Tru Art Color Graphics: Your Direct Mail Experts!


Tru Art Color Graphics is now even better situated to help you deliver (pun intended) the best possible service to your customers! Tru Art’s Shawn Livingston recently completed a course through Printing Industry Midwest (PIM) that certifies him as a Quality Mail Preparation Specialist. The course conveys a deep knowledge of U.S. Postal Service regulations and how they tie into design and processing. That includes perfecting and pricing creative mail pieces, as well as bulk mailing and calendar drop-ships.

In a press release from PIM, course instructor (“Postal Professor”) George Heinrich said, “Obtaining postal discounts is becoming more complex. A thorough understanding of how the USPS processes and delivers mail is critical to attaining both maximum discounts and minimum delivery times.”

SL with Cert

This is an invaluable resource and a service that we’re excited to offer.
At Tru Art Color Graphics, we understand that timely delivery is a top priority and a major contributor to your success. Trying to navigate through hundreds of postal regulations and requirements can be very confusing. You can rely on us for all of your mailing services in the Iowa City–Cedar Rapids area. We can help you format and size your mailing pieces and find the right stock to get the best applicable postage rates. We help you throughout the entire mailing process, so you aren’t forced to work with multiple people — saving you time, money, and a whole lot of frustration.

We have Presort software, the most robust addressing system, and multiple packaging services available.

Please contact your Tru Art Color Graphics account executive today to help you with your next direct mail promotion.

How to achieve company-wide brand compliance

Every marketer knows that consistent brand compliance is key to leveraging the equity of the brand. But when your company’s structure includes multiple layers such as departments, sister companies, franchisees, distributors, or dealers… all using, and possibly producing… marketing materials… things can get messy! How do you ensure your brand stewards are following your guidelines? Better yet… how do you achieve headache free brand compliance?


Here are some tips:

  • Activate brand guidelines and circulate it company-wide. Provide your company representatives with marketing templates that address appropriate brand usage and common mistakes.* An FAQ is a great way to answer questions for the masses, and prevent an influx of calls or emails.
  • Prevent the use of non-standard typefaces and colors by providing a brand-define pallet of colors and brand-approved (and properly licensed) set of brand fonts.*
  • Require the use of brand-approved legal disclaimers and disclosure.
  • Require the use of pre-approved (grammatically correct) content.

In short, a well-thought brand management program can help you to make true brand compliance the fastest, easiest way for your company representatives and brand stewards to get their promotions out the door. It makes marketing safe, reliable, and even fun—and could save you hundreds, even thousands, of hours per year.

We have been helping build brands through the use of promotional products for over 125 years. Our experts can strengthen, yet simplify your licensing and compliance programs in the following ways:


Our in-house brand manager is an expert in brand guidelines and trademark policies.


Your brand reflects your values, mission, products, services, team members and culture. Our goal is to work alongside you to become brand stewards so that the products we supply accurately represent your company. We strive to get to know you, your brand, and what you stand for.


We understand the time and effort it takes to fully evolve your brand. We provide promotional consulting, products and value-added services. When you make promotional products an integral part of your marketing, you can watch people grab onto your message.

We take your brand seriously and look forward to collaborating with you!

*source: Brand Compliance for Local Marketers | Pageflex | 4.5.19

Have you found your brand purpose?

By: Genevieve Trainor

BRAND PURPOSE: ANA’s Marketing Word of the Year for 2018

“What’s one of the biggest things that separates the more successful brands from the not-so-successful ones?” asks a 2016 article on “It’s about purpose.”

On Dec. 6, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) announced their 5th annual


Marketing Word of the Year: Brand Purpose.

They define the term as “a long-term business strategy tied to a societal benefit that guides every strategic decision and action, from product development and customer/employee engagement to marketing and hiring.”

tacg brand purpose (1)

ANA isn’t alone in acknowledging that companies determined to make a difference in society are a notable trend in 2018. AdAge named Nike as its Marketer of the Year for 2018 for its “Just Do It” 30th anniversary campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick—a campaign that, they said, “would go on to win fans, create enemies, and refuel a conversation about the role brands should—or should not—play in tackling societal issues.”

“Along the way,” their announcement continued, “the company proved it pays to take a stand, and it put to shame mealy-mouthed brands that claim to plug into culture but fall short with marketing that fails to portray a point of view on anything at all. Nike’s Kaepernick ad stands as a textbook example of how a marketer can change the conversation, a strategy that industry experts say will be emulated by many brands in 2019.”

ANA calls out Nike as well, as one of “many brands [that] have stepped up and taken a risk and stance this year.” They also name TOMS, the California shoe company that pledged $5 million to organizations committed to ending gun violence. They also mention Procter & Gamble, for its diversity-promoting, tear-jerking “Love Over Bias” commercial showing mothers supporting a diverse array of child athletes.

Brand purpose is integrated deeply into the fabric of ANA, beyond the word of the year designation. They recently set up the ANA Center for Brand Purpose, which defines “purpose” in the context of marketing as “a brand’s reason to exist beyond turning a profit.” The center offers content, tools and professional development to help marketers in leveraging a brand’s purpose to drive growth.

So… what is YOUR brand purpose? There are myriad reasons to contemplate this question. Don’t forget that study after study has shown that the rising wave of Gen Z consumers, for example, expects their purchases to matter in the world. Does your brand have a purpose? Do you have a reason to exist beyond turning a profit? Even for individuals, building your brand is necessary to survival in the marketplace.

Why do you want your customers to turn to you, and how can you leverage that in your own marketing decisions? We’re here to help you make your branding and marketing materials come to life.

Guess who’s mailing a catalog this year…

By: Marie Young

A few days ago, I gave my toddler a toy catalog and a marker. I said, “circle what you hope Santa will bring you.” He happily obliged, and now it’s all he can talk about. He’s been asking to review his selections over and over. I had planned to take his list from the toy retailer catalog and purchase them on Amazon instead (hello, free two-day shipping).

Ironically, a few days later, I came across an article on Promo Marketing. Get this… Amazon is going to be printing a holiday toy catalog this year! The catalog is said to contain QR codes to help end-users find items online.

“Amazon made its bones by dominating e-commerce to such an extent that it reshaped the physical retail world and ushered in the digital era. Now, in extremely analog fashion, it is issuing a print catalog. Still, we are going to posit that the decision by [CEO Jeff] Bezos and his hires makes perfect sense, as it signifies that print, no matter how many naysayers want to pick over its long-reported corpse, is definitely not dead.” Joseph Myers | Promo Marketing

Obviously, Amazon knows that printed catalogs offer brands a wholetech meme host of benefits. Last year, 9.8 billion catalogs were mailed within the U.S. This leads us to the revelation that millennials actually appreciate information in catalog form. It is vital for businesses to continue to produce catalogs if they want to remain in front of the up-and-coming generations.

“Those who declare print dead are wrong, and those who feel it is beyond salvaging are equally incorrect. Sales are the name of the game, and, if incorporated efficiently and regularly, catalogs will make more than a splash,” said Myers.

Consumers are expected to receive Amazon catalogs by the end of this month. To many, it may look a bit retro, but it will also help consumers recall the guides that Toys R Us used mail out. This is sure to make the holiday season a very merry time for the public and Amazon’s bottom line.

Consider Tru Art to be your best choice for print and catalog manufacturing in the Midwest.

Why is signage important for your business?

Here’s a riddle… What can’t  be turned off, deleted or filtered…? Traditional ad media. Particularly banners, posters and window signage. They’re still preferred and effective channels of brand messaging.

Recent studies show that 9 in 10 consumers believe printed hawksmaterials will always be needed.* A whopping 70% of respondents reported having items professional printed the same amount or more than the previous year. The truth is… digital advertising (Search Engine Marketing, Social Media, etc). works perfectly in conjunction with print marketing. If anything… they depend on each other.

These staggering stats are particularly true for millennials. Nearly half of respondents to this study – aged 18-34 – reported having something professionally printed at least once a month. Overall, 85% of consumers said they’re more likely to shop with a small business that has printed materials, such as business cards, signs, flyers or banners. These communication pieces solidify and legitimize a business’s place and presence. Just as a website and social media presence does. If you have a brick and mortar, you simple can’t have one without the other. Even full eCommerce business use print as a component to their marketing… but I digress.

So how do you do signage right?

You need to stop them in their tracks. The right print medium can trigger the right emotions. Bring your brand message to life, create a feeling, and just like that – your brand has made an impact.

A 2014 study by USA Touchpoints found that place-based media, such as signs and banners in restaurants, malls, stadiums and cinemas, achieve a 54% positive emotions rate and a 99% reach.

Why does working with a G7 printer matter?

ABI Banners

The FedEx survey clearly showed that buyers were equating the quality of print with the quality of service.  A good printer should counsel you on the ideal weight of vinyl for a location; whether a blockout layer is necessary to prevent light from showing through; on the use of UV-Resistant inks and high-resolution printing; and other finishing processes to make sure your piece holds up to the elements.

Customers of G7® Master Qualified printers benefit from the most modern technology, techniques and process controls available today in the graphic arts industry. Achieving color consistency when printing on multiple platforms, in various geographic regions, is a critical component in brand management.

Success is when we help our clients represent their brand accurately and accurately. When you succeed, so do we.

Let us be your ONE SOURCE for all things branded.

*source: FedEx Office


What is G7 and why does it matter?

Tru Art Color Graphics is an official G7 Master Certificate of Qualification by the International Digital Enterprise Alliance (IDEAlliance®). That’s a super long, fancy name… you may be wondering why on earth this matters…

Because your brand matters.

G7 Master Qualification is a sought-after recognition of excellence ig7master_seal_web.pngn printing, and identifies print service providers that excel in implementing the G7 Proof-to-Print Process. A G7 Master Qualified Printer implements a calibration method that allows printers to achieve a visual simulation across multiple print platforms.

Tru Art joins an elite group of print service providers who have successfully proven capable of providing the highest quality color printing. Customers of G7® Master Qualified printers benefit from the most modern technology, techniques and process controls available today in the graphic arts industry. Achieving color consistency when printing on multiple platforms, in various geographic regions, is a critical component in brand management.

The G7 program is managed by IDEAlliance®, a not-for-profit association of leading print and electronic media service providers and their technology partners. As a global association, IDEAlliance is dedicated to guiding media production best practices, specifications, and standards, worldwide.

Our goal is to work alongside our clients to become brand stewards.
We want the print material and products we produce and supply to accurately represent your organization. We strive to know you, your brand, your culture, and what you stand
for. Success is when we help our clients represent their brand accurately and accurately. When you succeed, so do we.

Let us be your ONE SOURCE for all things branded.