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Design for Digital Printing Part 2: It’s All in the Color

Mike Dietz

On Wednesday, I shared differences between design for digital and conventional presses and how a selective approach can turn the digital solution into a tool that will build strong direct mail campaigns.

Today the focus shifts to another factor you should consider in design for digital printing: color reproduction. As traditional direct mail designs transition to a digital model, the ability to match color to existing materials is critical. There are two major areas a designer needs to focus on: paper selection and art preparation.

Paper Selection

The selection of paper, and its effect on color, can provide an unexpected challenge. Although new stocks are being added every day, the options for digital printing are miniscule compared to those for traditional presses. Talk to your printer early to see what is available. It is important to have your mailpiece tested on multiple paper stocks – on the equipment that will be used to produce it.

Pay close attention to branded elements such as logos and corporate colors. If process-color images are being used, be aware of tone consistency and definition. It is also a great idea to have any companion pieces on hand to make sure the color is consistent throughout the campaign.

Art Preparation

Whether printing conventionally or digitally, correctly adjusting art files is critical to getting your desired results. Printing digitally has a set of challenges uniquely its own. One of the main areas of concern is identifying the proper CMYK and paper combination to replicate traditional process colors. Printers have done an excellent job of developing software and formulas to make this endeavor less painful.

Make it a priority to test all the elements that make up your digital program including logos, icons, charts, fonts, and images. Simple color adjustments will make your images jump off the page.

As with any project, the success of digitally-printed direct mail lies in the details. It is critical to have an open dialog with your printer early and often throughout the creative process. Work with them to identify the appropriate paper stock and understand that color alterations may be required to get the results you desire.

I’ve covered a lot of information this week, so make sure to check out Design for Digital Printing Part 1 if you missed it. If you have any questions, or you’re simply interested in learning more, please feel free to contact me.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2012/12/14/design-for-digital-printing-part-2/
Mike Dietz

Author

Mike Dietz

Executive Creative Director, graduate of St. Cloud State University and IWCO Direct team member for more than 18 years. Personal business philosophy: “Beautiful design is fantastic, but if it doesn’t work it doesn’t matter.” Proud father who enjoys spending time with family, golfing and is a life-long Minnesota Vikings fan.

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