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Promotional ideas with Pads and Padding Press from DTG Magazine

What's a little padding between friends?

by Fred Showker

Padding press scratch padsA number of years ago I ran this promotion for Showker Graphic Arts, and it became so popular people would ask for the latest set of pads. It was so easy it was almost embarrassing, but these tiny scratch pads were really useful and everyone loved them.

The key to success is identifying your end user, and then select famous quotations that may fit their frame of mind, along with your services. Here's how I'm doing it. And, as an added bonus, I'm including the whole kit for you to download and use for yourself if you like. All you have to do is add your branding.

A simple promo plan

I started with a simple 8.5 x 11 sheet and divided it into eight even blocks, each 2.75 wide, by 4.25 high. That's my pad size. I set them up with the message or "quote" at the outside edge, with my branding along the center cut line. That way I can pad them all at the same time, then cut them apart into individual pads in bulk.

Pad layout template in illustrator

Since I like to have everything nice and neat -- and to save my Illustrator or Photoshop template for another day, I set up the grid in blue-line, including the cut lines and center lines. From this diagram, you can see it will be easy to use again and again. Notice in the layers palette, I've put the "instructions" on one layer, the "guides" on another, and then my printing material on a layer by themselves. This allows me to turn on or off the layer I need. I know it's not essential, but I like to build all the guides as objects, like dotted lines, rather than using Illustrator or Photoshop's built in guides. This extra step gives me a blue-line grid like one might see for litho jobs. I set up the boxes and paths, colorize them, and then convert those objects to guides.

Here is my layout ready to print. I've included this along with other support files in the downloadable package.

Now, it will be a simple matter to slip-sheet the stack of printed sheets with a piece of chip board. Using a "spoon" I can pull about 20 sheets between each piece of chip. (You can also use dividers, or a simple kitchen fork!) Next, I'll put them into the "Padding Magic" padding press, paint them up, and take by the Quick-Kopy to have them sliced apart. Once the pads are separated, I'll stack one each of four different "different" designs into a stack, and wrap them up!

These pads are so small they wrap easily in an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper, so I can pick up some brightly colored bond as my wrapping paper. I'll top it all off with a round, gold foil label, laser printed with my logo. Makes a sweet little package.

Variatons on a theme

You may not want all the sheets in your pad to have the same saying or quotation. In that case you would put the SAME quote in all 8 positions on the sheet, and do several sheets -- each with a different saying. Here's where it gets complicated.

Let's say you have four quotations. You print the quantity of each quotation sheet for the job. Now they have to be collated? into sets of sheets, separated by chip sheets. Some of the quick-print shops will have a collater and can collate up to 20 sheets at a time. If it's a big project, you would want to automate this step. But the results could be pretty neat, since each sheet in the pad will greet the user with a new quote.

Tips for messages

The key to producing a pad which will actually be used and liked is to keep your content small, and blank writing area LARGE. No one likes pads where 80% of the sheet is taken up by the sender's propaganda. I usually throw those away. The other tip is to keep your images or slogans light and positive. Don't use anything that will not be lively to the reader.

In the sheet I'm including in the holiday package, you'll get my favorite quotes from two of my favorite historic figures:

From Thomas Jefferson

From Benjamin Franklin

A little vision, and a little creativity -- along with a simple padding press and you can make lots of fun and meaningful promotional gifts for pennies.

Now, let's take a look at a wonderful new, low-cost, padding press from inventor Hugh M. Lyman, Jr. This one is so well designed, Hugh has a Patent pending on the design!

Hugh M. Lyman's Magic Press
Or, read more, including making your own padding press


Thanks for reading

Fred Showker

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