Winter 2017 Takeaways

New USPS Discounts for Innovative Mailings

Once again, the USPS is running a series of promotional programs for making their First-Class and Marketing Mail pieces more engaging.

• The “Emerging & Advanced Technology/Videos in Print” promotion encourages publishers to create interactive experiences using approved technologies, such as Near Field Communication (NFC), “Enhanced” Augmented Reality, and Video in Print (ViP).

• “Tactile, Sensory & Interactive Engagement” rewards the use of paper stocks, substrates, finishing techniques, and inks to create multisensory experiences (visual effects, sound, scent, texture, interactive folds, or even taste).

• “Mobile Shopping” provides discounts for including a mobile barcode or print/mobile technology that can be read or scanned by a mobile device and leads your reader to a mobile-optimized shopping website with the ability to complete a financial transaction.

Participation requires pre-registration on the USPS Business Customer Gateway. For complete details, visit

Scheming in Color

Adobe Color CC (previously Adobe Kuler) is a web application for generating color schemes. The advanced color wheel tool enables you to easily experiment with color combinations using six available color rules (analogous, monochromatic, triad, complementary, compound, and shades). Each “theme” is presented as a set of five colors, with controls that enable you to modify this combination near endlessly. The colors in a theme are displayed visually and with a list of values for each color space (CMYK, RGB, LAB, HSB), including the hex values for use on the web. Keep in mind that you’re viewing these colors on a computer screen and therefore seeing them in RGB (for more on this and how to anticipate what these colors will look like in print, see “Color Me Confident” in this issue).

Adobe Color CC is free and accessible at If you sign into the tool with your Adobe login, you gain access to advanced features, such as the ability to save your themes. Owners of components of the Adobe Creative Suite, including Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign, can also download any color theme as an Adobe Swatch Exchange (ASE) file for import and use of the theme in artwork.

Download the Layar app and scan this page with your smartphone to watch Adobe’s explainer video, “How to Use Your Kuler Themes.” offers an online class, “Abode Color Essentials Training,” at

Gigs for Bargain Creative

When it comes to commissioning specialized creative work, sometimes low cost, low risk is the right place to start. Enter Fiverr. This global online marketplace for creative and professional services lists more than 3 million offerings ranging in cost between $5 (hence the name) and $500. Maybe you need a voice over for the intro to your new podcast? A whiteboard drawing video to accompany a step-by-step article online? A cartoon, or an infographic?

Each service offered on Fiverr is called a gig. To find high-quality resources, browse a gig category and filter the results by “Top-Rated Seller.” From there, look for sellers whose gig descriptions include thorough details, examples of their work, and positive buyer reviews. While $5 is a popular starting price for gigs on Fiverr, tiered offers called “gig packages” allow sellers to offer additional services at a wider range of price points. If you’re happy with the results, you’ve gained a valuable resource to add to your toolkit.

Write Funnier

The Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop is the only workshop in the country devoted to both the craft of humor and human interest writing. Held every other year at the University of Dayton, the three-day workshop attracts aspiring and professional writers. Sessions led by top-notch faculty focus on the craft of writing and the art of publishing and marketing your work.

It is named for the American humorist, Erma Bombeck, who achieved notoriety for her long-running newspaper column chronicling the ordinary life of a Midwestern suburban housewife. While you’re waiting for the next workshop (April 5-7, 2018), sign up for the organization’s free, resource-packed monthly e-newsletter and take inspiration from the short essays published on its blog. You can find both at

The Moleskine 12-Month
Weekly Planner

For those who live by their schedules, whether loaded  with travel or meetings, or both. View two months per spread, or in the weekly view, one week adjacent to a lined page for notes. Sturdy cover, rounded corners, ribbon bookmark, elastic band to seal shut, and sewn spine enabling the book to lie flat when open are the hallmarks of Moleskine’s brand and quality.

No batteries required.

Moleskine’s book products are based on the notebooks that French bookbinders made by hand and distributed to local stationary shops in Paris around the turn of the  20th century.

Herd Cats

Doodle radically simplifies the process of finding a meeting time that works for everyone. The free polling app is elegantly simple and doesn’t require registration from either the initiator or participants. Use it to quickly put your finger on common windows of availability across a group. Register to gain access to additional free features, such as calendar integration and poll tracking. Paid access gets you premium branding and added functionality.