Essential Printing: Ideas for Communication that Connects

Essential Printing: Ideas for Communication that Connects

In today’s “new normal,” there are indeed online printing projects essential for the safety and well-being of our society. But there’s also a heart-felt, more creative side to essential printing that reminds us we’re all in this together. We’re connecting with customers on a more personal level and finding new ways to reach friends and family from afar.

As an online printer, Smartpress has seen the best from both worlds, and we’ve compiled some of our favorites to share. We hope these ideas and stories inspire you as much as they did us… how we can design, guide, support and encourage amidst these times that are a’changin’.

Essential printing flyers printed with a red and white design and safety information in black.

#120 Coated Matte White Cover with Soft Touch Coating on Both Sides, 4 x 6″

Postcards, A Client Connection

William Gunter, Creative Director for Creed Interactive, leveraged Postcards to connect with his clients. “Our goal for this project was to build a set of ‘shelter-in-place’ kits that we could mail to our top clients as a nice surprise. We wanted to send out something to hopefully break up their day and give them a smile.

“With the way things are right now, we can all use a smile or a surprise to shake things up. In the kits we included chocolates, coffee, a Creed coffee mug and a handmade face mask (all locally-sourced), but we knew we also wanted to send a nice note to explain the kits and connect with our clients. That’s where the postcards came in. [They] turned out amazing and the response we received from our clients was overwhelmingly positive.”


Custom signs for a bathroom printed in black and white with funny sayings like Toilet Trivia and Look Before Your Leave.

A gloved hand holding safety signage printed with Don't Be Gross Wash Your Hands in black and white.

Clear Acrylic Signs with Second Surface (front) White Ink Printing and 1/4″ Drill Holes

Clear Acrylic Signs,
Necessity Meets Humor

Dayna Reilly, owner/designer of Reilly Originals, uses Clear Acrylic Signs to communicate key safety messages in a fun, free-spirited way. “I love adding some fun and humor to otherwise generic messaging and signage. As a creative, I’ve always had a difficult time finding existing signage that I would want to display in my own home and office.

“My goal for this campaign was to add some light humor to a serious hygiene message, while keeping aesthetics and decor in mind. The signs are used for giveaways to spread awareness (I’ve been including a free ‘proper hand-washing’ sign with most orders), as well as for online retail.”

“I’m beyond ecstatic with the finished products I receive from Smartpress. I have worked with many print shops over the last few years and Smartpress has hands-down produced the best quality prints with the fastest turnaround. To say [their] customer service is outstanding would be an understatement.

“Reliable relationships are indispensable for a small business. I am so happy to have partnered with such a great company who not only provides an amazing product, but also real-life amazing humans to communicate with through the process.”


A custom printed book with The Germ on the front overlapping another book laying open to colorful illustrations.

120# Coated Matte White Cover, 100# Coated Matte White Cover Interior Pages, Flat Matte U/V Coating on Cover, 8 x 8″

Two hands wearing surgical gloves holding a custom book with The Germ on the cover and a green background.

Saddle Stitch Booklets, Educational Altruism

Copywriter Emily Lee and graphic designer Alycia Jones created a Children’s Book that literally provides young readers a rhyme with a reason for social distancing, with all profits going to COVID-19 relief efforts in their community – talk about essential printing.

“We are just two people who wanted to make a difference and raise money for charity,” said Lee. “[Smartpress] kept all deadlines and the project moved forward as planned. It even arrived a day earlier than expected! The quality of the books themselves was awesome, and I was pleased by how thick the pages were. The color of the illustrations was calibrated quite well, so the saturation and hues looked true to the screen and vibrant.”

A graduation yard sign with PLHS Senior 2020 and In This Together in a black and yellow design.

Corrugated Plastic with 10 x 15″ H Stake, 24 x 18″

Yard Signs, Community Support

While Bluewater uses Smartpress for its easy project execution and competitive pricing, founder and COO Christine Kropp collaborated with her colleague Brian Sheeley to create a Yard Sign for personal use. “My daughter is a senior and graduating high school this year. Because of COVID-19, the seniors have many things they are going to miss out on: the spring athletic season, prom, saying goodbye to teachers, saying goodbye to friends, potentially a different graduation ceremony, senior party, etc.

“We all feel sad and are literally grieving. This was a way to honor our graduating seniors in our community. So I personally had the sign created and put it out there for parents to order. Any profits are donated to the senior party committee to do something to help celebrate our seniors.”


Two gloved hands holding custom business cards printed with health and safety information.

A gloved hand holding a custom business card printed with health and safety information.

120# Coated Matte White Cover with Soft Touch Coating on 1 Side, 2 x 3.5″

Business Cards, Tips
& Tricks in a Kit

The Austin Company‘s Creative Marketing Manager Brittany Scheckelhoff has been using Smartpress as her online printer for years, both personally and professionally. She keeps coming back because “the quality is excellent and customer service is detailed, very thorough and knowledgeable.”

For a special essential printing project at her company, Scheckelhoff took a unique spin on business card printing. “This card fits in a wallet and provides helpful tips on one side and a place for medical information to be shared in case of an emergency on the other. [It’s] part of a Welcome Back to the Office Tool Kit that includes a personal hand sanitizer, electronic screen wipes, lip balm and tissues.”

Custom greeting cards lined up in rows with bright colors and quarantine puns and sayings on the front.

©2020 Nicole Bittner

Two hands wearing surgical gloves holding a custom greeting card and envelope with Quaranscream on the front.

120# Uncoated Smooth White Cover with 5 Versions, Matching A2 Envelopes, Folded in half to 5.5 x 4.25″

Greeting Cards, Personal Correspondence

With COVID-19 changing the business landscape, ideas considered passion projects are transforming into profits. Freelance graphic designer Nicole Bittner experienced this first-hand with her ever-relevant Greeting Cards. “Talking with friends about the whole quarantine thing sparked an idea for a set of cards, so I designed them and took a poll to see if people would be interested in buying them. The response was overwhelming and I knew I needed to get them made.”


And with Bittner’s freelance business being hit by the economy, time was of the essence. “Smartpress was able to get these cards printed and sent to me without losing quality during this crazy unpredictable time. They looked and felt great. I’m getting a lot of positive feedback. People really love the cards and the idea of sending mail to friends and family during this time.”

Five fanned-out custom posters printed with Remember when we all stayed home and it saved the world on it.

100# Coated Matte White Cover with Ultra Gloss U/V Coating on Front, 11 x 17″

Small Posters, Sharing
Joy & Giving Back

Nicole Krentz, owner of Concepts by Nic, was eager to do her part while staying home. “I knew there were probably a lot of people with the same anxious feeling as me, so I decided to create this poster and sell it through the Concepts shop. All the proceeds are being donated to nonprofits that bring aid to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The feedback I’ve gotten is so amazing. People are so excited for the opportunity to give back during a time like this.”

And her business has seen positive impacts, too. “I don’t know if many people expected such a small shop like mine to have such professional looking posters printed. [They] have helped me reach a new audience of people I don’t believe I could’ve reached without going through the process of this project.

“I care about the quality of the products I sell under [my] brand and I know that Smartpress cares about that for their customers, too. I want to make a statement to the world with the things I create and Smartpress is right there with me. The second I saw my posters printed, I thought of about a billion more things I want to create and print!”

A gloved hand holding a direct mail brochure with health and safety information on the front.

120# Coated Matte White Cover with Flatte Matte UV Coating on both sides, 11 x 6″

Sell Sheets, Get the
Word Out

Jordan McGrath, Founder and Creative Director of Kolony, created a Sell Sheet for a health care management company. His client wanted to give or mail it to physicians who are referring patients to their cancer treatment facility. “The goal was to communicate clearly on how [my client] is approaching their patient care during COVID-19 and to remind the physicians that the patient’s health, safety and well-being is [their] priority.”


“I am continually impressed with Smartpress, both in print quality and customer experience. I found Smartpress about a year ago when I was needing to change printing companies and it was their website that drew me in at first. It’s slick and easy to navigate. I really appreciate great design and I sense that Smartpress does, too. [After] I received the free sample book and my first print order, I haven’t looked back!”

A stack of custom booklets printed with a perfect binding and a black cover with Your Pandemic in white.

100# Coated Matte White Cover, 100# Uncoated Smooth Text Interior Pages, 8 x 8″

A custom journal laying open to pages with a black border and space to track mood and weather.

Perfect Bound Books,
Engaging Entertainment

Shant Mastikian and Sarah Hufford collaborated to create a Perfect Bound Book after the “Safer at Home” mandate. Mastikian said, “We realized a lot of our time was being spent trying to answer the same questions: How can we help the people on the front lines? How can we help the elderly or unemployed? How could we help the millions of people who have now found themselves completely alone?”

“We created Your Pandemic to act as a mindful journal with activity pages to keep the audience engaged and present. It can act as a time capsule to document your own personal journey happening amidst this global pandemic. Furthermore, we knew we couldn’t be the only people searching for ways to help while being forced to stay home. A percentage of all of our sales go directly to charities involved with helping the individuals fighting for our safety on the front lines. Mainly, we really wanted to bring some light and love into this cold and dark world. We want to bring people together during this time we are forced to be apart.”



“The Smartpress experience made the entire process so easy. This was our first go at a project like this and the people at Smartpress helped take our concept and guide us to create a product that exceeded our own expectations. This project was extremely time sensitive and Smartpress performed in the small time frame we had without sacrificing quality. We are extremely impressed and pleased.”


Hint: See our other practical essential printing products:

Essential Printing

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