Answer to: A “Why” Puzzle

Thanks for visiting our site for the answer. Our site recently underwent a little bit of a make-over, so feel free to look around!

So: why are there braille pads on the drive-up ATM?

Part of the answer has to do with law: all ATMs have to be handicap accessible. And though the legal issues here are interesting, the real reason has more to do with economies of scale.

There are thousands of ATMs across the country, and probably close to a million buttons. It is cheaper to produce one million of one kind of button set than it is to produce half a million of one set and half a million of another.

The general idea is this: starting to do something new takes time and money. When producing anything, from toasters to tea-cups, much of the cost associated with the item comes from things like design costs, set-up costs, and quality control. So, every time a change is made in a process, the change costs money. Fewer changes, less money wasted.

This is why Johnson & Johnson can make a killing selling band-aides with a 1% margin. They manufacture truck-loads of band-aides every month, keeping their cost per band-aid way down. But, by producing so many band-aides, they can still make enough profit to pay their marketing team and foot the bill for a trip to Bermuda.

But the most obvious place where we see economies of scale is in the print industry. Printing (especially offset printing) has a lot of set-up costs involved: pre-press time, plates that need to be burned, waste paper and ink used for color matching, etc. Though these costs can be quite hefty, they remain the same whether you order 100 pieces or 1000 pieces. Thus, these set-up costs get “spread out” more thinly when you order a larger quantity.

This might seem like a bit of a “Sam’s Club” mentality, but it works– things become cheaper at a larger scale. No think: where can your business or organization “super size” to save money?

We can’t answer this question for you, but we can help with super-sizing your print. Just for reading this answer, we will give you an extra 10% off your next print project with us– just ask about “super sizing” your project.

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A “Why” Puzzle

Rover has been spending quite some time hanging out with two-year-old children this past month, and one question they always love to ask is: “Why?”

This has prompted Rover to research some “why” questions of his own. See if you can answer the following questions:

1) Why are there braille buttons on drive-up ATMs?

2) Why does Johnson & Johnson continue to sell band aids when there is only a 1% profit margin?

3) Why does doubling an offset print order only bring up the cost a bit, rather than doubling it?

Believe it or not, the answers to these three questions are all related…

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Answer to: A Location Puzzle

For looking up the answer to this month’s puzzle, Rover is offering you a 10% discount on your next print order through Rover Graphics. Simply mention the “Location Puzzle” when you order. (Must be placed at time of order; Maximum discount of $200; Offer good through 8/31/2009).

Now, on to the answers:

1. (E) Russia.  The Eastern-most point of Russia is close to the Western-most point of Alaska, which is a US state.

2. Canada (if you don’t beleive Rover, check a map!)

3. Maine.

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A Location Puzzle

1) Which of the following countries is closest, geographically, to the United States?

A. Cuba
B. Haiti
C. Nicaragua
D. The Vatican
E. Russia

2)  If you were to start in Lansing, Michigan and fly due South, what is the first foreign country that you would fly over?

There is only one state in the US that borders one, and only one, other state.  What is the name of this lonely state?

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Answer to: A Quotable Puzzle

The following quote is *not* attributable to Ben Franklin:

#3: “We must learn to live together as brothers or we are going to perish together as fools.”

This was actually said by Martin Luther King, Jr.

But, whether or not you got our puzzle right, you have received a 10% discount on your next print order through Rover Graphics. Simply mention the “Quotable Puzzle” when you order. (Must be placed at time of order; Maximum discount of $200; Offer good through 7/31/2009).

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A Quotable Puzzle

Benjamin Franklin, born January 17th, 1706, was many things: inventor, writer, philanthropist, founder father. But old Ben had his humble beginnings working in a print shop– a position that taught him the importance of communication.

Perhaps the first “Great Communicator”, Franklin was known for his pithy wit and wisdom. Following are four famous quotes… but only three of them are things that Franklin actually said. Can you guess which one did *not* come from Franklin’s pen?

#1: “Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.”

#2: “If you would persuade, you must appeal to interest rather than intellect.”

#3: “We must learn to live together as brothers or we are going to perish together as fools.”

#4: “Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”

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Pixilated Photos

Computer screens and office printers have a different resolution than presses do. Thus, artwork that look great on your screen or from your printer can look pixilated in the final product.

To avoid this, make sure that:

  • Your artwork files are at least 300 dpi minimum
  • An photos or images you use are at least 300 dpi at their print size

If you are unsure about the quality of your images, we would be happy to check them for you before the print process begins.

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Close Registration

You don’t often see colored text on colored backgrounds in non-four-color offset print pieces, and there is a reason why.  An offset press runs a separate “pass” for each color used on a piece, and ink runs into the paper with each pass.  If you try to print small, text or line art inside a colored area, ink can seep and cause the colors to overlap.  A similar thing can happen if there are two large areas of color next to each other with no border or space (trapping).

In general, it is best to avoid print pieces with close registration (your printer or print broker can help you with this).  But, if your design is firm, there are some ways to avoid problems with registration:

  • Consider running your piece digitally instead of offset. Digital presses can do close registration pieces with no problem.
  • If there are areas where colors touch, try putting in a black border that overlaps the two areas slightly. The black border will hide any misregistration.
  • If you have text over a colored area, try to keep the text white/stock color (also called “reverse out”) or black. Black is forgiving, and reverse-out requires no ink.
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“Cracked” Folds

Thick paper does not fold as easily as thin paper. When thicker paper—cover stock, for example—gets folded, the fibers in the paper bend and snap. On most paper, this bending and snapping is not noticeable… unless there is printing along the fold. When printing is on the fold, white colored “cracks” can appear. This is especially noticeable with dark ink (such as black).

To prevent cracking, we suggest the following:

  • Try to design pieces so that there is no ink or color along where the fold goes.
  • If you are using heavy stock, and there is ink or color on the fold, have your pieces scored. Scoring helps keep the fold neat.
  • If you are having problems with cracking on a heavy stock, consider using a lighter stock.
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offsettingOffset printing puts wet ink on paper, which is then allowed to dry before cutting and finishing.  But even totally “dry” ink can rub off, given enough friction. This problem is called “offsetting”, and it can create smudges on other print projects.

Offsetting is more likely to occur when:

  • There are larger areas of “heavy” coverage (i.e., lots of ink on the paper)
  • Printed pieces are packed together tightly (the weight of the pieces causes friction, which makes the offsetting occur)
  • Weight is put on printed pieces
  • Printed pieces are being mailed

You can do a simply demonstration to see offsetting yourself: take a printed piece with a large area of ink (blue or green show up best). Then rub the piece vigorously, with pressure, on a piece of white paper. Unless the printed piece was coated, a small amount of ink will smudge on the white paper.

Although offsetting is most noticeable with dark, vibrant colors (think rich blues and greens), it can happen with any color ink.

There are several things you can do to avoid offsetting:

  • Allow ink time to dry—appropriate drying might add an additional day to your turn-around time.
  • If your printed piece has large areas of color (which require a lot of ink), consider getting an aqueous coating or varnish on your piece. This costs a little more, but preserving the quality of your piece is often worth it.
  • If you are going to ship large quantities of printed pieces, ask to have them “slip sheeted” (i.e., put blank scrap paper between pieces). This won’t prevent offsetting, but at least the ink will rub off on the scrap paper, instead of your pieces.
  • Also consider having pieces shrink-wrapped for shipping.
  • Avoid large areas of white on the front and backs of printed pieces (light colors make offsetting more noticeable).
  • Get extras! If a few pieces are ruined by offsetting, it is a good idea to have back-ups.

Remember, offsetting can occur on any offset piece, regardless of how much time the piece has had to dry. A coating is the best way to prevent this problem.

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