Psychology Today Magazine article “It’s Not What You Say—It’s How You Say It!” Includes thirteen top tips for asserting yourself effectively, starting with the tried-and-true communication habits of eye contact and appropriate posture and gestures, to volume and tone. Even without those options, there are many tools we, as printers, can utilize to help our clients move beyond content and maximize their message. Part one of this series focused on color and paper choices, and part two on coating options, both involving the visual and the tactile experience. What’s next? Today let’s focus on the first impression and finishing touch options that make a lasting impression.

Assertive Brand Messaging

The aforementioned Psychology Today article focused on the importance of asserting yourself.  This is true in all communication, including print.

“The only healthy communication style is assertive communication.” – Jim Rohn

The way to demonstrate assertive communication in print is by making a strong first impression. Here are three options:


I recently read an article pointing out, “When we say a person’s name we are telling those who listen how important they are to us.” This is true in print as well. When we “call” out a person’s name, we are indicating connection, importance, and trust. Charismatic and assertive communicators are known to use a person’s name as a great connecting tool, many print projects have this same option. Variable print can be used on short runs for specialized projects, obviously in mailings, and it’s a great tool for meetings of any size as folks get back together and connect over ideas. (Check out this fun link for more variable wins.)

Dimensional Effects:

You knew I’d mention this…how couldn’t I?

Utilizing dimensional UV effect both “pop” at initial glance, and then hold the user as the combination of senses come together to lock in a brand message. Of course, matching the dimensional option alongside the appropriate coating and color choices to maximize a message is key. Adding effects to your piece is important for the power phrase of print: visual disruption. Varnish and/or aqueous coatings can give a subtle effect of matte/gloss with a dry trap or a strike-thru, but the hottest way to make an image pop right now is with dimensional UV effects. A spot gloss can simply emphasize a logo, but better if that gloss is raised and even better if it has an interesting texture. Matte or soft touch lamination with the dimensional UV effects are the most powerful.


Just this morning I read about the correlation between lipstick sales and pending recession numbers. It reminded me how foil stamping effects tend to take an uptick when people fear economic downturns. Why? I’m no economist, but I have opinions. One is that consumers trust prosperity, and the shiny effects of foil “say” prosperity. Plus, matched on dark colors, like the most popular 100# linens often used by law firms, banks, and accountants, the color/texture mix is one of trust and security. Again, impressions brands want to convey during a time of uncertainty.

When working with coated sheets, there are also polyfoil options. Polyfoil is raised without Embossing because the foil is applied over the polymer. This is particularly appealing to those designs that incorporate two-sided print, allowing for a raised effect on the cover without affecting the inside copy. Also, this foil is a digital process, enabling variable capabilities and cost-effective short runs.

Bringing these ideas together:

Consumers today are exposed to several thousand marketing messages a day. Printers and designers need to bring to the table ideas and methods that ensure a client’s brand stands out and remains memorable. Psychology tells us triggering more than one sense is key. I believe humans want the tangible reassurance of print. Capitalize on this moment to reassure with the best stock choice, and impress end users with effects like dimensional UV, variable print, and/or foil.

Finishing Touch

“While adding the finishing touches to a painting might appear insignificant, it is much harder to do than one might suppose.” — Claude Monet

How important those finishing touches are! And, to be honest, may be harder for Monet than for us, because a strong finishing touch pulls together all of the options together to reinforce the company’s brand message. What’s the aim: Memorable? Trustworthy? Cutting-edge? Helpful? Hopeful? So much is said with the senses.

Ideas to emphasize the message.

Memorable: Combine soft touch or matte lamination with dimensional effect or raised poly foil – these create tactile, innovative, and unique messages.

Trustworthy: The strength of the printed piece, via stock weight or added durable finishes and color combinations are key.

Cutting-Edge: Use the most of the available effects, via patterns, screens, and/or contrast.

Helpful: The right tool for the right job, in the folder world this can mean a tab folder for easy reference of estimates or follow-up materials. Or maybe a half-size folder (6×9 or 4×9) for easy carrying and storage of reference materials. For writability consider the finish, like soft touch lamination.

Hopeful: Bright colors, but clean, and often a gloss or semi-gloss finishing.

Lasting Impression

There’s more to every impression than even touched on in these three parts, but I hope they keep you exploring the options and ideas! Want to see these in action? Request your kit full ideas here.

“Anything with your name should leave a lasting impression!” — Marcia Brown