We’re making some changes!

We’re still in the same doghouse with the same phone number and the same email addresses 🙂

1039 Andrew Drive
West Chester, PA 19380








A2/A6/A7/A9 EnvelopesStandard invitation and RSVP sizes for envelopes. Download this pdf for all sizes.
Accordion foldA type of fold achieved by bending each fold in the opposite direction of the previous fold, which creates a pleated or accordion effect. Download types-of-folds for all types
Advertising SpecialtiesAnother term used for promotional products, imprinted shirts, embroidered polo shirt, pen, mug, water bottles, etc.
Against the GrainPrinting a sheet of paper at right angles to the grain direction of the paper, as opposed to with the grain. Sometimes called cross grain.
Anti-aliasingThe process of averaging between pixels of different colors. This results is a smoother, more blended transition between the edge of two areas rather than a distinctly jagged appearance.
ArtworkThe original physical materials, including photos, graphic images, text and other components needed to produce a printed piece. Can also now refer to the electronic or digital components needed for preparing a printed piece for production on a press or copier.
AscenderAny part of a lower case letter which rises above the main body of the letter such as in “d”, “b” and “h”.
Base lineThe imaginary horizontal line upon which stand capitals, lower case letters, punctuation points, etc.
BleedAny element that extends up to or past the edge of a printed page.
BondPaper that is suitable for writing, printing and typing. It is erasable and somewhat rigid.
C1SStands for Coated One Side (C1S) cover stock (C2S). A glossy finish on one side and uncoated on the other (easier for writing on), usually 10pt, 12pt or 14pt in thickness.
Carbonless PaperChemically treated paper that transfer the impression from the first page to the subsequent pages. This is also known as [AnythingPopup id=”3″] (no carbon required) and usually comes in 2-part, 3-part and 4-part.
Center spreadTwo pages that face each other in the center of a book or magazine.
Coated stockPaper that has a coating applied after the paper is made, giving the paper a smoother finish.
Color separationsSeparating PMS colors or CMYK colors for printing. This will create the separate plates needed to printing on a press.
CoverType of paper used for the covers of programs, pamphlets, etc., also used for business cards and postcards.
CoverageThe area that ink covers the surface of a printed sheet. Usually expressed as light, medium or heavy.
CropTo “cut out” part of an image and show only the desired portion of the original.
Crop marksSmall printed lines around the edges of a printed piece. These marks indicate where the edges of a document are to be trimmed.
CyanThe “blue” used in four-color process printing. The C in CMYK. Also referred to as process blue.
Die CuttingCutting paper in a shape or design by the use of a steel block which is positioned in the shape of the desired pattern. Dies are used to created rounded corners on business cards. The initial cost is for the actual die is a one-time cost, then the cost to shape each piece.
DrillHoles into paper for ring binding. Also known as 3-hole punching.
Dull finishA semi-gloss finish on paper that is less glossy than gloss and more than matte paper. Also known as silk finish.
DummyA hard copy print out that is the reproduced desired finished product, also called a comp.
EPSEncapsulated Post Script. A standard file format used to transfer postscript formatting information between applications. Also known as “vector art” and can also be saved as an .ai file.When in vector form, it can be scaled to any size without losing sharpness.
GangingThe combining of two or more different printing projects on the same sheet of paper.
Gate foldA fold where the two outside panels fold inward to meet in the center. Download types of folds for all types
GrainThe direction of the paper fibers. Printing is usually done so that if folding is required, the fold is done parallel to (or “with”) the grain.
IndiciaA mailing permit that is set up with the USPS and pre-printed on mailing envelopes in place of a stamp. Pronounced in-dee-sha.
LandscapeA document layout where the width is greater than the height. (the opposite of Portrait)
LeadingSpace between lines of type. The distance in points between one baseline and the next.
MagentaOne of the four process colors, or CMYK, the M is for magenta. Magenta is a predominately red/pink color.
Matte finishA coated paper finish that goes through minimal calendaring.
NaturalA term to describe papers that have a color similar to that of wood, also called cream, off-white or ivory.
Offset printingPrinted material receives ink from an intermediary blanket that receives the ink from the plate and then transfers it to the paper.
PaginationThe numbering of individual pages in a multi-page document
Perfect BindingA binding process where the signatures of a book are held together by a flexible adhesive.
Plastic Coil BindingPlastic wire is spiraled through holes punched along the side of a stack of paper. Commonly used for reports, proposals and manuals. Documents bound with coil have the ability to lay flat and can rotate 360 degrees. Also called spiral binding.
PMSThe abbreviation of the Pantone Color Matching System.
PointA measurement unit equal to 1/72 of an inch. 12 points to a pica, 72 points to an inch.
PortraitA document layout in which the height is greater than the width. (the opposite of Landscape)
Process printing (aka 4CP or Four Color Process)A system where a color image is separated into 4 different color values (cyan, magenta, yellow and black or CMYK) then transferred to plates and printed on a printing press.
RegistrationHow an image on one side of a printed sheet aligns with the image on the other side.
RGBThe color space of Red, Green and Blue. This is what your monitor uses to display color.  An RGB computer file must be translated into the CMYK  in order to be printed. Many times, what looks like bright blue on your monitor (displays in RGB), prints in a purple-ish color when converted to CMYK.
Saddle stitchThe binding of booklets or other printed materials by stapling the pages on the folded spine.
ScoringTo crease paper to making folding easier and prevent cracking.
Self coverA booklet whose cover is the same paper stock as the internal sheets.
SignatureA printed sheet with multiple pages on it that is folded so that the pages are in their proper numbered sequence, as in a book.
StockA term for unprinted paper. Click here to read more about paper types.
Text paperA high quality light weight printing paper.
Trim marksMarks placed on the printed sheet to indicate where cuts should be made.
Trim sizeThe final size of a printed piece after being cut from the sheet of paper that it was printed on.
UpA term used to describe how many similar pieces can be printed on a larger sheet; two up, four up, etc.
Variable Data PrintingIs a form of on-demand printing in which elements (such as text, graphics, photographs, etc) can be changed from one printed piece to the next, without stopping or slowing down the press, using information from a database. For example, a set of personalized letters, each with the same basic layout, can be printed with a different name and address on each letter.
WidowA single word or two left at the end of a paragraph, or a part of a sentence ending a paragraph, which loops over to the next page and stands alone. Also, the last sentence of a paragraph, which contains only one or two short words.
YellowOne of the four process colors of ink, or CMYK. The Y is for yellow.
Zip fileZipping a file compresses one or more files into a smaller archive. It takes up less hard drive space and less time to transfer across a network or the internet.

Click on an image below to browse our online catalogs.


Why So Blue

I had been married for 3 years in 1999. Bill and I had just bought our first house and went to the Chester County SPCA to adopt our first dog. There were many Pit Bulls and Rotweilers, but quitely seated among them was a dog that really stood out…because she was BLUE! She had been abused by her previous owners…tied to a pole, no shots, rarely fed, physically beaten and —the last straw—dyed from head to toe in blue. We brought her home and quickly fell in love. All she wanted to do was sit in my lap…and she was a 45 pound dog!

At that point, I had my own graphic design business, called Designing Wright. In 2000 we found out that we were expecting our first child, so we had to make room for a nursery! We moved Designing Wright into the basement and in March of 2001, our daughter Alex was born. I hired a full-time designer so I could cut back my hours to only 3 days a week, giving me 2 days a week to be “Mommy.” To this day, I can’t give up my slippers…I’m often found wandering around the office with them on.

Unleashing An Idea

One day in 2003, Bill was reading the Sunday paper and saw a print shop for sale. He turned to me and said “Hey, what if you could print all the stuff that you design?” I thought he was crazy…all I could picture was a noisy, smelly print shop with paper and ink all around. Not to mention the fact that neither one of us knew a darn thing about running an offset press! He suggested we at least take a look at it.

At that same point in time, I was working on benefit books for the NFL…32 teams with all different information for players and coaches. My client and I kept thinking “There has to be an easier way than making 64 documents.” That’s when we investigated something new in the industry…digital printing. Bill and I went to look at the existing print business and wanted to integrate the new digital print technology into the client base, but saw that the numbers were not going to add up to keep running the offset equipment. We looked at each other and said “Let’s just start our OWN print shop!”

Here Spot! Or Bingo? Or Rover?

The wheels were set in motion, equipment was leased, office space was found, paperwork was filed. The only problem was that we didn’t have a name! Bill and I have very opposite personalities, and we couldn’t agree on anything…his names were too “boring” and mine were too “out there” for him. On the night of our 7th wedding anniversary, we were out to dinner at Duling Kurtz and I said “We are not leaving this table without a name!” Needless to say, we racked up quite a bar bill that night. I threw out “DigiDog” and Bill said “I kind of like that…” I couldn’t believe it! He actually LIKED one of my suggestions (even if just a little bit) and then he said “What about Blue Dog?” At that instant, I knew it was the perfect name, I could already see the logo in my mind. What better inspiration than the pup who stole our hearts by standing out from the rest?

With only $10,000 to put forth in this venture, we made the most of our money. Our first day in the new office space was daunting…we had 2,800 square feet to fill, and all that was in there was a desk left by the previous tenants, my computer, a phone and this large digital printer. Quickly, we had to hire a prodution person. Bill was still working full-time for Wawa in their Training Center so we could make sure Blue Dog would pay the bills. A year later, Bill was able to quit his job at Wawa and we began working full-time together with a production person. Shockingly, we are STILL working together full-time and STILL married!

Barking Up The Right Trees

Word of mouth spread, we joined the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce and the Exton Region Chamber of Commerce and business went gangbusters. Soon, we expanded our services from graphic design and digital printing, to large format printing as well. The equipment we purchased allowed us to offer our clients the inhouse capability for printing posters and banners. In 2009, we ran out of room…so we relocated 100 feet from our front door to a 6,000 square foot office space in the same business park. Imagine the looks we got while wheeling an 8 foot laminating machine across the parking lot. Once we moved, we decided that we were bored and wanted to take on even MORE business, so we started selling promotional advertising specialties (pens, mugs, shirts, etc.).

Your Best Friend

We’ve always believed in running our business like a family, and strive to treat our employees and customers as such. Our daughter is now 14 and Blue Dog is her second home. Although she complains sometimes, she helps out with stuffing envelopes and shrink wrapping. She loves being creative, and always has the best looking science fair project in school.

How Do You Give Thanks?

“Our sales are through the roof!”

It has been a long time since I have heard any one express these sentiments. In fact, over the past few years, I’ve heard the opposite (although it seems to be picking up now!). Revenue is down. Unemployment is up. As you can imagine, writing a business article on “Thankfulness” during the Second Great Depression can be a little challenging. The easy way out would be to write about being thankful for family, friends and good health. I have all of those and am eternally grateful. I could write about how I am thankful that my family was spared the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. I have no room to complain about a few hours without power and a couple of down branches while others are digging through dumpsters to feed their families. Again, too easy. Again, I’m thankful.

I am going to write about how thankful I am to be a small business owner in the United States, specifically Chester County. Before every Chamber of Commerce meeting, the membership recites the Pledge of Allegiance. This is to remind us that the United States is still the best place in the world to do business. Our nation was founded by merchants and planters who desired the freedom to build a thriving existence without sanctions that would prohibit their success. Those merchants and planters also realized that it was their duty to be leaders (elected or not) in their community, a spirit that still exists today and is realized right here in Chester County.

I became self-employed at the age of 23. I have met hundreds of entrepreneurs and am always impressed by their self reliance. I am also always impressed by their sense of community. These are the folks that donate their time, effort and money to improve everyone’s lives. In November, we will celebrate a uniquely American holiday, Thanksgiving. According to Ayn Rand, Thanksgiving is a day started by a productive people to celebrate their success. Our forbearers recognized the value of hard work and success. I am thankful for their example and that their values continue to drive our society to this day.

So how do I give thanks? Sometimes it’s by donating my time, sometimes it’s by making a financial contribution. But more often than not, I like to uniquely express my thankfulness by recognizing someone with something that they enjoy. For example, my friend loves Starbucks Coffee, so to thank her for waking up at 4:00am to drive me to a breast cancer fundraiser, I got her a Starbucks travel mug. To thank my daughter for jumping in to help with a big project at work, I gave her a certificate good for one “cleaning your room” pass.

During this season of thanks and giving, take a moment (as I do) to think of your customers that have stood by you and have allowed your business to still exist in these tough financial times. The way you give thanks can be as simple as a personal phone call, or as elaborate as a custom-made gift. Blue Dog Printing & Design is full of creative ideas to express your thanks, just give us a bark and find out!

I Simply Remember My Favorite Things

This past Christmas, I spent the holiday week with my husband, daughter, mother, sister, brother-in-law and nephews. As we ate breakfast on Christmas morning, I went around the table and asked each person to recall their all-time favorite Christmas present.

Without a doubt, mine was the year Santa left some gifts at my house, but dropped off a 12-speed bike at my Granny and Pop Pop’s house. The whole ride there, I lamented (in my head of course, I couldn’t let my parents know my disappointment!) about the fact that I didn’t get the “one thing” I wanted. I loved hearing how answers ranged from a record player (remember those?) to an art set, and why they were the favorite.

I got to thinking about other “favorites” in my life, not just gifts, but people, gestures and yes, even work projects. One that immediately sprang to mind was a book I created a few years ago for a customer who presented a moving eulogy at his best friend’s funeral. He came to me with a print out of the eulogy and a few photographs. I designed 20 pages including the words from his eulogy and photos. We bound them in leather books with engraved silver plates. The customer gave these books to the family members for Christmas that year. Although I didn’t know any of these people, it brought a smile to my face knowing how touched they would all be with this gift.

Another favorite was a husband’s idea for a Mother’s Day gift to his wife. They had a baby born with several health problems a few months before Mother’s Day. He had saved all the emails that they had sent over those first trying weeks when the baby was in NICU, updating friends and family with progress. This project was not work at all for me…I tackled it like I was making my OWN baby book. The pictures were all so adorable and the story had a happy ending. His wife called me the day after Mother’s Day, with tears in her voice, to thank me and I felt that we were already friends.

One time, a customer came in with stacks of old letters written to her mother from her father during World War II. She wanted me to create a poster that she could have framed for her sisters and brothers. After carefully scanning them each in, I got to work (if you want to call it that!) and created a 24 x 36 poster that reflected the time period and included her favorite letters.

My neighbor is a mentor at her church, and a few months ago, she asked me to make a life-size cut-out of Justin Bieber for her mentee’s completion of confirmation requirements. She sent me pictures from the event with the look of pure joy on her face, and the girl’s mother has since called me to say the “Justin” traveled everywhere her daughter went that whole weekend.

As I was writing this article, I got a phone call from a client I hadn’t heard from in a few years. She is working on a major fund-raising event to be held this spring and said she wanted customized lampshades. We are going to create a story through pictures that will be illuminated with a battery operated candle. They will be placed on the tables as centerpieces.

This one has been the topic of discussion for several years…an event planner wanted 50 unique, customized invitations for an event held at Red Coconut Club. I tossed out the idea of sending actual coconuts painted red. Thankfully, we didn’t get THAT crazy, but we DID send coconut cups with pina colada mix and personalized invitations packaged in boxes full of red crinkle paper and labels on all four sides of the box. As the days went by, the client kept adding invitees, to the point that we had over 200 coconut boxes strewn all over the office!

I love being given the opportunity to be creative, so if you have an idea that could use some artistic polishing, please consider Blue Dog to get the ball rolling!

Let’s Talk Paper

People rarely realize just how many paper choices there are and what each type is typically used for. I’ve attempted here to narrow it down so that you know what you’re talking about when requesting a quote. In order to sound like an expert, make sure you say “pound” and not “number sign” or “hashtag” when referencing paper weights.

24# text
Standard “copy paper”
32# text
A grade above 24# text, slightly thicker to avoid “bleed through” when printing double sided. Typically used for Powerpoint presentations or items with a lot of ink coverage.
80# text
Similar to 32# in thickness. Used for booklets with multiple pages, standard trifold brochures sell sheets, etc.
100# text
Thicker than 80# text. Gives a sturdier, classier feel to your project.
80# cover
Thicker than 100# text and requires scoring to fold (create an indent in the paper before folding to avoid cracking). Used for sell sheets inserted into pocket folders, invitations/cards that fold, booklet covers, trifold brochures with “substance”
100# cover
Typically used for business cards, table tents, postcards and jobs requiring a stiff paper.
120# cover
Typically used for business cards and is the thickest weight that can be printed digitally.

Now that you understand the different weights, you have to choose a “finish”, explained below.

Typical copy paper, has no coating to create a sheen or gloss. Easy to write on.
Silk (also known as Satin)
A subtle sheen that is not “high gloss” nor “dull”. Easy to write on.
Shiny surface. Not recommended for writing on, as it smudges easily.

Blue Is The New Green

HERE IS THE PROBLEM: You want your organization to be environmentally conscious, but you still need to get your message out. You have tried going the mass e-mail route, unfortunately, it is just not effective. Think about the number of e-mails that you get every day from various companies, now think about how many you actually open and/or read. Here is a secret — direct mail is once again the most effective and affordable means to communicate with customers and prospects. I will tell you why and how you can still keep Mother Nature happy.

The Ink

Typically, printing does not immediately come to mind when considering environmentally friendly industries. One conjures up images of massive presses using enough electricity to power a small town while wasting a forest full of trees and dumping ink into the rivers. Blue Dog Printing & Design is nothing like that. We operate all digital presses that are Energy Star certified. Every toner cartridge is returned in its original shipping container back to the manufacturer to be recycled.

The Paper

Of course we offer recycled paper. That option however, may not be the best fit for every project. Still, we insist that all of our paper suppliers are certified FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) compliant. This rigorous certification process requires that paper mills operate in a fashion that significantly limits their impact on the environment and replenishes the forests that are harvested for paper production. Since paper is a renewable resource, the effect on the environment does not need to be negative. Our primary supplier annually plants considerably more trees than they cut down.

The Plan

Ten years ago, your mailbox was stuffed every day with postcards, flyers, offers and “junk mail”. These days, many companies have scaled back their mailing programs in order to cut costs and appear “green”. You still go to your mailbox everyday. The result? More time to peruse those pieces that you do receive, and a greater chance that the piece will end up on somebody’s desk (not their deleted items folder). With Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM), a new program offered through the United States Postal Service, you can reach a specifically targeted geographic area. If your prospects are located in one area, we can reduce your cost, improve your return and keep you environmentally conscious with EDDM. To learn more about EDDM, visit https://eddm.usps.com/eddm/.

The Call To Action

Our doghouse is open M-F from 8:30AM – 4:30PM, so feel free to give us a bark and schedule an appointment to talk about your direct mail needs.

A Paperless World

You might find it strange that I’m writing a blog about a paperless world when I’m in the printing business. But let’s face it, a completely paperless world is not feasible. I don’t know about you, but unless I write it down, or have something physical in front of me, I can’t remember a darn thing. I’ve tried to voice-text myself notes, but either I talk too fast, have a funny accent, or the windows are all down in the car because the interpretation I get is NOTHING what I initially intended.

I really laughed at this video…may be a bit extreme, but definitely shows the absurdity of being “paperless”

Many times I see a line at the end of an email asking me to think before I print. Sometimes, that line actually causes the email message to extend onto 2 pages, therefore necessitating yet another sheet of paper 🙂

I got an email once that said the following at the end:

“Please feel free to print this email along with all attachments. Trees are a farmed product grown expressly for paper. It makes no more sense to conserve paper to save trees than it makes sense to save cloth to conserve cotton. Paper is natural, organic, biodegradable, renewable and sustainable. Working forests employ millions of Americans and help the environment by providing clean air and water, wildlife habitat and carbon storage. There are more trees planted commercially each year than are consumed; there are more trees than 100 years ago. Failure to print quickly converts forests to strip malls and parking lots. Please go ahead print and take satisfaction in knowing you are doing your part to help the environment and to save forests.”

Promotional Product Power

It can sometimes be tough to find the right promotional item for your company. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Think about where members of your target audience make decisions about using your product or service. If you go after executives in corporations, give them something they will use in their offices or around their desktop. That way, your company will be top of mind when they make decisions. Golf-related items are also incredibly effective, because so much business happens on the golf course.
  • Differentiate your company by promoting your marketing message uniquely. One computer software client that made antivirus software put its logo on boxes of condoms and sent them to information technology types with the message, “Protect yourself, protect your computers.” Results? “Most I.T. people are male and don’t really have girlfriends, so that’s particularly titillating.” Perhaps a bit too edgy for some companies, but you get the idea.
  • Personalize them. While we are fond of our company logos, customers really like to use items that have their names on them. “People like seeing their own name above all else.” We can create items in small quantities that can be imprinted with both your company’s logo and your client’s name.
  • Skip the logoed dinner mints and bottles of water that will be quickly used and tossed. Make your promotional products investment something that will have a shelf life.

Some of the most popular promotional items these days are thumb drives, aluminum sports bottles, reusable grocery bags, and anything green or American made.

Take a Seat – Getting Creative

In August of 2014, I met with someone from IFDA Philadelphia asking about printing invitations for an event that their non-profit organization was holding in October, called “Take A Seat“. During the discussion, I became inspired to do something I haven’t done in over 20 years…create art!

The event’s proceeds were benefiting Project Home Philadelphia, an organization that aids veterans and helps prevent homelessness. I saw a photo of a flag folded and sitting on a wheelchair and that was the spark I needed to get started! I remembered that I had an extra wheelchair of my father-in-law’s in our basement closet. I pulled it out and got to my creative work!

The first part I tackled was the metal sides. It was my first attempt at mosaic, but I wanted USA to be seen prominently. Next, I envisioned a flag on the back of the chair that was waving. A friend of mine suggested that I incorporate the names of all the conflicts our military has been a part of. I embroidered these in the white stripes of the flag and sewed wire into the stripes so that I could make the flag wave.

Since I own a printing company, it was easy for me to collect the seals for all 5 branches of our military service and print them onto circular stickers. I used these stickers to cover all the metal parts of the wheelchair, then put a layer of Mod Podge over those parts to seal them.

I contacted the local Chester County veterans office for a list of names of local military, but was told that it was confidential information. So I found a website that listed all the medal of honor recipients from the state of PA that dated back to the War of 1812. I took those names and created a spiral design in Illustrator, then printed it onto white fabric with Blue Dog’s direct to garment (DTG) printer for the wheels.

On September 11th, I posted a request on Facebook for people to send me the names of loved ones that have served our country, past and present. I took all these names and designed a Thank You pattern that thanked each person individually. Among these names are both of my grandfathers, my cousins and close family friends. I printed these out on white fabric and used them to create the seat and the back.

Lastly, I printed out a photo of soldiers planting our flag in Iwo Jima, then another of our flag being raised over Ground Zero to signify the timelessness of what our flag represents to Americans. I decoupaged these images to the inside of the metal sides.

Honestly, the first day I came home after dropping the chair off, I felt lonely…I looked forward to creating a part of the chair each day 🙂

A week before the event, I got an email telling me that the committee chose my chair for the live auction finale piece…I was blown away! I immediately put a call into Malena’s for a unique outfit to wear. After anxiously awaiting for the finale on October 10th, my creation sold for over $1,200. I was so excited and felt accomplished. Little did I know that the person who purchased the chair donated it to be put on display at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia. How fitting that I found this out on Veteran’s Day!

The Top Dog

Over the past 20 years as a married couple (13 of them spent working together), we are often told that we balance each other out. The balance between risk-taker (me) and over-analyzer (Bill) has kept us going as a business, and as a family, for the past 11 years. When we started Blue Dog Printing & Design in 2003, our daughter, Alex, was only 2 years old. Now at the age of 15, is able to contribute to the business by collating, stuffing envelopes, printing tshirts and binding books.

Being family-focused, we strive to maintain a family atmosphere in the office, as well as offering our employees flexible hours that work will with their family’s schedules. Beyond our “doghouse” family lies our extended family—our community. We have immersed ourselves in our community by becoming involved in several local organizations, one of which being the Exton Region Chamber of Commerce.

In August, we received a phone call from the chamber’s president, informing us that we have been voted Small Businesspersons of the Year. This unexpected news was instantly appreciated. This news made us stop and think about WHY we have received this honor. The one thing that quickly came to mind was the fact that we have managed to survive years of a down-turned economy, while still maintaining our marriage (not easy!!!!!).

When finances were tight and anxiety levels were high, we managed to push through, and are here to stay for the long haul. Staying ingrained in our community had a lot to do with our ability to keep going.

It was with heartfelt gratitude that Bill and I accepted our award at the chamber’s Annual Dinner on September 9th. There, we definitely felt the support and appreciation of our fellow chamber members. We look forward to many more successful years in our community.

We Love Non-Profits!

I have been in business for 20 years. Shortly after forming my first company, I realized how important it is to stand out in the community, and that by giving back we are rewarded in so many ways.

In 2003, my husband and I formed Blue Dog Printing & Design, taking my company, Designing Wright, to a new level. As Blue Dog Printing & Design, we have participated as a sponsor in many community events. Chester County is a fantastic place to live and work, and has many opportunities for friends and neighbors to enjoy events designed to bring people together. For several years, Blue Dog sponsored the Rotary Club’s Chili Cook Off (our “Blame It On The Dog” chili was a crowd favorite). Blue Dog continues to support the Exton Region Chamber of Commerce with print sponsorships at all of their major events including the golf outing, annual dinner and community casino night. For many summers, we have contributed to West Whiteland Township’s Miller Park Concert Series and Fourth of July Fireworks. This year, we are excited to once again to partner with the Greater West Chamber of Commerce as the Official Digital Print Provider of the Iron Hill Twilight Criterium.

While events like these are fun, Blue Dog works on an everyday basis to give back. Over the years, we’ve built a foundation of non-profit organizations as customers. As each one became a part of the Blue Dog family, we were happy to sponsor some of their fundraising events. The mutual benefits got me thinking about all the other non-profits that could gain from a partnership with Blue Dog and I set out to create a program especially geared to non-profits. We are known to many as the Non-Profit Printer.

Each non-profit is different—so we work with each one to develop a program that helps them make the most of their marketing budget.

If you are involved with a non-profit and would like to learn more about how Blue Dog can become your non-profit printer, click here!

Life’s Simple Rules

I HEAR MYSELF SAYING to my daughter the very same things my mother always said to me (although I PROMISE to never say “turn that music down!”). To this day, my mother reminds me to put toilet paper down in a public restroom and to watch her purse while she peruses the buffet. Along the way, I was also told to eat my veggies, wash my hands, help my friends, be nice to my sister and to always say “please and thank you.” For me, acknowledging some of Blue Dog’s clients that have shown their loyalty over the span of several years is of the utmost importance. I’d like to highlight four specific clients that have been an absolute joy to work with on a wide range of projects. Please take the time to appreciate the fact that these clients choose to conduct their business locally and loyally.


Hands-down, our favorite client for “last minute” requests… that we always meet! Every person that we have worked with at USH has been appreciative of our turnaround time and attention to detail.

USH counts on Blue Dog to provide:

West Chester University counts on USH to provide:

  • Exemplary living and learning communities.
  • Outstanding amenities including movie theaters, yoga studio, and community garden.
  • Residence halls and apartment style communities to fit the needs of West Chester University students.

American Helicopter Museum

One of the most rewarding business relationships I have is with the employees and volunteers of the American Helicopter Museum.I affectionately refer to my volunteer contacts as“my helicopter dudes”. The dedication that is put into every detail is evident in the tireless efforts to continually improve the museum experience.

The American Helicopter Museum counts on Blue Dog to provide:

Helicopter enthusiasts count on the museum to provide:

  • PRESERVE rotary-wing aviation history
  • EDUCATE about helicopters and their lifesaving missions
  • INSPIRE all generations

Cuddle My Kids

We love supporting non-profits, but this one is near and dear to my heart since I watched a good friend of mine fight cancer with all she had, only to lose the battle. She left behind a 4-year old son and a husband who was devastated. Cathy and her crew do a phenomenal job of putting some positive energy into negative situations.

Cuddle My Kids counts on Blue Dog to provide:

Families fighting cancer count on CMK to provide:

  • support to children through creative play, arts and crafts, and enrichment
  • respite for the sick parent
  • cancer patients uninterrupted time to focus on their own medical issues and healing


I’ll admit, I was a bit intimidated the first time I met the owner, Chuck. A retired military man with a strong sense of pride in his company’s craftsmanship and product design. Chuck came to Blue Dog asking for some help in keeping his branding consistent. I quickly learned that he’s just a teddy bear with smart business sense. He will tell you that integrating all of the Kodabow marketing communications with Blue Dog including Kodabow graphics and photography resulted in tremendous time and cost savings. He counts on Blue Dog like his customers count on Kodabow’s dependable hunting products! Kodabow counts on Blue Dog to provide:

Hunters count on Kodabow to provide:

  • quality crossbows and accessories that are Made In The USA
  • attributes that meet the demands of rugged field use
  • innovative features like a quiet limb design, firearms grade trigger and an anti-dry fire system

Recipes For Successful Events

As my husband will attest to, I’m not the worlds’ greatest cook. Just ask his college roommates…I set off their smoke alarm more times than I care to remember (I SWEAR something was wrong with that oven!).

This year for my father’s birthday, I took a chance on a “homemade” gift. He used to love the raisin cookies that my Grandma made him, so I thought I would try to replicate them. There is no “recipe” that was passed down, Grandma just knew how to make them. My first batch was burned on the bottom (see, something is wrong with MY oven too!). So I adjusted the racks and the size of the dough dollops until I got them JUST RIGHT. I shipped them off to Florida for arrival the next day…Dad told me that Grandma would be proud of me 🙂

Some may say I am a recipe for disaster (well, at least in the kitchen), others may say I am a recipe for success. I guess it just depends on the oven…

What I know I AM good at, is getting all the ingredients together to pull off a memorable event.

You’ll see here some of my event “recipes” from family reunions to golf outings.


The Great Juggling Act

When people get to know me, they often ask “When do you sleep?” Through my own choices, I take on a lot of responsibilities. I have a problem saying “No.” I also feel that nobody else can “do it” the way I can, so I can’t delegate some of my responsibilities.

I’m not special, or different…many women experience my typical day… starting by making sure my tweenager gets out of bed in time to make the bus (because if she misses it and I have to drive her to school, my day is COMPLETELY thrown off!). Then I MUST get my morning Starbucks (shout out to the crew on Five Points Road who keep me fueled!). Depending on my schedule, I either head to the office or to a meeting. Getting in at 7:30 makes a HUGE difference in my productivity! Emails get answered, phone calls returned, estimating gets done, organizing gets done (although my desk may not look like it!).

As the day wears on, all those things in my “To Do Today” pile get redistributed to the “Can Do Tomorrow” pile because I inevitably get pulled into a conversation, or need to solve a problem. I’ve been “mom” already, I’ve been “business owner” already, now it’s time to be “wife.” Hard to separate sometimes because my husband and I run the business together. Yes, I know I’m crazy! We just celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary and still have something to talk about besides work. Thankfully, we have Jen (my lifesaver and graphic designer) to keep us on top of our P’s and Q’s in the office.
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed at trying to be “all things” to “all people” and take a break for myself. I need to add another bone to juggle and name it “My Time.” I’ve had to look at all the things I’ve taken on and see what I CAN delegate so that I don’t completely lose my mind. I’ve talked to my daughter about how I feel when she says “When are you coming home?” I established a schedule with her and stick to it. When I need to be alone, I simply say “I need an hour of uninterrupted time.”
Juggling is so much easier when someone is there to catch the bones that fall. Let Blue Dog Printing & Design catch your marketing bone. I’m not happy unless I’m busy. Give me a bark! 610-430-7992 or email debi@getbluedog.com.

What Being A Mom Means To Me

 FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER, I have loved kids. Babies, 2-year olds, 4-year olds, 8-year olds. I spent my younger years babysitting, and even after I was engaged, I still took babysitting jobs because I just loved taking care of kids. When I found out in 2000 that I was pregnant with my daughter, I could not have been happier. My life, my family, was finally taking shape (along with my growing waistline!). My first Mother’s Day, I couldn’t wait to take a thousand cute pictures of my sweet baby girl in a red and white gingham dress that I had bought especially for the day. However, that day in May was chilly and rainy and I had to dress her in winter clothes. I didn’t get my pictures, but I sure do have some spectacular memories. That year, my husband said to me “From now on, Mother’s Day is YOUR day, and what YOU want to do comes first.” Becoming a mother opened my eyes to what my mother, and all mothers, have endured in their life…the worry, the second-guessing, the overwhelming joy. I started to understand why my mom acted the way she did. Why she was so protective, why she was always hugging me, why every night she said “I love you.” I have friends who have children they have adopted, fostered, egg-donored, miscarried, lost. Does that make them any less of a mother? In my opinion, no. In 2003 and 2004, I was excited to become a mother again, but both times those pregnancies ended in a loss. I felt empty, incomplete. I kept looking at my daughter in wonder and amazement…she was so PERFECT. Why couldn’t I have another one? In 2005 I found out I was pregnant again…this time I got past the first trimester, only to learn in the second trimester that the son I was carrying had major medical problems with his bladder, his kidneys and his heart. After many trips to CHOP, all the news we got was that our baby would be born with a lot of problems, but ones that could be fixed. My son Sammy was born at 2:22pm on 2/2/2006. I watched him take his last breath just 11 hours later. Our family was devastated. Our daughter, Alex, was only 5 and she was heartbroken. She questioned whether or not she was a sister, and made me question whether or not I would consider myself a mother if not for her. It took years for me to accept my “family of 3” and not constantly be angry that my dream “family of 4” wasn’t going to happen for me. I was angry that I didn’t get my miracle. What got me thinking was a comment I remembered the doctor making at the autopsy finding…perhaps Alex is my miracle. She is my blessing. She is what I am thankful for every day. She makes me smile. She makes me love. She makes me Mom.

Keeping It Fresh

Being with the same spouse for 25 years can make it challenging to keep the relationship fresh. WORKING with that spouse for over 10 years adds even more to the challenge. Yes, I remember the days of getting flowers “just because,” but only because I consult my journals from years ago from time to time and share the entries with my 15-year old daughter, Alex. It’s so easy to fall into a comfortable routine. Ours goes something like this: 6:30am: My alarm sings. Can you make sure Alex is up? 6:33am: His alarm squawking (yes, I have music, he has an annoying high pitched beep that gets louder and faster the longer you don’t hit the snooze). Is Alex up? 6:36am: One of us has determined that yes, Alex is up and not going to miss the bus. 7:05am: Are you going to take a shower? I ask because if he is, then I can stay in bed a little longer… 7:09am: So, are you taking a shower or not? The answer is no. 7:20am: I am out the door, he is just getting up. 8:00am: We are both now in the office and the day is filled with interruptions made by both parties, to the point that we are annoyed with each other. 3:50pm: Are you picking Alex up at the YMCA? No, you said YOU were… 4:00pm: I get Alex. 5:00pm: What’s for dinner? I don’t know, what do you want? I don’t care, surprise me. 7:00pm: We sit down for dinner, discuss what Alex learned at school that day, then proceed to map out our TV watching for the night. 10:00pm: Will you stay awake for one more episode? Sure. 10:02pm: Snoring begins 10:04pm: I throw something at him to wake him up (usually a hair clip, or an ice cube) 10:42pm: I’m going upstairs. So am I. 11:00pm: Good night honey, I love you. Love you too.

With the start of a new year, I looked online to get some pointers on “keeping it fresh.” While I was reading, I realized that the same could apply to a company that has fallen into a rut of doing things a certain way just because they’ve “always been done that way.” I found these 5 core relationship elements to focus on:


If a commitment issue (whether known or unknown to both parties) is addressed correctly, it becomes a catalyst for a profound breakthrough in harmony and creative energy. This principle applies in the boardroom as well as in the bedroom. Are you committed to your co-workers and customers the same way you are to your spouse?

Take advantage of new technology

With so many of us pressed for time, why not use technology to “keep in touch” during the day. A compliment, an affection or a quick “Hello, you are being thought of” via text can spark anyone’s day. I enjoy getting an email or text from a “blast from the past.”

Strengthen your art of conversation

If you’ve ever watched The Office, you’ll know that Phyllis closes sales by knowing all about the customer’s family and interests. Once, I designed a logo for a client that incorporated a helm because he told me how much he enjoyed boating. Small talk can equal big sales if you play your cards right.

Praise, praise and thank you…

Appreciation is key in any relationship. Who doesn’t like an email or phone call that expresses what a great job they or their employees are doing? When I have a great customer service experience, I always make sure to pass that on as soon as I can to the business owner. Be a good listener. Well, this is Relationship Basic 101, but for a “talker” like myself, this one is tough sometimes. I was actually surprised when my sister-in-law once said to me, “I like talking to you, you really LISTEN. You ask questions and repeat back what I’ve said, so I know you are paying attention.” I don’t pretend to know what a customer wants…I listen and talk through their goals, then devise a course of action. I welcome the opportunity to sit down and talk with you about the goals for your business in 2014. Please give me a bark at 610-430-7992, or email debi@getbluedog.com.