As the history of our blogs show, there is a huge array of elements that come together to create great design and one of those that tends to be underestimated, if not forgotten all together, is printing. Many business owners are tempted to cut corners when it comes to printing their marketing materials to save costs, but this month we’re hoping to share with you the huge catalogue of options printers have to offer and why you should consider them when bringing your branding to life!
The marketing materials you print such as business cards, letterheads and stationary, posters, stickers, catalogues, packaging and so on are all physical things, or at least they will be when the design process is complete. It is likely your goal in producing these items is to communicate and sell to your customers, and they do this in two ways.
The first, and most obvious, is visually. Graphics, images, words and colour all function to create an aesthetic that engages your target audience. The relationship between customers and marketing materials such as posters, sign posts and the like is solely visual and so nailing the colour and contrast with your printers is vital, but many options available to you can also allow you to cleverly manipulate lighting to bring emphasis and interest to important parts of your design.
The second, more subtle way you’re able to sway your audience is through their tactile engagement with your printed products. This is something to consider for all marketing materials that pass through the hands of your potential customers, but for things that directly sell your brand or your product such as business cards and packaging, putting the thought and money into quality printing is an easy way to influence the judgement of your clients.
Below we outline many of the options printers offer as well as the visual and tactile possibilities each can provide when used cleverly!
There’s a huge range of surfaces out there to choose from for your prints depending on the printer, and with that selection comes a huge potential for layers in aesthetics and messages. Some other unique options to look into are;
Kraft Paper: Kraft papers are available in a range of browns, tans and creams and have a unique rustic speckled or flecked aesthetic to them. They have become popular in recent years as a visual representation for brands that are nature based or conscious of minimising their environmental footprint.
It is important if you’re considering Kraft papers to note that printing white (and lighter colours) onto Kraft paper is only offered through some specialty printers and comes with an additional cost as the process involves a lot of layering of thick inks and coatings.
Cotton: Cotton offers a unique textural finish, and is a great way for clever business owners and designers to get customers imaging products in their hands through their marketing materials. Industries such as clothing sellers for example would do great to trigger that tactile link through cotton business cards. Cotton is also an incredibly durable material at lighter weights, unlike regular papers.
Some printing businesses are sourcing their cotton through recycled T-shirts, so if you’re a business or brand with a mission to minimise your environmental footprint, this might be the option for you!
SHAPES & SIZES
All printed mediums offer standard sizes and shapes. We’re all familiar with a common A0 Poster, A4 flyer, DL folded brochure, or a credit card sized business card. Simply designing outside of these standardizations will instantly make your marketing materials new and interesting.
Square and mini business cards for example have become increasingly popular options offered by printers and give designers unique new ways to frame their missions.
Corners are another option we’d class under shape for you to consider. Square corners are obviously the standard when it comes to marketing material because that’s what paper traditionally comes shaped with. Many printers will at least offer rounded corners though, which are a great option for brands that have a softer or more casual image.
Choosing a thicker paper or card stock for your prints is an easy way to make your prints feel more valuable. A regular piece of paper is about 85-90GSM, so choosing something around the 300 mark will give you a strong card that feels important.
Moving up to the 600GSM range will give you enough of an third dimension that you can look into coloured or metallic lined edges.
The thicker the print the more durable it is as well, which means it’s going to maintain quality and professionalism through any handling your staff or customers may put it through, and the longer it takes for your materials to look like garbage the longer your statement lasts.
Gloss: Gloss is the stock standard finish and the one you will automatically end up with unless you specify otherwise with most printers. Gloss finish means a thin coating is applied over the paper that results in light being reflected.
Gloss finishes are great for designs that feature plenty of photography as the colours will appear rich and saturated.
Matte: Matte is the polar opposite of gloss; paper is coated with a smooth finish that reflects no light but gives the card a nice smooth texture.
Matte finishes are an easy way to give your printed designs a little extra sophistication, and work especially well for minimalist designs or those that feature block colours and infographics.
Satin: Satin finishes reflect a little light but tend to lean more towards the matte side. Depending on what you’re getting printed and who through, some printers satin finish also give a soft velvety texture to your prints. This is a brilliant option particularly for business cards for brands that want to show off a sense of luxury and class.
Spot Gloss / Spot UV adds a reflective finish to selective parts of your designs with spot gloss. This is a simple way to make your printed designs look more professional and with controlled and clever decision on what elements reflect light you’ll be able to create beautiful emphasis to important details in your design.
Some incredibly clever designs (and some of our all time favourites) use the spot gloss finishing over a flat colour paper to act as the “print” instead of ink.
Raised Spot Gloss works in the same selective and reflective away as the above, however the gloss is applied in a thick coating to add a tactile element to your design.
Metallic Foil are available in a range of colours depending on who you go through. Most businesses will offer at least silver and gold. Metallic foil as it’s most commonly used adds an air of luxury or mystery to a brands printed designs. The nature of metallic to reflect light also offers the same benefits of spot gloss in that you’re able to emphasize important parts of your designs with selective application of it
Embossing/Letterpress is an alternate option to add a tactile element to your prints where instead of adding a coasting, the paper itself is pressed into to create an indent. This is an especially great and unique tactic to add patterns or detail instead of colour, and tends to have a very natural or rustic finish.
This is a fairly new option popping up in the printing world that installs an invisible programmable NFC chip within your prints that will trigger a digital action like opening a website, playing a song or opening an ap when a compatible smart phone or tablet is help up to it.
This is a crazy advancement that businesses or brands that depend on aps or a website to make sales or promote missions should be jumping on board ASAP!