A lot of people still do print marketing (flyers, brochures, business cards etc.), and even with the rise of digital marketing, it still very much has it’s place. But remember anything you get printed is going to reflect your brand, so what you don’t want to do is get rubbish, cheap print. Unless you want your brand to be rubbish and cheap of course.

So here’s some top tips on getting your print right, and some terms you’ll come across when dealing with printers.

The printing terms you need to know

The thickness of card is usually measured in gsm. For business cards 400gsm should be the minimum you go for, as this will give you a good thickness. You can get away with 350gsm, but we wouldn’t recommend it. Flyers and Leaflets are OK at 350gsm as they are bigger. Anything less than 300gsm is going to be floppy (think takeaway menus).

  • The finish on print can make all the difference. A ‘Matt’ finish will give a really nice, smooth, luxury finish. ‘Silk’ is nice, but a step down from Matt in terms of price and feel. A ‘Gloss’ finish will give a shiny effect, which can look nice if a shiny look goes well with your brand, but most of the time is just looks tacky. Uncoated can work in some cases too, and it will give a natural, almost ‘earthy’ feel to the print, but if you are going with this, then make sure the card is really thick.
  • There are loads of effects you can add to your print to make the appearance nicer. Spot UV, is when a shiny film is applied to certain parts of the card (say for example the logo), so it shines when catches the right. Embossing is when certain parts of the print can be raised, so you can feel certain aspects (like braille writing), and debossing is the opposite – when certain parts of the print are recessed. Hot foiling is when metallic foil is added to the print, which is useful for when you want gold and silver colours on the print. Printers will often also offer die cut, which is when you can have your print cut to specific shapes, as opposed to the standard shapes. These little effects can make the print much more expensive but they do look amazing.

Top Tips

  • The design of whatever you get printed is as important as the printing itself. Make sure this is right. Most printers will do inhouse design, but in our experience, the best results come from graphic designers who specialise in design rather than print. Creating a good relationship with a designer, and using them for all your work is useful, as over time they will understand your brand more and more.
  • Shop around for pricing. From our experience with the print trade, prices from printer to printer can vary a lot. So don’t take the first quote you get as an industry norm. The standard thing most atomic businesses will get are business cards, and you shouldn’t really need to pay more than £40 for 500 400gsm Matt Laminated ones.
  • Think about how important your print is compared to the rest of your marketing. We have seen people spend hundreds on awesome all singing, all dancing business cards. But how important are your business cards compared to the other types of marketing you need to do? They are probably pretty low down right? A brilliant design on a business card can create as much of a wow factor as expensive print effects.
  • Be wary of cheap, online template printing websites. The quality is often atrocious. If you are starting up, and budget is tight, to get some nice business cards designed, then we would recommend moo.com. They are slightly more expensive than their online counterparts, but it is worth it. Nothing beats getting a professional designer to design your cards however. Having something unique is really important long term for branding, so online template websites should be a short term solution.

ACTION: Look at the last couple things you got printed. How would you describe them? Be honest. If it isn’t how you would describe your business, then you have a problem.

ACTION: Next time you get something printed, make a note to come re-read this article!