Six Good Reasons to Use a Professional Designer with Direct Mail Experience

Six Good Reasons to Use a Professional Designer with Direct Mail Experience

So you want to create a great direct mail piece.  You have taken the time to write out the content taking care to incorporate all the key elements needed for it to stand out from your competitors.  Now it is time to design it.  You are creative and have an eye for design so you download the latest free version of publisher and get to work on designing the piece yourself.  Or perhaps you want to save a bit of money and have a friend, of a friend who has a son who is going to design school so you offer him the project.  It is a win, win for both of you because you have your amazing direct mail piece for free and the kid has an addition to his portfolio to show off. Even better, you go to an advertising agency, only the best for your direct mail campaign will do. However if you don’t take the time to explore whether your agency has experience in direct mail you may be missing the mark and may not get the best product for your time and money.

To design direct mail pieces it is not only important to have the basic understanding of what elements are comprised in a direct mail piece, it is also paramount that you have experience in creating and outputting designs specific to being printed and mailed out.

The Designer of Your Direct Mail Piece Needs to:

Be Up-to-date with Mailing Rules and Regulations

We recently had a client who went to a large ad agency to create a direct mail piece that would be a self-mailer.  They sent us the printed piece to be addressed and mailed out.  The piece was beautifully designed; unfortunately the agency didn’t design it with the post office’s tabbing regulations in mind.  It was designed to be tabbed at the bottom but post office regulations require it to be tabbed at the top.  In the end it cost the client a lot of additional money in postal costs to have the piece mailed out because of the design mistake.

Understand Printing Terminology

Did you know that when someone designs a tri-fold brochure (a brochure that folds in three’s) that the panels are not equal sizes because of the folding process.  Do you know the difference between a bleed and no bleed piece or CMYK, and spot color?  The person who is designing your direct mail piece should understand printing terminology in order for your piece to be printed correctly, on time and without additional costs.

Use Proper Design Software

Things happen and not all projects run smoothly and without error.  When mistakes or unforeseen issues occur it is best to fix them quickly to keep costs down.  For example, if a typo is missed in the proofing stage, it can be quickly fixed by your printer if the project was originally created in a proper design program.  And for all of you who may be unsure; Word and PowerPoint are not proper design programs and Publisher and Coral Draw is not readily used as design programs in the industry.

Create Proper Files for Output

When printing a piece it is important that it is outputted correctly in a file type that can be easily used by your printer and/or mail house.  Do you know the difference between a native file, JPEG, PDF or vector file? What is the difference between RGB color and CMYK? Did you know that the file size for web production and print production are entirely different?  It is important to know what file is best to use for which type of project.  Your printer may accept JPEG files but it may not give you the best quality once printed.  A good designer knows the difference between the files and can give you the right type of file, in the right size and right color for the job.

How to Position Elements Correctly on Direct Mail Pieces

We all like to get our money’s worth on anything we buy so we have a tendency to use every space available on our direct mail piece.   However, there are many issues that can occur due to improper placement of design elements on your direct mail piece.  There is a certain amount of space that is needed away from the edge to be sure that important information doesn’t get cut off in the cutting process.  There is also a certain amount of space that needs to be left free for your address block and bar code if used.  Not knowing this can result in missing information as well as additional postal costs.

Understand Mail House Standards

Other issues that can occur are poorly folded inserts, overweight pieces, too thin or thick paper, incorrectly sized inserts or envelopes, and too dark of a color being placed in the address block.  All of these design issues can cause delays and additional cost to you.

Though sometimes problems occur it is best to seek out and find a well-seasoned design professional who has experience with direct mail and you are less likely to run into amateur problems that can cost you greatly.  Keeping up with your business is enough work, leave the postal regulations to us at Direct Mail Impressions.


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