17 Sep

The Down Low on Digital Print

Not all print methods are the same.

Digital printing refers to methods of printing from a digital-based image directly to a variety of media. It usually refers to professional printing where small-run print jobs from desktop publishing and other digital sources are printed using high-volume laser or inkjet printers and/or large format inkjet printers.

Digital printing has a higher cost per page than more traditional offset printing methods. Called print for pay, the suppliers of these devices earn their money from click charges which cover the service and consumables (toners) necessary to keep it running.

Digital_Printing_PressHowever, this price is normally offset by avoiding the cost of all the technical steps required to make printing plates, as in the traditional offset printing methods. It also allows for on-demand printing, short turnaround time and even a modification of the image (variable data) used for each impression.

The savings in labour and the ever-increasing capability of digital presses means that digital printing is reaching the point where it can match, or supersede, offset printing technology’s ability to produce larger print runs of several thousand sheets at a low price.

So What’s the Difference?

The greatest difference between digital printing and traditional methods such as offset lithography, flexography, gravure or letterpress is that there is no need to replace printing plates in digital printing.

In those traditional methods (analog printing) the plates are repeatedly replaced.
The benefits of digital printing are quicker turnaround times and lower cost on short to medium print runs.

The most popular methods of digital printing include inkjet or laser printers that deposit pigment or toner onto a wide variety of substrates including paper, photo paper, canvas, glass, metal, marble and other substances.

In many of the processes, the ink or toner, does not permeate the substrate, as does conventional ink. Instead it forms a thin layer on the surface that may be additionally adhered to the substrate by using a fuser fluid with heat process (toner), or UV curing process (ink). The various manufacturers of this equipment have developed methods specific to their design.

Digital and Hucul Printing

Hucul Printing utilizes both digital printing and traditional offset methods because both methods still have a place in our industry.

Ultimately, as our customer, you really only need to know that these methods exist and that we, as printing professionals, will recommend and use the method that best suits your specific needs.

Photo Credit: digital Printing Press by Coylegenec via Wikipedia
Featured image from Creative Pro
09 Jul

How to Find a Colour Scheme for Your Business

A common source of consideration and thought is how you can make your business look good and be memorable, when it comes to starting a new business, or if you are updating your look.

Find a consistent Colour Theme

One of the best ways to do this is to find a brand that follows a consistent colour theme, will project well and will also be appealing to your customers.

If your company is a conservative business such as Law or Accounting firm, you wouldn’t want to use lime green, or any of the neon colours, as your business colours. Those bright colours would be better suited to a Child’s Day Care, or a Toy Store!

Hucul Printing's colours created on Kuler

Hucul Printing’s colours created on Kuler

So how do you come up with your business’s colour scheme? There is a fantastic website that Adobe has created called “Kuler” where people can develop professional colour schemes and post them publicly to share. Each colour scheme comes complete with downloadable colour pallets for your designer to use with popular design software programs.

Each colour scheme comes with a universally recognizable colour code which can be typed into most software programs. This means you don’t have to go clicking around to find the  colour that is just close enough.

Further more, you can tweak the colour schemes you find and save them to your favourites for future referral. Its a great service!

Here are some examples of colour schemes I pulled from the site so you can see what I am talking about.

The first example,  I randomly found, is called Historic Neighbourhood. It has a muted and sophisticated pallet which would be appropriate for a business with an historical and welcoming or friendly feel. Depending on the image you wish to portray, these colours might be excellent for a photography shop, or a museum, or gallery.


“Historic Neighborhood”

The next example is called Toy Store.  As you can see, it is bright, colourful and playful. This would definitely be suited for… a Toy Store!

“Toy Store”

This next example is called Lawyer; it has the professional blue as the base colour with highlights of steadying, complimentary browns.



This sample, I found by searching the key words *Health food*.  This was the top result. The example contains an earthy and green feeling and is called Health Food Store. I’d feel comfortable if these colours were in my Health Food Store!

"Health Food Store"

“Health Food Store”


By choosing a professionally developed colour pallet from sites like Kuler, your business brand will look professional.

With a tool like this, you can forge ahead by generating ideas and get a good feel for how  you would like your business to look.

And…when you realize that there is more to branding your business than surfing the internet (which is true), you can come to us and we can help develop an overall look for your business.

11 Jun

Messages from the Past, Hucul Printing’s Rich History

Back in the Day . . .

Before Johannes Gutenberg invented movable type back in the 1400s, the handwritten manuscript was the method of recording and communicating information of the day.

Gutenberg came up with a process for mass-producing movable type which included a type metal alloy and a hand mould for casting type.

He also was the first to use oil-based ink and he invented a wooden screw-type printing press.

Photo: Metal movable type by Willi Heidelbach

Metal movable type by Willi Heidelbach

Gutenberg’s inventions were regarded as the introduction to the era of mass communication. This altered the course of history, which markedly improved literacy in the middle class.

From manually operated presses, to steam-driven and beyond, the printing industry flew ahead in leaps and bounds.

The Salmon Arm Observer saw its first Newspaper Issue roll off the Press in 1907.

At this time, newspaper articles and job printing layouts were handset into lines, paragraphs and pages, by painstakingly handpicking individual letters of foundry type from the type cases.

In the late 1920’s or early 1930’s, type was set by means of the Linotype, the invention which revolutionized the printing industry, making it possible to increase productivity many times over.

Photo: Cp1015 by Trimalchio

Cp1015 by Trimalchio

This machine, a Rube Goldberg wonder, transferred letters of type from special brass matrices to molds (lines of type) created from molten lead.

From that time until 1973, the Observer newspaper and commercial printing department were printed by the letterpress method. The newspaper was printed on a Goss Coxotype and the commercial printing was done on Heidelberg Platen, Holmes Vertical, Chandler and Price Platen presses.

Hucul Printing Ltd.’s founders, myself, Bernie Hucul, and brother, Gary Hucul, toiled as printers devils in an era of printing where lead melting pots, inky press forms and volatile press chemicals ruled the day.

At this time, the production method was switched over to Offset Printing.

Printers Devil sign by Richard Croft

Typeset was via a phototypesetting method, where keyboard operators typed on simple computerized machines which transferred type onto photosensitive paper.

The prints, now on strips of paper, were then pasted up onto master grid sheets which duplicated the newspaper page.

Photographs were processed into halftone prints and were added to the paste-up sheets, along with the advertizing setups.

Graphic art cameras then copied the newspaper pages onto negative film to facilitate a platemaking process, where the negative image was transfered to light sensitive aluminum press plates.

And of course, newspaper and print production, then saw desktop publishing come to the forefront with the introduction of personal computers.

In 1989, Hucul Printing Ltd. was formed when the brothers, Bernie and Gary Hucul purchased the commercial printing department of the Salmon Arm Observer from Cariboo Press.

The business then carried on using a combination of letterpress and offset printing methods.

Some of the old letterpress printing presses are still in use, but they are now taking a backseat to the Heidleberg and Hamada offset presses.

More recently, the company has added digital printing equipment, using toner-based inks, along with a large format inkjet printer, which are capable of printing in glorious full colour.


19 Feb

Do Business Cards need a QR Code?

Have you ever seen one of these?


QR Code: HuculPrinting.com

This gaudy looking, ‘ink blot block’ of black & white is called a QR Code. They are actually quite an interesting invention, with the potential to be very handy under some circumstances.

These codes behave in a similar way to bar codes, except that you scan them with your smart phone.

You can go online to a webpage like this, and program a QR code to do many different things including, sending you to a website, putting information into your contacts program or just playing videos. It’s pretty cool, but should you go to the trouble of adding them to you business cards?

The short answer is no. I’ll tell you why.

People rarely scan QR codes

When was the last time you scanned a QR code?

For me, being someone who is rather tech-oriented, I haven’t scanned one in over a year. I actively look for cool techy-type things to get into and I have learned that a quick google search is much easier than scanning a QR code.

They look awful

Photo by Wesley Fryer

Photo by Wesley Fryer

QR codes are not attractive. Graphic designers think they look like computer puke and they are really difficult to incorporate into a classy design.

For business cards it’s worse, because in order to get the QR Codes to work they have to be printed large enough for a smart phone to scan. This means a large portion of the card is taken up by QR, and this is distracting. Yuck!

QRs don’t always work

Sometimes people set up QR codes that won’t work, or that don’t scan properly.

If it doesn’t work the first time, usually we won’t try again.

Who knows where the QR code will take you?

Finally, QR Codes have no way of indicating to you where they are ACTUALLY going to send you.

If you have a QR code on your business card, your target doesn’t know whether the code will take him to your company website, your LinkedIn profile, or whether it will load your contact information into their phone.

If people are unsure, then they’ll avoid it and they won’t scan it anyway.

Keep it Super Simple


Instead of QR Codes, consider asking your designer to put the standard information on your card. Include your name, email address, phone number, website URL and address. Sometimes, indicating  you are on social media is a good idea if those services are important to your business.

Are you looking for professionals to work on your business cards for you? We can set you up with a professional, clear and functional business card layout.

Contact us and let us help you!