Holiday season is in full swing, but the life of a printing house is governed by its own rules and we are already thinking about the end of the year. This is due to an increased number of orders for calendars, organizers, diaries and planners for next year. If you want your calendar to last the whole year (as opposed to just the first three weeks of January like most New Year’s resolutions), we have a couple of useful tips. As usual, we will focus on what we know best – book calendars.
The first question to do with calendars and all things calendar-like should be: is it worth printing them when everyone has access to smartphones? In theory, this is a matter for deliberation. However, experience tells us something else. As far as efficient time management is considered, a statistical Pole can’t cope without something that comes in the traditional paper format. We know companies and institutions that pick up their calendars from the printing house as early as August, and all that is left at the beginning of November is a secret stash kept at the office for the hard times.
A calendar is a great marketing tool. For is there a simpler way for our logo to accompany clients throughout the year than presenting them with our company calendar? Especially that it is a highly practical and useful gadget. Which incidentally means that it is also a good idea for a gift, particularly a Christmas one. If we want to convey a personal message and warm someone’s heart, we can customize it. More about it further on.
Is summer the best time to print calendar?
The second question asked by a lot of people is: why start thinking about calendar printing as early as the summer when there is still plenty of time left before the end of the year? But the end of the year tends to be somewhat frantic, so a sensible investor deals with the printing in the silly season when the deadline is still only a distant prospect. And as a result we can rest assured that a carefully designed and high-quality product will find its way to our clients. Leaving the printing to the last minute may result in a product that is a combination of compromises and ready-made solutions. What else is there left to do when, for instance, the desired colour of hot-stamping foil is unavailable and we have to use the one at hand?
What type of binding is best?
Thread sewn and spiral bound hardcovers are the best. Both types are easy to open, which is a key feature in publications designed for making notes. The various advantages of spiral bound covers are discussed here.
Thread sewn hardcovers are a better solution if we want our calendar to look more elegant.
This type of cover gives us the option to use a bookmark to mark our pages. If we want to seduce our clients with an additional convenient solution, we can invest in a matching elastic band for closing and a pen holder.
To be clear – it’s not that printing a softcover calendar is ruled out or considered to be a faux pas. It’s just that hardcovers are more durable and resistant to external factors. If we want our diary to look as good in December as in January, we suggest choosing a hardcover. If, however, the priority is to minimize the weight, there is nothing wrong with going for a softcover. When we want to create a miniature, pocket-size calendar, we can even use a saddle stitched softcover. It all depends on our needs and priorities.
And what about enhancements? It is worth using them, because they are the simplest way to make our publication more attractive. And while they increase the price, there are significant gains there. Which enhancements should we choose? Similarly as in the case of the cover, the choice is yours, but some choices are more reasonable than others. If our calendars are to be carried around in briefcases, backpacks and survive transport in a ladies handbag without damage, it would be a good idea to invest in foil lamination – to expand their lifespan. However, we do not recommend matte foils for this particular purpose. If you want to achieve the matte effect, use anti-scratch matte foil as it is more resistant to scratches. When it comes to hot-stamping, selective varnishes and embossing, everything depends on your preferences and imagination.
What about the inside?
With the cover dealt with, let’s focus on the inside. The choice of paper is as important as the choice of cover. Users will not be happy or prepared to forgive us if they find it difficult to put their thoughts down in writing – even in the most beautifully designed calendar. Let’s avoid coated paper – pencil writing is difficult to read and pens can smear. It would also be nice if the paper was not too transparent. Writing on a sheet with text and graphics visible on the other side is not very pleasant. In addition, our notes can simply become illegible. On the other hand, let’s not go too far with the grammage – above all, a calendar should be handy, and excessive weight is not good.
If not a traditional calendar, then what?
More and more often we replace traditional calendars with planners, with dates to be filled in by us – this is a practical, cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution. Not all of us plan our days from dawn to dusk. Usually, a calendar is a reminder where we write down our dentist appointments, school meetings and scheduled car maintenance. With the zero waste trend at top gear, you may feel an unpleasant pang in the stomach at the thought of all the waste from your last year’s diary with just a few pages filled. A planner enables us to avoid this wastage, because we fill in the dates by ourselves. It is worth noting that a planner will serve us much longer than just one calendar year. Choose the most durable materials and solutions to last you several years of intensive use.
Every year, we see growing interest in dedicated planners. While some time ago a wedding planner was a curiosity, currently we have planners for virtually every profession and social group. Paradoxically, narrowing the target group can make the audience more willing to use our product. At the end of the day, we are offering them something akin to a professional tool, standing out from the general-purpose calendars offered by the competition. As mentioned earlier, if you want to give someone a calendar, the best way to show them we know them well and recognize their needs is to present them with a personalized planner. A tailor-made one fits the needs of its user. While the end-of-school-semester dates may be of interest to teachers, they are not necessarily relevant to future moms. A hairdresser will need an hourly schedule to enter the dates and exact times for client visits. An architect cannot do without some space for sketching. Someone wishing to lose weight could use a few sheets to count the calories consumed and burned. It is a real challenge for the graphic designer to create a perfect calendar. And the success of the publication to be designed depends largely on the designer being able to understand the needs of the target group.
As you can see, there are plenty of options when designing calendars. We are only limited by our imagination and deadlines. Remember then to make a note in your next year’s calendar that in the summer – sometime in between sunbathing and dipping your feet in the lake – prepared files have to be sent to the printing house. For as far as plans are concerned, it is impossible to plan everything, even with the best planner in the world at hand.