Producing your own calendar for promotional, fund raising and gift purposes

a White Paper by Andrew Hingeley of KainosPrint.com.au

Introduction

A well designed calendar which follows a few basic rules is an  unbeatable promotional or fund raising tool. Your various messages are in front of the calendar user potentially every day of the year.

We have been producing calendars to promote our own businesses, as well as for our customers, for over ten years. As we went around visiting our customers, we were pleasantly surprised to see our calendar being used as the calendar of choice by a great many of our customers. We came to realise there is a formula for producing a calendar that greatly increases the likelihood of it being used as ‘the’ calendar for the year by our customers in preference to other calendars.

Using calendars for promotion and fund raising.

Some of our customers produce very small runs of calendars to give as Christmas gifts. The majority, however, are used by companies for promotional purposes and by community and charitable organizations for fund raising.

If your calendar is a fund raiser, don’t be afraid to charge a healthy price for it! People don’t expect your small run, unique fund raiser to be the same price as mass produced calendars in the newsagent! We have found that people will pay a healthy premium if what they are getting is an interesting and practical quality product.

For your calendar to be used as ‘the’ calendar of preference, you should consider following a few basic rules, which are expanded on below.

Calendar format?

The format of the calendar should not be too big. An A4 calendar is ideal. When it is hanging and in use, it is A3 (297mm wide and 420mm deep). For most people, finding wall or desk space for a larger calendar is too difficult.

Provide comprehensive date information

Calendars should have school holiday information and public holiday information for the whole of Australia, not just the State you live in. Other useful dates should be included, such as religious festivals and the beginning and end of major sporting events such as the World Cup or Olympic Games. We usually include major international dates such as Bastille Day in France and major UK and US public holiday dates. Add a dash of humour by including some bizarre holiday dates. There are a number of web sites to help you obtain the necessary information. http://www.bcl.com.au/school-holidays.htm will give you all Australian school and public holiday dates. http://www.timeanddate.com/ has a large selection of international dates, including phases of the moon. http://www.istc.org/sisp/?fx=event.home will give you access to a vast array of weird and wonderful events worldwide such as the Stuttgart Duck Calling Festival.

Make sure you provide nice big squares to write in!

If you want the calendar to be used throughout the year, make sure there is room for people to write birthdays, appointments and so on. This might make for a slightly boring design and take away the designers freedom to use huge numbers and other design elements, but it virtually guarantees your calendar will be used. Holiday dates therefore can’t be in too big a type size.

We have had our designer prepare the date part of the calendar for you. We have researched all the Australian school and public holiday dates, and included a few humourous events as well. We make this freely available to customers who place calendar orders with us. We will remove or add events for you.

The use of your own photos makes for a unique calendar

One priceless asset of your own calendar is that the photographs will be unique! No ‘canned’ images of Uluru at sunset or the Sydney Opera House! The wonderful collections of superb photographs that keep turning up in calendars we print never ceases to amaze us. So DON’T feel your photographs are no good. The fact that they are unique is their greatest asset. If there is any technical problem we will fix it or give you the necessary advice if we can’t. Most digital cameras these days will shoot an image with more than enough resolution for use in an A4 calendar.

If you don’t have your own photographs, we have a range of photos on our web site you can choose from at http://www.kainosprint.com.au/CalendarPics.shtml. You can have a mixture of your own photos and ours. We make these photos freely available to customers who order calendars from us.

Busy photographs work best.

The person looking at the calendar every day will quickly become bored with a photograph of a tulip or a sea shell with no background. The trick is to provide a photograph that will enable the person looking at the calendar day in day out to keep discovering new things. A tulip taken in a busy flower festival or an Amsterdam market will likely draw the comment ‘I never saw that before’ as the user spots some detail in the busy photo well into the month.

Bleeds or white space around the photos?

Decide whether or not you want photos to print right to the edge (in which case we need bleeds — see http://www.kainosprint.com.au/Bleeds.shtml) or have white (or coloured) space around them, perhaps with a border or a low resolution background image. The image on the example below does NOT have bleeds.

If you don’t want to be constrained by the A4 design

A4 calendars more or less dictate that the image must take up the top page, and the dates the bottom page. If you want the photos to be bigger or smaller than half the calendar, or to be panorama format, you may want to choose an A3 calendar. Dates and photos are printed on the one A3 sheet which is wiro bound at the top with a thumb cut and calendar hanger built into the wiro binding. Our web site pricing is for A3 portrait format. A3 landscape format is dearer as there is more wiro binding involved and we would need to quote this separately. We print A3 calendars on six A3 sheets, plus front and back cover. The internal pages are printed on both sides of the A3 sheet, which is turned over and around each month.

Photo quality

Photos should be at 300 dots per inch (dpi) at the size they are going to be reproduced. Ideally they should be in the CMYK colour space — see http://www.kainosprint.com.au/RGBtoCMYK.shtml.

One problem we often encounter with digital photographs is lack of shadow detail. Any good digital camera will capture loads of shadow detail, but very often the detail has ‘gone missing’ by the time the photo gets to us. The Shadow/Highlight tool in PhotoShop is invaluable for dealing with this problem. The illustration on the right shows how to access this tool.

Using the extra pages in an A4 calendar

When thinking about your calendar, bear in mind that in the case of A4 calendars, you have two or three extra pages to play with. A calendar is a 28 page booklet. There is a four page cover and 24 internal pages. The front cover will normally have a photo and the calendar title. The calendar proper can start on the inside front cover and finish 24 pages later. You have only used 25 of the available 28 pages. A good way to use up the additional pages is to use the inside front cover and the first page of the internal pages to tell the story of your company or your organization and something about how the photographs were taken. The calendar proper would then begin on the second page of the internal pages. This still leaves the back page empty. We use one of two ways of filling up this page. We put 12 thumbnail (slightly bigger actually) images of the photos inside the calendar. Alternatively, in these days when we are so focussed on rainfall, we can put a rainfall chart on the back cover to be filled in throughout the year.

KainosPrint makes it easy for you to produce a quality calendar

We are very flexible with our calendars. We provide a considerable amount of space at the top of the dates page for captions, logos and promotional messages. You could, for instance, include the logos of advertisers and sponsors in this space. You could highlight a different feature of your company or a different product each month. We will put all this in place for you under your instructions if you use our calendar design.

If you have the time, by all means do all the work yourself. If you don’t have the time, then let us do the work for you. Supply the photographs (you can upload them when you place your order), making it clear which photo is for what month and clearly identifying the cover photo. Provide the captions in an email or a Microsoft Word document, and provide any logos or other information (including additional date information) you want us include. Give us clear instructions.

We will put the calendar together using our date template and send you a PDF proof so you can check that we have followed your instructions. When we have it right we can send you a hard copy proof (extra cost), or proceed to printing.

Because we print digitally for smaller quantities (up to 1500 copies) or offset for larger quantities, we offer calendars in virtually any quantity from ten to tens of thousands.

About the author

Andrew Hingeley has been involved in bookselling, printing and publishing for most of his adult life. Andrew lives in Canberra, and came to Canberra in 1986 as Director of Lay Education at St Mark’s Library, part of the Anglican Church. His work involved choosing topics, finding authors, then editing, printing, publishing and promoting lay education courses for use in the wider church.

Before moving to Canberra, Andrew was involved in bookselling for over fifteen years, opening and managing a number of large bookshops for national chains in Melbourne and Geelong.

After leaving St Mark’s, he started a typesetting company, Trendsetting Pty Ltd of which he was a director for fifteen years. The company grew to become one of Australia’s leading digital printing companies.

He left in 2005 to form, with other family members, KainosPrint.com.au, a dedicated online printing company.

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