Many business owners believe that designing and printing direct mailers and envelopes is simple. The truth is that the entire process can be challenging and requires the expertise of a skilled graphic designer. First, a print shop must create a set of layout art for each piece of direct mail stock that will be produced. This includes everything from the cover to the inner envelope, all printed on single sheets of heavy paper stock. The layout artist will then complete the design by adding text as well as any photos or artwork that will be incorporated into the piece of mail. Once the art is complete, it goes to the printing press where the actual paper will be manufactured.
Designing and printing each card can become very complicated. For example, many greeting cards are printed in two different colors, either red and pink or green and white. Sometimes, a set of cards is printed in only one color – blue. And sometimes, red brochures and pink envelopes are printed. The trick is to figure out how to blend the colors so that the final print looks attractive and appealing.
In the United States, there are two standard paper sizes, letter and legal. Most business owners choose to use the letter size because it’s widely used throughout the country and is the most commonly used in the printing industry. However, some businesses prefer to use the smaller sized legal size because they’re typically used for pamphlets and fliers. Either way, there are two things that must be taken into consideration when designing and printing direct mail pieces – the paper size and the color image.
Letter Size – Letter sheets usually come in either letter board or perforated stock. A perforated sheet contains three separate layers of paper that are evenly spaced apart. The term given to these types of sheets refers to the perforations. You’ll need to measure your item carefully before ordering them because they may not be standard.
Legal Sizes – This refers to the sheet size when printing comes to perforated paper. Commonly referred to as “binder paper,” these sheets are typically thicker than letter-board sheets but less thick than regular stock. The thickness of legal sheet is largely dependent on the purpose for which the piece is being printed. For example, legal documents tend to be thicker than brochures and flyers since the document needs to support higher print volumes. However, you can expect them to be quite thin when printing promotional material.
Ink Type – When it comes to perforated paper, the ink you use will determine how thick it gets. There are mainly two types of ink: permanent and fade-resistant ink. Permanent ink is designed to not fade. Fade-resistant ink, on the other hand, is designed to fade as time goes by.