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Signage and Wayfinding Systems for College Campuses

This post was written by a colleague at our sister company Kelmscott Communications, Kelly Voss. Kelly has a wealth of knowledge regarding all things wide-format and signage.


Each year, as a new class of juniors advances through high school, they and their parents begin the process of identifying and applying to colleges they want to attend. As the parent of twins entering their junior year, I’ll be doubling down on this. Part of that process involves a campus visit to the school or schools your teenager is most interested in attending. The campus visit includes a guided tour that will introduce you to the highlights and milestones that the school is most proud of. After the tour, it’s important to spend some time away from the guide and get a feel for the campus for yourself. Campus signage and wayfinding plays a big role in your ability to find your way around.


The process for developing signage and wayfinding systems for college campuses really encompasses much more than simply creating signs and maps. Ultimately, the factors that influence this process contribute to the overall experience of any user to want to be on the campus. The goal is for ease of use of course, and for users to have an overall feeling of comfort, welcoming and acceptance—a sense of belonging on campus—as opposed to a sense of discomfort and lack of orientation, leading to unease and desire to leave. Of course, there is much more that contributes to that feeling, but good wayfinding and signage can contribute to a positive experience, or create a sense of confusion and frustration if done poorly.


A tremendous amount of planning, effort and thought goes into creating an effective way-finding and signage system at the institutional level. Many administrative offices will have an interest and will provide valuable input, including facilities management officials, department directors, etc. To ensure a universal perspective, most colleges will form a steering committee that will engage and garner input from all departments. It is important that the needs and objectives of the various points of view are fulfilled with uniformity and effectiveness, within a comprehensive system.


The experience of finding one’s way around campus for the new student or visitor should be relatively effortless and intuitive. Beyond signage and wayfinding, elements such as building architecture, landscaping and grounds, and overall appearance of the campus can contribute to the visitor’s impression of the institution.


Campus wayfinding systems also increasingly encompass mobile apps that work as an aid for navigating campus, coupled with LED programmable signage that can be edited and modified remotely by campus IT staff. In a world where students increasingly look to their mobile device for answers to any question, it is second nature for them to look to their device to find directions as well. As an element of preparedness, many of theses students will have already discovered and activated the app before they even get to the campus. These programs also lend an element of credibility to the school, as an institution that is “in tune” with the needs and habits of each successive generation of prospective students.


There are many factors to consider when contemplating signage and wayfinding systems, most notably, the architectural and environmental settings of the institution itself. Universities in urban settings such as NYU, University of Chicago, or Boston University will face considerably different issues than a college in a more picturesque rural setting such as the University of Virginia, or a Southwestern environment such as the University of New Mexico. One additional issue schools with urban settings face is identifying the edges of the campus. Where the does college end and what is the transition from college campus to city streets? How does the campus signage mesh or differ from the city signage?


Americans with Disabilities Act requirements is another important consideration when designing a wayfinding system. Most schools are fully aware of these requirements and encompass them in building design and construction. ADA requirements call for the design of systems that encompass usage accessibility for all people, at any stage in life, regardless of ability. It encompasses more than just “accessible by wheelchair.” Uniform accessibility ensures that, not only individuals who may be living with disability can have confidence that they will be able to use the system, but that everyone, regardless of ability or disability, will be able to navigate and function comfortably within that environment.


The amount of involvement in the planning and execution stages is directly inversely proportionate to the ease, simplicity and clarity it provides for its users. If the system is planned and executed properly, students and visitors will be easily able to navigate the campus with a minimal amount of effort. That’s the goal. A well-designed system will seem natural and intuitive, and easy to follow. In most instances, the system will be used heavily for the first few weeks of the school year, but as students become familiar with campus and where their classes are, locations become committed to memory and they won’t need it as much. However, visitors will always need to consult signage to find their way around campus.




The Future is Too Bright

By: Chris Tews, Kelmscott Communications


What do you get when you put 10 college students and a professor in a press room? A lot of energy and a glimpse into our future. Judging from the enthusiasm and talent in the group, I am confident in saying that we are in capable hands.

Graphic design students from Indiana Wesleyan University came out for a field trip on a beautiful Saturday morning. They listened well, asked good questions, and enjoyed seeing how the files they create on their monitors are converted into printing plates, press forms and finished work. They especially enjoyed the chance to climb up our 63-inch, 6-color UV offset press!

Looking down from our second floor deck to take their photo, I realized that this picture is a perfect snapshot of our future. The printing industry is in good hands. These young up-and-coming professionals are looking up and ahead to their future. They are creative, energetic, engaged, fun, dreamers, strategic, thoughtful, hopeful and ready to add their voice to an exciting brave new world!

They don’t accept the past or the now; they ask questions like how?, when?, what if?, could we? Their questions challenge me to push myself further. We are in good hands if these young creatives are our future in the marketing communications industry!

Little Nikolas

Eleni Kripintiris

Strategic Account Manager Rider Dickerson


Don’t you love having a personal project that aligns with your professional work? I absolutely adore the idea of a project that has to do with design, print and all things paper.


I recently had the pleasure of creating the look and feel of my son’s Greek Orthodox baptism and reception. I put my creativity and passion for paper to work as I took on the task to create not only the invitation to the event, but also the centerpieces for the reception.


Now, the first order of business was to come up with a theme. I thought about the significance of the baptism and the fact that during the ritual of the baptism, the child receives their name. So, there it is, the focus of my theme was driven by his name, Nikolas.


I did a little research and came across “Le Petit Nicolas”, a character from a series of French books. I was intrigued by the idea of creating a little character. After all, my son is already a little character on his own. Upon an initial creative brainstorming, the character along with some of his attributes is reborn in Greek: “O Mikros Nikolas.” The conceptual cornerstone of my theme has come to life and now I have to remain in charge of the ideas that are rushing through my head. The excitement of all the things that I can create is overwhelming and great.


First things first, I had to design the invite and send it out to guests. I challenged myself to create my own Little Nikolas drawing inspired by Le Petit Nicolas. After many sketches and a bit of tweaking in Photoshop, the character was complete and ready to be placed on the invite.


I designed a logo “O Mikros Nikolas” – which included the drawing, on what ended up as a 5.75-inch square invite. It was done and I was thrilled to be ready to submit for printing. Noteworthy, I was also pleased to be exposed and well versed on paper options through our partnerships with brands such as Neenah.  With the invite complete and its colors in mind, I knew exactly what my options were regarding paper.


I chose Neenah Plike Red 122 lb Cover for a backing layer and Neenah Stardream Crystal Smooth Digital 105 lb Cover for the printed art. I knew that digital printing was the way to go. After printing it was trimmed before being mounted onto the red backing layer. I inserted the invites into 6-inch square kraft envelopes and then attached personalized labels that wrapped around the envelope from front to back to complete the look.


The invites were done and in the mail. Now, I had to think about the event’s décor. A few days later, I happened to be in a meeting with co-worker and friend Kelly Voss. She heads up our large format division and she’s great with tradeshow and event space pieces. She helped me brainstorm a few ideas. All I had to do was mention the character Little Nikolas and she suggested that we print this little character and bubble cut him to display on each table as a component of the centerpieces. Brilliant!



That idea helped me shape the rest of the event décor. Furthermore, the character’s red bowtie became the theme of the entire event. I hand made them and tied them around clear vases, which contained red roses. In addition, I added more clear vases with floating candles.


When I assembled the prototype, I realized that something was missing. So I reverted back to my favorite thing, paper. I grabbed a few sheets of paper that I had lying around and proceeded to try something that seemed like a good idea.


I dressed the vase up with paper and created a collared shirt and pants. Yes, you heard me. I used Stardream Crystal 105 Cover (paper) as a shirt complete with a collar by wrapping it around the vase and included pants out of Stardream Anthracite (a dark charcoal color). Now I took the red fabric bowtie that I made and wrapped it around the collar and there you had it. A complete centerpiece made by little Nikolas’s mommy.



The remaining decor items were a cinch. The party favors were clear plastic 2-inch square boxes filled with chocolates and finished with a bow tie to keep them closed. The guests were greeted with self-standing Plike Red and Stardream Crystal seating assignment signs complete with a poem written by Grandpa. Oh, and I forgot to mention, his grandma also custom hand embroidered a few of the linens used in the ceremony. What a treat, so many keepsakes for our little Nikolas.


The big day arrived and I was excited to share the day with my husband, son, our families and friends. It was a night full of food, drinks, and Greek dancing.



In a Digital World, Relationships Matter More than Ever!

It’s no secret—we are living in a digital age. Don’t think so? Next time you are out and about just pay attention to how many people are walking head down with their eyes glued to their smartphone. Hey, if you see me I might be one of those people too! Technology—specifically the smartphone—has enriched our lives in many ways. We have instant access to information, there’s an app for just about everything, and we can be more connected to our circle of friends, family and business contacts in ways we never dreamed about 10-15 years ago.

But a funny thing is happening—connections forged by social media, apps and video chats can be very superficial. Those relationships—at least the ones that matter to you the most—still need to be nurtured and respected in ways beyond the tap of a finger can provide. The ability to sit across from someone and hold an intelligent and meaningful 2-way dialogue is still an important skill—in fact I say more important now than ever since technology makes it so easy not to have to do this.

In business, there’s no doubt it’s a buyers world. Consumers are working harder and harder every day to stay more anonymous further into the sales cycle. The latest reports indicate that 78 percent of the buyer’s journey is complete before they ever engage a sales professional. What this means is in that 22 percent the sales experience needs to be top level, high touch and highly intelligent. Sales professionals need to be problem identifiers not just problem solvers, and they need to have the finest interpersonal skills—including the most important of all, listening! People will always buy from those who they know, like and trust, so the relationship is paramount. Sound industry/product knowledge is equally important. They go hand in hand. You can’t be a relationship specialist but have no product knowledge—clients won’t trust you to deliver in the end. Similarly, you can have all the product knowledge in the world, but if the client doesn’t like you there’s a really good chance you won’t win their business.

When leads flip to customers, the relationships matter the most. Customer relationship management becomes everything—and no I’m not talking about your CRM! I’m talking about the customer experience and never taking that client for granted. It’s about being an advocate for your client, seeing things from their point of view and always working to exceed their expectations like you did the day you landed them as a client. They say in marriage you should never stop dating. It’s no different with a client. Always court your clients and treat them like they are your only client—no matter how busy you are.

In the end, relationships will always matter. Granted, there are more ways to nurture relationships today, but ultimately it’s the relationships that drive meaningful, long lasting business partnerships. You can’t tweet your way through your business life. At some point, warm, intimate relationship building is needed, and those who can do that with empathy, trust and sincerity will stand out.

I’m excited to work for a company whose brand promise is built on relationships and helping our clients connect with their audiences through authentic experiences. Personally I pride myself on authentic client interactions, and knowing the company I represent lives this as our brand promise is rewarding and energizing. Because no matter how much digital continues to consume our lives we can’t forget people buy from people and always will.

Dean Petrulakis     LinkedIn     Twitter

Senior Vice President, Business Development

Rider Dickerson

January 2017 Project of the Month

The first Project of the Month of 2017 was a special one. It was a collaborative effort between our newly formed company comprising Buhl Press, Kelmscott Communications and Rider Dickerson. The featured project is 2016 Holiday Card.

In 2016, Buhl Press, Kelmscott Communications and Rider Dickerson merged to form a new and exciting company. The 2016 Holiday Card was a total collaboration between the three companies. We could not have been happier with the end result! This year we thought it would be great to showcase our merger by creating a holiday card that represented all three companies’ capabilities. Each company brings fabulous capabilities to the table. Known for their high-end, beautiful print Kelmscott Communications and Rider Dickerson also provide various capabilities to create one-stop successful campaigns. When someone thinks about printing on plastic the name that comes to mind is Buhl Press. For years, Buhl Press has been creating extraordinary projects on plastics with UV ink. When it came to putting together our holiday card this year, it was a no-brainer to create a card that showcased our amazing print and plastic capabilities.

To create the card in the most-timely manner we looked to have the design and concept of the card to be designed by our fabulous designers at Kelmscott Communications. The designer of this beautiful piece was Charisse McAloon. “The goal was to design a holiday day card that would reflect our capabilities. The creative solution captured the essence of the brand and created intrigue.” – Charisse McAloon To achieve the plastic aspect of the holiday card we enlisted the plastic experts at Buhl Press to add just enough flare to our traditional holiday card. The 2016 Holiday Card kept the traditional look of a beautiful holiday card with an amazing twist including the plastic insert. To create the beautiful shimmering element of the card, we used white ink with a silver foil. There were so many amazing elements in this holiday card that we would love to show you if you did not receive one!

If you’d like to see a sample please contact us. We’d love to show you.

Project Title:  2016 Holiday Card

Date of project :   November 2016

Presswork:  Plastic Card: 4/C Process + 2 Whites, backed with silver foil.

Presswork:  The cards were printed on our IGEN 4 Digital Press.  The Flat size was 11.125” x 8.375” and scored and folded in half to 5.5625” x 8.375”.  They were then sent out to diecut and score.  The diecut consisted of only a slit in the 4 corners to accommodate the Plastic insert that Buhl printed.

There was also an address sheet that was printed on the IGEN 4 as well.  This went in front of the card in the envelope and had the addressee’s name and address on it.  This was sized at 5.5625” x 8.375”.

Paper Stock:  The Card itself was printed on 12×18 100# Classic Crest Smooth Cover in Solar White Color.  The Address sheet was printed on 8.5 x 11 65# Classic Crest Smooth Cover in Solar White Color.

Plastic Stock:  .015 Cleary Polycarbonate. Paper: 100# Classic Crest Smooth Cover in Solar White Color with address sheet printed on 65# Classic Crest Smooth Cover in Solar White Color.

Three Incredibly Simple Tips for Achieving Your Goals in 2017

Happy New Year, everyone! With 2017 in full swing, most people have set goals for themselves – both personally and professionally. If you haven’t set your goals yet, no worries, there is always time. Here’s the glitch, though: Did you know that 72 percent of resolutions are broken by February 1? That’s only one month in! Sometimes, we all get grand ideas in our heads and commit to doing things that are way out of reach. If you want to set goals that are achievable to improve yourself in 2017, here are three simple tips to set yourself up for success.


1. Set a goal that is attainable. The main reason New Year’s resolutions sometimes go by the wayside is because many people set goals that are overambitious. If your goal is to eat healthier and currently you are the type of person who eats fast food everyday, you need to create a realistic goal that you will stick to. To say that you will only eat fruits and vegetables is setting yourself up for failure. The best way to go about achieving said goal is to start small by cutting out half of the fast food meals and replacing them with healthier options rather than cutting them all out and then going back to that bad habit a month later. It is a great thing to be ambitious, but it is far more important to be realistic so you can obtain your goal. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are goals.


2. Set a goal that is measurable. It is important to set a goal that you are able to track. To truly be successful and achieve your goal you need to set parameters. If you are able to see progress through measured metrics, you will be more successful at keeping and achieving your goal. Imagine recognizing the $15 and 3,000 calories you’ve saved by eating out two less times a week. Over time, these things add up. And metrics are the proof!


3. Set a goal that is ongoing. The biggest mistake that people make when setting goals is setting a goal that is stagnate. Back to our example, if you set a goal to lose 20 pounds – while that is an amazing feat – what do you do when you have achieved your goal? Do you stop eating healthy and exercising? Set incremental goals that hit targeted time periods. Not only are they measurable (which we pointed out was important above), but these goals can be ongoing.


If you are left trying to pinpoint a few goals for the new year, here are a few of our favorites at Rider Dickerson:

  • Become a better listener or listen before responding.
  • Be more organized.
  • Be early or on time to meetings.
  • Create a healthier lifestyle; eating healthy, making time for exercise.
  • Read more.
  • Create meaningful relationships.
  • Have meaningful conversations; don’t be buried in technology.
  • Do something that is out of your comfort zone (that’s when we grow).

These are just a few examples of goals. Now let’s get crackin’!


By Megan Kucala

Business Development, Rider Dickerson

The Surprising Connection Between Your Core Beliefs and the Buying Persona

This blog post is brought to you by Chris Tews from our sister company at Kelmscott Communications.

By: Chris Tews


What do socks, wrapped gifts and cans of food have to do with success? Everything.


Let’s start here: How do clients choose to buy from you? We often consider identifying prospects and customers by exploring their buyer personas. (A buyer persona is a profile of your client’s attitudes, concerns and criteria that shape them as a consumer.) Our focus on the clients is right and good, but we also need to take time and evaluate our own persona as a company.


You’ve heard it said that the keys to real estate success are “location, location, location.” And, of course, we’ve all heard the familiar phrase “quality, speed, price: pick two.” I would suggest our prospects at their core are looking for something more foundational – a gut level feeling when they make a purchasing decision. They want to feel good about making the decision. They want to do the right thing. Part of that feeling comes from the product and its value. Part of that feeling comes from what they think about the company selling that product.


If you asked your clients what they think of you – beyond what you sell and how friendly your salesperson is – what would they say? How do they really perceive you? Do they feel good about working with you? Are they proud to be associated with your organization?


I’ve had the joy of working at Kelmscott for 5 years. The owner supports many wonderful efforts to make a difference in our community. Here’s where we circle back to my original question. At Kelmscott, we have annual drives for socks, coats and Christmas gifts. A team of employees hand out items at the local food pantry. And there is a constant stream of opportunities to support the local Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts (who can say no to Thin Mints?), the PTA and more. The impact this has all made on our culture – and, yes, our success – is immeasurable. Our culture is defined by generosity and giving back. It is this culture that permeates through the employees and shapes who we are as a brand.


People who work at Kelmscott want to work at Kelmscott. We feel good about working for a company that values helping others. Our values channel through the staff into how things get done, the way we care for each other, and, of course, our clients.


In turn, my customers feel good about working with Kelmscott.


What’s my takeaway from this reflection? Building a company that is good to the core is something that comes from being intentional. In any position you hold in your company, from janitor to CEO, you can be intentional about creating a positive impact within and for your corporation.


Why do your clients buy from your company? It just might come down to who you are at your core.

4 Ways to Remain Relevant to Your Audience

This blog post is brought to you by Heidi Robbe, Director of Client Engagement, at our sister company Kelmscott Communications.

Recently, our family tried something new. Instead of our usual daycare, we hired a babysitter. Enter Allison. Allison is in college. She drives a car. She has a tattoo. In short, Allison is cool. The kids loved her because she “got” them. She listened to their favorite musical artists and also introduced them to new music. They played fun (mom-approved) apps on Allison’s phone. She focused on the kids’ interests. Essentially, she was relevant. As a result, the kids trusted her to be their expert in music and all things cool.

The same can be said for businesses. Businesses must work hard to make sure that their messaging builds and maintains confidence in their brands. When we don’t pay attention to whether we are relevant, we risk losing that connection with our customers and clients. So what are you doing to ensure that your marketing remains relevant to your audience? Here are some important ways to make sure you stay in-the-know and connected:

  1. Attend industry events and conferences. Sit in the sessions (without checking your email). Ask questions. Talk to vendors. Network. Some events are free and some charge admission, but if you can learn something new, it is worth the investment of your energy and money.
  2. Use focus groups. A great way to learn if people are engaging with your marketing is to simply ask them. Use a market research firm, or even take an informal poll from your target audience. And don’t make the mistake of assuming that people like your marketing just because you haven’t heard otherwise. Ask for feedback and be open to comments.
  3. Tune in to webinars. On average, I receive invitations to at least a dozen webinars each week. Most are free. Make the time to join webinars because others in your industry are talking about what they do! You may want to purchase their products, or you may gain insights for your own business. For one hour of your time, the payoff could be huge.
  4. Earn new credentials. Continuing education is always important because it keeps you at the forefront. This could mean going to school for a(nother) degree, or it could be earning a certification through powerhouses such as Google, HubSpot, the American Marketing Association, or many others that offer them. Spend a little time to become better versed in a new area, and add some new skills.

Whatever route you choose, remember to continue to grow. Marketing is an exciting field because it is always moving and changing. Stay at the forefront and in-the-know of the most relevant trends and information out there. After all, there is always something new to learn.

Happy marketing!

Our Why

Simon Sinek in his famous “Start with Why” Ted Talk made a point that people judge us buy our why more than our what or our how.  His contention is people buy why you do what you do not what you do or how you do it.  While capabilities and actual services you provide are extremely important to be held to a higher standard. sometimes, there is a deeper reason people work with you.  The emotional transaction your employees provide for your clients goes way beyond what any capability can provide.  This is evidenced by the note one of our employees received recently from a client.  We were so proud to share this note because it reinforces our beliefs that we are doing things the right way and that our why is grounded in emotional attachments to our clients.

At Rider Dickerson, our company goals are to always go above and beyond for our customers. This letter shows a deeper relationship with our customers and how our employee really made this client feel special, well-cared for, and as if they could count on us for anything. Sometimes it’s not always the work that is being done that wins clients, but the human interaction, attention and trust that keeps them coming back. Our “why” has never been a monetary goal but exactly this; our “why” is always going above and beyond and doing everything possible to make our clients happy while making their lives easier.


Hi Dave,

Wanted to send you an update on my end – we are looking at documents early next week (Monday hopefully but maybe Tuesday) as well as confirmed quantities.

Also, on a personal update – I wanted to let you know that I’ve accepted a new job and my last day at this university is next Tuesday.

I cannot say enough how simply awesome it’s been to work with you these past 2 years. You have been beyond wonderful and I am so thankful to you for your patience, your advice, your willingness to work with me no matter the situation, your consistency in production and organization, and most of all – I had fun working with you! =) You are truly great, Dave, and I appreciate that I was able to be one of your clients while at this university. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I wish you all the best, at Rider and in life. And don’t worry – there are still a couple more days of me bugging you. From there, I will be transitioning this project to one of my sturdy, fellow Enrollment Marketers. I’ll let you know who that will be before Tuesday.

For now, happy end of week, Dave. And again – thank you for everything!


A Very Happy & Appreciative Client