Designing for Print
You have an idea for a brochure. You want pictures, graphics, your logo and company information. You're ready to get going but are not quite sure what to do next. Following are some tips that should help prepare you for your next print job. From shooting hi-res photos to deciding on how many colors and what type of paper, there are many details that will affect the quality of your printed piece. These are just a few suggestions. For a consultation, give us a call - we can help you avoid costly mistakes or disappointments in quality expectations. Let us put our experience to work for you.Page top
How many colors?
The number of inks will affect the cost of the job. The more inks - the more it costs.
Colors play a part in the mood of the printed piece. Black portrays basic, matter-of-fact and to the point information. Nothing fancy - just the facts, Jack. And it's cheap and quick. Add a Pantone spot color and you've stepped it up a notch. Go all out with 4 color process and - BAM! - you're serious about getting your message seen. You want to gear your ink colors to your budget as well as to what you are wanting to say with your printing. Want to really make an impact but can't afford the 4 color price? Our design team knows how to punch up a job - even if it is just your basic black.Page top
When designing for print one of the first things to consider is the type of paper you want to print on. There are many choices and we recommend talking to your sales rep for specific types. We have many paper samples you can see and feel. Basically, there are coated and uncoated, text and cover weight, white and off-white, colored and textured, duplex and translucent.
Uncoated papers will absorb more ink resulting in more dot gain giving a softer appearance of photos and art. Coated papers will offer a more vibrant and crisp treatment of images since the ink stays more on top of the paper rather than absorbed. Colored papers will affect the ink appearance so you'll need to visualize how these papers will work for your design. The same with textured and translucent papers.Page top
Punching, binding, perfing, scoring and folding
If your job is to have a three hole punch or a spiral binding you'll need to know this before the piece is even designed. How many times have you been reading a manual and noticed a hole punched through the text area? Or a drawing that had some relevant information punched out? For standard punching leave at least .5" clear of live copy or art. To be safe, we like .625" clearance. Spiral and comb binding have a clearance of at least .325".
When perfing and scoring, keep in mind what may be printing on your second side. You may have your perfed side free and clear of live copy and art, but don't forget to see how this affects the back side.
Not all panels are alike. When designing for a three-panel brochure, the panel that folds in is slightly shorter than the other two. This keeps the folded printed piece from buckling. You'll need to adjust your fold guides and margins to compensate for the shorter panel.Page top
Direct mail is seeing a renaissance as spam filters capture more emails before they ever reach their destination. Effective direct mail not only needs to land in the hands of your target market, but it also needs to have the right look, feel and message to "speak to" the recipient and influence his or her behavior. Think about the person you are trying to reach and the setting s/he will be in when s/he receives the mailing. The person will probably respond differently based on the type of direct mail. A request for $200 for a worthy charity should look different from an offer to clean the recipient's carpets for $200.
Do your own analysis to see what makes you read and respond to direct mail under various conditions. Over the course of a month, create two piles: "read and consider" and "discard". Then try to figure out why you made that determination. Consider:
- The type of paper. Is it high quality stationery or a lighter weight flyer?
- The envelope. Is there an envelope at all? If so, is it a window envelope? Is your address lasered onto the envelope, applied by a label or hand written? Was there a message on the outside of the mailing?
- The message. Did you receive a quick read announcement or a letter that makes a case for you to respond? Are you likely to respond because the message is compelling or because the offer is reasonable and comes when you are ready to buy? Does the message fit the image you have of the sender?
- Variable data. Are you addressed directly? Is a reply card already filled out to make it easy for you to respond? Or are you one of thousands?
- Postage. Does your mailing have a first class stamp or is it pre-sorted bulk mail?
- Circumstances surrounding the mailing may have an impact on how you view the variables mentioned above.
- Where did you receive the mailing - at home or at work?
- Is the requested response on behalf of yourself or your organization?
- Is this one of many mailings you receive from the organization?
Once you have completed your analysis, think about your target audience in the same context to determine the type of direct mail that is most likely to get their attention.Page top