Marketing tips that get results; planning, design, copywriting ideas.
Print Marketing 101: How to plan, design, write marketing materials, marketing tips
Print Marketing 101: How to plan, design, write marketing materials, marketing tips
Printing online: how to order four color, commerical printing


Print Marketing 101: Lesson #5

Design and Layout

Professional design strikes a delicate balance between text, artwork and white space.  Without that balance, you can confuse your reader and turn out a marketing piece that fails to do its job. 

Whether you design your marketing collateral yourself, or hire someone to do it for you, keep in mind these simple guidelines:  

  • The typography you select helps set the tone for your piece, and its size and color create an information hierarchy that lets the reader know what's most and least important. 

  • Imagery, whether it's photos or illustrations, should do more than decorate; it should pull the reader into the piece and convey information that supports your copy. 

  • White space is a good thing; use it generously. Let your printed materials breathe, so as to not suffocate the recipient with information overload.

  • Never compromise on photo quality. A picture is only worth 1,000 words if it’s a good one. Quality printing helps your photos look great and lets you stay true to that premise.  For more about images and resolution, see Design Tips.



When you read a book, newspaper or marketing piece, you probably don't give much thought to the paper on which it is printed.  Nonetheless, the paper is providing you with subtle cues about the piece, its content and intended use.

In fact, paper has three distinct features, all of which contribute to the image a printed piece conveys.

1. Personality:  Consider the message you’re trying to convey, your audience and your desired effect when deciding on the right type of paper for your project.

If you are trying to impress a potentially lucrative client, you may want to consider a heavy-weight, glossy paper stock. If you are producing a piece for a nonprofit organization or environmental group, perhaps a paper with a matte, recycled feel would be more appropriate.

You also must consider the actual content of your piece and its intended shelf-life. If you're creating a flyer that will likely not be filed away or posted for long, you may want to consider a more economical paper. But if you’re printing an annual report that will be referred to often and kept for an extended period, a heavier, more durable stock is probably a better choice.

2. Finish:  Glossy or matte? That is the question. Once again, you should consider message, audience and desired effect.  Photos typically "pop" better on glossy stocks, but the shine also can make text harder to read.  Decide which elements are most important to the message you want to communicate and if you're willing to make a tradeoff.   

3. Weight:  You can get lost in suggested guidelines for the weight of your product, so true to form, we’ll try to keep it simple for you. Thicker papers typically are more opaque and are a good choice for pieces that feature a lot of text.  If you are mailing your printed product, it’s best to stay on the lighter side whenever possible, but without sacrificing durability and the overall goal of the piece.  If you need help planning for costs and delivery times for your piece, visit the United States Postal Service.


For more information about paper, and to see a complete list and descriptions of the papers we offer, see Paper Choices.

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