Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Very Wordy Wednesday:
How to Get Your PaperStyle Products Looking Their Best

If you’ve never bought invitations or announcements online before, it may seem like a painstaking process. You have to figure out how to use the personalization technology, then come to terms with the fact that your order is in someone else's hands until it arrives on your doorstep. At PaperStyle, we try to make the process as easy as possible for our customers. Not only can you personalize your invitation exactly as you’d like it, but you can also request a secondary proof to see what improvements our TypeStylists have made. If our TypeStylists catch an issue with your order, such as an incorrect date, spelling discrepancy, or missing information, we try to be as proactive as possible by contacting you right away. We want our customers to be sure that their end product is exactly what they wanted, beautiful and personal.

With that said, there are certainly a few things that you can do as a customer to help us make sure that your product looks great.

This is perhaps the most important section of this blog post. PaperStyle offers a wonderful selection of photo cards (though we're a bit biased, aren't we), but in order for that card to look its very best, the photo should be equally as wonderful. It’s particularly important that your photo is of good quality. Our TypeStylists have the technology to edit your photo to an extent, but in order for the photo to print well on your card, it needs to be a good photo to begin with. Here’s what we mean:

When providing us with a photo, check for pixel measurement and resolution (often referred to as dpi [dots per inch] or ppi [pixels per inch]). The difference between the two is that ppi measures the pixel resolution of your photo on either your camera or computer screen; dpi refers to the resolution of your printed image. A photo with a minimum resolution of 300 ppi or dpi will print very well, given that the measurement of your photo directly relates to the size of the photo on the invite. If the space provided is a small square, your photo should have a high resolution, but doesn’t need to be large. However, if your photo fits into half or all of the design, your photo will print best if it’s large and has a high resolution. Submitting a picture with a lower resolution means that your photo will potentially be unclear at the time of printing.

If you have a PC, viewing the properties of a picture is pretty straightforward. Right-click on the photo or file and a menu box will pop up. Click on the "Properties" option and another box will pop up listing the image properties of your photo. The image above is 4608px by 3072px at 300 dpi. That's a pretty big image. This image could be printed at a very large size and it would still be clear. 

It’s also important to note that if you’re scanning a photo, most scanners allow you to choose your ppi when you scan and store your file. 300 captures more detail of the scanned image, so if you have the option to store your file at that resolution, do it. Also, when you scan your picture(s), please be sure to save them as .jpegs. Sending us a file saved in a PDF format isn't something we can use and will most likely delay the shipment of your order. Though this may seem like a lot of information, we highly encourage you to scan your photos, rather than taking a picture of a picture. Chances are, that photo will be distorted and discolored.

It's important to understand that the orientation of your photo should match the orientation of the photo space on your card. Adding portrait-oriented pictures into landscape-oriented spaces will leave empty space on the sides of your photo; doing the reverse will cut off much of your picture.

On that same note, be careful with cropped photos. Cropping reduces the size of your photo, which means that even a high resolution photo could be unclear if it’s too small for the space on your invitation/announcement. It’s better to send or insert the whole photo into the photo space, then leave a note for a TypeStylist in the "special instructions box" on the personalization page to crop how you’d like it. If it’s possible, our TypeStylists or PaperStylists will be more than happy to help you out.

When it comes to the wording of your invitation, announcement, thank you note, etc., the biggest piece of advice that we can give you is to double, triple, even quadruple-check your order before submitting. A good way to be sure that you have all your pertinent information on your card is to have a checklist. Do you have...
  • Date
  • Time
  • Place
  • Rsvp (date to RSVP by & necessary contact info, such as phone number or email address)
  • Extra requests: proper attire, parking information, early arrival time for surprise parties, host or cash bars, etc.

We review every invitation and try very hard to catch any errors before your order leaves our facility, however, some things may slip by. Our TypeStylists and Quality Control team members check for grammar, spelling and spacing errors, but by ensuring that everything on your invitation is correct before you submit your order to us, there is less room for us to interpret something incorrectly. For example, we often receive invitation orders with no RSVP information on them. It’s difficult for us to interpret whether you purposely omitted the RSVP info, or simply forgot to include it.

The spacing of your invitation shouldn't be something you worry too much about. Our TypeStylists are here to help ensure that your product is going to look beautiful. However, we have seen plenty of TypeStylist notes in the "special instructions" box about customers having difficulty adding new text lines to their invitation. So, here's a (hopefully) helpful visual to show you how to add extra lines to your invitation, should you need them:

As you can see, there is an "Add Line" option in the toolbar that will appear above your item
on the personalization page. Clicking that option will create a new, empty line in the center of the design
that you can fill with your desired text, then move to the appropriate space using your mouse
or the arrow keys on the left-side toolbar.

If you still find yourself struggling to get it to look the way you want it to, feel free to leave a note in the "special instructions" box.

Now, that was pretty painless, right? Lots of reading, we know, but it's good for you, like eating your vegetables. We like to think that with this handy-dandy little blog post, you're well on your way to becoming a pro at ordering online invitations (from PaperStyle, obviously...).

As always, we want our customers to know that we are always available to assist you with your order, whatever the issue might be. We work very hard to ensure your complete satisfaction with your products.

Like all the info you've gotten from this post? Be sure to check out our (frequently updated) Invitation Resource Board on Pinterest, for all sorts of tips, tricks, and articles to help you out.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

All the Cool Kids Are Writing Thank You Notes

Growing up, my mother always insisted that my brother and I write thank you notes. Every year, about a week after any holiday for which someone had sent us gifts or money, she'd whip out the stationery and my brother and I would have to stifle our groans of dread. We'd be spending the next hour or so (although it felt much, much longer) inside, carefully penning out our sincerest thanks. Even in college, whenever I came home for the weekend, she'd hand me a stack of notecards and I would dutifully take up residence at the kitchen table. It wasn't until recently that I realized that writing thank you notes no longer felt like a chore. As a teenager, pretty much everything seemed more important than expressing gratitude. That sounds bad, but what I mean is that, in some strange way, I just assumed that everyone knew that I was grateful.

Then I moved across the country. Since I've moved, my friends and I have determined that we rather enjoy getting mail, so birthdays and holidays have come to mean birthday cards and Christmas presents. And even though my friends I speak on a regular basis, I always send thank you cards. It's important to me, as a way to show my gratitude, as well as a way to brighten their day with a piece of mail with their name on it.

So, I really must thank my mother, because the reality is:

nothing shows your appreciation quite like a handwritten thank you note.

If you still don't believe me, here are some other people who agree:

"Let’s face it—we live in a digital world where people communicate in 140-characters or less and are constantly emailing and texting. The stream for communication is non-stop and instant, which is why discovering a hand-written note in your mailbox is such a refreshing surprise."
-Lauren Conrad (LC knows what's up.)

"Just like my mom had taught me, these notes don’t have to be a elaborate. All they require is genuine appreciation, letting the people in your life know that the small things they do make a big difference."
-Carlyann, Lovelyish

"...focus on one true, meaningful sentence about the gift or the person. The notes don't have to be long... sometimes limiting yourself to just a few sentences forces you to distill your sentiments."
-NPR Staff, NPR

That's truly the beautiful thing about thank you notes. They don't need to be elaborate or even eloquent. They just need to be sincere. The fact that you're writing one at all says quite a bit. In this digital age, we lose bits and pieces of our personal relationships to technology all the time. Hearing the sound of someone's voice has been replaced by the dinging of a text tone and the primary contents of my mailbox are annoying credit card applications. There's nothing better than getting a piece of mail from someone I actually know, seeing my name in their handwriting. We really should bring that back. It's the cool thing to do.

That's why we're putting our designer stationery on sale. Take 15% off our entire selection of Crane, William Arthur, Embossed Graphics and Kids Stationery until 6/3/13. Use code PS15WRITE at checkout and bring back the power of real mail.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tuesday Team Pick: Kim!

We're finally getting to enjoy some nice weather here in Georgia, so we thought this week's Tuesday Team Pick is particularly appropriate! (There's really nothing better than good ol' southern BBQ, anyhow.)

This week was our PaperStylist Manager, Kim's turn to pick one of her favorite invitations from our website and she chose our BBQ Decor Party Invitations, an Autumn Ray Design. We love all the imagery on this invite, from the oven mitts to the pig silhouettes. Nothing says barbeque like a pig.

So, if you're planning a big cook-out sometime this summer, you know where you can find some really great invitations. Also, our address is 11390 Old Roswell Rd., Alpharetta, GA 30009, if you'd like to send one of those invites our way. We promise we won't eat all your barbeque.

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day from PaperStyle!

Where would we be without our mamas? In honor of Mother's Day, we're celebrating motherhood here on The PaperStyle Blog. We're celebrating our mothers and some of us are celebrating being mothers, too.

(Essentially, we're saying we want you to meet our moms. We know it's a big step, but we think it'll be ok.)

PaperStylist Karen with her daughter, Margaret, a junior at Liberty University.

A little Andrew, our Director of Content Management, on the left, with his mom, sister & cousin circa 1987.

Andrea, Web Support, with her daughters Laura & Cara, who works in the Shipping department.

PaperStylist Carla, with her daughter Cerae.

David, our Vice President of Marketing, with his mom!

Aimee, our Quality Control & Social Media Coordinator, on the right, with her mother, Kim, our PaperStylist Manager, and her mother, Barbara.

Terri, our Merchandising Manager, with her son, Christopher.

So now you've met our moms. We knew they would like you.
Happy Mother's Day, y'all!