With the prevalence of fall sales, festivals and trade shows, Large Format Printing is a logical choice to get attention. A well-designed poster can bring many more people to your booth, business or event. Printing guidelines and considerations are different than other types of printed materials, so keep in mind strategies like these when planning Large Format Printing:
- Determine the best format.
Decide which is better for your needs: horizontal or vertical posters. Horizontal posters are less common and therefore may be more eye-catching. Determine the poster dimensions and design it with the exact dimensions in mind to avoid re-sizing later. Be sure to use the highest resolution possible.
- Keep it simple and easy-to-read.
Design your poster to be seen from a distance. The texts and fonts used should be large enough to read quickly, and the message should be short, not cluttered. Fonts should be simple, such as Arial. Include space between lines for better readability.
- Select colors that make sense.
If you want to really stand out, bright colors like red, orange and yellow are smart. Some colors, like blue and green, project calmness and may draw attention for this reason. Bold hues like black and silver are upscale. A photograph, if it is stunning and bold, can be impressive. Keep posters consistent with your image, such as when promoting your company or organization at trade shows. Remember to follow printers’ guidelines for bleeds so no white borders show.
With a well-crafted poster, you’re sure to stand out in a crowd. Your commercial printer can help you make the most of every sales’ message.
Going to a printer without having your files properly prepared is like gambling at a casino: you don’t know what quality the finished product will be. While it is easier than ever to get files ready, knowing some basic guidelines will ensure professionalism and optimum efficiency from the outset of your print project.
Check color consistency.
Use the CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, K where K is black) color space option rather than the RGB format (the one you see on your computer screen); this is the format used by computers and is the most accurate. Use 100% black with no additional CMY to guarantee true black.
Keep resolution at its highest.
Most printers consider 300 dpi resolution to be the minimum resolution standard. Create your design projects using whatever resolution you will be printing in so that quality of the finished product is sharp and consistent.
Don’t compress files if possible.
If you can save a file in TIFF format, you can keep the color and pixel data from the original design from varying. JPG and GIF image files can distort images by eliminating some of the color information from the file, or even some of the images themselves.
Leave enough trim and bleed room.
It’s good to have ¼ of an inch of room from the edge of a document so that it will not affect text or the images you are printing. Be sure to include trim marks to allow exact cutting; marks can be added with most design programs.
Include a descriptive file name and specifications.
This makes it easy for the printer to know what your file is, and its purpose. For example, “medical brochure back” instead of “brochure.”
It’s also helpful to specify things like:
- type of job and quantity needed (i.e. business card)
- the finished flat size and finished size
- type of paper stock
- number of ink colors
- whether it prints one side or two
- perfect bind, emboss or other finishing parameters
Save your files in a standardized format.
Be sure to “lock” your graphic design and text files in a format like Adobe Acrobat PDF files because they are compatible across a variety of platforms. “Locking” protects files from the possibility of any changes or edits to the camera ready image.
Thinking ahead will give you the best printing results and reduce the possibility of costly errors. It’s worth a few extra minutes to make files suitable for print.
Using color effectively for your print advertising is very important. Readers are 9 times more likely to remember what they see in color, versus something printed in just a single color like black. They are also 70% more likely to remember the details of what they’ve read if printed in color. Most companies find that full color printing is more powerful in every way; it’s easier to retain words, images, text and graphics longer. Small wonder that 50% of company forms and documents are done in full color, from postcards to door hangers. Also, people are influenced by specific colors on packaging, advertisements and other materials.
Some of the world’s top brands stay that way in part because their trademark colors are so much a part of their image. Coca-Cola’s red is very powerful, UPS is reliably remembered for brown and the yellow Best Buy logo is synonymous with bright ideas in electronics values. Certain colors express boldness (red), warmth (yellow), trust (blue) and peacefulness (green). This sets buyers’ moods and may even control their emotions. Combinations of these colors can be very effective in your marketing efforts. You may have to experiment to see which colors work best to establish brand recognition or convey such promotions as “sale” or “exclusive,” but full color lets you be more edgy than a monochrome or grayscale look. Determining your target audience will help you decide what kind of a color message to send.
• Make sure your design makes the color work. Even if you splash certain colors over your advertising materials, they need to be designed well and be relevant. Your logos, layout and even company name must work together synergistically to convey the unique message and brand identity you want to convey. If not, your message may get lost or create a mood like “power” or “boldness” when you want to emphasize softness, wholesomeness or another personality.
• Carry your color scheme and design across all of your advertising and marketing materials. This consistency will make your marketing more powerful since people can see one look across all your materials and remember your brand.
Let color help make a positive impact that will stand out from the crowd. Work with your printer to learn what color strategies work best for print ads, direct mail and other media.
When your budget is tight already, every dollar spent on printing must be well worth it. Printing costs can be cut significantly by thinking through some basics before the job ever goes on press. Armed with these tried-and-true tips, you’ll print more efficiently and avoid surprises when the final bill comes.
- Provide correct job specifications
Exact information must be given to the printing company when getting a quote. Make sure such specs as quantity, page size, delivery date and paper stock are correct. If the scope of the project changes, know that these costs may be higher. For example, not ordering enough brochures and having to do a print re-run can be quite costly.
- Consider small changes in paper size
Ask your printer if a minor reduction in page size—such as reducing the size of the piece 1/8” or ¼”—will lower your stock costs and total project cost. A small change can make a big cost difference.
- Let Your Printer Buy stock in bulk.
If you know that you’ll have similar jobs to print on special-order stock in the future, you could save on larger-quantity purchases if your printer can order paper for future projects.
- Use standard stock if possible.
Using paper, envelopes and other stock in the most popular sizes (i.e. A5 and A7 for envelopes) is typically cheaper than special order stocks.
- Avoid making changes after production starts.
Make sure all materials are proofread multiple times, that files are correct and that all content is finalized. Changes not only add substantial costs, but may delay the completion of the job.
- Ask your printer for optional quotes on a job.
Printing quotes often vary, depending on how a printer runs your project. It also doesn’t hurt to ask the printer for a their recommendations.
The better prepared you are, the better your print job—and bottom line—will look!
There are printing companies nearly everywhere you look—the choices can be daunting. But if you know what clearly separates some printers from the rest, you can more readily identify which is best for your particular needs.
Here are some deciding factors that can ease the search:
- Expertise and a history of quality, prompt work
A printing company with years under their belt is good, but an understanding of what you need from both a technical and creative standpoint is most critical. Look at past samples of their work, both glossy and matte, to examine the quality. A better printer takes the time to ask questions and offer suggestions about the type of print job you have. Try to find out what kind of turnaround time you are looking at to make sure it fits your schedule.
- Responsive, continuous customer service
These days, a fair number of printers—especially many online companies—offer cheaper printing, but often with minimal service or communication (sometimes even overseas!). Expect solid project management at every step, from recommending optimum papers and other elements to reliable packing and shipping. Also notice the printer’s attention to detail and producing great results to your satisfaction.
- In-house capabilities
A printing company that knows how to make every print job look outstanding can make a huge difference. They will work with you to make sure your ideas are well translated visually. Those lacking such services may just execute the project without much regard for its appearance. Many printing companies offer bargain prices, but that may not buy you much when quality and value are sacrificed.
- Flexibility to handle a broad spectrum of printing demands
A company that can do many types of printing will keep up with your changing requirements. Whether you want banners, posters, postcards or anything in between, it’s good to know that your printer has the equipment and expertise to do the job right. Once you have established a great working relationship with a trusted printer, you won’t have to search for a different company for every kind of job that comes along.
Before you select the printer for your next job, think seriously about these differentiating factors that can yield the best results for your dollar. Remember, an exceptional printer is a reflection of your good judgment.