Know your printing options

letterpress business card
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Even in this digital age, the world of printing is still alive and well! A well-printed promotional piece, such as a direct mail postcard, can fulfill its’ purpose better than a digital ad or e-mail promotion, with that tangible touch-and-feel aspect going for it. And when planning such tangible marketing collateral, it helps to know what your options are.

Here is my no-frills, need-to-know guide of printing types, based on the merits of each:

The most common for paper: offset printing is the most frequently used method for printing items such as postcards, brochures, and the like. It is the most economical option for printing large quantities (such as 500+ business cards). Items can be as plain as black on white, or jazzed up with special colors or techniques such as metallic foil stamping, or embossing.

Versatility and smaller quantities: digital (offset) printing is the more adaptable cousin of offset; it has the option of customization for each printed item (for example, printing 1,000 postcards, each personalized with the recipients’ name, address, and his or her interests). It is also the most cost-effective choice for printing smaller quantities, such as only 100 business cards.

example of a letterpressed business card

Old-fashioned luxury: letterpress printing is the oldest form of printing, having been used for centuries to produce everything from newspapers to books. In recent years, it has become a popular option for making luxurious, extremely tactile pieces. It can be pricey, and is best for achieving a lavish, high-end feel in items such as wedding invitations.

Fabric and novelty items: screen printing is a simple method commonly used to print garments such as t-shirts, novelty/promotional items such as cups and tote bags, and other items like posters and greeting cards. It is limited to producing simpler, less detailed designs, but has the advantages of being inexpensive, and offering a wider range of inks and dyes than other printing techniques.

Have a question about printing methods? Post it below and I’ll be happy to respond!

Send me an e-mail | Request a Quote

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About Barbara Austin

As the graphic designer & founder of Sweet Dreamz Design, Barbara loves working with women entrepreneurs to brand their businesses. She shares a variety of small business advice and anecdotes here on the blog. Check back every week for new tips, inspirations, and how-to articles, or subscribe to get regular updates in your inbox each week!

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