The Brain Storm

March 24, 2017

The Colors of Spring

Each fall, Pantone releases their top 10 colors for the coming spring based on the color trends at New York Fashion Week. Now that spring is in full swing, take a look at the top colors of the season!

Greenery (Pantone 15-0343) - Pantone's 2017 Color of the Year is a lush green taken straight from nature.

Niagara (Pantone 17-4123) - The name evokes thoughts of water, which is perfect for this blue shade.

Primrose Yellow (Pantone 13-0755) - A warm, bright hue reminiscent of a sunny day.

Lapis Blue (Pantone 19-4045) - While blue is always a popular color, this shade is a richer, darker color than the first blue in the list.

Flame (Pantone 17-1462) - A bright, fiery orange that is perfect for warmer seasons.

Island Paradise (Pantone 14-4620) - Another blue on the list, but this one is a lighter shade reminiscent of the sky on a sunny spring day.

Pale Dogwood (Pantone 13-1404) - This light pink shade reminds us of Rose Quartz, one of Pantone's 2016 Colors of the Year.

Pink Yarrow (Pantone 17-2034) - Named after a hue of the yarrow flower, this is a bright bold color.

Kale (Pantone 18-0107) - This green shade is named after the leafy green vegetable that the color resembles.

Hazelnut (Pantone 14-1315) - One of the few neutral shades on this list, Hazelnut is a toned down, light brown/tan shade.

Do any of Pantone's top spring colors go with your branding? Which is your favorite color for spring?

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March 16, 2017

Product Spotlight: Pitchfix Deluxe

Despite the recent snow here in Chicago, we know spring is just around the corner and it's the perfect time to start planning your spring and summer promotions. Last spring, we gave you an overview of our favorite golf promotions, and one of the products we mentioned was the Pitchfix Deluxe. This is a fantastic high end client gift, and a tool that every golfer will love. The set comes complete with a pro shop quality quick release divot tool and a set of three magnetic ball markers that attach to the divot tool. With the Pitchfix Deluxe, the tools are housed inside a sturdy metal gift canister, which can be branded with your logo in a dome label. Other packaging options are also available depending on the price point you want. Take a closer look at the Pitchfix Deluxe in our video below.

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March 2, 2017

Product Spotlight: Travel Chargers

Some of the biggest sellers in the promotional products industry are tech accessories, such as phone chargers and battery banks. Today we're taking a closer look at two new dual use chargers that we really love. Check out our videos and let us know what you think of these new products.

The C300 is one of our new favorite items, because it doubles as a battery bank. We're a fan of most 2-in-1 products, and this is no exception. The dual functions make it perfect for traveling when packing space is tight. You can plug it into the wall to charge your phone, or simply use it as a portable battery bank when it's fully charged. We think it's genius!

The RK1000 is another great dual use charger that is ideal for travel. Instead of carrying your wall charger and your car charger, you can get both functions with the RK1000. The large imprint area is also a nice touch for promoting your brand; this would be a great trade show giveaway.

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February 14, 2017

Product Spotlight: Dye Sublimated Embroidery

New dye sublimated embroidery techniques allow for amazing eye catching detail. Using dye sublimated ink jet printing technology, we can create unique and highly detailed designs that traditional embroidery can't replicate. With this technique, you still maintain the high-end look that embroidery provides while allowing high resolution details to stand out. Take a look at our video below to see an example of this new and innovative embroidery style.

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February 9, 2017

Product Spotlight: Custom USB Drives

In the world of promotional products, USB drives have a long history. They are simple, yet effective. Because they are rarely discarded, your brand message lives on long after your client or prospect receives the flash drive. Even though USB drives are nothing new, manufacturers keep finding ways to upgrade or reinvent the flash drive. In the first video below, we show off some of our favorite unique designs. With everything from stock designs to fully custom mobile memory sticks, the possibilities are as endless as your imagination.

But, the look of USB drives isn't the only thing changing in the world of mobile memory. The latest in flash drive technology is the USB C drive. It's smaller than the traditional USB port, and new mobile technology is using this new C drive with increasing frequency. Since older devices may not support this new technology yet, DBP has a solution that allows USB C drives and traditional USB drives to access the same information using a dual port thumb drive. Check out our second video below for more info on USB C technology!

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January 31, 2017

Prepress: What does that mean?

Prepress is the process of taking your logo or design and making it ready for the printers. DBP Chicago knows that dealing with prepress can be confusing if you aren’t knowledgeable of graphic design terminology. We’ve collected a handful of terms that you should be familiar with when dealing with art files and proofs.

Trim Lines, Safe Area, and Imprint Area
The terms trim lines and safe area refer to areas of the art file. The trim line designates the edge of the page on the final printed piece. The safe area is the designated area for text and images; it is typically smaller than the trim line to accommodate for standard cutting variance. Imprint area typically refers to the area on a promotional product that can be imprinted with your brand message. You will typically see the imprint area designated on proofs, but they do not get printed on the final product.

Mock Ups vs. Proofs
Mock ups and proofs are similar, but not quite the same. A mock up is typically a quick overlay of the imprint design over a low resolution image of the product. It gives you a visual reference to what the final product will look like, but is not an exact representation. A proof is a technical file from the plant. It is ready for print with the imprint area or trim lines denoted on a high resolution product image.

Crops and Bleeds, or Printer’s Marks
Many printers require art files to have crops and bleeds, so it’s important to know what these terms mean.  They are two components that make up the printer’s marks on a final print ready file. Crops is an abbreviation for crop marks, which are the lines that designate where the cutting blades should line up. Bleeds refers to graphics bleeding off the page, or when an image goes all the way to the edge of the paper with no white border. On the print file, the bleed is typically ⅛” and the images should extend over the trim lines by that amount. Different printers may have different requirements for bleeds, depending on the equipment at the plant. Ask your printer for their requirements so your files will be built to proper specifications.

It’s well known that images play an important role in marketing. Sharp marketing needs sharp images to enhance your message. When dealing with graphic files for print, you’ll hear the term resolution thrown around quite a bit. For print, images need to be at least 300 dpi, or dots per inch. Images are comprised of microscopic colored dots called pixels, and all the pixels together form the image visible to us. The more pixels contained in the image, the more detail that will be seen and the more you can enlarge the image before it becomes distorted.

Outlines and Vector Files
Live, editable text
Outlined text
These are terms that you will hear a lot when referring to text and logos. They are important to ensure your final print piece looks exactly as it does on your design file. Vector files’ primary function is to allow for sizing. Much like resolution in an image file, a design in a vector file can be enlarged significantly without distortion. In vector files, the fonts should all be converted to outlines. Many fonts are not universal, and a large number of companies pay to purchase a specific font for their brand. Printers typically do not have special, non-universal fonts. When the prepress department opens your file and they don’t have your font, the computer replaces it with a suggested font and that can change the entire look of the design. Converting the fonts to outlines turns text into a graphic element so the words are no longer read by the computer as text and having the font isn’t necessary to maintain the look of the text. Design software comes equipped with the tools to make this conversion easy.

OMG! So many acronyms when talking about color! These are all color terms that refer to the color mixing within the art file and in printers. CMYK and RGB are formula keys. Each of them contains 3 or 4 primary colors: Red, Blue, Green or Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black (K). Color spectrums in printing are based on formula percentages of each of the primary colors. A file can be CMYK or RGB, but it can’t be both. CMYK is typically preferred by printers, while RGB is best for web or screen views. Another way to identify colors is by using PMS colors, sometimes called spot colors. PMS means Pantone Matching System, and it is a universal color code system. You might see a color specified as PMS 187C. Most brands will designate a PMS color, because it is the most precise way to match a color across a variety of materials and products.


EPS (Encapsulated Postscript) and PDF (Portable Document Format) are file types. For commercial printing, Print Ready PDF files are typically sufficient for printing. They can carry high resolution files in smaller file sizes, so they are easy to email but also easy to convert back into a fully editable file. Not all PDF files are print ready, however, and not all retain their editing capabilities if they are low resolution. Promotional products will sometimes prefer or require an EPS file, which is the file type that contains outlines and vector art. Not all EPS files are vector art, but all vector art should be in EPS files.

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January 19, 2017

Upgrade Your Collateral with Video Brochures

Marketing and sales collateral are a necessity for businesses, but it can be challenging to make your materials distinct and memorable. When deciding how to present your messaging, new technology stands out but print materials are irreplaceable, so which do you choose? DBP has a unique solution that merges classic print collateral with new media technology: video brochures with custom graphics and finishes. A tactile brochure enhances the video viewing experience in a way that can't be replicated with digital media, and the fully customizable print graphics provide a perfect complement to your video message.

If you're looking to elevate your sales and marketing efforts, consider a video brochure from DBP Chicago to enhance your sales and marketing program. They're perfect for product launches or business development, and are sure to leave a lasting impression on your clients and prospects.

Check out our video below to see these impressive brochures in action!

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