How to Make Your Print Design Stand Out

May 11, 2016

Everyday our inboxes are bombarded with postcards, flyers, statements and magazines we can’t recall ever subscribing to. How can companies ensure that your meaningful mail actually stands out against the flurry of mostly irrelevant content and is taken seriously? A professional (or seemingly professional) look will give you a big leg up.

Avoid these design mistakes and look like a pro:

Too many fonts, too many reasons not to read

Today’s layout software gives you seemingly unlimited options in font choices. But as in most things, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Most experts use the rule of thumb of a maximum of three fonts per layout.

Line breaks, spacing and other “kerncerns”

First, a vocabulary lesson:

Tracking: The overall space between each letter and includes spaces
Leading: The overall space between lines of text
Kerning: The artistic manipulation of the spacing between individual letter pairs
Widows: A trailing word at the end of a paragraph or partial word

Tracking, leading, and kerning allow you to adjust the spaces between letters and words in a paragraph. This can be a convenient way to pull up widows and fix awkward line breaks, but use these techniques sparingly. If done right, adjustments shouldn’t be noticeable. You don’t want to end up with words that look like they’ve been slammed between two concrete blocks or stretched like salt water taffy. Keeping an eye on all of this also improves readability.

Don’t overuse stock photos

Using royalty-free (or even free) images can keep costs down, but they tend to look “stock” and without creativity or uniqueness. Some images are so generic that you see them being used multiple places. You don’t want yours to be one of them!

Grace with space

It’s tempting to try to cram as much information into the layout as possible, but remember that white space is your friend. White space is clean, inviting, and draws the eye in. Instead of using heavy text, tell your story through graphics, bulleted lists, and pullouts. This makes information easier and faster for people to read and retain.

The Wrap Up

Good typography is one of the cornerstones of strong design. Consider this advice when planning your next publication and come back next week for more design planning tips to improve engagement with your direct mail marketing.

You Might Also Enjoy:

Is Direct Mail Still Worth It?
The 4 Principles of Visual Storytelling
Race to the Finish: New Year, New Look

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Like what you see? Stay in touch!