How to transfer digital designs to print

Printing tips and advice

Though direct mail marketing is an offline channel, digital design is the standard way of creating the campaign’s materials. However, you can’t just have a designer mock something up and assume that the printed material will look good.

In this article, Pepper will look at some of the key things to bear in mind if you want digital designs to turn out well in print, focusing particularly on file formats and the printing process itself.

Self-contained design

Before we get to the practicalities, it’s worth noting the requirements of print as a marketing medium. Unlike online marketing channels, printed materials cannot rely on a link to send viewers through to a page or website that will give them more information. They need to give their recipients enough information to entice them to take the time to seek out a physical location or a website in the future.

The design of the printed material is crucial. It must be visually appealing and it must contain enough information to give the recipient a reason to follow up, without overwhelming them with text. Layout, font, colour, imagery and copy all play significant parts. Ultimately, all of these features need to be printed without any compromise in quality, otherwise the whole material will look worse. Choosing the right file format and printing method is key.

File formats

There are five common file types to choose from when submitting a piece of artwork for a print marketing campaign:

  1. JPG - This is a common file type for images. It is important to create a JPG file with the dimensions that will be required for printing, as they quickly lose quality and definition if they’re stretched. For a high quality print finish, the resolution needs to be at least 300 dpi.
  2. EPS - These files are vector images, which means they don’t lose quality when stretched beyond their original size. This quality means that they are common for assets like logos, which may need to be different sizes depending on where they’re used.
  3. PDF - A PDF is one of the best ways to share the finish artwork for a print campaign. It’s the best way to check that a design is going to meet the standard for printing.
  4. AI - Adobe Illustrator files are very handy for graphic design and smaller illustrations. Like EPS files, they are vector images, meaning that they can be resized as needed.
  5. PSD - Another Adobe file format, PSDs are created in Adobe Photoshop. They are used almost exclusively for photographs and cannot be made larger than the original size without a significant reduction in quality.

Using a combination of these file types will enable your design team to create files that can be passed on for printing without too much trouble. The most important thing to bear in mind across different file formats is that not all of them can be resized without losing quality. It’s important to source and create images that are the right size for the print ads that you’re planning.

Pepper’s design and pre-press team can work with your business to ensure that all your files have been created and arranged correctly before printing.

Printing methods

There are two printing methods that Pepper recommends for good quality print marketing materials: digital printing and litho printing.

Digital printers work in much the same way as standard home and office printers, though Pepper uses industrial scale printers that are much more efficient than these smaller alternatives. Digital printing provides reasonable quality, but its main appeal is in the speed that it can get a print job finished. It is much faster than the main alternative, litho printing.

If time is tight and quality is not the highest priority, digital printing is the best way to produce your materials. It can also be cheap when done at a larger scale, which is why we can offer our customers such good printing prices.

Litho printing, on the other hand, prioritises quality over speed. If you want to bring out the details and colours in your imagery and graphic design, this is the way to go. It does take longer to carry out a litho printing run than a digital printing run, but this can be mitigated with advanced planning. It is a popular choice for magazines, brochures and catalogues but can be very effective in any direct mail marketing campaign.

Most businesses will not have litho printing readily available in their offices. Without one of these printers, using a company like Pepper will allow you to get the quality you desire. We’ll also work with you to ensure that all of your files are the right format and size for printing before we go ahead, saving you the cost of waster print runs.

You can be assured of good quality printing if you choose to work with Pepper. We’ll come alongside your business throughout the design and printing process, ensuring that your marketing materials look as good as you hoped they would be. Get in touch with us today to find out more.