There is nothing more persuasive than a well-designed, professional-looking piece of mail, when trying to capture a potential customer’s interest, converting them from a recipient to a valued buyer/client. Overcoming any challenges when preparing artwork for the final print is a contributing factor that influence the outcome of a campaign. It is important to be prepared and understand the problems can arise.
Many customers will create, proof and review their entire design in RGB (Red, Green and Blue), a colour mode that’s used specifically for screen, and is insufficiently accurate for print. For most printing types, the colour mode CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) is the best setting, and will guarantee stronger, bolder colours. When looking at the same image on two different monitors when in RGB, you can really see the difference in colour of the image. It is important to check that, prior to designing and thoroughly editing the artwork, it is in CMYK mode.
To ensure a polished finish, and that the design fits onto the print easily, the general rule of thumb is 1/8th of the design should be left around the outside for bleed. With inadequate bleed levels, a small white line will appear on the trimmed edge, which needs to be avoided and easily could be. Allow enough time for proper evaluations of bleeds, and it is a really important factor to consider when designing.
Whilst applications like Microsoft Word, Publisher or PowerPoint may be easy to use, serious print related work requires applications like InDesign, Photoshop and Quark, which are suitable for supply to printers. Using the correct applications means no detail or colour will be lost when trying to convert them, as they will already be in an acceptable format, and they would be easy to access. If you are unfamiliar with using such applications, there are many fantastic tutorials online, or we can provide design assistance.
Something completely avoidable is ensuring they open properly. Although this sounds like an obvious factor, it is easy to send the files without checking whether they are corrupted, which can therefore really delay the printing. It is important to regularly save and back-up any designs, as anything can happen. Check that all required files are attached, and that they are clearly labelled and displayed.
Quite a common issue that arises is files are sent in a very large format. A large image can be very difficult to manipulate, open and use, although very good quality. Depending on the type of mail you are wanting for the campaign, it is important to check the specifications and the recommended file size. The resolution shouldn’t be too high, and CMYK will make files larger in size than RGB anyway.
Black and White
Occasionally we receive images that are black and white in either CMYK or RGB. Any black and white images need to be supplied in grayscale as small residues of colour will still show through in other formats. Grayscale is easy to set for a project and will put your mind at rest knowing the colours will look as intended.
The best file formats for print are .TIFF, .PSD or .PDF. These are excellent for developing prints and won’t lose any quality. Some customers supply their artwork in web-friendly formats, like .GIF or .PNG, which are ideal for fast sending, but not ideal for print. It is important to save and send in the best possible format is it will really show in the final print.
It would be useful to print off a copy of your design, rather than just sending the artwork straight for distribution. This can help quality check for a small cost and see what it may look like physically. To test what it would look like as a direct mail piece, you could create a smaller campaign- this will give you a sample of exactly what potential customers will be receiving, give you an estimate of results on a smaller scale, and is more cost effective than just going straight for the bigger campaign and risking the design not being sufficient.
It is possible to run into some problems when designing your future direct mail piece, but they are easy to overcome, and it is important to be prepared. Direct mailing is useful for attaining customers’ business and building professional, ongoing relationships. A professional looking mailing piece is at the core of every campaign, and it heavily contributes to the success and growth of a business.
We frequently produce, and directly mail tens of thousands of items, and are renowned for the quality, responsiveness and accuracy of our services. If you are would like more information or would like to discover more about the printing options we can offer, feel free to call us now on 0845 362 0983. Our printing can range from high impact printed envelopes to poly-wrapping, and we can tailor a service to fit your requirements.
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