If you feel that you or a member of your team have a talent for graphic design and want to create your own marketing materials rather than outsourcing them to a graphic design firm, there are some things you need to know to get your image print-ready.
First things first
It is a great idea to stick to some simple rules right at the outset; by rules, we mean page size and layout. Getting these aspects right at the beginning can prevent a lot of heartache and frustration later on. Always begin by setting the page size on your computer to the actual size of the finished product. If, for example, your design is intended to be an A4 brochure, set the page to A4 size, which is 210 x 297mm. You also have to consider the bleed. This is printing terminology for printing that extends beyond the edge of the sheet paper after it has been trimmed. Ensure that any part of the design that goes to the edge of the A4 page actually ‘bleeds’ 3mm over the edge.
Things become a little trickier if you are designing a booklet, because if you are not using a template or wizard, you will have to work out which pages face one another when it has been bound or saddle stitched.
You need to have decent images on your marketing print, whether you are planning a small brochure printing project or a large roller banner. This means you must have images that have a minimum 300 dpi (dots per inch) at whatever size you intend to use. There is no need to have a higher resolution than this as all this will do is increase the file size. Save images as jpegs, pngs, or bitmaps. Bitmaps may work best at a higher resolution, such as 600 dpi or even 1200 dpi. To make the images suitable for high quality printing, ensure that the colours are saved as CMYK files.
There are several software programs available for quality graphic design production. Perhaps the two most often used by professionals are Quark or Adobe’s InDesign, which are available for both Mac and PCs. If you are new to the software, it must be said that there is a steep learning curve, and it will probably take a little time to get to grips with all the tools at your disposal.
The finished product
Once your design is in place, you will need to convert it into a file that can be easily dealt with by your printer. This means converting, sometimes called exporting, your design to become a PDF file. This can easily be attached to an email or put into a Cloud, ready to be uploaded and printed.
Crafting a compelling and strikingly visual marketing design is not the easiest thing to do, especially for the novice. The above are useful skills to learn but it is often more sensible to outsource jobs to a graphic design company who can do all the hard work for you.