Enough Already! Print is Not Dead

We’ve been hearing it for years now: “The print industry is dying!” “Nobody reads hardcopy anymore!” “Everything is going digital!” Can I just say one thing? Enough already! Print is not dead, nor is it going anywhere in the future. Yes, e-book reader sales are up, social media has taken over (virtually) every facet of our lives, and companies are making millions with online advertising. However, this doesn’t tell the whole story behind the current print industry. This article provides just a few of the many ways the print industry is thriving, and will continue to survive the doomsday predictions in the era of digitization.



One of the most important factors to examine before assuming that the print industry is suffering a slow death is e-waste. E-waste may not be something that everyone is familiar with or considers when they purchase a new cell phone, computer or tablet. E-waste, or electronic waste, is discarded material that contains any electronic component, such as a cell phone.

While many people assume that paper is the main culprit behind the destruction of our forests, consider this: e-waste is the fastest growing waste stream in America and only 12.6% of e-waste is recycled. Moreover, it takes 530 lbs. of fossil fuel, 48 lbs. of chemicals and 1.5 tons of water to manufacture one computer and monitor. Print is green. Electronics are not.


Cognitive Function

Aside from environmental factors, studies show that print materials stimulate our brains in ways that digital formats cannot. For example, a recent study from Temple University shows that while digital ads are processed faster, consumers engage with paper ads for a longer period of time, and the physical ads cause more activity in parts of the brain associated with value and desire.

Print is also much easier to process because it requires 21% less cognitive effort than digital media. Look at hypertext and multitasking for example. When reading online we frequently have multiple windows open, email alerts, stock quotes, social media updates, etc. With these distractions we often make micro-decisions about whether to continue reading or whether to follow the hyperlinks. Print lets us escape these distractions and allows us to focus on what we’re reading.



In addition to the increased ability of our brains to focus on print, there is also the good old fashioned aesthetic qualities that come with this medium. For most people, print is personal. It provides a way for the reader to really connect with what they are reading and have a more positive feeling generally when they decide to put that book or newspaper down. There are no feelings of anxiety about whether they need to check their email one last time, or see if there is breaking news. We can just finish the chapter, set the book down, and be content and reflect on what we just read. This is a comfort quality that is often overlooked by the naysayers of print media.


Look to the Facts

Believe it or not, people still prefer print over digital. According to the Pew Research Institute, in 2016 approximately two-thirds (65%) of Americans read a print book. By contrast, 28% of Americans read an e-book, and only 14% listened to an audiobook. And while e-book readership increased by 11-percentage points from 2011-2014, there was no increase over the next two years. Moreover, while nearly four-in-ten Americans read print book exclusively, only 6% are digital-only readers.

Given all of this, it would be a mistake to claim that print will always dominate readership. Indeed, I remember when analysts predicted that e-books would overtake print by 2015. Making such rash and general statements is unwise. However, to those that still claim that the printing industry is dead, just look at the facts. And I suggest printing those facts out and reading them away from your computer. Chances are you’ll retain more of the information, and have a better experience doing so.  

Spot vs. Process – Why and When to Go with Spot Color

As a designer, one of the most important decisions you must make is in regard to the colors in your design. Admittedly, there can be a lot of confusion when determining whether to use spot colors or process colors, and understanding the difference between the two can be the difference between a good and great final product. When color accuracy and consistency are crucial to your design, using a spot color is your best bet. This article provides a brief look at some main differences between spot and process colors, and some advice as to why and when to go with the spot colors in your design.


Spot vs. Process

In offset printing, a spot color is a special premixed ink that requires its own printing plate on a printing press. The colors are produced without the use of screens or multicolor dots, and the colors or your design are applied individually in layers filling up every spot in your custom design. Usually spot colors are created through an ink system such as the Pantone Matching System, which can either provide a standard solid color that can be purchased whole or mixed before printing.

In contrast, process color is a way of mixing inks to create colors during the actual printing process itself. A process color is printed using a combination of the four standard process inks: cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK). Also used in offset printing, process colors are the more common method of printing. Although the amount of process colors through CMYK may seem endless, process colors actually provide a limited color range.


Pantone Spot Color

As mentioned above, spot colors are usually created through the Pantone Matching System, or PMS. A Pantone color is a standard color in the PMS that is used as a color reference system in most printing and printing-related industries. Spot colors can vary widely and by utilizing a system such as PMS, spot colors can be consistently reproduced and ensure accurate production of printed or manufactured goods across the globe.


Why Use Spot Color

As noted above, process colors can be fairly limited in their color range as the final colors are merely a combination of CMYK colors. Because spot colors layer an infinite amount of colors, they can provide a much more vibrant and detailed color. In addition to the variety of options, spot colors provide much better consistency from page to page. When printing a solid color with process inks, there may be slight variations in the color balance that can affect the color’s consistency. While spot colors may cost a bit more, they can add a lot to your project making the extra cost well worth it in the end.


When To Use Spot Color

Spot colors are best used when colors are outside of the CMYK range or when accuracy is crucial, such as in company logos or color-specific brand elements (think Starbucks green or McDonalds red and yellow). Spot colors should also be used in printing jobs that require printing over a large area because spot color inks can provide more even coverage. Additionally, projects that require special effects such as metallic or florescent colors should use spot colors. Spot colors can add a little something extra to your project.


There are a variety of things to consider when deciding to use spot or process colors. It’s important to look at each project individually and assess what the correct option is for that specific project. Contact Pel Hughes to discuss your options.

What Trade Show Product Do You Need?

Here’s a little secret about trade shows — they’re not all the same. If you’ve been to different conferences or conventions, this may not be much of a surprise. But if it’s your first time to set up a trade show booth –or if you want to make the most out of it –it pays to know where each of these trade show items would excel.


Retractable Banners   

These are a staple of trade shows. If you have a booth, you’ll need one to go with it. Our retractable banners come pre-installed on a durable aluminum frame and come with their own handy carrying case.

  • Comes with a travel-friendly carrying case
  • Optional pole pockets for easy mounting
  • Pre-installed on a lightweight aluminum stand
  • Perfect for indoor use

Retractable banners are best for indoor booths that need to be repeatedly moved through different venues.

Pop Up Displays

If you really need to turn heads at your next trade show, pop up displays are your best bet. These large format displays can be used as much in the same way as backdrops, but they excel as centerpieces for your booth. You can also add LED lights to your display to make them stand out even more. You could also order just the display, if you already own a suitable frame.

  • 8′ and 10′ frames
  • Made of lightweight stretch fabric
  • Optional LED lights
  • Comes with a trolley bag

Use pop up displays at all your important trade shows for a guaranteed way to grab attention. Pop up displays come with a trolley bag for easy carrying and storage.


Table Banners

Hanging large banners might be impractical in some trade shows, especially when there are space restrictions. Table banners are the perfect tool for these situations, and for augmenting other trade show materials. Our table banners come in heavy duty vinyl, perfect for both indoor and outdoor use, and can be made in any size up to 10′ x 5′.

  • Optional grommets for easy mounting
  • Standard, premium, and mesh vinyl options available
  • Custom and standard sizes available, to suit any table

Table banners are suited for situations where the booth infrastructure is limited to a table, or to add to your table’s branding. Table banners are also excellent for any indoor or outdoor booth.

Counter Cards

Counter cards are the perfect supplemental piece for any indoor trade show booth. Counter cards are made of durable PVC board, making them resistant to spills and repeated handling, and are supported by a double-wing easel stand. Small enough to sit comfortably on any table, they are sturdier than the easily crumpled cardstock counter cards.

Sturdier than standard counter cards

  • Waterproof
  • Fit neatly on any counter

These durable cards are essential in any indoor booth, or outdoor booths in low wind conditions. Counter cards are also a good choice for booths that have to be moved repeatedly.


Feather Flags

Attractive feather flags are the go-to way to promote your brand at outdoor trade shows. They can quickly catch attention by moving in the breeze, while the message and images remain clear and readable. Thanks to a selection of base attachments, they’re also a nice alternative to retractable banners for indoor promotions.

  • Choose between complete kits or replacement flags
  • Printed on washable polyester fabric
  • Nylon travel bag included with 10′ and 13′ complete kits

If you’re participating in a trade show held outdoors, these are a must have. Feather flags come with a travel bag for easy carrying and storage.

Table Cover

Custom cover can transform any regular rectangular table into a promotional tool that really completes the look of any booth. They help maximize the tight spaces available at trade shows. The best part about tablecloths is that they let you use the underside of your table for hidden storage. And they’re reusable too.

Our tablecloths are machine washable and are a great investment that will last through multiple trade shows.

  • Poly-blend fabric
  • Fits rectangular tables up to 8′
  • 3 and 4-sided tablecloth
  • Machine washable

Custom tablecloths are a must-have for every convention booth.Tablecloths come in 3 and 4-sided types.Choose the 3-sided option to allow easier access under the table and choose the 4-sided option for situations where all sides are visible to convention-goers.



Brochures are the quintessential trade show piece. You simply can’t expect to join one without them. Help your brochures stand out with full color and a variety of folding options. Our brochures are available in different gloss, matte, and uncoated stocks.

  • Leave them flat or choose 1 of 10 different folding options
  • Stock and finish options to suit any brand
  • Essential for any trade show booth

Convert convention attendees with a well-designed brochure. They excel for B2C marketing and for selling less complex offers than you would on a sales sheet.


Going to a tradeshow? Contact Pel Hughes to go over your options!

A guide to embossing and debossing

Embossing and debossing are both great ways to enhance your prints and bring attention to specific elements of your design. These processes add texture to business cards, post cards, brochures and more, by creating raised or depressed areas on the paper. Highlight important details, such as logo, graphic, or names! Adding a tactile dimension to your print is a memorable way to impress your customers and communicates premium quality.


What is Embossing?

Embossing uses a die (personalized metal plate) to slightly raise images off the paper of your print piece. It creates a 3D effect that brings emphasis to whatever area you’re having embossed.

Embossing is made using two dies, a “front” and a “back” that sandwich the paper and create the 3D effect. The most effective embossed pieces use a detailed die and heavier paper stock to highlight the depth and detail of the embossed graphics or images.


What is debossing?

You can think of debossing as the opposite of embossing. Debossing is when an image (logo, text, etc.) is imprinted into your print piece, creating a depressed effect. Just like embossing, you can choose to leave the debossed area untouched or fill it in with ink or foil stamping.

Unlike embossing, debossing doesn’t interfere with the back of your print piece, giving you both sides to work with. It can be used on its own, or in conjunction with embossing.

Things to know about embossing & debossing

  • Rule thickness. Fine lines and text appear thinner when embossed versus being printed offset. Request a rule reference sheet to properly specify your rule widths before manufacturing.
  • Small text. Text naturally loses character density when embossed, which can be compensated for in the design or prepress stages. Discuss your design goals with your consultant to ensure the end result is one you anticipate.
  • Because of the pressure, the bruise that is created on back of sheet may interfere with information on other side.
  • Single-level embossing refers to a die that is etched to one depth. Multi-level or sculptured embossing dies have multiple levels of depth etched in the die creating a sculptured look.
  • Add time to your schedule. Multi-level Embossing dies are often handcrafted, which adds 3 to 7 days to a production schedule, notwithstanding other scheduling and manufacturing considerations.


Talk to a Pel Hughes printing professional today about using embossing or debossing for your next project.

Eye catching envelope design

Even though email has become the go to method for communication, nothing beats sending a good old-fashioned letter. Having envelopes that are creative and unique will make your mail communication stand out. Custom envelope printing will help get you noticed and into the hands of your recipient.


Tips and guidelines for envelope design and printing

The number one goal for your envelope design is to grab recipients’ interest to open it up and see what’s inside. The key is to grab attention quickly through use of color, images and text. An important secondary goal is to build brand awareness by making your envelope printing fit into the larger scope of your brand identity. Keeping your designs cohesive on your business cards, letterhead, envelopes and other marketing materials will put forth a professional image and create the strongest brand impact.


  • Color – While black and white can make a bold statement with the right graphics, color usually packs a bigger punch. If you already have a nice, brightly colored logo? Place it prominently on the front of the envelope with images that reflect your companies image. Custom envelopes is that they are printed flat, then “converted” into envelopes, so your design can wrap around the envelope, or you can inject visual appeal by contrasting the back or flap.

Be sure to keep the top right corner available with a light background for a stamp.

  • Images – Creative use of images in your stationery can really help you stand out from the crowd. Sometimes all it takes is a hint of an image faded in the background to instantly set the tone about who you are and what you offer.
  • Text – To create a sense of urgency or draw special attention, use bursts of texts such as “Special Discount”, “Urgent Time-dated Materials” or “Limited Space – Act Now!” Just don’t overdo it, the envelope is the teaser – the contents of your envelope should do the selling.


Paper Quality and Sustainability

An important part of the design is the paper you choose for your envelope printing.

Smooth or textured, you’ll want a quality uncoated stock that you can run through your laser or desktop printer for addressing. Smooth 70 lb. stocks, show off your color designs the best and are the most cost effective, while textured 24 lb writing stocks such as linen or laid offer a nice tactile, high-end feel.

To match your letterhead and envelopes more closely to your business cards or brochures printed on glossy or dull/matte coated stocks, go for smooth stock.

With custom envelopes, you don’t have to sacrifice quality for environmental responsibility. Choose environmentally responsible papers, or ask about fine writing papers that include recycled content.

Envelopes are one of those things that everyone forgets about and takes for granted. Put some thought into designing these precious packages to ensure you connect with your customers and get a fair shake in your direct mail marketing efforts.


Professional printing services

Still have questions have any questions about preparing your envelopes for production?

Contact Pel Hughes for help.

Printing tips: 5 Rules for Readability with Type

Word processing and desktop publishing packages allow us to create eye catching content which can be often inaccessible to many readers due to over design, over use of colors and typefaces. But content can both look great and be accessible, by creating documents with a clear structure and layout and using a clear typeface, we can produce document that will not just be eye catching but much more readable.

Good typography in your marketing materials keeps both “readability” and “legibility” in mind. While readability means exactly what you think it means: easy to read and understand, legibility means having sufficient contrast with a background.

Keep typography simple.

Selecting one font family for your entire printed piece makes it easier for the eye to decipher when glancing across the page. Choose a font that has many different weights, sizes, and styles to use for headings, quotations, or to emphasize a particular section. Build variety playing with these variables instead of switching between multiple font families.


Stay consistent.

Consistency will lend authority to the look of your piece and will become part of your branding for that particular item. Therefore, be sure that all of the headers look the same, including size and font type. The same goes for sub-headers, pull-quotes, etc


Use upper and lower case.

Using standard upper and lower case letters make the wording easier for people to read. This format is also what readers are familiar with and expect to see. While you can use all capital letters for emphasis in rare cases, it is not a good idea for regular print. This rule has more to do with how people read then the look or style of your design.


Keep lines short and add white space.

People tend to read three to four words per eye movement. It’s a good rule of thumb not to have your reader make more than two eye movements per line, so limit your lines to six to eight words. Flyers, billboards, and posters will work best with short, bulleted points and plenty of white space.


Use serifs.

Serifs are the little, extra strokes or flourishes at the end of the main strokes of a letter. They flow well from one letter to the next, reducing eye fatigue. Like the rest of our bodies, our eyes get tired when they have to do a lot of heavy lifting. Long printed documents such as books or sizable reports are easier to read when serif type fonts are used.


If all of this is too overwhelming, reach out to us today to schedule an appointment with one of our Account Managers!

Win customers with colorful packaging

Color is incredibly powerful. The right combination can be striking…

colorful product packaging







While a poor pairing can offend our sensibilities….










We can feel calmed, invigorated, happy, sad, excited – even nervous – based on a color we see. We associate color with people and places, times of life, and our surrounding environment.


With all of this being said, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that making your product packaging aesthetically pleasing is essential to the success of your brand. In fact, an expertly designed package can make the difference in sales, brand recognition, and the success of your product sales overall.


When you’re picking colors to represent your brand, make sure to consider color associations.

How do Colors Influence People?

Red – Creates a sense of urgency, which is good for clearance sales. Encourages appetite, thus is frequently used by fast-food chains. Physically stimulates the body, raising blood pressure and heart rate, associated with movement, excitement, and passion.

Blue – Blue provides a sense of security, curbs appetite, and stimulates productivity. Blue is the color of trust and reliability, and the different shades give even more depth of meaning. Bolder blues represent a more serious or professional product. Lighter blues present more creativity and light-heartedness. Blue also contributes to calmness and security.

Green – Associated with health, tranquility, power, and nature. Used in stores to relax customers and for promoting environmental issues. Green stimulates harmony in your brain and encourages a balance leading to decisiveness.

Purple – Commonly associated with royalty, wisdom, and respect. Stimulates problem-solving as well as creativity. Frequently used to promote beauty and anti-aging products.

Orange & Yellow – Cheerful colors that promote optimism. Yellow can make babies cry, while orange can trigger a sense of caution. Used to create a sense of anxiety that can draw in impulsive buyers and window shoppers.

Black – Associated with authority, power, stability, and strength. Often a symbol of intelligence, but can become overwhelming if used to frequently.

Grey – Symbolizes feelings of practicality, old age, and solidarity. But too much grey can lead to feelings of nothingness and depression.

White – Associated with feelings of purity, cleanliness and safety. Can be used to project an absence of color or neutrality. White space helps spark creativity since it can be perceived as an unaltered, clean state.


It’s not complicated, but it can get there…do your best not to over do it with too many shades. Getting color happy can actually make your packaging look tacky and communicate the wrong message.


And always remember…

Test your colors on the material you are printing them on before running the entire batch! Different materials hold and display color differently, so you will want to make sure that the color you want is what is showing up before printing a few hundred copies.

If you are looking to design your packaging with a greater focus on color selection, give Pel Hughes a call and lets start a conversation! Our team can help drive revenue through outstanding package design.

Pel Hughes gets Energy Smart

Energy Smart, Entergy New Orleans’ energy efficiency incentive program helps New Orleans’ businesses implement and pay for upgrades that will lower electricity usage. Through the program, Pel Hughes completed an LED upgrade and that is estimated to save 185,740 kWh of electricity per year, that comes out to more than $16k saved on our electric bill per year!


New Orleans businesses can receive incentive funds to help pay for projects such as upgrading lighting to Energy Star certified LED’s and upgrading HVAC, chillers, building automation systems and more. Energy Smart is committed to working with local businesses, such as Pel Hughes, who provides the program with all its print materials. Energy Smart also works with local contractors and technical service providers to engage them growing in the energy efficiency economy in New Orleans. Contact Energy Smart if your business has any energy efficiency needs 504-229-6868, info@energysmartnola.com or www.energysmartnola.com.

Proven and effective brochure designs for automotive campaigns

Need to run an automotive campaign?


For more than 60 years, we’ve provided seamless, results-oriented marketing solutions – from commercial printing and direct mail to brand management for clients across multiple industries throughout the United States. We will provide you with enhanced automotive campaigns and design concepts to increase tracking, lead generation, and marketing analytics.


Check out two of our proven and effective designs…




Campaign Goal: Close deals by offering recipients attractive Buy Backs on their existing vehicles


Audience: targeted acquisition list in dealer’s market


Known information about recipients:

  • VIN#
  • Make/Model (UVCode)
  • Black book Value


Creative VDP:

  • Jumbo Postcard (recommended)
  • Full color personalized message to each recipient
  • Variable images of the year make/model of their existing car
    • Option: variable maps, image personalization, etc.


Call to Action: Attractive offer to purchase recipients’ current vehicle based on Black Book and demand. Appointment scheduling via PURL and/or Phone


Response tracking: PURL and/or phone tracking with trigger emails and dealer dashboard for leads


Campaign Value: Targeted and relevant offers leveraging existing data that results in high conversion rates.




Campaign Goal: Offer guaranteed loans to target audience with very attractive, personalized offer to each recipient


Audience: targeted acquisition list in dealer’s market


Known information about recipients:

  • Soft credit pulls (typically a credit score of 650+)
  • Accurate current financing information on each recipient’s vehicle
    • More targeted list options:
      • Cross reference VIN# Vehicle Make/model


Creative VDP:

  • Jumbo Postcard (recommended)
  • Full color personalized message to each recipient
  • Variable images of the year make/model of their existing car
  • Relevant offers based on current financing situation
    • Option: variable maps, image personalization, etc


Call to Action: Attractive offer to save customer money based on their current payments and credit worthiness. Appointment scheduling via PURL and/or Phone


Response tracking: PURL and/or phone tracking with trigger emails and dealer dashboard for leads


Campaign Value: Our list source guarantees all loans offered to each recipient if campaign parameters are met (direct mail campaign has to be mailed within 30 days of the list pull).


We’ve shown only two examples in our ever-growing arsenal of campaigns to target potential buyers. In addition to the different campaigns, we have tools that will help you lead the dealership in the right direction. From our catalog of designs to our tracking dashboard, we’ve got you covered.

How Augmented Reality Can Grow Your Retail Business

Do you know what augmented reality is?

You probably should, because this technology is about to infiltrate the world of commerce in a big way.


So what exactly is augmented reality?

According to web tech guru Margaret Rouse of WhatIs.com, “augmented reality is the integration of digital information with the user’s environment in real time. Unlike virtual reality, which creates a totally artificial environment, augmented reality uses the existing environment and overlays new information on top of it.”

One of the first known examples of augmented reality was the layering of “first down” yellow lines that appeared on television screens during football games in the late 1990s. Today, we see augmented reality at work in Google glass and heads up displays in car windshields, but AR is present on more subtle levels as well?


How does Pel Hughes leverage this technology?

At Pel Hughes, we use AR technology to give physical objects digital identities. Here are a few examples how AR technology is offering enhancements to how products are printed.  

    1. Universal barcodes – invisible, omnipresent barcodes that eliminate the need to scan a specific location on a package and provide custom content to consumers’ mobile devices
    2. Data rich packaging – packaging that is covered in camouflaged, repeated data that serves as a “scan anywhere” barcode, making checkout faster and your packaging completely artistic – no barcode to be seen
    3. Interactive print and digital – consumers can easily scan print and digital content, from posters to direct mail, for access to brand generated content. No QR code required.




What could using AR labeling technology mean for your brand?

  • Faster checkout – if they can scan your object anywhere, the process goes faster
  • Increased label durability – thermal technology makes sure that even if your packaging is burnt or torn, it will still scan
  • Increased connection to customers – with a simple scan of any part of your product, a consumer has access to brand generated content, and that content can change whenever you want, but your label doesn’t have to. AR technology gives you the flexibility to constantly stay useful and relevant, while QR codes afford less flexibility.


Interested in how AR can help your brand? Give us a call at Pel Hughes and we’ll see how this technology could take your sales to the next level.