Tag Archives: Design

RGB vs. CMYK vs. PMS

It’s time to send your design to print, but you’ve got one big question: RGB, CMYK, or PMS? Choosing the right color profile can make all of the difference in the world when it comes to how your design will appear in print. Pick the wrong one, and your colors may not look the way you want. Here’s a simplified breakdown of each of these three color profiles and when you should use each in your marketing designs.

RGB

RGB stands for “red, green, blue” and is often used in digital design to accurately represent colors on computer screens. To create a color pallet, this profile blends red, green, and blue light waves to give you the exact shade you’re looking for. RGB is best for projects like:

  • Infographics
  • Websites
  • E-Newsletters
  • Online Catalogs

A viewer’s monitor settings can change the way RGB colors are displayed on the screen, so your digital designs might vary slightly on different computer screens.

CMYK

Similar to RGB, the CMYK color profile blends multiple colors together to achieve the right look. The colors used in CMYK are cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black), and each color is applied in layers during the printing process to match your chosen hue exactly. You would use a CMYK profile for:

  • Most everyday print materials

This profile is ideal for printed materials, but you should expect very slight variation in your colors throughout the printing process. This is a result of differences in paper, ink levels, temperature, and the process of mixing inks itself. While this variation is barely noticeable, it should be a factor when considering which color profile to use for branded materials.

PMS

PMS, or Pantone Matching System, is the most accurate color profile for printed materials. RGB and CMYK colors are blended in real-time during the printing process, which can create inconsistencies in your color. PMS colors are pre-mixed before printing and each color is applied one by one to maintain consistency throughout the print job.

Given its unique accuracy, the PMS color profile is most often used for:

  • Corporate Branded Print Materials

You also have the option of using PMS and CMYK together to achieve a full color palette for full-color photographs and other multimedia printing projects.

Each of these color profiles has its strengths and weaknesses, and it’s important to choose one that meets your specific printing needs. Discuss the possibilities with your printer to accurately display the colors of your design and capture the essence of your branding in the printing process.

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Make Your Mark with Print

Why printed marketing materials are here to stay

Huge chunks of marketing and advertising budgets are often spent on web design and online advertising, so it’s easy to overlook printed materials or to disregard them as unnecessary. But marketing collateral—a catch-all term for all of the media that sells a product or service—still goes well beyond the digital realm. Even the most modern business relies on the distribution of printed marketing materials as important tools for their sales force. They count on it for rich and robust direct mail campaigns, to distribute at industry events and tradeshows, and to accompany their product distribution.

Why it’s necessary

2015-08-20 10.08.34 (1)Marketing collateral is what sets your business apart from competitors. It defines and strengthens your brand, telling the story of who you are, why you matter, and why your target audience should buy from you. On a more practical note, it builds awareness of your business and leads to increased sales.

The most effective collateral leverages both digital and print resources, carefully blending them to accentuate the most powerful and unique attributes of your business. Digital provides accessibility and convenience, while print demonstrates your commitment to longevity.

Back to basics

The exchange of business cards dates back over a century, and remains a respected interaction among networkers today. A strong card design catches the recipient’s attention, making a memorable impression while clearly conveying your style, value, and brand identity.

Version 2Sell sheets and flyers provide information on products or services in an easy-to-read, unassuming format. These pieces effectively convey details that might otherwise be overlooked or forgotten, leaving behind a hard copy for future reference.

Another great tool is the brochure, which can be distributed in print and online format. You can highlight your main offerings while also delving a little more into who you are.

What your business needs

Marketing collateral is essential for business growth in all its forms, but it’s difficult for someone outside your business to tell you exactly what will best suit your needs. For maximum results, consider meeting with a printing company who offers graphic design and copywriting services. You’ll want to carefully consider your audience when choosing and designing the collateral to highlight your products or services. Most importantly, make sure everything is consistent: colors, logos, fonts, and styles should complement one another and resonate the same message across all advertising platforms.

Going the extra page

Beyond the basic pieces—business cards, sell sheets, and brochures—lies a world of enhancements for your marketing collateral. Coil books and smaller booklets go a step beyond the brochure with more facts and figures available for later perusing; this is a clean, sleek way to present industry colleagues or potential customers with a tangible reference.

Version 4Mailed newsletters and postcards help forge a connection with your clientele, and are viewed as more legitimate than a simple email version.

Finally, manufacturers and other industries often require a plethora of print collateral to accompany and support their product distribution. This may include product literature, packaging inserts, training manuals, kits, specialized fulfillment projects and more. Pairing up with a reputable printing partner that is capable of handling high volume printing and unique custom print projects, with all its support services, is key to receiving the adequate support your organization deserves.

Forge ahead

With a slew of printable materials available, it’s easy to find ways to make your business stand out, whether it’s by providing manuals and user guides or including something so simple and effective as personalized notes on custom stationery. With careful thought in choosing the right print collateral, your business will be primed to make its mark.

The Power of Color

Red, green, or purple: color choice greatly influences buyers

Pantone-Color-of-the-Year-2013-1When drafting a print job, the decisions can be overwhelming. What weight of paper will work best? What binding option meets your needs and budget? One tool that is more powerful than paper, binding, or any other print selection is the simple—or not so simple—choice of color.

Most people know that different colors can call to mind a variety of emotions or moods, such as a blue room feeling cool or a yellow dress seeming springy, but color affects the psyche on an even deeper level, playing a role in emotion to the point that it impacts purchasing behavior. Before you pick purple because you like it, or green because it’ll show up well, take a moment to investigate what your audience might be thinking about your color scheme.

Neutral colors

Neutral shades, such as black, ivory, white, tan, brown, and grey, form the basis for many simple, streamlined products. Apple markets mainly in black and white, and has cultivated their sleek sophistication in part due to their neutral color scheme. Neutrals make excellent backgrounds for more vivid images or commentary, but when used alone, run the risk of feeling bland, sterile, or stark.

Warm colors

Red, orange, and some shades of yellow comprise the warm color family. This is where you can find the intense emotions—passion, energy, and vibrancy. They can create feelings of happiness or exuberance, but also alarm. Used sparingly, bursts of warm color are excellent attention-getters; when they overwhelm, however, they are one of the fastest ways to turn your market off.

Cool colors

The phrase ‘cool colors’ doesn’t refer to how trendy the colors are, but sometimes they can be the hip choice. Blue and green, the main cool colors, are known to be calming and soothing, which can serve to drive consumers to those choices, particularly in health and wellness markets. However, they can sometimes seem staid or aloof. Purple invokes luxury, or superiority, depending on how it is used.

Common perceptions

One important factor to keep in mind is that your material, like the rest of the world, doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Purple might perfectly meet your needs, but it can also connote femininity, which may not jive with your goal. Green means go, or means nature—or, to the coffee-inclined, is inextricably linked with Starbucks. Balance the emotional weight of colors with what your audience might be connecting them with already; as with Starbucks, careful and consistent color marketing can eventually tie you so closely to a specific color that it becomes paramount to your brand. Make your choice with care, and then embrace your colors.

What is a bleed?

If you’ve ever submitted files for print, you’ve probably heard the term “bleed”. Not quite sure what it means? Understanding this simple concept will help insure that your documents are printed as you intended.

Flyer without BleedFlyer with Bleed

A “bleed” refers to print elements (images, backgrounds, etc.) which extend beyond the trim area of a printed piece. It allows a printer to trim the document to its exact size without any danger of white space showing up along the edges of the piece. Slight shifting can occur during printing as a result of paper, printing, or trimming variance. We recommend a minimum of 1/8’’ bleed on all edges of the artwork. Remember, any artwork which extends into the bleed area will be trimmed away! You will want to make sure no text or other critical content extends into the bleed area of your document.

What Is a Bleed - Examples
For a complete illustrated example of how to set up your artwork with a bleed, download a free digital copy of our “What Is a Bleed?” tutorial. It includes a complete example of an 8.5×11 flyer correctly placed within a design template.

Before you begin designing your next print project, visit CDSPrint.com to download a free design template!

8 Areas to Save Money on Your Next Print Job

Cut Print CostsSaving money wherever possible is always a necessity for your business, and we understand that.  Before placing your next print order, read these tips and adjust accordingly to make sure you are getting the best price possible!

Paper

Keeping your options open when it comes to paper can go a long way when it comes to saving money on your printing. Generally, it is most affordable to use a printing company’s house stock versus specifying a specific brand. Because they purchase their house stocks in large quantities, they have pre-negotiated costs with their paper vendors, which translate into cost savings for you. If you have a general idea for the color, texture, quality, and/or weight of the paper you’d like, discuss those preferences will your printer. Ask them to recommend a few of their house stocks based on your particular preferences. Your printer will be happy to show you samples of their house stocks and discuss the most cost-effective options that align with your vision and your budget.

Ink

If you are printing in smaller quantities, keep in mind that black and white is significantly cheaper than color.  Each page printed in color can easily triple or quadruple the cost for that page, so if possible, try to choose your color pages wisely. Even cutting just a few color impressions can show a significant decrease in the cost of your print order.

If you are printing in larger quantities and have a full multi-color layout, it is generally more cost effective to allow all your colors to be printed using 4-color process (CMYK) vs. specifying specific Pantone colors.  Pantone (PMS) colors are specialized inks that standardize color reproduction. They can be purchased by your printer specially for your project, but they will cost you.  Unless you need a very specific color due to franchise requirements (like Tiffany’s for example), your printer should be able to closely match your preferred color using the four color blends.

Quantity

If you are a fan of keeping your print materials up-to-date, take a second to re-think your quantity.  Consider printing “on-demand”.  It can save a lot of waste (a lot of space, a lot of trees and a lot of dollars)!  Some printers will offer to store your artwork and will be happy to make requested changes before each printing.

Size

Before beginning the design of your print artwork, ask your printer if the dimensions you have in mind could be slightly altered to get a better yield.  Let them know that you are flexible and interested in the most cost-efficient suggestions.  Sometimes 1/2 inch can make a big difference in how efficiently you are using each sheet of paper.  Not only will this save you money, it can also save you time.

Design

If you want to outsource the designing of your artwork, try to find a printer who has in-house designers. Some printers offer free or low cost graphic design as a value-added service. A printer who offers this service can save you hundreds of dollars!

If you decide to use an independent designer or design company, ask for a general estimate of the amount of hours that it will take to create the piece. Make sure the design artist knows your budget before beginning your graphics and job layout. Without a set budget, over-designing can certainly become an unexpected, unintentional expense.

Time

Try to place your print orders 2-4 weeks in advance to ensure that your printed materials arrive on time and within budget. If a longer time-frame isn’t feasible, watch out for “rush” fees! Another option is to try to find a printer who offers “on-demand” services (as previously discussed). Printers who specialize in digital, on-demand printing are used to working with limited schedules and are generally much more flexible.

Organization

Have one person in the office responsible for ordering the printing for your company. Your printer will be able to best educate an individual on the options available for your printing job if they are speaking to someone who is familiar with placing a printing order and organizing the company’s print projects.

Consistency

Develop a relationship with a printer that fits your printing needs well. A printer who has worked with your company before will be most familiar with your print projects, which will save you both time and money. Printers also generally show greater priority to a regular customer’s needs and wishes.

 

Let us know if these tips helped you, or if you have any other further suggestions on saving money.  We would love to hear them!