Soft varnish piece

Last week, CSG Production Director, Danielle, gathered all the CSGers together for a Lunch & Learn to share all the latest printing, folding and production tips and tricks she’s picked up in the past couple of months.

We started the Lunch & Learn with a bit of show and tell. Danielle shared various pieces that she’s seen using a “soft touch” varnish. Instead of the glossy varnish you may be used to, this varnish adds a silky texture to your direct mail pieces. It gives you the sensation of touching cloth, when you are actually holding a piece of paper — very cool. It’s also reasonably priced, so if you’re interested in adding something like that to your next piece, be sure to let us know.

Danielle and our Production Coordinator/Traffic Manager, Tiffany Crawford, also shared several ideas they picked up at a seminar hosted by There were so many great ideas, I had a hard time choosing which ones to share with you. Here’s just a few of the tips and folds I really liked:

  • hosts a weekly video called the “60-Second Super-Cool Fold of the Week.” Some of the folds are very complex, others offer simple improvements on familiar folds. To receive “Fold of the Week” emails and to get full access to the “Fold of the Week” archives, you have to create an account with, but it’s free and pretty painless. You can also view the archives on the “Fold of the Week” archives on YouTube. By the way, I am a little jealous of all the fold-pun t-shirts the “Fold of the Week” host wears. How can you not laugh at: “It’s fold o’clock somewhere,” “What the fold?” or “Fold ‘em if you’ve got ‘em.”
  • Danielle shared one fold in the archive that I thought was especially cool: the wrapped accordion fold. Typically, when designing a self-mailer, you can’t use an accordion fold because your final product will not end up with a sealed edge (something required by the post-office). This wrapped accordion fold adds one final, non-accordion fold to the piece that wraps around one of the outside edges, giving you that all-important sealed edge.
  • also has a partnership with Sappi (a paper company). Together, they developed “The Standard 4” a comprehensive folding manual. It looks like you can order a free sample of “The Standard” online, here. You can also download a poster that includes all the folds featured in “The Standard.” The book is a great reminder of all the folds available — in fact, I used one of the ideas as an inspiration for a proposal I worked on this week, so it is definitely worth a look!

As you think about your next direct mail piece, remember that folds are a great way to add interest and dimension — giving your direct mail a greater chance to be opened, read and remembered by the audience; resulting in more sales, memberships and ultimately resulting in a bigger ROI for your campaign.

Happy folding!