In Praise of Print


In the past five years, social media combined with online and digital printing have leveled the playing field for businesses, allowing small businesses unprecedented access to tools once reserved for large corporations.

Take for example the business card. In the past, large companies had blank business card shells printed on specialized paper with one or two Pantone inks that they printed periodically with deserving employees’ names. Today, with printing prices and required quantities much lower than the past, new cards can be printed in full color for  just about anyone or any thing, from calling cards to angel cards, or even multiple cards for different parts of a business.

So what’s the harm in that?

Well, to use the sports analogy from earlier: with a more level playing field comes… more players. And with more players comes more competition.

“But I’ve hired an ace design firm! Isn’t that good enough?” you may ask.

Of course, good design goes a long way toward defining your company and standing out in a crowded marketplace. But if you want to go all the way, you’ll want to spend some money on how your brand is presented in print. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Consider the paper it’s printed on. Think about it. When you hand a card to someone, wouldn’t you like them to notice the quality of paper right away? Consider printing on FSC-certified papers. Far from the dull, grainy papers of the past, these green “goddesses” now offer bright whites, textures, weights, sheens, and colors that fit your business. Ask your designer to see paper swatch books for your next project—you’re likely to be surprised by how paper selection can take your design to the next level.
  2. Create a piece to “die” for. Created on the press using a metal plate with sharp edges called a “die”, unique shapes and cut-outs enhance your brand message while creating interest. Consider a postcard cut in the shape of your product or logo. Or a pocket folder with pockets that mimic the curve of your logo. Or maybe a cut-out shape that has a playful presence on either side of a business card. Often rejected for their additional cost, die cuts may well be worth the expense.
  3. Make key images shine. Recently I received a direct mail piece from a major retailer that caught my eye. Printed on  matte, white paper, the models (and product) practically bounced off the page with a glossy varnish. Called a “spot varnish,” the technique packed a visual punch that kept me interested.

These tips may seem ill-timed in a scaled-back economy, where saving money is on everyone’s mind. But consider the benefit: quality papers, inks, cuts, and varnishes send the message that your business is as strong as ever, inspiring confidence in your company and signaling to clients that they are worth the expense.

For more ideas about how special printing techniques and papers can enhance your brand image, contact Mix Creative.

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One Response to “In Praise of Print”

  1. Katrina,

    I love the way you convey a message. Your points are distinct, the descriptions are so visual, the encouragement is clear… You want the marketing we use to bring us success. Thank you for looking out for our best interests!

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