cultural District had a few pieces on display. Each piece had the designer, printer and the paper used.  This is a great example of the tremendous amount of talent that Pittsburgh has to offer within the graphic arts and printing industries.

We will apply the knowledge that we received from this show. The connections gained are vital for growth potential. When the spring of 2013 arrives, we will anxiously await the next invite. How will Art engage our professional community again? We will have to see next year. Until then, we will use what we learned to good use.

Written by Shiloh Massey,
Production Scheduler,

AlphaGraphics in the Cultural District 

Paul w/ “Art” traveling around downtown

EQT Wiro Booklet, Designed by Anne Flanagan of AlphaGraphics, and printed by AlphaGraphics as well

Elias Savion piece, printed by AlphaGraphics in the Cultural District


AlphaGraphics in the Cultural District Wins Two International Awards

The AlphaGraphics team is proud to share the news that we have received two very prestigious awards: the NAPL Management Plus Silver Award, from the National Association for Printing Leadership, a leading management education and industry research organization; and the PODi Best Practices Award for Self Promotion, from PODi, a global organization for the advancement of direct marketing driven by digital print.

Recognizing Comprehensive Management Excellence: The NAPL Management Plus Silver Award

The NAPL Management Plus awards are unique in that they recognize overall achievement across many disciplines. Entrants are judged on performance against industry standards in seven key management areas: Leadership and governance, human resources, strategic planning, marketing and sales, operations, community/industry relations, and financial performance.

Rich Cichoski, AlphaGraphics’ Manager, states, “We’ve built a team-based, results-oriented culture. No matter what facet of the business they’re in, each team member strives for excellence through continuous improvement. As a team, our greatest reward is earning the trust and loyalty of our customers—and, of course, an occasional, awesome industry award.”

The 2012 NAPL Management Plus Silver Award will be presented at the Vision 3 Summit, February 19-22, 2012, in Marco Island, Florida.

Recognizing Strategic Cross-Channel Innovation: The PODi Best Practices Award for Self Promotion

Our case study on our popular “Use Your Coconut” multi-channel campaign earned the 2012 PODi Best Practices Award. These awards recognize innovation, technical expertise, and the delivery of excellent, measurable results in direct marketing from around the world.

Our “Use Your Coconut” campaign used outside-of-the-box thinking that raised the bar for what can be accomplished using dimensional mail, then strategically employed ten marketing channels with appropriate imagery and messaging to drive results.

Clare Meehan, our President and CEO, extends her gratitude not only to the team, but to all of our wonderful clients. “Our amazing staff is to be commended for brilliantly developing this promotion that demonstrated the power of direct mail when approached as an integrated, multi-media marketing campaign. Pittsburgh is still buzzing about those coconuts! The campaign was a huge success thanks to the enthusiastic response of our clients, and many successful marketing campaigns and conversations with them have followed.”

The case study was presented at the 10th annual PODi AppForum conference, January 23-25, 2012, in Las Vegas.

It has also been added to PODi’s Digital Print Case Study Database, the largest collection of digital print case studies and only compilation of its kind for the digital print marketplace. To download our case study, select AlphaGraphics Integrated Direct Mail Campaign – Use Your Coconut on the AG website.  

Color Management Primer – RGB vs. CMYK

 Color management, if followed correctly, ensures color dependability throughout a digital process. To get the best results, you need to understand some basic principles.

RGB does not match up to CMYK

In today’s digital workflow, we use a wide variety of image capturing devices and an equally large number of output devices to create prints. Due to a variety of factors, a digital file cannot perfectly correspond to a printed sheet. The most evident mismatch is because we use Red, Green, and Blue (RGB) to describe digital image colors, but we print with Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black ink (CMYK). Color management helps to minimize these factors so that a consistent and fairly accurate color match is possible.


RGB as defined by Wikipedia

The RGB color model is an additive color model in which redgreen, and blue light is added together in various ways to reproduce a broad array of colors. The name of the model comes from the initials of the three additive primary colors, red, green, and blue.

The main purpose of the RGB color model is for the sensing, representation, and display of images in electronic systems, such as televisions and computers, though it has also been used in conventional photography. Before the electronic age, the RGB color model already had a solid theory behind it, based in human perception of colors.

RGB is a device-dependent color model: different devices detect or reproduce a given RGB value differently, since the color elements (such as phosphors or dyes) and their response to the individual R, G, and B levels vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, or even in the same device over time. Thus an RGB value does not define the same color across devices without some kind of color management.

Typical RGB input devices are color TV and video camerasimage scanners, and digital cameras. Typical RGB output devices are TV sets of various technologies (CRTLCDplasma, etc.), computer and mobile phone displays, video projectors, multicolor LED displays, and large screens such as JumboTron, etc. Color printers, on the other hand, are not RGB devices, but subtractive color devices (typically CMYK color model).



CMYK as defined by Wikipedia

The CMYK color model (process colorfour color) is a subtractive color model, used in color printing, and is also used to describe the printing process itself. CMYK refers to the four inks used in some color printing:cyanmagentayellow, and key (black). Though it varies by print house, press operator, press manufacturer and press run, ink is typically applied in the order of the abbreviation.

The “K” in CMYK stands for key since in four-color printing cyan, magenta, and yellow printing plates are carefully keyed or aligned with the key of the black key plate. Some sources suggest that the “K” in CMYK comes from the last letter in “black” and was chosen because B already means blue.[1][2] However, this explanation, though plausible and useful as a mnemonic, is incorrect.[3]

The CMYK model works by partially or entirely masking colors on a lighter, usually white, background. The ink reduces the light that would otherwise be reflected. Such a model is called subtractive because inks “subtract” brightness from white.

RGB to CMYK Conversion in Printing

When a digital image is printed, its RGB numbers are converted to CMYK numbers for the printer. This conversion will produce unexpected color if not done in a controlled and predictable manner. Overlay RGB and CMYK color spaces and you’ll see that colors in RGB that do not have an exact equivalent in CMYK. What this means is that there are often colors that we see on our monitors that cannot be reproduced perfectly on the printed sheet. Color management is a process by which we pick the best possible CMYK color to match a given RGB color.

Color Profiling For Consistent Color

With all of these conversions from one color space to another, from one device to another, the color of an image would appear differently on each. What a color profile does is describe what the colors will look like on a particular device whether it is a computer monitor, an ink-jet printer, or a digital press. The color profile contains a Look-Up Table it uses when fed the data that describes a certain color on your monitor and converts it to the same color on a digital press.

In color management, an ICC profile is a set of data that characterizes a color input or output device, or a color space, according to standards disseminated by the International Color Consortium (ICC).

The standard ICC Profile is based on the GRACoL2009 reference used in high-end commercial printing. The entire print network adheres to this standard on all of their print devices for the most consistent results possible with print on demand. By using this color profile, you may soft proof your images while in RGB to see how they will look when printed, or use the profile to actually convert your images to the CMYK color space of the print device to eliminate the press-side conversion. This gives you more control over the images and how they will eventually print.


by Rob Zelinsky,
Digital Operations Manager,
AlphaGraphics in the Cultural District

UV Coating – A Primer

We’ve got a new addition in our bindery – a Ultra-violet (UV) Coater to really enhance your upcoming projects. Here’s a primer on our new coater and its capabilities:

  • UV coating is a clear liquid that is spread out over the paper and dried instantly by exposure to UV radiation with virtually no emissions.  Our machine is a Flood UV coater, covering the whole page, as opposed to a Spot UV.
  • The finish can range from extremely reflective and glossy down to a matte finish.  It also deepens the color of the printed area.
  • UV coating requires a coated stock, preferably cover weight.
  • A UV coating protects better than varnish or aqueous coating and protect against friction and fading.

And in the spirit of Halloween, check out what Google executives are doing to “enhance” their Google+ profiles. Happy Halloween!


By Renee Schaefer,
Project Coordinator,
AlphaGraphics in the Cultural District


AlphaGraphics’ New Brand Identity Reflects Evolution from Print to Cross Media Solutions

The AlphaGraphics network unveiled dynamic new branding at its August 2011 national conference. The updated logotype reflects an ongoing evolution driven by innovation and ingenuity.

Evolving and adapting to meet the needs of an ever-changing marketplace, AlphaGraphics ensures that its clients have access to the latest technology and comprehensive slate of products and services to power their marketing programs.

“Our franchise has always been positioned on the leading edge as a marketing and business communications services provider,” says Clare Meehan, President and CEO  of AlphaGraphics in the Cultural District. “The new identity expresses the forward thinking, creativity and imagination, and the full-circle, start-to-finish solutions approach upon which our business was built and continues to grow.”

Over the past several years, the AlphaGraphics brand has leveraged its 41 year history of print experience to continually expand its marketing services offerings to address the changing needs of small to mid-size businesses.

“These are exciting times in marketing communications,” continues Meehan. “Our clients increasingly need help in effectively communicating with their audiences across many channels. We have an enormous opportunity to service clients using personalized, targeted, and most importantly, measurable multi-channel direct marketing campaigns.”

Offering printing services, including digital, large format, and offset printing, and strategic marketing services including graphic design, website development, and cross-media campaigns that integrate personalization, email, SEM, social media, mobile marketing and direct mail, AlphaGraphics in the Cultural District partners with clients to deliver one-stop, fully integrated communications solutions.

“Our new identity really speaks to how we put it all together to help our clients communicate in an increasingly complex world,” concludes Meehan. “It’s an evolution whose time has come.”BrandAnnounceWEB_SplashBanner

5 Helpful Hints for Your Order’s Printing Success!

 1. Preferred File Formats

When you’re gearing up to send your files to us, always consider sending the native files as well. This can be helpful for situations involving changes to the text or images. Sending a PDF is always acceptable, but keep in mind that when we have the natives to work with, the job can be done quicker if there are numerous changes.

2. Microsoft Office…Friend or Foe

As you know, Microsoft Office can be a bit tricky sometimes. Compatibility is always an issue and can cause the document sent to us to be changes without us knowing it.  When sending us an office document, it’s always helpful to send us a PDF as a reference as well.

3. High Resolutions are a Solution

Sometimes you don’t realize how a job will look until it’s printed. When in doubt, when creating your projects, always use the highest resolution possible for all images, logos, etc. Below is an example of an image going from a small number of pixels per inch to a large number of pixels per inch, causing the image to go from low to high quality.


4. Succeed with Bleeds

A bleed is a background color or image that extends beyond the trim area. This allows the bindery to trim the document down to size without a white line of the paper showing through. A bleed gives the final piece a nice looking clean edge, with image running right up to the trim edge. It is preferred to have at least 1/8” bleeds included in any documents submitted for printing.

All of these hints are just ways to help us meet and exceed your requirements through timely delivery of quality products and services. We strive to continuously improve performance through analysis of quality processes and customer feedback.

By Robin Ranii
Pre-Press Specialist
AlphaGraphics in the Cultural District


Choosing the Right Paper

Choosing the Right Paper:
Whether your next project prints offset or digital you’ll want to choose the right paper for the job.  Like most advertising, you only have seconds to make a good impression and capture the attention of your audience.  Effective print begins with eye-catching design followed by persuasive content and yes, paper.

Consider Color:
The majority of printing is done on white paper. Images look crisper, more vibrant and it is less harsh to the eye on white paper.  There are times though that you could choose an off-white paper or even and extravagant color from the French Paper Company to add impact for your printed piece.  Whatever color you choose, consider how your piece will be used and your audience.  Give your document a fighting chance and begin by choosing a suitable color.

Weighing the Options:
Paper thickness or density
is expressed in grams per square meter (g/m²) or pounds.  The thicker the paper, the higher the number.  Without getting too technical about how the paper industry arrives at a number, here are the basics.  Paper is divided into two categories; text and cover weight.  Within each category there are several thicknesses.  For example, you can choose an 80# (pound) or 100# text.  There is also the cover weight version of 80# and 100#.  Thicknesses range from very thin text to heavy text weight as well as thin cover to very thick cover weight.

Here are some things you should consider when choosing paper weight.  If your project will be printed on both sides, the opacity of the paper is important.  Make sure the other side won’t show through.  When in doubt choose a heavier stock.

If your printed piece will be mailed, the weight is extremely important.  Make sure to consider postage costs and that the finished piece meets USPS requirements.

If bulk and weight are important, consider using an uncoated sheet (see below).  A coated paper will weigh more that its counterpart.  Even though it weighs less, the uncoated sheet will be thicker because uncoated paper has a higher bulk.

The Finish:

Along with color and weight, choosing an appropriate finish could set your price apart from your competition and give it a personality of its own.  If you’re concerned with crisp images or photo reproduction, then a gloss or matte finish would be the safe choice.  However, the trend in the industry is toward an uncoated sheet creating a softer tone.  Also the texture of an uncoated sheet has a more natural feel.  For something completely different, try something new like an unusually textured paper.  These even make a one color job stand out.  By combining unique color and texture you can have an award winning piece.

Beginnings and Endings:
When designing or planning your next printed piece you should begin by narrowing down your paper selection so the end result will be an eye catching, effective marketing tool that represents your product or business that will capture the attention of your audience.  After all, you only have few precious seconds.

By Rob Zelinsky
Digital Operations Manager,
AlphaGraphics in the Cultural District