April 08, 2015 // Audrey Watson
Print as Part of Your Marketing Mix
Printed material continues to play an important role in the strategic marketing mix of most businesses, even in the Digital Age. It’s a visual and tangible extension of your brand—something that can be seen, touched, experienced and kept for an extended period of time. It can entice, engage, educate or entertain. It can take endless forms. And, when well executed, it can connect you with your target audience in a unique and powerful way.
Producing your printed collateral is best left to the creative talents and printing expertise of a professional graphic designer. To help you get the most out of it, I’ve put together the following summary of the design and printing process.
Design: Combining Visual & Verbal Communication
Your graphic designer is able to translate your key message into visual terms using images, typography, shape, scale, texture and color, creating a design that will visually and verbally reverberate with your users.
Your designer also will determine the most suitable form of printing for the design and your budget. In the hands of a capable designer, a smaller budget does not mean smaller impact; it is a challenge to create a bold and engaging design while controlling cost. For example, full-color printing is bright and vivid, but it’s expensive. Less costly single-color printing can be equally effective when paired with strong design.
From defining a strong concept to choosing the perfect colors, there are a variety of elements that are taken into consideration when designing a printed piece.
Practical considerations add another dimension to the role of your graphic designer. For example, if your printed piece will be mailed, your designer will calculate both the dimensions and weight of the mailing envelope to control excessive postage costs.
Paper is another design element. What you print on may be just as important as what is being printed. Your designer will select the best weight, texture and color for the design and your budget.
Printing: Bringing the Design to Life
In the production of your print collateral, you will benefit from your graphic designer’s knowledge of the technical aspects of printing. Because printing encompasses much more than simply applying ink to paper, she will collaborate with the printer to select the best printing production methods for your project.
Your designer may choose one of many special printing effects or finishing options available to enhance the design. For example, a spot varnish, applied only to selected areas of a printed piece can highlight that part of the design by adding dimension and texture. It can elevate the commonplace tossed into the wastebasket to a more permanent piece sitting on the desktop. For added energy, your designer might choose a metallic ink or foil stamp, or she might choose to order a custom die cut to trim your piece into a unique shape.
Finishing options, such as custom die cuts and metallic accents, are a great choice when you want a printed piece to stand out.
You and your graphic designer will work together for quality assurance so your collateral project is ready for the printer. Your designer will review all final design files, checking the color mode, image size and resolution to insure that they are print-appropriate. You will do your part when your designer sends you a final proof for review. Check and double check for spelling and grammatical errors, look closely at telephone numbers or other details and as a final step,make sure your designer personally supervises printing production on-site, when you have a highly time-sensitive or quality-critical project.
Even in our screen-driven world, printed collateral remains a most vibrant and versatile marketing tool. It can be a highly-effective visual and tactile extension of your brand and a unique form of communication that connects you with your target audience.