We’re having an eggsellent month
At Essential Print Services we get a lot of requests for brochures. Personally, I love brochures – there are so many options. When designing a brochure, you first have to decide on a weight of paper – you don’t want the paper to be too flimsy as this give could a bad image of your company. When the paper is quite thin, the print can show through to other pages. Also, do you want the paper on the covers to be heavier than paper used on the inside pages?
Special finishes can make your brochures stand out from the crowd. Picking out a few graphical areas on the cover in a Spot UV varnish, can take a plain looking cover and turn it into something really special. Alternatively you can gloss laminate or matt laminate the outside pages for durability. Special finishes work best because they draw the customer in.
Another thing to consider when designing a brochure is what you want to achieve from creating it? And how will you measure the brochure’s success? Do you really want to spend money on marketing your company if you’re not going to measure how successful it is?
One-way to do this would be to see how much your enquiry level increases. Sending out a personalised letter with the brochure may increase the success rate too. Planning a follow up campaign will help convert prospects into customers – this can be done by a telephone campaign or e-shot, or both.
The size and weight of your brochures may determine what format to go for. Think about how much your brochures will cost to post out. If you want hundreds distributed at once, ask your print supplier for a quote to send them for you. They may have preferential postage rate (we certainly do).
If you’d like to print a brochure or sit down with a Print Angel to discuss your ideas further contact us on 01332 418 377.
Proof reading – check it out.
Once you’ve agreed on the design of your poster, brochure, newsletter or other product you might heave a sigh of relief and think your work is done – but you’d be wrong.
Probably the most important stage of the print process is when you are sent a proof to check and sign off.
Here’s my top ten checklist of what to do next.
1. Check the spelling AGAIN.
Computerised spell checks can miss mistakes, so this is your final chance to make sure that all names, spelling and punctuation are correct. Check it yourself AND ask someone else to check it as well. Don’t give the other person your copy with your notes on it. Let them see the proof with fresh eyes.
2. Check the contact details.
Are all telephone numbers, emails and websites correct? You can sometimes see what you EXPECT it to say. Have you included all the ways people can connect with you – such as your Twitter handle (e.g. @essentialprint)? It’s always a good idea to check proofs at the start of the day, or whenever you’re not going to be distracted or interrupted so that you can really focus on the task.
3. Print the proof out – or ask the printer for a hard copy.
Sometimes you spot things in a hard copy that you miss on screen. It also helps to see the work at its real size. If you’re printing from Adobe Acrobat Reader, ensure you’ve ticked ‘print to size’ not ‘print to fit’ because it’s only at the actual size that you will be able to see the true scale of the text and images. At Essential Print Services we offer digitally printed proofs – just ask us for advice.
4. Is the text size appropriate?
Now that you can see the proof at actual size are you happy that all the text is easy to read? Make sure that people won’t have to strain their eyes to read it.
5. Ask about the colours.
Don’t assume that the colours you see on screen are 100% accurate because they won’t be. At Essential Print Services, we’ll give you as much help as possible to understand the real colours that will appear on your printed product. The material on which the item will be printed will affect the final version.
6. Do you know what material your job will be printed on?
If you haven’t seen and held a sample of the material, then now is the time to get your hands on it, before it’s too late. Ask for one of our free printed swatch packs to help you with your decision.
7. Check it with someone in your target market.
If, for example, your print is aimed at parents with young children, show it to friends with youngsters in the right age group. Ideally, you should have done this at the design stage, but, if you didn’t, run it by them now. The cost of changes might still be better than sending out material that doesn’t hit the spot.
8. How to make changes.
Never say to a printer: “Can you just change that word and go straight to print?” You may trust your print company implicitly and that’s lovely, but don’t leave room for error. Has the final version signed off properly? At Essential Print Services, we always have any changes, however minor, re-proofed and approved. Even if you’ve supplied a perfect PDF for us to print, we’ll always email you a proof for approval. Why? Because a client may have sent us an old version of a flyer or booklet and that last minute check will save them time and money.
9. What to do when things go wrong – and it’s not your fault.
So, you approved your proof and received your job but there’s an error. Check the file you approved. Check your email correspondence. If the file you approved doesn’t match the one you had printed then call the printer as soon as possible. Don’t email – emails can easily ‘go astray’ or be put off until later. Ask to speak to the person you’ve been dealing with throughout the process. After the conversation, ask them to send you an email confirming what they’ve agreed to do to put it right.
If the mistake has been made by a third party (e.g. a graphic designer sending the wrong file directly to your supplier) then ask that person to contribute towards the reprint. But bear in mind that they are not obliged to help – YOU as the client are responsible for having checked everything before printing.
10. What to do when things go wrong – and it is your fault.
If you realise you have made a mistake – take responsibility for it. If you need the correct version printing again, ask the printer if they’d give you a discount for a quick reorder. They may welcome another unexpected job and they may have some material left over from your first job that they can use up to save costs.
Finally, I’d say LOVE the experience of creating and approving your printed work. If you’re a small business you probably don’t have things printed all the time, so make proofing your work an enjoyable event. Make a cuppa, take a break and have a Kit Kat. When you’re in the right frame of mind, you can check things more easily. If you’re relaxed, errors will jump out at you and you’ll have peace of mind that the finished work is going to look great and your money has been well spent.
If you’re still unsure about something on your proof, pick up the phone and talk to your supplier.
If the proof is from us, call 01332 418377 and chat to us about any concerns. There is no such thing as a silly question.
What better way to showcase your products and services than with a brochure?
If done well, this piece of literature could be something your clients will use time and time again, ensuring you remain in the forefront of their mind.
You know a brochure has been a success when your prospect has contacted you because of it.
But what size should it be? Materials, colours, how many you need, what it should look like, postal charges – all this could be quite challenging.
Quite often, you will ask a printer for a specification, and they’ll just give you a quote. That’s fine if you’re in the industry and you know what you want and you have experience of what’s worked and what hasn’t worked.
But for an end-user you may need a helping hand.
That’s when someone like me will really help. Hi, I’m Yvonne, owner of Essential Print Services, based on Pride Park in Derby and I’m going to cover just 5 of many things to consider when thinking about a brochure.
Yes, people quite often email quote requests and I will quote on what they’ve asked for, but if there’s a more cost effective way to achieve the same result, then I’ll offer it as an alternative price or I would make a note on the quote offering my advice.
I’ll help you get the results and get the most for your budget. I can talk you through your options, show you samples, and even have a brainstorming session and of course, present you with the most competitive prices.
Someone like me will talk you through the print process step-by-step and let you know what stage the order is at. A human you can contact with queries at any time and who will be flexible and work with you and for you.
1) Brochures are like chocolates – make them last as long as possible
If you’re going to invest time and money in producing a brochure, don’t include information that may give it a short shelf life. The last thing people want is to have to regularly change and update their literature. Include details that are less likely to change like website address, telephone number etc.
2) Design & text – Less is more
Let imagery and graphics do all the talking and keep text to a minimum. I find that customers like to browse and look at pretty pictures than read endless amounts of text.
If you are showcasing products, you may need to include specifications but keep this to a minimum. You will extend the brochures shelf like. And with a good call to action; “email us for a full spec sheet,” you will then have an excuse to call your prospect and find out exactly what they need. Thus the brochure’s job is complete – encouraging the client to get in touch.
Include short testimonials – this will instil confidence. By including a picture of the person, this will prove that you haven’t simply made it up. But always obtain their approval before going to print.
When it comes to the design of the brochure, you may want to have a go at doing it yourself but why spend hours on trying to do something you don’t have experience at? You would never attempt to fix your car if you’ve never lifted the bonnet. Your time would be best spent doing what you do best…running our own business.
Finding a good graphic designer is crucial. Someone who knows what will work well design-wise, as well as what will reproduce well in print. That’s when designers and I work well together. We exchange ideas and ensure that the end result will achieve results for the client. They create artwork that is conceptually stunning and I ensure that the print will be just that, stunning.
When using text, use typography. Typography is the arrangement of text in interesting ways, sizes and fonts. Any designer worth their weight in onions will know this already.
My printing will only look it’s best when the artwork is good. Supplying low quality pictures and artwork will result in an inferior product.
That’s the benefit of working with a print provider like me. At Essential Print Services, I personally carry out a 12-point artwork check and if I’m unsure, I always let the client know and give them the opportunity to change it, regardless of deadlines or cost.
For those you who do not have any design contacts, I’d be more than happy to supply you with details of some of Derby’s finest creative people.
3) Pictures paint a thousand words…
…but just because you have a camera, doesn’t make you David Bailey
You may enjoy taking pictures of family at the weekends but are your own photography skills good enough for your company brochure?
If you think they may be good enough, then email a couple of example files to your designer or print supplier. There is a lot we can do to improve lighting and focus.
If your images are not good for the job, then it may be time to hire a professional. Choose the right professional for the job. This will save you time and money and get the best results. If you don’t know any good photographers, I know plenty. Some are better at product shots, and others may specialise at photographing people or buildings etc.
If you don’t have the budget for hiring a photographer, then look at an image site called iStock.com. This site has very affordable images to purchase and download. If you’re unsure what size image you need to download, then just give me a call.
If it’s your own product images you need, then of course, you won’t find them on istock.com. Perhaps you buy your products from a manufacturer who will let you use their images?
If you don’t have the budget to hire a pro or simply don’t want to pay for them, why not approach them with a contra-deal – a swop of services perhaps?
Avoid using images of employees. A client of mine included a picture of an old employee in their brochure without their permission and the ex-employee didn’t like it one bit. So my client reprinted them with a new photograph. If you use any images, always get permission.
Whatever images you use or download – remember to back them up.
4) Show me the paper! Request samples.
Brochures represent and sell your business so they have to look and feel great. They need to make a good first impression.
Any decent printer will be happy to provide anyone with a plain mockup of a brochure free of charge. If the brochure is being digitally printed, then you can request a printed mockup on the actual stock before you go to print. This way, there are no nasty surprises.
If you have had brochures printed before and you change suppliers, be sure to request plain and printed samples of the material from your new supplier. One printer’s 400g board will be different to another. It may feel different, may be thicker, maybe whiter. There are hundreds of thousands of different brands of paper and board out there, so be sure you know what you’re going to order.
5) Order the essentials
I’m a firm believer of only using and ordering what you need. OK, it doesn’t cost that much more to get double the quantity. But if you don’t get chance to send out the extras, then they are a false economy. I’ve lost count the amount of times I’ve heard, “the last printer sold me too many brochures and now we’re moving offices so they’re just going to gather dust – can you print me some stickers to put over the address”. Just buy what you need.
Don’t buy an A5 20-paged brochure if you can condense the information a little and take advantage of the cost savings that a 16-paged can provide. Simply because 16 pages at A5, is a lot more economical – you don’t use as many printing plates and you can fit more on a sheet. It’s all about saving the client money. But as an end-user you shouldn’t be expected to know that. This is the print supplier’s job – to suggest smarter ways of printing.
Don’t be afraid to let your print supplier know that you’re after a really good-looking brochure, that feels like quality but doesn’t cost the earth. It is possible. They’ve just got to use their initiative and think outside the box.
This is the disadvantage of using an internet based printer. There’s no one to call upon for advice. By typing in the spec you think you want, it won’t suggest a better way of doing things. Your artwork may go through an automated system and it quite often gets printed regardless of the quality or any errors.
If anyone here needs advice or ideas, now or in the future, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d be delighted to talk to you or your contacts. What may be daunting or boring for you, is really fun and exciting for me. So make my day – and give me a call on 01332 418377.
If you have any questions; for those on twitter please tweet your questions anytime using #prideparkprinter or @essentialprint