What to Avoid on Your Printed Communication

Designing Your Business Communication

The purpose of creating business cards, letterhead, envelopes, brochures, postcards and other personal communication is to be memorable. So, if your design doesn’t stand out, neither do you. And worse yet: If your printed communication is poorly printed, you’ll leave viewers frustrated and potentially unable to connect with you. So, does your printed communication make you shine? Or are you making these dreaded mistakes?

Poor Paper

Before you even look at the wording or colors you’re using, pick up the product. How does the paper feel? Flimsy? Sturdy? Silky? Cheap? This is the first impression you’re making on people who hold your printed communication.

Depending on the item, you usually want to opt for a heavyweight paper or cardstock. This makes your product more durable and rigid when held. For example, you want a brochure to be easy to scan, not floppy and crumpling in a light breeze.

Word Whiplash

Now let’s dive in and look at the words on your documents. Do they convey confidence and authority? In addition to concise, powerful words, you also want to make sure you’re giving readers valuable information.

Let’s look at direct-mail postcards. The text on these promotional pieces should be enticing and clever, yet filled with information. Why are you reaching out? What’s the benefit to the potential customer? How can you be contacted? Always put customer’s needs first!

Failed Fonts

Now that you have the wording figured out, it needs to be legible at a glance. Does the font stand out from the background, or melt in and become difficult to read? Is the color and size of the text easy on the eyes? Does the font style and color you’ve chosen fit with the overall theme of your printed communication and business or reason for creating the paper products?

If you’re using multiple font styles on your communication, do they mesh well together? For example, if someone looks at your business card, then a promotional brochure, do the two pieces look like they came from the same business? They should!

Color Catastrophe

There’s a reason black is often used as the dominant text color. It’s easy to read. Scan your printed communication. Does the color of the text stand out against the background?

If the background of your paper products has a pattern, consider fading the area where you place text so that pops out and becomes more eye-catching. And when layering colored text onto solid-colored backgrounds, be sure the two contrast. Two similar color families, like yellow and peach or blue and purple, might blend a little too well making it difficult to decipher the text.

Lackluster Logos

So, adding a logo to your paper products should be easy, right? Well, yes and no. First of all, make sure your logo colors are spot-on correct by requesting a sample. The last thing you want to do is order several products and find out your sky blue icon is now navy blue.

You also want to make sure your logo is crisp and clear. If you insert a low resolution file into your project, the resulting image may look pixelated or slightly fuzzy. When in doubt, find out how large the logo will appear on the printed communication and use a file that’s big enough to look good at the final printed size.

Pitiful Photos

Do you plan to include a headshot, picture of your product or store front on your paper products. Perfect! These visuals help customers instantly build brand recognition and help them remember you long after your initial interaction.

Be sure the photos are sharp and of high quality. Out-of-focus selfies don’t exactly make a great first impression. Splurge on a professional photographer to capture the photos you’ll use on business cards, brochures, postcards and all other promotional materials. Then, be sure to use a high resolution file so the image doesn’t appear pixelated or unclear.

Silly Size

Finally, it’s great to think outside the box when it comes to creating memorable printed communications. But, sometimes if you stray too far, things begin to look unprofessional. If someone tells you postcard-size business cards are a good idea, walk away. They don’t easily slip into a wallet and take too much space on a desk. Business cards are meant to be collected, and awkward sizes simply don’t fit anyone’s filing system.

So, is it time to give your printed communication a makeover? Paper Direct’s new design tool lets you create professional printed pieces quickly and easily — without making these dreaded, amateur design mistakes. Get started on creating your new printed communication products today!