Lessons - Create a distinctive identity: business cards, stationery, and more
The last lesson focused on the HP Activity Center's most customizable templates, which provided for maximum customization and limitless creativity. They are perfect for anyone looking to create great-looking documents that help establish and enforce a good professional image. They are also well suited for people looking to put their own creative touch on an important project. This lesson takes a look at some less customizable templates. Although they don't offer the same level of creative control, they are still remarkably useful for busy people who want to produce attractive, expressive documents with minimal fuss. Before examining these templates, we'll take a look at how to decide which type of project makes the most sense for your needs. Did you complete the quiz and assignment for the last lesson? And if you haven't already paid a visit to the Message Board, consider doing it when you finish this lesson. You'll encounter other students full of ideas and comments, plus an instructor who's happy to answer questions and provide solutions..
Assessing your needs
In the last lesson, you explored some highly customizable projects on the Activity Center and found out how to use them to create various types of documents. Before we start looking at how to use some simpler templates, let's take a look at which option is best for you. First, ask yourself the following questions:
What kinds of documents do you use day to day?
What kinds of documents and forms do you use on a normal day? Even in our "paperless" age, a lot of our daily activities still generate a paper trail. All of these documents need to be considered.
What kinds of special events or activities do you participate in?
Do you plan or participate in regular meetings or events? Is your free time spent in pursuit of a particular goal or passion? How much work do you do towards these goals?
How do you communicate with others?
How do you communicate with the important people in your life? How do you get the word out about important events or happenings? What sort of marketing campaigns do you conduct? Do you use a lot of stationery?
Your answers to these questions will help you decide how many business cards or other documents to need to print at one time, and how many you need to have on hand. You'll also get a sense of whether you need highly customized documents that you can save, edit, and revise as needed, or whether you might need simpler, faster projects that you can add your basic data to without feeling the need to add graphics, print large quantities, or save your files for later.
Choose the resource that meets your needs
Once you understand the sorts of documents you need, it's time to look at the HP tools and how they're best suited to help meet those needs. The projects you learned about in Lesson 2 are great for:
Frequently used documents Brochures and flyers that will promote events, causes, services, or products Documents that require your logo, trademark, or signature style Any document that incorporates a lot of color Any document requiring graphics
The templates you'll learn about in this lesson are well-suited for:
Smple documents for one-time events or situations. For example, you might need a few quick business cards featuring your basic contact information so you can exchange them at a meeting. Or you might need invitations or stationery that look attractive but doesn't need to be highly customized.One-time documents that will not be reused or revised Marketing documents for new or growing organizations that do not have an established professional image Day-to-day documents that aren't seen by anyone else (logs, forms, labels, etc.) Documents that don't require your logo, trademark, or signature style Documents that don't require graphics
Most people will find that a mix of the two tools will yield the best results. You can use the more advanced tools from Lesson 2 (or the ones we'll discuss in Lesson 4) to produce great-looking documentation that wow and impress the important people in their life. The simpler, less customizable projects we'll discuss in this lesson are perfect for documents that still need to be functional and well-designed, but perhaps don't need all of the creativity and customizable elements. While image is important, so is your budget. Concentrate your resources where they are needed. You don't need to over-design something as simple as a label or form to make it
functional. The critical requirement is that the documents help you get your job done and help people remember who you are, what you do, and why you are important. Having covered that, let's move on and learn more about HP's array of fast-and-simple templates.
Sometimes you just need a little help adding extra punch to an invitation, flyer, or letterhead. The HP projects we'll discuss here combine great-looking graphics and design with your information for outstanding results. These PDF-based aids can be used to add fantastic graphic content to a variety of projects. You don't have to worry about creating, finding, or scanning the art. Just add your information and you're ready to go. While these templates don't have the same potential for customization as the Lesson 2 projects, they'll save the day when time is short and you're all out of ideas. They help you get printshop-quality results right from your desktop in just a few minutes. HP is always updating their array of templates, so check back often to see what's new. As in the last lesson, we'll choose one project to focus on first and walkthrough its completion. Then we'll take a look at some of those projects HP has made available.
What you'll need
Each project is accompanied by detailed instructions and suggestions. Make sure you explore every option on every screen before proceeding. We'll do a more general walkthrough of each project as it is discussed.
Check to make sure that Adobe Acrobat Reader is installed on your computer. If you don't already have it, or you need an upgrade, visit www.adobe.com/getacrobat/ to download and install the software on your computer. A full version of Acrobat will also work.
Inkjet printer and quality paper
HP Activity Center projects are designed for printing with a color inkjet printer or an HP All-in-One.
For optimal results with the projects in this lesson, like business cards and flyers, get a pack of HP Brochure and Flyer Paper (matte). You'll get crisp, bright colors and the unmistakable, professional look and feel you get with a high-quality printing stock.
Before getting started, gather your content (make sure your text is accurate) and your tools. You may need an XACTO knife or other cutting tool and a cutting mat (scissors are not recommended). Ready? Let's get started. We'll start by looking at business cards and then move on to reviewing other project possibilities
As we have already discussed, there are some instances where you don't need tons of creative flexibility. In some cases, your timelines are simply too tight. You may have a one-time need for simple, quick documents. In these cases, HP's simpler, less customizable templates are perfect. They help transform dull documents into something with just enough style to get you noticed. And they don't require a lot of decisions. Just plug in your information, print, and go.
Choose a theme
From the main Activity Center page, navigate to the Home office & business templates page, then click View all home office & business templates. On the list that appears, you will see a list of business card projects at the top left of the list. Since you won't be adding your own graphics, your first (and only) creative choice is the card theme. Since the selection is updated regularly, visit often to see the latest offerings. Once you've made your choice the main design page displays, as seen in Figure 3 -1. You're now only four steps away from the finished product.
Figure 3-1: The main business card page,
Step 1: View the instructions
Specific instructions accompany each print and go project. Make sure you follow the instructions carefully to ensure the best results. You might want to print the instructions (or at least copy them into a text document you can refer to as you work). To get started, click View instructions to learn how to print and prepare your project once it's complete.
Step 2: Download the art
After reading the instructions, it's time to download the template itself. The file is then saved to your computer, after which where you will edit and print it: 1. Click Download art. The file downloads dialog displays, asking you whether you want to save or open the file. 2. Choose Save. The Save as dialog displays. 3. Select a location to save the file and click Save. You can choose an easier-toremember file name if you want before downloading the file. The file is then downloaded and saved to your computer.
Depending on your operating system and how it is configured, you might have to follow a slightly different process to download the file. Just make sure you are saving the file to your computer and not opening it from its current location.
Step 3: Open and edit the file
Once the file is downloaded, you can open it and begin working. Locate and open the file on your computer -- Adobe Reader displays the file, as Figure 3-2 illustrates.
Figure 3-2: The document template, ready for your data. Now it's time to enter your information into the template. You must enter text into each card separately, but you can also copy the information from card to card. However, only one line of text can be copied at a time.
Figure 3-3: A template with personal data filled in.
Enter your information into each field as required. To clear text fields you don't want or need, select the field and click Delete. Not every card needs to be an exact duplicate. For instance, you could use half of the document to prepare cards for one employee and the other for yourself.
Step 4: Print and cut
Remember those instructions you read in Step 1? You'll need those now, especially if you plan on printing to specialty stock. You should make at least one test print on regular stock before proceeding. This gives you a chance to ensure your information is accurate. To complete your project, follow the specific printing instructions for the project you chose, then follow any other cutting, folding or preparation instructions. Four simple steps are all it takes to get great-looking cards fast. And if you're not comfortable using a cutting tool, you can always use a standard paper cutter or have the cards cut for you. Either way, you're still saving time and money and achieving great results at the same time.
Use other HP resources for some more fast, simple projects.
Beyond the business card, the Activity Center offers lots of other quick projects that can help in business or just everyday life. Anytime you want a colorful document with that little something extra, check the Activity Center -- there's probably a template for the job.
Business kits for a unified look
Even though they're called business kits, HP's attractive, coordinated template sets are not just for business! You'll find plenty of colorful, expressive selections that are perfect for a wide range of personal, volunteer, and hobby use, as well. If you go to Home office & business templates, click View all Home office & business templates, and scroll down, you'll see a number of projects listed under Business kits. The contents of the kits may vary slightly, but most of them contain a fast and simple business card template along with coordinated templates for a fax forms, letterhead, and mailing and shipping labels. Some include file folder labels and invoice forms as well. All you have to do is type in
your information and print -- the graphics are supplied. It's easy to do and everything looks great when you print it out!
Stationery and invitations
The Home office & business templates section of the HP Activity Center is also a great place to find a wide array of quick, simple stationery, forms, labels, logs, and other documents that will enhance your image as well as help keep you organized, so be sure to look around to explore all the options. Just click View all home office & business templates to see the full selection. The Invitations & stationery section of the HP Activity Center is the perfect place to find templates for a wide array of situations. You'll find seasonal themes as well as projects that coordinate with other HP Activity Center items. For example, if you're involved in event planning for a school or community group, you may find coordinating items on the Party kits and decorations page.
An office asset journal and other forms
This document can help you keep track of important equipment around the house or office. Everything from computers to furniture can be tracked in this easy-to-use inventory template. To access this and other business forms and documents, go to Home office & business templates, click View all Home office & business templates, and scroll down to Business forms.
Labels and more
From the Home office and business template page, click View all home office & business templates and scroll down to see the offerings under Labels as well as Home organization & safety kits. You'll be amazed at the selection -- everything from filing and office labels to recycling bin labels and travel checklists. Consider this a very brief survey of all the possibilities available at the HP Activity Center. You'll have to spend some more time browsing to learn about them all. When you find a project you like, you can just enter your data, print, and go!
Could there be more? Indeed there is. Beyond the templates we've talked about so far, HP has even more resources for anyone looking to get brilliant results with their computer and inkjet printer. These include free templates designed for business users and specialized stocks and inks that are especially created with home users in mind. They
help guarantee crisp and colorful documents every time. You'll learn more about those and other resources in the next lesson. In the meantime, be sure to complete the quiz and assignment for this lesson. And don't forget to check in with the Message Board to share questions, solutions, and progress reports!
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Assignments are designed to help you apply the information learned in the lessons. Print from a pre-designed template Visit the Activity Center and choose one PDF project to download and work with. When you're done, come to the Message Board and tell us how it went. Quizzes are designed to give you a chance to test your knowledge.
1. Compared to the Flash-based tools we talked about in Lesson 2, the PDF templates take _______ time and offer _________ customization. A. B. C. D. Less, more More, less More, more Less, less
2. True or False: Macromedia Flash is needed for PDF-based projects we discussed in Lesson 3. A. B. True False
3. The process for using the templates we discussed in Lesson 3 involves the following steps: 1. Read instructions, 2. Download art, 3. Open and edit file, and ______________: A. B. C. D. 4. Fold 4. Print and cut 4. Upload to a FTP server 4. Choose colors