Archive for the ‘Folding’ Category

It’s Academic – Scholarly Journals are Big Business

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Digital content platforms attracted financial and strategic buyers last month, as increasingly sophisticated online systems drive information to centralized providers that automate the design, hosting and distribution of content. That content may or may not be printed, and often times will be printed only on-demand as the final consumer sees fit for their needs.

Academic journals caught the interest of private equity investor Accel-KKR, which acquired a majority interest in HighWire Press. HighWire, formerly a venture of Stanford University, has been spun off and launched into the competitive world of PE-backed companies. HighWire provides an open electronic platform for universities and other publishers of scholarly journals to develop and host their academic journals. Long noted for high page counts and short runs, academic journals were a natural and early adopter of online publishing. Notably, there is no actual printing press at HighWire Press and the content managed on its platform is delivered in digital form.

Across the country at another august institution, Princeton University, the ripple effect is being felt, with the announcement last month that the California Princeton Fulfillment Services, publisher and distributor of about 340 books for Princeton University, will be winding down and closing by this time next year. As the investment in digital publishing platforms continues to improve the management and delivery of online content, Princeton University Press has decided to outsource the hosting and fulfillment of publications to Perseus Distribution Services. Perseus boasts its own digital distribution services, linked to short run and print-on-demand partners, as well as over a million square feet for warehousing pre-printed books. The partner in the Princeton operation, The University of California Press, will be moving its digital journal content over to HighWire.

Two trends evident from recent transactions appear unrelated at first, but may in fact be connected, as larger companies invest in sophisticated customer-facing software platforms, and draw business away from the small mom-and-pop shops. Staples, the national chain of office supply retailers, acquired PNI Digital Media, a provider of digital print software that provides easy online ordering of consumer and corporate printed products. This follows on the heels of other recent transactions in the web-to-print space, such as Vistaprint’s acquisition of Pixartprinting last month. Over the past couple months, we have noticed an increase in the number of small local commercial printing and copying centers that filed for liquidation under Chapter 7; we found six that filed in May. This is in addition to an unknown number of small printing company owners that just gave, up, closed the door and walked away without the expense of actually filing bankruptcy. I expect that we’ll see more closures of independent small print/copy shops, driven in part by the increasing ease with which customers can go online and purchase their printing.

The buyer of the Boston Globe and the Telegram & Gazette, acquired last August in the spin-off from The New York Times, sold off the Telegram & Gazette which serves the mid region of Massachusetts. The buyer was Halifax Media, backed by PE firms Stephens Capital Partners and Redding Investments. In a twist of fate, the sale to Halifax brings former corporate cousins back under the same management, since Halifax had previously purchased and still owns the former New York Times Regional Media Group which consists of newspapers primarily located in the southeast US.

In another newspaper industry transaction, the Baltimore Sun Media Group announced that it is acquiring The Annapolis Capital and other local papers in Maryland. The Baltimore Sun Media Group is likely to find itself as the target in the near future, as it is owned by the Tribune Co., which also owns the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times and has announced that it plans to divest its portfolio of newspapers.

Wide format printers were targets in several deals in May, including the acquisition of wide format franchisor Speedpro Imaging in a deal backed by private equity investor Fairfield-Maxwell. The Garvey Group which as we reported in July 2013 acquired the western wide format division of Schawk, continued its growth by acquisition strategy with the purchase of retail display and wide format specialist Troyk Printing located in Franklin, Michigan. Industry behemoth RR Donnelley acquired the relatively tiny True Colors, a wide format shop in Vancouver, British Columbia.

All new Fold of the Week!

Thursday, May 15th, 2014
What should a company do when it wants to change its name? Throw a great party, of course! This week’s selection, designed by Prismatic ( and produced by Lawton Printers ( of Orlando, offers a really fun modification to the always exciting and varied tulip fold format. By adding a reverse panel to the cover, the opening experience is entirely fresh. The piece is dramatic in scale and features holographic foil, too. It’s a real winner. Cheers!

Super-Cool Fold of the Week!

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Brace yourselves for the most amazing feat of direct mail and digital print. This week’s selection was a spectacular find from HP’s DScoop Conference in Orlando. From Motioncutter in Germany and printed on an HP Indigo press, this pop-up self-mailer has an exciting secret – high-speed variable laser-cutting with personalization! Yes, imagine a different, highly-detailed laser cut name in EVERY mailpiece, produced at speeds of up to 6,500 per hour. Skeptical? You can watch their demo video, too. Mind = blown.


Super-cool Fold of the Week!

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

This week we highlight a mailer from GLS Companies in Brooklyn Park, MN. This is a great example of a creative self-mailer that fits within the realm of the newly created UPS self-mailer guidelines. Designed by Doug’s Creative in MN, this mailer presents as a postcard-sized booklet which opens sequentially in a “traveling snake” format. Each successive opening entices the reader with a snappy comment and then opens to reveal additional information. Very clever by both the designer and the printer!

Another Super-Cool Fold of the Week

Monday, April 1st, 2013

This week we look at the Awesome Spiral Accordion Mailer – it’s a must see mailer! Design by CSG Creative in Alexandria, VA. and produced by ITP in Elizabethtown, PA. This 2-part direct mail piece features a post card and circular piece that fits inside a mylar envelope, mailed first class. The circular piece unfolds in a spiral accordion patterns which opens to reveal a rectangular piece. The color and design accentuate the fold which highlights the expert nature of this piece. Scored and hand-folded – the final product is worth the effort.

Take a look for yourself!


Pushing the Envelope… Literally and Figuratively

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Creative direct mail can have a life far beyond the first recipient. In an Internet era, people go on Facebook and Reddit and Twitter to share the direct mail piece that turned their head. Here are some recent examples that I found particularly interesting, and that go to show that a little creativity can have a lasting effect in an increasingly digital world.

1. BMW “M-print”
I found this example extremely creative, in that it gave a new twist on variable print and personalization, as the car literally made thousands of unique impressions, and likely made exponentially more “impressions,” as 470,000 people have watched (on YouTube) the process that went into this direct mail campaign. Take a look:

Great campaign, great execution, and a lasting impression.


2. Mini (success from a glitch)
I found this earlier today on Reddit on the front page of “Funny,” and it shows that even in the face of a flub, there lies an opportunity. Take a look below, and see how a little creativity and humor can turn what could have felt like a disaster into having a customer that is “In on the joke.”



Included in the mailing was, you guessed it, a chocolate rose, a roll of duct tape and a can of Spam. Wonderful execution combined with a personal touch from a company that is known for being lighthearted. Goes to show that each individual mail piece you send has the ability to impact the recipient greatly and turn some bad PR into some great PR.


3. Griffiths, Gibson and Ramsay Productions (GGRP)
Possibly my all-time favorite example of creative direct mail (being an avid record collector and fan of intuitive design). GGRP Sound Studio mailed out a “make-your-own” phonograph player with a 45 rpm record. The recipient is enticed to build this working record-player and learns more about the business in the meantime.



This mailing reinforces the ideal that direct mail is most impactful when it becomes a keepsake, something that the recipient will refer back to in the future. Creative agencies were calling the Sound Studio asking if they had additional mailpieces to share!

Several members of our blog team have shared their recent “WOW” moments with print, such as CineprintAugmented Reality and a Lexus mailing that hit all the right “channels.” What is your Direct Mail story? What mailings stood out to you? Leave your comments below.

Editor’s Note: Keep up with all of Matt’s blogs at the SourceLink blog

It was the best of folds…

Monday, March 4th, 2013

The recent USPS Folded Self-Mailer regulations mean big things for direct mailers – there are now more creative options available to the mailing industry. These new options capitalize on advances in technology and mail processing capabilities. If you are interested in learning more about these new regulations, you can click here to to read the summarized reference guide, which was created jointly by the USPS and mailing industry.

In this week’s 60 Second Super-Cool Fold of the Week we highlight a direct mail piece from American Express which is made possible through – you guessed it – these new Folded Self-Mailer regulations! In this piece, you’ll see an opening flap on the non-address side of the envelope used to highlight some of the most noteworthy information bits of the offer. The piece opens to reveal an additional self-contained pocket, glued on the sides, protecting smaller printed brochures, response card, and response envelope. This is a great example of a fully automated, inline finishing direct mail run that will stand out in your customers stack of mail, inviting them to open.

Enough from me – see for yourself!

Fold of the Week!

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

And we are back with another Super Cool Fold of the Week!

This week’s fold comes from Penmor Lithographers in Lewiston, Maine. It is an innovative packet folder that was too interesting not to share! The tri-fold format folder has two big pockets allowing Penmor ample room to fill with print samples for promotional use. The cool part is in the third panel which holds three stacked inserts. It’s almost as if there are mini brochures built into the packet folder. The best part is how this area allows Penmor to draw customers’ attention to three key pieces of information that will not get lost amid other content in the first two pocket panels.

Watch the video to see exactly how Penmor created the final panel, complete with stoppers so as not to lose the inserts.

5 Amazing Ways to Integrate Video Into Your Direct Mail

Monday, December 17th, 2012

Direct mail is great. It has proven effectiveness, it’s tactile and it holds a certain sentimentality that cannot be matched. Video has been the hottest technology for years, and shows no signs of slowing down. It has been said that Direct Mail could suffer as a standalone marketing medium, but when made part of a multichannel strategy (through integration with email, social media or video), it actually can become stronger than the sum if its parts. Here are some ways to integrate video with Direct Mail:

QR linking directly to video

The most basic and inexpensive way to integrate video into your direct mail is through the use of QR codes. By creating a QR code that links to a YouTube video, you can create immediate conversions across channels, as the user in transported directly to your YouTube Channel or a custom landing page on their smartphone. Even better, if you work with a marketing provider that utilizes digital print and PURL technology, you can track and collect information as each user is whisked away to the land of your business video. Host these videos on your social media platforms, and that just adds one more facet to the Multichannel experience!

Die-cut postcards to “fill in the blanks”

Modern day print machinery can do amazing things. With the use of die-cutting on a postcard, video can literally “fill in the blank” of the removed portion. Direct the recipient to a simple YouTube URL or use a QR code to redirect the recipient, and have the user place the card on top. Voila! Instant tactile interaction with the mail piece and video combination. Think of creative ways to make the die-cut recess become part of the video. Video software becomes more inexpensive every year, and a little brainstorming can lead to an inexpensive campaign really producing a high-class touch!

Integrated video/picture utilizing translucent space

I’ll admit that I grabbed this idea from our blogger, Craig Blake, and his blog “Is Print Dead? Not According to Lexus!!” Cineprint technology is the branded name for this technology, and Sports Illustrated recently blew a number of minds with this advertisement:

As you can see, the branded technology can produce amazing results, and look for many marketers to use similar technologies (or homegrown versions of this technology) to really make mail pieces pop. Imagine your utility bill coming to life when placed on your iPad. Imagine a campus tour coming to life as the seasons change in front of the Admissions building. Imagine your spending habits graphed out live directly on your bank statement. Your imagination is the limit when a printed piece pairs with video elements that bring it to life.

Video on/in printed piece

A few years ago, Pepsi Max rolled out an advertisement in Entertainment weekly that literally had a video embedded into the magazine. The user chose from a variety of prerecorded options, and was able to interact with the magazine. This technology is getting less expensive every year, and with the benefit of behavioral and demographic data, this investment could be the right way to reel in that high-end real estate client or investor. When you utilize the data about your target audience, you can know your investment isn’t for naught. People know when you’ve put a lot of money and effort into your communications, and nothing has quite the “Wow!” factor that a video in a personalized mailing.


Augmented reality

Augmented Reality is defined as: Augmented reality (AR) is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.

Direct mail will greatly benefit from AR applications in the coming years, as apps on a smartphoneare being developed at a rapid pace and at a reasonable cost to facilitate the use of printed images and AR. Several Higher Ed institutions are already using this technology to make personalized direct mail experiences, and with Google Glasses, websites will (likely) literally be able to be viewed from a mail piece. Landing pages, videos, graphics in 3D- the possibilities are literally endless, and so exciting. This technology is probably the most advanced of those discussed, but has great possibilities.

So there you have it, five ways you can integrate video into direct mail. These suggestions can be as inexpensive or as expensive as you choose. So to the naysayers: Direct Mail is not Dead, print isn’t passé: they are just in need of a multichannel spin, and what’s cooler than video?


Wow ‘em with Your Holiday Card

Monday, December 10th, 2012

In the spirit of the holidays, is sharing a playlist of some of their favorite holiday solutions from their world-famous sample library. Watch “magic hands” videos of 16 inspired holiday card solutions.

People have been sending us cool holiday cards for years, and we thought it was time to start building a playlist of holiday solutions to help companies get noticed at this time of year. If you’re a printer or designer or paper company, there’s a lot of pressure to do something memorable at the holidays, and I hope the playlist grows and becomes a springboard for new ideas.

Of course, foldfactory is always looking to expand the sample collection as well. If you produced a holiday card that you’re proud of – this year or in the past – we’d love to add it to the playlist and share it with the world. We’re also always looking for interesting solutions for direct mail, marketing brochures, pocket folders, invitations, specialty folding, and even bound solutions that integrate interesting folding techniques. To submit samples to, please visit for a mailing address.

Super-Cool Fold of the Week

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

This week, Trish shows us that any unique form or idea can be transformed into something mail-able… happy news for direct mailers everywhere! The piece is from Allied Printing Services, Inc. in Manchester, CT and was created for Hanover Insurance Group. This self-contained mailer pulls open to reveal a series of stacked classic tulip folds. Each panel features four stacked squares with a diagonal score which allows the two panels to collapse in. These pieces are somewhat labor intensive as they are all hand-folded, but we think the work pays off to create an impressive (mail-able) statement.

60-second Super-cool Fold of the Week #172

You can watch last week’s video here!

Fold of the Week

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Tune in for this week’s Super-Cool Fold of the Week… the Aquatic Iron Cross with Pocket and Wavy Accordion Insert. This fold comes from Finlay created for Mohegan Sun in CT for their 15th Anniversary. Words cannot do this fold justice, so watch the video below!

60-second Super-cool Fold of the Week!

Monday, June 18th, 2012

You cannot miss this week’s Super-cool Fold of the Week! This Unique and Amazing Oyster Fold was produced by Rider Dickerson in Chicago and served as a capabilities brochure. This incredibly unique format is not something you in see everyday direct mail and really stands out because of that. The fold is packaged in a custom envelope and first presents in a square format which opens to reveal three inserts showcasing various print capabilities on different paper types. When fully opened, this large piece showcases everything Rider Dickerson is capable of. Talk about impressive advertising!

Fold of the Week!

Monday, April 30th, 2012

This just in – RR Donnelley’s Annual report is a funky fold, not your standard bound booklet!

This weeks fold features an Asymmetrical Broadside Booklet Fold submitted by RR Donnelley. This broadside booklet fold gives you the feel of a bound book but opens up to reveal a variety of panels. Watch the video below for more details!

Super-cool Fold of the Week

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Today I’ll show you this week’s fold: the Lady Liberty Self-envelope Mail piece. This sophisticated self-mailer was created by Structural Graphics in Essex, CT. On the outside, it’s a simple direct mail envelope but opens to reveal an L-format pop up that is illuminated by metallic gradient hidden behind a broad-side fold. Simple, yet classy!

Watch for yourself!