The world of designed print is a beautiful one. Print design can be elegant and definitely gives us designers a happy feeling. The only trouble with print is that it is fairly permanent; once it is off to print, there’s no going back unless you do a reprint. This can be very costly for your business as design agencies will usually specify in their design terms and conditions that the final proof checking lays with the client. This is why we usually go a step further and proof read the final design proofs our end to add an extra layer of quality control. However, it is important that clients read over the proofs very carefully to ensure they are happy with the content. There are many things to consider when checking over the proofs, it’s not just as simple as reading it through.
High quality design is nothing without high quality copy (text). The words that your potential customers read will be a summary of your company and its services so it is important that you give the right tone of voice. Poorly written copy can be disastrous for a company’s print marketing. Ensure there are no grammar or spelling mistakes; if customers read badly written marketing material, they will feel that your service is just as bad. Well written copy can really sell your products or services and harmonise your entire offering. Headlines in your copy should be interesting and entice consumers to keep reading; try to think of your audience and what they would want to hear. Reading your copy should benefit your audience and establish a type of trust with them. You want them to come away feeling like they can trust your company to do a better job than the rest. Ensure there is a clear call to action included in your marketing, else they won’t know what to do next. It’s important to remember that copywriting is the art of persuading your consumers to take a specific action; whether that be to visit your website or give you a call, make it clear.
It is vital to check that all images are 300dpi and CMYK for print purposes to avoid pixilated and distorted images. If the colours are in RGB format (web format) then this can also cause incorrect colouring of the image. This may seem simple – surely an image is an image? Unfortunately, that is not the case; there are many types of image formats and it is key to get this right. As a full service design agency, Martin Hopkins take it upon ourselves to prepare all of our images and design assets for print. This includes converting any RGB images to CMYK format and ensuring that the image quality is at least 300dpi for printing purposes. It’s also important to ensure any image ‘blow ups’ are not too high a percent that would cause any kind of pixilation.
If you have supplied your own images and copy, make sure that you own the copyright associated with it. It is a common mistake for people to believe images and content on the internet are all available for free; this is not the case. When someone executes a photo shoot, whether that be in Cardiff, London or in France, they will be the ones to own the rights to use those photographs. With so much content being online these days, its important to realise that you must take responsibility to use only legal content whereby the copyright lies with either you, or your chosen design house. At Martin Hopkins, we only use professionally taken photographs or royalty-free stock images to prevent any further cost to you and your business. Failure to do this could result in future law suits and additional costs which could be detrimental to your business. Nobody wants a bespoke designed brochure that then has to be pulped due to not having the correct copyright for the images.
We’ve spoken before about what goes into a brand. Branding is the voice for any company. Everything; images, copy, headlines, colours and more, are vital in telling the story of any business. This means that not only do you need for the design to be branded in your corporate fonts, colours and logo, but that your imagery and copy must speak your brand message too. The style of photography is important – using multiple different styles can be inconsistent and make your company look as if it’s unsure of what its brand message really is. You want people to see your marketing material and instantly recognise that it is a piece of design from your company. Being inconsistent can mean your marketing may not be recognised and could potentially even be ignored. Once you have built a strong brand message, be true to it. Giving off a strong brand message is just as powerful as providing a top quality service, be as confident in your offering as you are in what you do. Consumers recognise strong brand messages and this forms trust between the person and the brand. Never underestimate the power of branding.
Be sure that your designs meet the printer’s specifications. Using the wrong sizes and formats can cause lots of issues for both you, your designer and the print house. When utilising a professional graphic designer like Martin Hopkins, ensure you provide them with the correct print specifications if you are handling the printing yourself. Incorrect stipulations at brief stage can add extra time and costs to design layout and print handling; a hassle we’re sure you don’t want! We advise that you let your designers to hand the printing themselves; after all it is what they do everyday! It’s far less likely for print to go wrong if professional designers are on the case. At Martin Hopkins we have a select few trusted printing houses that we use regularly, meaning that we are aware of their printing techniques and specifications and can produce designs to suit the sizing and requirements. Not only that, but we can ensure the highest quality of print for the most affordable price that will speak superiority for your business. We will try to ensure our print prices are always low and competitive, whilst still ensuring the best value for your business. Not only that, there are many different kinds of print finishes which should be considered and artwork prepared for.
Nothing gives a bad brand message like a pixilated or poor quality logo. Your logo should be high quality and identifiable. A well designed logo mark will be simple and effective; it should say something without having to say the words. When supplying logos to printers and designers, always provide an EPS or PDF file if possible. These files should include scalable vector graphics, meaning that no matter how much the size of the logo mark is blown up, 100%, 200%, 300%, it should always be crisp and high quality. The colours in your logo should also be specified during the design stages. When you produce a brand design and logo design with Martin Hopkins, we always provide you with print and web colours to ensure consistency with your brand and its core message. We will also produce the logo in various formats. Every piece of marketing material you produce should match in styling and colour; it should stick to the rules laid out, by our designers, for your brand and its purpose.
Ask any professional designer, simplicity speaks volumes. Great design is made best when all of the unnecessary content is stripped away and you are left with a beautifully simple design that says what you need to say and no more. Adding too much content to a design can cause confusion and make it much more difficult for people to read or take in. Overcrowded design can make it really hard for consumers to find the focus of what it is you are trying to say or tell them to do. If you confuse your audience, they are far less likely to use your service because they are finding it difficult to understand it. Make sure you work closely with your design agency to create a design that works well for your audience. Martin Hopkins pride ourselves on our ability to keep it simple; great design should bring content into focus and influence action. If there is an element to your design that you don’t need, try taking it away and we’re sure you will see how effective the results can be.
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