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10 Perilous Print Design Mistakes

April 27, 2014

Print Design Mistakes

A printing mistake is almost never going to be the end of the world, but it could cause some serious embarrassment or a significant chunk of money. That's why learning about the most common design errors is a good thing to do - the more you know, the less likely you are to end up with a pile of custom postcards that can't be sent to your clients or prospects.


You may be accustomed to designing for online purposes and not know that resolution settings need to be adjusted. Be aware that print requires a much higher resolution - 300 dpi vs. the 72 for web design. A mistake here will translate to grainy or not fully developed images.


Like resolution, your design software of choice probably starts in RGB mode. While this is preferable for online work, there is another specific mode for anything that will be transformed into printed matter - CMYK. Using RGB for something printed will mean a strong chance that the colors will look much differently on paper than they did on the screen.

For more detail on this one, read: Which Color System to Use for Postcard Design: RGB or CMYK?


Printers use a series of borders to indicate exactly where cuts will be made, called bleed lines and safe areas. Without them, your direct mail advertising postcards could end up with white space around the edges instead of the image extending all the way to the edges.

Check out this post for more information: Getting It Right With Postcard Design Templates.

Text Size And Weight

Everything looks different on the screen, with text often being a problem point. Check to see if the size of the text is balanced against the rest of the document. In addition, your text weight should be heavier so that the letters are not to thin once they are printed.

Missing Fonts/Outlined Fonts

There is a process that most designers use to outline fonts, which makes it unnecessary for the printer to have the exact font installed. However, if you're not familiar with the process, it's a good idea to include any fonts you used in the final package of files that you hand over. In this manner, the printer can install any fonts without having to guess.

Print A Proof

The easiest way to test if everything is as it should be is to print a proof. Basically, a proof is a single example of your finished product to discover anything that needs to be fixed before using custom postcard marketing companies to print a huge order.


It goes along with printing a proof, but taking a few minutes to proofread is a must when printing large quantities. Specifically, look for spelling and grammar errors that you may have missed in the design process. Let another person scan for errors as well.


Fonts on a screen may look right, but there is the issue of spacing to consider. Called kerning, you should make sure that there is enough separation between letters and individual words so your finished product is readable.

Bad Taste

As the adage goes, there is no accounting for taste, especially bad taste. Before taking anything to the printers, let a second set of eyes take a look. The unfortunate truth could be that you're not a good designer. Nothing to be ashamed about, but hiring a professional could insure that the message of your postcard ideas for marketing is delivered well.


Lastly, take the time to talk to your next day printing postcards service. Like you, they are human and explaining what you want could help to avoid any potential issues. Also, being friendly with the printer might mean that they take better care of your project and alert you if they see something obviously wrong.

Even the most seasoned of design veterans do make mistakes, so take the time to review your work for any of these common errors and keep your direct mail advertising postcards blemish-free.