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Traditional Marketing

Why You Need A Print Expert

If you are going to spend the money to have a special piece of information designed and printed, you really need to speak with a print expert. Many aspects play a part in developing your project, and they all start and end with: your goal for this particular piece; your target audience; and, of course, your budget.

Although a well-produced printed piece can help you meet your goals and needs, a poorly printed one can do you more harm than good. If it doesn’t look and feel good to your target audience, they may assume that if you don’t care enough to do your best for yourself, you may not have the ability to deliver the very best for them. Or even worse, your piece is tossed aside and never even read.

This is where hiring a print expert comes into play. Having a professional in your corner can save you time and money, and help you to get the targeted response you were hoping for. Your professional will know ways of meeting goals within your budget that you may not be aware of.

Proper production obviously involves clean, engaging design and messaging. But before you even begin design, it’s best to work with your print expert to establish the best printing parameters for your goal and budget: digital, litho, or web? Coated or uncoated stock? Most economic size? All these parameters and more impact your look, feel—and cost.

Printing is both an art and a science. You should be aware of the following aspects. Your print expert will guide you through them in order to provide the best production for your particular project.

1. Paper quality. Consciously or subliminally, the feel of the stock communicates impressions. Is it lightweight, or solid? Cheap, or substantial? How do you want to be perceived?

2. Text printing. Great copy doesn’t mean much if it’s hard to read. Blurry or “gray” text, uneven ink distribution, or other printing defects convey a haphazard work standard.

3. Color matching. A logo is the face of a business, so companies invest a lot in their design. Color precision in reproducing a brand image is critical to maintaining brand consistency. A set of mailers or brochures should look identical when placed side by side. The stock used for different pieces can give your pieces different looks, and you will lose the consistency you had hoped for. Good printers know how to compensate for different stocks.

4. Image resolution. Printed pictures should come to life. And in real life, we don’t see discernible pixels. They shouldn’t be visible on the printed page, either. Low resolution images (ie, not enough pixels to accurately replicate the image) result in fuzzy images, an all-too-common hazard in this day and age of plucking images from websites.

5. Ink coverage. The right saturation keeps the tone from being either overly dark or very light. The coverage should also be even, without spots of “ghosting” or mottling.

6. Coatings. Whether it’s a liquid coating or film lamination, matte or gloss, there should be no curling, bubbling, wrinkling or peeling.

7. Folding and trimming. Alignment must be maintained throughout the process, otherwise the paper could be trimmed too close to the text or folding could be crooked.

8. Hickeys. These are spots of missing ink caused by particles sticking to offset printing plates—usually ink, paper or dust. Needless to say, they are unsightly and distract from your messaging.

9. Registration. When colors are printed separately, it’s important that they’re aligned
precisely in order to prevent gaps. Poor registration also results in blurry images and/or type.

10. Skewed image. Here again, it’s about the alignment of the printing plates. Text and images should be straight, not crooked (unless that’s part of the design).

Do you have the experience and knowledge to know what to look or even ask for? Need help? Contact Marketing À La Carte for all of your design and printing needs. We treat your project as if it were our own. www.mktgalacarte.com

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