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I have always said that if you like the things that a company does, you should shout it from the rooftops, and today I’d like to share a couple of great experiences we’ve had recently with two companies, Vistaprint and Gearheart Industry.

For Christmas this year, we’re doing a couple of cool giveaways.  First off, we’re going to send a Christmas Card to every customer and prospect on our list, it’s our way of saying “Thanks for thinking of us.”

Instead of a standard Christmas Card, we decided to do a postcard, which led to Craig and I challenging each other to develop a fun post card in under two hours.  We each created a version, and posted them to Facebook and LinkedIn for voting.

Tons of Facebook Engagement

Tons of Facebook Engagement

Much to our surprise, this was our most engaged content all year with the most comments on both platforms. The funny thing is this is something we likely would have just voted on internally, and been done with it, but we wanted to see what other folks would say. It taught us a valuable lesson, the fun things that we do “behind the scenes” are probably the most interesting things we do.

Before I get to the next part, I want to say, we are not affiliated with Vistaprint or Gearheart industries in any way.  We just think they’re cool companies.

Vistaprint gets printing right

I have to say right off the bat, I hate printing. I’m not a print guy, I’m an internet guy, and I can design a kick-butt web page, but I struggle to make print bend to my will.  I have used VistaPrint for a ton of things including our NorthIQ business cards, my Manage Comics postcards, and a number of other little print jobs over the years. They are great.

One of the best features of Vistaprint is that they provide amazing templates in both Photoshop and Illustrator formats, making it super easy to upload awesome camera ready artwork.

Here’s a few tips for you when you’re developing your artwork.

  • Make sure you respect the “bleed lines”, we always give plenty of room around the outside of the design, which will ensure nothing gets cut off.
  • RGB Colour looks great in print from VistaPrint. You can use CMYK colour, but I have found that doing my design in RGB gives the closest print results to what I see on my screen.  My suspicion is that they do some fancyness to render the colour properly.
  • Save your fonts to outlines if you develop in Illustrator – I only had this problem once, but one font I had didn’t render properly.
  • The “Recycled Matte” stock looks spectacular, I have had the best results with this stock.
  • Give a long lead time for your project.  My story below may not be your experience, so just be warned that in the past I have had a project take a full 7 days to arrive.

We did our designs on a Monday and posted them.  Craig and I decided on a 5pm deadline, however I extended that to the morning since the voting was so close.  Eventually one design pulled ahead, but it was close for most of the contest.

Tuesday morning, I did some final touch ups to the winning design and uploaded it.  I selected the 7 day shipping option (which was significantly cheaper than other options), and waited.  Their checkout process isn’t great, and I really hate the constant upselling, but I understand the need for this kind of thing when you’re selling a low cost product.

100 Full Colour front and back post cards on 18pt recycled matte paper cost us under $60 including shipping.

On Wednesday morning I heard my doorbell ring, and my post cards had arrived!

They look spectacular.

Which one won?  You’ll have to keep an eye on your inbox to find out.

Gearheart Industry blows us away

I have a number of friends who do woodworking, and they all rave about Gearheart’s woodworking brands.  With these awesome brands, you can put your logo on every piece you make.

Craig and I have an idea for a small woodworking project that we’re going to give out to a few clients and prospects as a special thank you for the cool things they’ve done for us.  We looked at a few different ways of making this memorable and “us”, and we came up with a brand from Gearheart Industry.

The process couldn’t have been simpler.  We went to their website, selected the size and type of brand (I chose 2″x2″), and uploaded a 1 colour AI file of our logo.

The good folks at Gearheart emailed me back about an hour later, and had some suggestions. First, they recommended that since our image was actually smaller than what we had chosen, that they would refund some of the money. Secondly, they made a recommendation on shipping that would save us the possibility of a customs charge.  Later that day they emailed me a sample of what our brand would look like (which I loved), we approved it, and they shipped it that day.

It arrived just six days after we ordered it.  This is a custom milled aluminum brand, from concept to delivery in less than a week!

Want to know what we’re going to do with it?  We’re going to post a special video and blog post over the Christmas break with our cool woodworking project, so stay tuned.

These are just two companies we’ve worked with recently that we really enjoyed, and who deserve special mentions.

Brian Garside has been building websites for two decades and has worked on some of the largest websites in Canadian media. He focuses on creating good user experiences and building websites that make their owners money. Brian is certified in blogging and content marketing from Shaw Academy.