Relief in Crunch Time: Consolidate Formatting, Design, & Printing Services

As you’re preparing your conference materials for print, you are also juggling countless other tasks. Conference printing is one of the last tasks you have to tackle before your annual meeting begins. And who can blame you? It’s not like the speakers submit their final presentations more than a day or two before the deadline. That leaves you scrambling to get the pages set up and ready for print, or pushing an expensive freelance graphic designer to get the job done at the 11th hour. Every single time!

What’s a busy meeting planner to do? See if you can cut out the middleman. Ask your conference printer if they have in-house graphic designers. This can be especially useful if you’re working with a printer that specifically works with associations, because their design team has probably handled projects just like yours in the past.

Whether you need full design services or just a little formatting assistance to prepare your conference materials, it makes sense to talk to your printer to see if they can help. Using one provider for design, formatting, and conference printing means you have fewer calls to make to keep the project on track, less hassle when the deadline is looming, and a provider you can trust to get the job done right.

To learn how Omnipress can help, visit our formatting and design page. Leave us a comment to let us know what you think!

Why Choose a Printer That Works With Associations?

Many associations choose to work with a trusted local printer that handles all sorts of jobs for other members of the community in addition to the association’s conference materials. With no disrespect intended towards ma or pa, this may not be the most prudent course of action for your association.

Choosing a printer that specifically works with associations has many advantages, as listed below, which may outweigh your honorable intention to keep your business in the community. Association have needs that differ from other organizations, and those unique circumstances may necessitate the use of a specialist.

A printer that works with associations …

  1. Understands that your deadlines are tight. Conference programs need only be late once for you to realize the full impact that printers who understand how to meet deadlines—and associations always run up against the deadline. Know that your materials will be there, come what may.
  2. Recognizes that last-minute changes are common, necessary, and largely out of your control. Oh, those presenters! Whether you set the date for final collection a month or a week before your conference, you’ll still get entirely too many late papers. Omnipress gets it. While there does need to be a drop-dead-line, as my high school English teacher called it, when materials must be received in order to be included in printed conference materials, we can push that date later than most providers can.
  3. Knows the basics of how conference materials are laid out. If your program’s pages come to us print-ready, that’s great! Many associations need help getting it there, though, and our team of designers can provide formatting services to make it happen. Just send us a sample of last year’s program and we’ll do our best to match it. We work with hundreds of associations each year, so we have a good idea of how books normally look.
  4. Has seen many variations on the standard conference program. If you’re looking for something a little different, odds are, Omnipress has seen it before. If you bring something to the table that’s brand-new, we’ll have a good idea of how to handle it. Over the years, our project managers and production team have built up an impressive set of skills.
  5. Knows you have many plates spinning, and that conference content isn’t always top priority. But that’s okay, because it is ours. We can help you manage the process with little input from you. We won’t make any major decisions without your approval, of course, but we can get a lot done while you’re taking care of other tasks.
  6. Realizes that some people who work with you to get materials ready for print are volunteers or work part-time. Coordinating schedules can be tough, even when everyone is in the office at the same time. When volunteers and part-timers are in the mix, it can be even tougher to stay on the same page (sometimes literally!). We understand if the ad pages are being produced on a different timeline than the abstracts, which are trickling in on schedule all their own. We can revise the program as more pieces are added. Once again, there will be a cut-off date and time, but we can work on bits and pieces until everything is ready.
  7. Understands that content is the most valuable asset any association has. When it comes right down to it, your association’s content is what keeps them coming back every year—to membership and to your annual meeting. Your association’s reputation is on the line when those conference programs or proceedings land in the hands of attendees. It has to be all right, or it’s all wrong.

Does every printer truly understand this? According to our clients, who trust us because we know associations, the answer is no. Only printers like Omnipress can empathize with busy meeting planners, executive directors, and other association professionals.

To learn more about the who, what, when, where, how, and why of conference printing, download our white paper, Printing Your Event Content.

Printed Programs: Preferred by Young Professionals

Fact: Printed conference materials are important to attendees. This includes—and may apply especially to—millennials, young professionals who came of age around the year 2000. Also referred to as Generation Y, 18-33-year-olds, have, as of this year, surpassed members of Generation X in their numbers in the American workforce. More than one in three workers is a millennial. In sheer numbers (working or not), millennials will soon surpass baby boomers!

Clearly, young professionals are important to the future of your association, and their preferences matter. In a survey we conducted last fall, we asked nearly 550 millennials (age 22-33) about their reading and learning preferences. (The respondents are not connected to Omnipress; the survey was administered by a third party.)

Their answers may inform your conference content strategy in 2015 and beyond. Let’s take a closer look:

When I attend a professional conference, I want a printed program book.

  • 53% agree
  • 17% disagree
  • 30% had no opinion

Over half of survey-takers actively want a printed program book. When it’s time to consider how to deliver conference content to attendees, keep this in mind. Young professionals crave print, which provides ample reason for your association to provide it.

When I attend a professional conference, I prefer to look at a website or an app for information.

  • 32% agreed
  • 38% disagreed
  • 30% had no opinion

Compare this result to the previous question. Not even one-third of respondents prefers a website or an app. If both are available, it stands to reason that millennials will use different tools for different purposes. As far as preference goes, however, it’s clear that print wins. Also note that more survey-takers disagreed with this statement, compared to those who agreed, showing an active turn away from technology as the answer for conference content.

I will never stop reading printed educational materials

  • 64% agreed
  • 13% disagreed
  • 23% had no opinion

Nearly 2/3 of respondents agree that printed educational materials will continue to hold a place in their lives in the foreseeable future. Think about your own answers to these questions. Do the responses of millennials surprise you? Do these results give you pause with the assumptions you may have made about young professionals?

Think about this as you plan your 2015 annual meeting, and in 2016, and every year after that. Most of the largest generation—in the workforce and in the country—reads print. They prefer it; they will continue to use it in the future. Technology is not the answer for all young professionals. In fact, most disagree that a website or app is better than a printed program.

These three questions are just a small sample of our full survey results, found in Millennials & Print. Download the white paper to deepen your understanding of the impact print is having on young professionals, who represent the future of your association and the American workforce. Give it a read and let us know what you think.

Get Help Formatting Your Association’s Printed Conference Materials: Replace Frustration with Freedom!

By the time the printed program reaches the attendees of your association’s annual meeting, the content has already been through many phases of development. That process includes everything from the first draft through to the final check, just before the programs were printed.

Formatting and design play an important role in bringing your association’s valuable content to attendees. Many associations find this step to be tedious. Futzing with page design is not, it turns out, everyone’s idea of a fun afternoon.

That’s just one of many reasons Omnipress offers design and formatting services. Our experienced team handles print, design, formatting, and project management every day. They can help bring your association’s content to life.

One of the main reasons to trust your formatting to an experienced vendor is simple—quite frankly, you’d rather not do it. And that’s absolutely fine! We are more than happy to take that burdensome task off of your plate.

Just for fun, though, let’s explore some other benefits of outsourcing the formatting of the printed materials you’ll need for your conference:

  • A clean appearance removes the distractions that programs, proceedings, and other materials sometimes include if less thought is put into the presentation of the content.
  • An organized program book makes for a better user experience, putting your association’s content in the spotlight.
  • A well-formatted page improves the readability of your content. If we succeed, your attendees will hardly notice the formatting at all.
  • A cooperative relationship means that we’re not satisfied until you are. Send us your feedback and we’ll make it right.

Remember the process from draft to printed book from the beginning of this post? That’s really just the first step. After the presenters have been chosen, the final papers have been collected, and the program book has been formatted, you may have other ideas on how to leverage your conference content. Thankfully, you can count on Omnipress to help you with all of them.

  • Online Conference Materials: Making your conference content available online—before, during, and after the concert—helps attendees engage with content when a program is unavailable.
  • USBs & CDs: A digital resource that doesn’t require internet connectivity strikes the perfect balance that’s sometimes needed on-site, when WiFi can be spotty.
  • Conference Apps: Attendees love using apps to interact with others. Apps also provide quick and easy access to schedule information, venue maps, and social media feeds.

What’s the next step for your conference content? Talk to Omnipress! You’ll see how much easier your day can be when you have the freedom to focus on more tasks that you enjoy.

Preserve the Print! How to Expand Your Conference Content Delivery

Every once in a while, we all need a reminder that just because something isn’t new and “shiny” anymore doesn’t mean it’s old-fashioned and obsolete. In fact, in some cases, the tried-and-true solution is the better choice.

Take, for example, the Mason jars seen in this picture. You probably know some people who have started using glass containers instead of plastic, especially if the food will be reheated, to prevent chemicals from leaching into the food. Glass and ceramic containers are much safer containers for reheating food than plastic. The classic solution is the best.

The same can be said of printed conference materials. Does every attendee want a printed program book? Probably not. But if you stopped printing conference programs altogether, you would find that many people would be disappointed.

The permanence of print is attractive to some attendees; other learn better from print than online resources or mobile apps. Some may not even be able to put a finger on exactly why it would be upsetting to have to access conference content online. Surely spotty or expensive WiFi at the venue and/or hotel doesn’t help matters any. Maybe it’s something as simple as missing the next volume of association proceedings to join the volumes from the last 15 years on the office bookshelf.

Whatever the reason, printed conference materials are important to attendees, and not just the baby boomers!

In a survey of over 550 millennials, conducted in December 2014, we found that 53% of young professionals (22-33 years old) agreed that “When I attend a professional conference, I want a printed program.” (Only 17% disagreed with the statement; the rest had no opinion.)

Answers were much more split, however, on this statement: “When I attend a professional conference, I prefer to look at a website or app for information.” Only 30% agreed, while nearly a third (32%) disagreed and the most frequently given answer was “disagree” at 38%. (To read more about the millennials and print survey, download the white paper.)

Printed conference programs are no longer the only game in town, and there are many reasons to consider adding a conference app or event content website to the mix. But be sure to note the phrasing: adding is the operative word.

Preserve the print—your attendees want it, so you should provide it. But make way for new ways to access conference content, too. After all, online conference materials are helpful for building a personalized itinerary before the conference, and poring over abstracts once you’re back in the office. Conference apps foster attendee engagement, especially when you make use of features like person-to-person messaging, live polling, and a social timeline.

To make it easier for you to try a new technology in addition to print without breaking your content budget, Omnipress is offering a special promotion! If you work with Omnipress for your printed conference materials, you can get up to 75% off a conference app or online conference materials. To learn more and register for the promotion, visit

Hurry—an offer this good won’t last long! A signed proposal is due back to Omnipress by June 30th. Register today!

Conference Printing & Beyond

Last month on the blog, we discussed three factors to consider when choosing an event printer. One of the main points of the blog post was to think about the experience of the provider, with both printing in general and with the association industry.

But experience itself is only part of the benefit of working with a printer that works with associations. Our project managers and production team have hundreds of different programs and proceedings under their belts. Some projects are similar to countless others they have done; such jobs present no new challenges.

And then … there are the others. The conference printing projects that are the antithesis of cookie-cutter. The more out of the box a project is, the more important it is that you partner with a conference printer that knows how to handle unusual requests, like custom die-cutting, embossing, promotional pieces (like door-hangers), and even a custom-designed tradeshow display board.

If you find an association-focused printer you can trust to handle specialized printing projects, you’re off to a great start. Even better? A conference printer that provides additional services like formatting and design to bring your content to life as an organized, user-friendly final product.

To truly streamline your event content process, find a printer that also provides other services, like abstract collection and speaker management, event websites, and mobile event apps. Maybe scientific posters and USBs also fall under their purview. I bet you can just feel your to-do list getting shorter.

Can your provider offer you all of this, as well as a high-quality printed program? Not many companies can, but Omnipress’ event ecosystem gives you all the tools you need to take care of all of event content with one single-source, all-in-one company.

To learn more, download Omnipress’ event ecosystem flyer and event brochure. Both are available here, with no email address required for access. Just scroll down to the end of the Events Whitepaper section. Feel free to request those resources as well!

Omnipress can be your conference printer—and so much more. Contact us with any questions or comments!

This is Your Brain on Print: Flex Your Deep-Reading Muscle Daily

Your brain is a complicated machine. The more neuroscientists discover about the way we learn and approach the world, courtesy of this endlessly fascinating “gray matter,” the more likely we are to view cognition in terms of how it may truly impact our daily lives.

In a recent article from PRI (Public Radio International), Your Paper Brain and Your Kindle Brain Aren’t the Same Thing, digital content editor T.J. Raphael reports that digital reading has permeated our lives to the extent that it has actually changed the way we read print. You may find yourself feeling distracted, with your eyes darting around the page and your mind unable to concentrate, even if you have been able to do so in the past.

According to neuroscientists, you use different parts of your brain when you read a screen than you do when reading paper. Like so many other functions of the brain, like vocabulary and language (I can’t be the only one who has lost almost all of high school German), reading on paper is a use-it-or-lose-it skill. In fact, the more you read on a screen, the more you start to read other materials as if you were reading a screen.

It would be alarmist to suggest that the deep reading many of us still do on paper—immersing yourself in a novel, for example, or even complicated documents like a mortgage agreement—is in danger of extinction. Manoush Zomorodi, host of WYNC’s New Tech City, doesn’t suggest, as some might, that we are becoming stupider or poorer readers overall. It’s closer to the truth to say that excess stimulation is disrupting our ability to deep-read.

What is to be done? How can we stem the loss of this critical skill, important for everything from professional development and career advancement to reading for pleasure and fully understanding your taxes?

According to the article, the best advice is to do some deep reading every day. Flex that muscle in your brain to keep it in shape, for all the times in life when you need to completely understand new information and can’t be distracted by the ads in the sidebar and the ping! of your inbox.

For your association members, this deep reading of print might as well be content from your annual meeting. It would be a good choice, after all; this is important information, worthy of the more careful, deliberate attention most people give to printed materials. Add this to the growing list of reasons to continue to print your program or proceedings.

In the future, we may see that this bi-literate brain, which uses one method and area for reading on a screen and a different method and area for reading print, as an asset. Its ability to differentiate between the skimmable, fact-seeking online tidbit from the deep-dive-worthy printed piece could be valuable. It will take some conscious practice on our part, though, which can begin with your association content.


Three Conference Materials You Don’t Want to Ditch

During these times where laptops have replaced our desktop computers and iPhones make iPods useless items we once obsessed over, I think we’d all agree that keeping up with technology can be an exhausting, never-ending chase. Maybe this is a good time to stop chasing our shiny, new technologies, and think about what we shouldn’t be so quick to toss in the trash.

In the conference realm, more and more planners are posting their conference materials online creating a place where content is more accessible and findable for attendees. This is fantastic, but before jumping on the bandwagon, don’t forget about these useful conference materials that you may want to keep around. (AND when you’re through, make sure and check out these nine considerations to make before posting your conference materials online.)

Three conference materials you don’t want to ditch:

  1. Learning Journals/Conference Notebooks: Attendees appreciate having one place where they can take their personal and session notes, and find out where their next session is located. In a perfectly green world, we would all have paperless conferences, but let’s be serious, attendees still love these learning journals. Plus, there are definitely ways to spice up the ol’ conference notebook. Check out how ACVS combined their conference final program with a conference notebook (AND increased their ad sales doing it). With a conference notebook those problems involving internet access and battery life are out the window.
  2. Flash Drives: While flash drives are not used much anymore in everyday life, they work very well for conferences and meetings. With CD-ROM drives disappearing from laptops and $50 per user Wi-Fi at convention centers, flash drives are a great way to deliver content and have a little more control over access. By making all your content available on a conference website (even when password protected), people are still able to share passwords with each other. Sure, information on a flash drive can still be copied, but it’s definitely a lot more work than sharing a nine character password.
  3. CD-ROMS: Yes, I prefer to listen to my music via my iPhone versus a CD, but when it comes to conferences, CD-ROMS can be a great way to share a lot of information at a very low cost. Once again, worries regarding the internet and battery life are non-existent.

Ask yourself: What’s the most important part of your conference? Did you say the “The Attendees”? Regardless of your concerns to go green, be online, or cut costs… It’s all about creating the best experience for your attendees. Listen to them, give them what they want. If they want to take notes by hand, give them a learning journal. If they want to be able to access information without having to go on the internet, give it to them.

Your best option as a meeting planner is to give them options. By giving attendees their conference materials in multiple formats, they can choose what works best for them.

What’s your conference material “cocktail”?

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