There is a proverb that says you should measure twice and cut once. This advice, literally meant for the woodworker or the tailor, is a reminder to be certain before taking an action that cannot be undone. We often hear it as a cautionary phrase to slow down and double check before proceeding. This idea can also be applied when ordering printed marketing materials. Once collateral is printed, the “cut” has been made!
So, what does it mean to “measure twice” when preparing to print your marketing materials?
- Proofs should be viewed at actual size. Years ago, hard copy press sheets or “proofs” were hand delivered by the printing company salesperson to be reviewed and approved by the buyer before print production was allowed to continue. Literally a live signature was required on the press sheet and that press sheet was then matched for color quality and consistency on press. Now, in our digital age, we are often rushing to review PDF proofs on our computers or other devices. What looks okay at 4.7 inches may not be correct at 8.5 x 11 inches. That is why it is particularly important to review a proof as near to actual production side as possible.
- Proofs should be reviewed for conformity not color. The PDF you view on your monitor or print at your office computer will never accurately represent the colors intended by your design or that will be produced on a commercial press so don’t get hung up on colors. Instead confirm that the output produced by your printer matches the design files that you shared and that pages are properly sequenced, and images and fonts have properly loaded.
- Proofs should be viewed in hard copy if possible. Printing is the best way to get a clear sense of the design of the piece and to review all the elements. (Obviously, you cannot print a banner stand or large sign at life size, but it still pays to view it in hard copy.) By printing at actual size, you will be able to see details that might have been easily overlooked on your computer monitor.
- Communication is key. Often the most important thing that occurs when you review a proof is a conversation with your printer. Make sure you and your printer agree about exact quantity, colors, sizes, paper quality and ink specifications. It is in everyone’s best interest to get it right the first time!
Whether it is a mistake in cutting wood or fabric or in printed materials, it can be costly both in time and money! Remember to heed the advice of the old proverb and measure twice and cut once when it comes to ordering marketing pieces for your business. It may take a little more time to carefully review all these details prior to printing but it will be worth it when your finished collateral piece is exactly what you envisioned!
This post is courtesy of Accounting and Office Manager Beth Lane and Michael Mackenzie Communications, Atlanta’s Small Business Marketing Specialists.