If you’re working with a direct mail company that offers in-house design and printing services, then chances are you won’t have to worry too much about printing problems. It’s always a good idea to know what the mistakes are, however, so you can be sure that you avoid them. Here’s our list of the most common errors we’ve seen:
1. Spelling and grammar mistakes.
Not only do these look bad in print, but they can lead to embarrassing or even costly problems for companies. Even if you are working with a professional company on your direct mail campaign, make sure you proof read everything carefully.
2. Not allowing for bleed.
This is a common mistake when companies design their own artwork, and they’re not used to commercial printing. The bleed area is an area of the design that is larger than the size of the finished piece, and they’re included because the cutting process is not always an exact science. When there’s adequate bleed, even if the cutting isn’t perfect, you won’t see unsightly white spaces around your design.
3. White text on a black background.
White text can be difficult to see on a black background if the black is what is known as “rich.” That is, black that contains lots of magenta, cyan and yellow.
4. Poor image quality.
The images you use for commercial printing must be at least 300 dpi to look clear when printed. Format matters too. Be sure to ask your printing company what format they need your images in.
5. Lack of margins and white space.
One of the most common mistakes that companies make when they design their own direct mail pieces is to forget that less is more. Designs will look better and be more legible if there are adequate margins and a fair amount of “white space” or spaces between elements on the page.
6. Bad font choice, and bad design choices overall.
There are certain fonts that just aren’t good used for print media (Comic Sans being a prime example.) There are images that should not be used for professional design (although with Microsoft Clipart no longer easily accessible, this is becoming less common.) Basically, however, if you have no idea about design, you should hire a designer.
7. Not using vector text and images.
These are images that are easy to resize while retaining resolution. If you’re using raster images rather than vectors, then resizing your images will produce fuzzy, unclear results.
8. Not embedding fonts in your PDFs.
If you don’t embed fonts (and images) in your designs, then they might not appear correctly when someone else opens them.
The best way to avoid all of these and other mistakes in your direct mail campaigns is to work with a company that offers professional design and printing services (unless you have an in house designer working for your company). All of these issues can easily be avoided, and there’s no reason to suffer damage to your reputation because of bad printed marketing materials when it’s so easy to avoid.