Brochure Printing 101
As one of the most popular advertising mediums, brochures offer the most convenient opportunity to dazzle customers with invigorating design and powerful sales copy. Top those elements off with professional brochure printing services and effective distribution, and you have masterful marketing materials sure to drive your response rate through the roof.
Even though brochure printing is one of the last steps in brochure development, you should know how your brochure will be printed before you begin the design process. Knowing things such as your brochure colors, size, fold styles and other elements before you create your brochure goes a long way toward ensuring that the finished product will be everything you hope it to be.
Use this guide to Brochure Printing 101 to develop professional, visually appealing brochures that will capture your prospects' immediate attention:
This might seem too obvious to be mentioned, but you'd be surprised at how many would-be designers submit inappropriately sized brochure artwork. Incorrect size forces the printer to resize the artwork, which can warp your design and negatively influence the impression your brochure makes on prospects. Use a brochure template in a standard brochure size (8.5-inch by 11-inch, 8.5-inch by 14-inch, 11-inch by 17-inch, or 11-inch by 25.5-inch) to make sure your artwork will fit not only on the paper, but also that your backgrounds extend beyond the bleed line and important text or graphic elements are not cut off. To make the process easier, you can download pre-formatted brochure templates and instructions from professional brochure printers such as PsPrint.
In addition to physical layout, size also refers to your brochure's artwork resolution. For the best results, make sure your brochure artwork is 300 dpi; and if you convert your artwork to a different file extension (such as from an .ai file to a .pdf) make sure that this high resolution is maintained.
What looks great on your computer screen won't necessarily look as good on paper, especially if you're printing a highly professional full-color brochure. Invest in a good printed color swatch chart to see what specific CMYK or PANTONE values will look like on paper. Another good way to make sure your colors match is to have your graphic design program and computer screen calibrated. There are many resources for doing this online, and in many cases your printer can offer advice on what computer settings will produce the best results from their equipment.
Paper and fold
For brochures to have a professional appeal, they must be printed on professional brochure paper. Professional paper feels good in your prospects' hands, and helps them feel comfortable dealing with your company. If you're not familiar with professional printing paper, you can ask your printer for samples and advice. In simple terms, cover stock is thicker than text stock, and good brochure paper selections include 100-pound gloss text, 70-pound matte text, 80-pound matte cover and 100-pound gloss cover.
Knowing how your brochure will be folded before you design it is essential to ensure it has the proper flow. After all, you wouldn't want your prospects to open up the first panel and see what is supposed to be the back panel! Most brochures have a letter fold, but you can infuse some truly dynamic brochure design elements by using a half-fold or a z-fold.
Some printers offer an aqueous coating that adds a subtle sheen to your brochures that not only makes them aesthetically attractive, but also helps protect them from water and wear and tear. This bolsters the shelf life of your brochure and increases the likelihood that your brochures will stand out from the competition.
Before you design your brochure, consider how it will be used. If it's part of a business presentation, you might want your printer to drill holes so it will fit into a three-ring binder. If you're including a coupon, you might want easy to tear perforations. Ask your printer how they would like you to indicate the hole or perforation positions before you design it so you don't have to rearrange your layout again.
It's always best to get a physical proof to ensure that your printed brochures will come out exactly as intended. Otherwise, you could end up with several thousand brochures that have a color error, missing elements or a typo that could be disastrous to your business. Even though many printing companies offer electronic proofs, the value of a physical proof should never be underestimated — especially if you're a graphic designer handling brochure printing for your clients.
Following the guidelines above will help you save time, money, and hassles — and ensure that your brochure printing is a success. Remember, the better your brochure looks, the better your company looks to prospects. Take careful consideration when planning your brochure printing and you'll end up with a promotional product primed for a high return on investment.