October 2013 Newsletter

Hey Friends!

Fall is sneaking by and the holidays are already around the corner. In spreading the word about our growing color graphics side of our business, we are offering two coupons at the bottom of this email: one for fine art scanning and printing, the other for printing your holiday cards. Both are offers of 20% off if orders are placed by November 15th. Our fine art flatbed scanner can now scan an original up to 36×60, so whether you are thinking of one-off holiday art gifts, or are an artist selling your prints, please give us a try. Come and see why many satisfied customers believe our color graphics department is the best kept secret in town! Check us out!

Luci Miller


The Power of Referrals


Successful professionals know that referrals are important to getting new business, but most people don’t cultivate referrals as much as they could. Here are some tips to filling the referral pipeline.

But first, consider the value of referrals. Everyone knows referrals are nice to have, but here are four reasons they are the best possible leads:



  1. Establishing trust is key to sales, and when someone refers you, trust is pre-established.
  2. Referrals let you bypass the gatekeeper on sales calls.
  3. Referrals let you focus on pitches that really matter, rather than spending time cold-calling.
  4. Referrals convert to customers way faster and way more often than regular prospects.

Six Strategies for Getting Referrals

Referrals sometimes just happen by themselves, and that’s fantastic. But you can prime the pump with these six strategies:

  1. Identify clients, suppliers, and colleagues who admire your work and explicitly ask them for referrals. And don’t just ask for names of possible customers – ask for a bona fide introduction. That’s by far the best kind of referral.
  2. Plant the idea of referrals by asking for them on your statements or other communications with established customers. Even a polite note on your website reinforces the idea: We consider referrals to be the kindest compliment.
  3. Remember that good karma circles back to you, so refer your colleagues or suppliers whenever appropriate. If you like the work a particular contractor or consultant does, refer business to them the next time the topic comes up. They may do the same for you.
  4. Lay the foundation. Obviously, good referrals depend on doing good work, so high quality must be a given. But take it a step further by sending a report card or thank you note to each client. This helps establish your firm in your clients’ minds.
  5. Consider rewarding referrers. While paying referral fees is frowned upon in many professions, thanking clients or associates for referrals is always a good practice. Sending a thank you letter, taking the person out to lunch, or otherwise recognizing the referral signals to the referrer that you appreciate their help.
  6. Don’t let social media define your referrals. In today’s world, social media seems to be at the top of everyone’s marketing strategy. But real, human, face-to-face referrals are much more effective than a LinkedIn endorsement or a Facebook Like. Those are a dime a dozen; real referrals are rare and valuable.

Keep in mind that referrals also reflect upon the person making the referral, so don’t disappoint them by not taking advantage of a referral or doing anything less than stellar work for the new client.

Giant Dollhouse Lets Builder Get Input

homebuyer-educationDevelopers like to hear how customers like their projects, and most pay close attention. But if the potential buyers are giving feedback on existing, already-built homes, and they tell you they don’t like it, there’s not much you can do other than build your next development differently.

Not so with a faux subdivision built by Pulte Homes in suburban Chicago. Pulte roughed out 11 homes in an 88,000-square-foot warehouse in Franklin Park, Illinois. The walls of the homes were framed out and covered by Tyvek so they emulated real walls, and other features, such as kitchen islands and sinks, were created with corrugated paper. More features, such as beds, were indicated with tape on the floor.

Then 24 groups of potential homebuyers were brought in to walk through the 11 homes – which included floor plans for first and second floors – to see what they thought. The whole idea, naturally, was to get their input BEFORE the homes were actually built, so any obvious flaws could be corrected in advance.

The potential buyers were instructed not to speak to each other as they toured the homes, to prevent people from influencing each other. Each had a paper floor plan, on which they circled features they liked and crossed out features that didn’t work for them.

At the end of each tour, Pulte research manager Mike Dawkins brought the group together to make a list of things they liked and things they didn’t, providing an amazing pile of data for the builder. Based on the input, the actual model homes will be built in the spring of 2014, and hopefully will appeal to a larger group of buyers than if they had been built without the faux homes that preceded them.

New HP T2500 eMultifunction Printer (eMFP)

T2500Miller Blueprint is happy to announce the new HP Designjet T2500 eMultifunction Printer (eMFP). The T2500 brings new customer-driven design features to a single, compact device that scans, prints and copies to help highly mobile teams work better and faster.

The ergonomically designed HP Designjet T2500 eMultifunction Printer has a 30 percent smaller footprint than its predecessor. The impressively designed integrated output stacking tray delivers flat, collated prints, keeping sets organized and eliminating hand collation of prints.

The HP Designjet T2500 features HP Designjet ePrint & Share, a free web service that makes it easy to access, view and print large-format documents using an Android or Apple tablet, a smartphone, a notebook or an ePrinter touch screen.
View this short HP T2500 eMultifunction Printer video.

For more information on the HP T2500 eMultifunction Printer, contact Steve Coyle at 512.716.5058 or steve.coyle@millerblueprint.com.

AdobePDFIcon10Tips & Tricks: PDF Conversion for Digital Delivery

This article is a continuation of last month’s Tips & Tricks: PDF Conversion for Print. PDFs are versatile documents, and one of their many uses includes digital delivery. Have you ever been asked by a client to submit your proposal electronically? This is an increasingly common request. But if your proposal contains images, hyperlinks, or several different sections, digital delivery can bring a host of problems such as file size, loss of content, and lack of clear document navigation. With a few steps, you can improve the digital delivery process and go one step further in impressing your clients.


If your document is image-intensive, creating a standard PDF may result in a file that is too large to deliver over email. Your options are to use a file transfer service for the delivery, or you can simply create a smaller PDF. Using the Smallest File Size preset in the Adobe dialogue box, you can create a significantly smaller file. Beware that the resulting file is often not suitable for printing, so if you think your client might print your proposal, using a file transfer service might be the best option.

Preserving Hyperlinks

If you would like to include hyperlinks in your digital document, such as links to websites or email addresses, you can preserve these by creating an Interactive PDF. This option is available in the Export to PDF dialogue box in InDesign, as well as the built-in Adobe Acrobat tab (under Preferences) in Microsoft Word. The option is often not available in the Print to PDF function, so be sure to use the built-in dialogue boxes.

Document Navigation

Often times printed documents come complete with blank pages, tabs, and other visual cues that separate content sections. When converting a document to PDF, these visual cues are often lost. One solution is to utilize Adobe’s Bookmarks function. Open your PDF in Acrobat (not Reader – you need the professional version for this) and View > Bookmarks. You can easily create bookmarks by navigating to the page where you want a bookmark and clicking on the Create New button. You can even create sub-categories of bookmarks by dragging and dropping within the bookmark hierarchy.

Initial View

Have you ever opened a PDF and struggled to resize your window to view the content you wanted? Make it easy on recipients by presetting the Initial View. Under File > Properties, select the Initial View tab. Here you can choose from multiple options depending on your intended effect. If you have created bookmarks and want to be sure the reader can see them, choose Page & Bookmarks from the Navigation tab. You can also specify the page layout, zoom level, and several other key settings. You must save, close, and reopen the PDF document before you’ll be able to see your initial view settings in action. Play around with these a bit to get the effect you want!


Amazing Architecture: Home Edition

The Fishman residence by Landon Bone Architects in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago is an industrial building converted into a home

The Thompson residence by Arcwest Architects in Denver features decks, patios, and balconies to take advantage of Denver’s generous sunlight

The Shadywood House by Stephen B. Chambers Architects in Dallas features lots of local stone

This renovation in Minneapolis revived a gorgeous late 1800s-era home on Lake Harriet

Being Green: Carpet Edition

Carpeting from Fibreworks features natural fibers such as sisal, wool, and jute

Natural sisal carpets from Merida are made from agave fibers

Antrim carpets are made of long-fiber wool

Brumark carpets are made from the husks of coconuts

Top Five List: States With Most Housing Permits Authorized in August 2013

  1. Texas: 10,699
  2. Florida: 6,645
  3. California: 6,595
  4. North Carolina: 4,298
  5. New York: 4,003


News You Can Use: Austin

Downtown Austin Construction to Make Way for Formula 1

East Austin Boutique Hotel Underway

Austin Alleys Highlighted by Architect’s Exhibit

Pflugerville Park Plans on Table

Art Project Opens at Lady Bird Lake

November Special: Art Reproductions

Mention this ad to receive discount, or click here for printable version.


October Coupon 1

November Special: Holiday Cards

Mention this ad to receive discount, or click here for printable version.


October Coupon 2