Print marketing comes in many forms. From postcards to brochures to business cards to direct mail, the print channel is used to engage with global audiences.
In-field sales representatives use print in customer-facing meetings and interactions. Resellers and channel partners use print marketing to drive strategy by representing data through data and sell sheets. And, most frequently, event marketers tie content to context by developing rack cards and flyers for specific conferences and tradeshows.
No matter your purpose, print marketing materials have to be designed in a certain format to ensure the highest quality print results.
These design tips will help you create 4 stunning types of print marketing materials — and deliver them to your audience in consistent, high-quality:
1. Flyers and Sales Slicks
Flyers are an excellent form of print marketing. Whether in a standard size (i.e. 8.5” x 11” and A4) or a custom size, flyers are an effective way to promote your brand, promotion, or event. Just like flyers, sales slicks promote a specific product, solution, or service.
There are a number of design programs you can use to create a flyer or sales slick, including some free content creation tools. If you lack graphic design skills and resources opt for a program like Canva. Canva comes with ready to use design layouts and templates for flyers.
However, if you use more advanced programs like Adobe InDesign, apply these best practices for high-quality print results.
A few must-have design elements of a compelling flyer or sales slick include:
- Using high-quality images, especially for business logos
- A concise, but eye-catching headline
- A brief overview of the business, promotion, news, or event
- Fonts that empower your message, but are still readable
Adding a Call to Action
One of the most important parts of designing a flyer or sales slick is the call to action. Always include the most important details of your content. For instance, if you’re promoting your next event include the date, time, and partnership information on your flyer. Likewise, if you’re creating a sales slick for a reseller partner, include the partner’s contact information.
CMYK vs. RGB
For the highest quality print result, design in the CMYK color mode. RGB mode is ideal for digital distribution, but CMYK mode limits the gamut of colors available for printing.
A print standard is working in 300 DPI. 300 DPI (dots per inch) will retain the details in images once printed. Just be sure that all your design elements—images, logos, and photos—are all created at 300 DPI.
After designing your flyer or sales slick, save it as PDF. PDFs are considered another print industry standard. Be sure to flatten the PDF so as not to alter the original design during the printing process.
2. Business Cards
Business cards are oftentimes the first impression of your brand. In fact, Statistic Brain reports that 72 percent of professionals judge a company or person by the quality of their business card. And for professionals that are constantly networking, like in-field salespeople and event marketers, that’s a lot of pressure to get your business card right.
What Should My Business Card Include?
A business card should always include your name, your job title, the company name and logo, and the necessary contact information. But in some instances, you may want to deviate from the norm. Entrepreneur recommends thinking of your business card as a call to action. For instance, for an international conference include an event-specific offer on the business card.
When including images on your business card, understand the difference between vector and bitmap images:
- Bitmap – A bitmap image (e.g. JPEG, PNG) is comprised of thousands pixels. While pixels are identical in size, they vary in color. When enlarging a bitmap image, it can look pixelated. To avoid blurry or blocky print results, use high resolution JPEG images in your business card design.
- Vector – Vector images are scalable and can be enlarged without losing its smoothness. A vector image plots X and Y coordinates on a line or curve to maintain smoothness. If possible, save your business card designs as a vector-based PDF. This will ensure the highest quality results of your images.
Lastly, when designing business cards avoid using borders. Business cards are trimmed after printing. Sometimes trimmed borders can appear uneven. Instead, use full bleed in your business card design. Full bleed designs ensure a marginless final product.
For tips on sizing your business card, its text edge and bleed allowance, check out these guidelines and dimensions for your layout.
Brochures require more graphic design knowledge. A brochure is a great medium for sales and marketing purposes. The design masters at Adobe suggest deciding on the following specifications when designing a brochure for print marketing:
- Number of pages
- Color scheme
- Fold type (e.g. half, letter, z-fold, barrel, gate, parallel)
- Ratio of images to text to white space
Choosing a Brochure Template
Brochures vary in complexity depending on the fold type. Choose a template that best matches to your specifications. Microsoft Word comes ready with brochure templates. Additionally, Canva has a drag-and-drop trifold brochure template.
Preloaded templates are helpful in designing brochures for print. However, if you’re feeling adventurous with a program like InDesign, create a print ready brochure by using grid systems in the file. Grid systems structure content and organize elements within a brochure panel. Guidelines within grid systems help to ensure that content isn’t cut off during the trimming process.
Catalog or booklet design requires careful thought in pagination. A catalog is printed in 4-page increments. Large sheets of paper are run through the press, then folded in half to create inner pages. When writing copy or adding graphics, you must be conscious of the fold and margins.
If you lack enough or have too much content, know it’s fine to add blank inner pages. Maintain consistency from page to page in format, color, and purpose.
Like any other use of images and color in print marketing, make sure to design in CMYK mode and use high-quality images. Most catalogs feature a lot of color blocking on the front and back covers. When designing for large areas of color take steps to eliminate banding in the final print product.
Once you’ve completed your design, choose a print marketing application. If you’re shipping out of region use Mimeo PrintX’s global network of print service providers. Learn how Mimeo PrintX routes your content files to produce and distribute in-region.