If some of the recent cover wraps and tip-ons I’ve received are anything to go by, just because something looks good in a PDF format does not mean it will look good when printed on paper. Here are a few tips to make sure your printed matter stands a chance of working.
First, consider the type of paper you are printing on because the same design is going to look different depending on your stock. Coated stock usually handles reverse type well, but stock used for tips and cover wraps tends to be cheaper and soak up more ink.
Reversing type really means being be able to see the color of the paper stock you are using, but now it means any color out of a dark background—so black and white, black and yellow or black and a light cyan all work well. Using a dark color for the type is dangerous. A tip-on I recently received was totally unreadable because the purple had bled into the black.
Remember, using a large reversed area will use more ink and will cost more. If you are going to reverse out smaller type, don’t use a serif font unless you are printing on really good stock, the effect will be lost on cheaper stock. And reversing out really small type—6 pt or smaller—makes reading the copy nearly impossible.
Speaking of fonts, just because you have over 1,500 of them does not mean you have to use them all at once.
Promotions printed on paper are trimmed to size after printing, so getting too close to the edge of the paper can result in some of your copy being trimmed off.
Designing work that can be used across several platforms such as websites, email and print is not difficult and is made considerably easier if you give some thought to the final output. You may have to adjust some colors, perhaps some fonts and perhaps some final positions, but this is something designers have been doing for many years—the more things change; the more they stay the same.