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Printing with Passion

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Welcome to the Tex Visions Blog

A place for our resellers. Talk about what matters most to you. Share your insights. Present us with your challenges. Learn about our team. Connect with us.

Tex Visions Turns 10: Changes and Progression

Nicole Wilson is the general manager of Tex Visions.When I started at Tex Visions in March 2008, it was truly a "small company." Residing in the Murata Business Center, we occupied four suites and the production floor. Marketing and accounting shared a suite, we didn't have an IT department and, to be honest, our website was nothing to write home about. By the time we moved in August 2013 out of the newly named Ben Franklin TechCelerator, we occupied 11 suites, the production floor and warehouse space. We had also just launched a completely revamped website complete with all the tools necessary for our resellers to self-serve, if they choose to do so.


Before I was promoted to Tex Visions general manager, I started as a sales and customer service representative. We've always had our sales and customer service staff divided into three teams based on region. I was on Team 2, which shared a suite with Team 3. Space was at a premium, but everyone got along well. There were seven of us in a fairly small room making calls, talking to each other, coming in and out from breaks and running back and forth to production. It was pretty chaotic at times.


Much of our time was spent custom calculating quotes for customers. Due to our custom nature, we didn't have price lists so everything needed to be calculated upon request. All quotes were calculated by hand, so you really had to have some math skills. It was not unusual for some quotes to take a few hours – or even half a day – to calculate. Every order had to be entered into the system, and you had to be really careful not to miss the important information necessary for the order.


Next up was taking the order across the building to drop off at our graphics department. Our graphics department would manually check everything and write notes on your paperwork so you would know if everything could proceed. Before the order was finally good to go to printing, we'd take at least two more trips down to production to get final details in place. In January 2013, we launched our long-awaited Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. This system completely streamlined the quoting and order processing for the sales and customer service team. Of course, it took lots of blood, sweat and tears from our IT department to program the system to do all this, but it has been well worth it. The quotes that used to take hours to calculate now can be completed in under 30 minutes and the orders can be processed back and forth with the ERP system and email – no more running back and forth to production to get details squared away!


We had two fabric printers when I first began working at Tex Visions. This was sufficient for our workload at the time, but wasn't going to get us very far. We soon added two vinyl printers, which allowed us to fulfill requests that we hadn't been able to before, and three additional fabric printers which gave us additional speed and capacity. Some of those printers are now retired, and we are holding steady at five high-speed fabric printers, two vinyl printers and a UV printer, which can print on rigid materials. We also have an automated cutting machine which cuts down on our cutting time considerably, and adds extra capacity in our finishing department.


It's interesting to see the quality and features change over time. Back in 2008, the two printers we had were top of the line. Now if we saw prints from those versus prints on our new printer, we would think the old prints looked terrible. Everyone wants the best of everything, so I'm interested to see how the technology continues to change and how it keeps up with the demand of wanting all-in-one quality, accuracy and speed.


Our product line has more than doubled since I started. Most of our sales in 2008 came from Bowflag® products and standard flags. We didn't have the Pop Ups, the extensive Roll Up line, Tents, Backpacks or many of our other truly unique products. Part of the problem was we did not have the staff or the space to introduce many of the products we wanted to. Since moving into our new building last summer, we were able to add the UV printer, which we did not previously have space for. This has allowed us to finally offer tents, which have been a huge success thus far. Our new building also gives us the warehouse space we were lacking, so we can keep a larger inventory. In the past year since we moved, we have been adding products like crazy and plan to keep going!


While there have been many changes over the years, our team work has remained consistent. We're growing all the time, but we're still small enough for everyone to know each other. Team work is truly one of Tex Visions' primary strengths. Consulting with someone in another department is as simple as an internal phone call, sending them a chat message or even just walking down the hall to talk to them in person. We consult with each other every day, and help each other achieve goals.


Over the past six and a half years, I've witnessed an enormous amount of change. I've witnessed triumphs, failures, steps forward and steps backward. We've learned something from everything we've experienced, and used all of it to better ourselves and move onward and upward.


Here's to the next 10 years of Printing with Passion!

Artwork Fails: Most Common Reason Designs Fail Checking

It’s one of the most frustrating emails a reseller can receive from us: "Status: Artwork Fail – unable to process order." With printing, time is often of the essence, and an artwork fail can cause setbacks.

Why does artwork fail? I asked this question to Jon, who handles the application development for our online artwork processing interface. Jon told me the following are the most common reasons artwork fails occur:

  1. Artwork doesn't contained outlined fonts
    This is the most common reason for artwork failing. With the huge assortment of fonts available for use, it’s all but impossible for us to have them readily available. So if a file comes in and contains a font we don’t have, our artwork checking program will replace it with the default font, and can pretty much ruin your artwork.

    We don’t want artwork to be ruined and want the artwork processing and checking to go as smoothly as possible, so we ask you outline the font(s) into vector art. By outlining the fonts, we don’t have to worry about having the fonts in our system.
  2. Artwork doesn't have embedded images
    Most art/graphic design programs allow you to do two things with images: link or embed. By default, most design programs link images, which is like a web hyperlink. Embedding an image, on the other hand, makes a copy of the image, incorporates it and restores it within the actual artwork. With embedded files, the process goes much more smoothly and simply, as we don’t have to worry about broken links.
  3. Artwork wasn't designed on a template
    Our artwork templates are designed to accommodate for the bleed – the extra space past the finish size that allows for hems and ensures no white shows on the print – and pole sleeves, depending on the finish. Because of this, all artwork should be designed on a template and not sized to the finish size. By doing it the latter way, it can be impossible for our graphics checking team to try and resize the artwork to add bleed and pole sleeves.
  4. Graphics template was altered
    Many of the templates (like our Bowflag® templates) are designed to fit on specific hardware. Should the template be altered when designing artwork, it will not fit on the hardware after it’s printed.
  5. Artwork was designed on the wrong template
    This problem occurs mostly with Bowflag® products, where the order was for a large Bowflag®, but the design was done on a medium template. Our templates are not directly proportional, so it can be sometimes impossible for our team to try and scale artwork to fit a template of a different size.

Have questions? Let us help. Leave a comment or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

photo credit: cellar_door_films via photopin cc

Attack of the Nerds at Tex Visions

We’re all nerdy in our own, unique ways, whether we like to admit it or not. The Tex Visions team decided to embrace our nerdiness on June 24 when team members wore their favorite nerdy shirts. From science fiction to comic books to cats, all things nerdy were represented by participating staffers. 


Tex Visions' Nerds Unite on Nerd Shirt Day


Going along with “Nerd Shirt Day” was the following question asked to some of the staff: “What’s the nerdiest thing about you?” Here are the answers:


“I used to read the dictionary.” – Cathy, sales/customer service

“I actually LIKE numbers, which is good since I’m an accountant.” – April, accounting

“I’m 31 and I still play with Legos.” – Mike, sales/customer service

“I was captain of the math team in high school.” – Jen, marketing manager

“I met my boyfriend through ‘World of Warcraft’ and now we game side by side.” – Leah, prepress/graphics

“I know how Han Solo made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, even though a parsec is a unit of distance not time.” – Cody, IT manager

“I love to play ‘Candy Crush Saga’ and online casino slots.” – Tammy, sales/customer service


What’s the nerdiest thing about you? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook or tweet @TexVisions.


How to Design Effectively for Your Advertising

You have your advertising booked, and you're excited to get your message out there. Anyone who knows me would readily say I'm a huge fan of marketing. Advertising, when done right, can be an essential element to a business model. As Henry Ford once said, "A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time."


Unfortunately, ineffective advertising can be more harmful than not advertising at all. A company can appear unprofessional or offensive without a good design. So whether you are designing for billboards, web, print or one of our products like the Bowflag® Premium, good design is essential to the success of your campaign.


Tips for designing by medium

  1. Outdoor advertising
    As a rule, any advertising targeting passing vehicles should be simple. Drivers will only have about 10 seconds to see your message. Keep your message to seven words or less, and make clear what you are selling. Be sure your message is memorable and eye-catching, and keep the design simple.
    Good outdoor advertising: 5 words, funny, and a clear, obvious message
  2. Web advertising
    Make it simple enough to catch the eye. If there are too many things going on in your ad, a user's brain won't be able to process the data, and they will move on. The average attention span of a web user in 2013 was eight seconds. Since you have only seconds to make an impression, make it good. Don't clutter your ad with contact information. Instead, create a clear call to action that links to a page that has the information you want the user to see.
    Good web advertising: Simple, engaging, and a clear call to action
  3. Print advertising
    The great thing about print advertising is that you have an engaged reader. You have more time to make an impression than you would have in an outdoor or web ad. Even so, it can become very easy to get lost amongst the pages of your audience's favorite magazine. Clear concise branding, a bold headline, clear layout, and a focus on the benefits or your business or product are essential. Don't forget a call to action if you are not an established brand!
    A classic example of good print advertising: Clear branding, bold headline, simplicity is the benefit

    A great print ad- clear call to action, clear message, strong branding
  4. Other advertising
    You may notice I have only included static forms of advertising. This is intentional. I could write an entire blog post just on television or radio by themselves. A good thing to keep in mind with these mediums is many of the same rules apply across all forms of advertising. Keep your branding clear. Keep your message simple. Include a call to action. Understand your audience.


Finally for good measure, and because we are a custom print company, here is a great example of an effective flag design:

Our custom shape Bowflag®: clear message, strong branding, only 4 words

3 Easy Ways for Resellers to Get the Word Out On the Internet

Quick Summary: 

  • Claim your local listings
  • Join your local Chamber of Commerce
  • Add Google Analytics to your website

Thirty trillion web pages. That’s how many pages Google has indexed. I can’t even picture 30 trillion. Can you? 


With all these pages indexed, it can be an overwhelming feeling for anyone who wants to get online visibility. You might wonder how you can defeat your competition or stand out above all the online-only retailers that offer the same products you do. 


Granted, online visibility isn’t an instant process. I used to work at an online marketing agency, and depending on the client’s industry, it could take anywhere from a week or so to a year until the perfect visibility was attained. It takes the right budget, the right processes and the right strategy to attain the right presence. 


But, you don’t have to go out and hire an SEO or marketing consultant if you’re just looking to spread the word a bit about your business. There are three easy things you can do to make sure your business is being seen by the right customers. 


Claim Your Local Listings

You’ve probably heard about Google Places for Business, or seen listings like the one below that appear when you search for a local business:  

Tex Visions on Google Places for Business


There’s also Bing Local: 

Tex Visions on Bing Local

And a lot more. Local listings are a great way to get your business found, but you need to take the time to make sure the information is there and is correct. Instead of going from website to website trying to figure out whether you’re listed or not, I recommend using Moz Local. It will scan all the big listing directories and determine your status, so you don’t have to waste time submitting to ones you’re already on or submit to directories that may not be high profile. 


If you have a listing on any of these sites, take the time and claim it. That way, only you can edit the information  and personalize it however you would like. Each website has different claim guidelines, so make sure you follow the claiming rules to the T.  


Join Your Local Chamber of Commerce

I know many of our resellers target customers local to their brick and mortar location. If this describes who you’re targeting, then take the time to join your local Chamber of Commerce. Most of these organizations have an annual membership fee (Tex Visions belongs to our local chamber, which has an annual fee of $625). 


While there is an investment involved, you’ll be able to network and meet other local businesses and let them know about your services. Another bonus is that many chambers have a website featuring a membership directory, so you’ll be featured in that and be seen by other chamber members. 


Add Google Analytics to Your Website

Any good business owner wants to track their investment. If you have a website and you are not tracking its visitors, how do you know your investment is worth it? The easiest way to do so is with Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free website tracking service which you can use to measure conversions and sales. It’s the most widely used tool of its kind, and can give you the data you need to determine whether your online investments are panning out. 



While the three suggestions above are only a small amount of the things you can do to enhance your online visibility, they are three of the most important steps you can take to attract a local audience.  


What kind of things have you done to enhance your online visibility? Let me know by commenting.