Design Tips on 4 Types of Print Marketing Materials

In-field sales representatives use print in customer-facing meetings and interactions. Resellers and channel partners use print marketing to drive strategy by representing data and distributing sell sheets. And, most frequently, event marketers tie content to context by developing rack cards and flyers for specific conferences and tradeshows.

No matter your purpose, print marketing materials have to be designed in a certain format to ensure the highest quality print results.

These design tips will help you create 4 stunning types of print marketing materials with a consistently high level of quality.

1. Flyers and Sales Slicks

Flyers are an Effective Way to Use Print Marketing for Upcoming Offers

Whether in a standard or custom size, flyers are an effective way to promote your brand, promotion, or event. Just like flyers, sales slicks promote a specific product, solution, or service.

There are a number of design programs you can use to create a flyer or sales slick, including some free content creation tools. If you lack graphic design skills and resources, opt for a program like Canva. Canva comes with ready-to-use design layouts and templates for flyers.

However, if you use more advanced programs like Adobe InDesign, apply these best practices for high-quality print results.

A few must-have design elements of a compelling flyer or sales slick include:

  • Using high-quality images, especially for business logos
  • A concise, but eye-catching headline
  • A brief overview of the business, promotion, news, or event
  • Fonts that empower your message, but are still readable

Adding a Call to Action
One of the most important parts of designing a flyer or sales slick is the call to action. Always include the most important details of your content. For instance, if you’re promoting your next event, include the date, time, and partnership information on your flyer. Likewise, if you’re creating a sales slick for a reseller partner, include the partner’s contact information.

CMYK vs. RGB
For the highest quality print result, design in the CMYK colour mode. RGB mode is ideal for digital distribution, but CMYK mode limits the gamut of colours available for printing.

A print standard is working in 300 DPI. 300 DPI (dots per inch) will retain the details in images once printed. Just be sure that all your design elements—images, logos, and photos—are all created at 300 DPI.

After designing your flyer or sales slick, save it as PDF. PDFs are considered another print industry standard. Be sure to flatten the PDF so as not to alter the original design during the printing process.

2. Business Cards

Business Cards are One of the Most Used Forms of Print Marketing

Business cards are oftentimes the first impression of your brand. In fact, Statistic Brain reports that 72 percent of professionals judge a company or person by the quality of their business card – for professionals that are constantly networking, like in-field salespeople and event marketers, that’s a lot of pressure to get your business card right.

What Should My Business Card Include?
A business card should always include your name, your job title,  the company name and logo, and contact information. However, in some instances, you may want to deviate from the norm. Entrepreneur recommends thinking of your business card as a call to action. For example, for an international conference, you could include an event-specific offer on your business card.

When including images on your business card, make sure you understand the difference between vector and bitmap images:

  • Bitmap – A bitmap image (e.g. JPEG, PNG) is comprised of thousands of pixels. While pixels are identical in size, they vary in colour. When enlarging a bitmap image, it can look pixelated. To avoid blurry or blocky print results, use high-resolution JPEG images in your business card design.
  • Vector – Vector images are scalable and can be enlarged without losing their smoothness. A vector image plots X and Y coordinates on a line or curve to maintain smoothness. If possible, save your business card designs as a vector-based PDF. This will ensure the highest quality results when printing.

Lastly, when designing business cards, avoid using borders. Business cards are trimmed after printing. Sometimes trimmed borders can appear uneven. Instead, use full bleed in your business card design. Full bleed designs ensure a marginless final product.

For tips on sizing your business card, its text edge and bleed allowance, check out these guidelines and dimensions for your layout.

3. Brochures

Print Marketing Brochures are an Easy Way to Provide Information

Brochures require more graphic design knowledge. A brochure is a great medium for sales and marketing purposes. The design masters at Adobe suggest deciding on the following specifications when designing a brochure for print marketing:

  • Number of pages
  • Colour scheme
  • Fold type (e.g. half, letter, z-fold, barrel, gate, parallel)
  • Ratio of images to text to white space

Choosing a Brochure Template
Brochures vary in complexity depending on the fold type. Choose a template that best matches your specifications. Microsoft Word comes ready with brochure templates. Additionally,
Canva has a drag-and-drop trifold brochure template.

Preloaded templates are helpful in designing brochures for print. However, if you’re feeling adventurous with a program like InDesign, create a print-ready brochure by using grid systems in the file. Grid systems structure content and organise elements within a brochure panel. Guidelines within grid systems help to ensure that content isn’t cut off during the trimming process.

4. Catalogues

Catalogs are an Effective Print Marketing Material

Catalogue or booklet design requires careful thought in pagination. A catalogue is printed in 4-page increments. Large sheets of paper are run through the press, then folded in half to create inner pages. When writing copy or adding graphics, you must be conscious of the fold and margins.

If you lack enough or have too much content, know it’s fine to add blank inner pages. Maintain consistency from page to page in format, colour, and purpose.

Like any other use of images and colour in print marketing, make sure to design in CMYK mode and use high-quality images.


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