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Being Creative on a Budget


The low-budget project has to do the job right, or there may never be a second chance.  It is possible to do a lot with a little. Turn it into an asset by producing a package that's stylish. Rely on a strong design in one or two colors, with ordinary offset printing on common paper stocks. Spend the bulk of a budget on one attention-getting element: a heavy paper, a die cut, engraving, or embossing.


Here are a few tips:



Most letterhead is printed on an offset press and offers more options than most people use. Die cuts, foil-stamping (a specialty printing service), varnishes, and a variety of other printing tricks can help make a piece stand out.



Most established companies have corporate logos that must be included. An outdated or downright ugly logo can, if used creatively, be part of a fresh, new design.



Artwork gives a piece personality and communicates without words. Using scanners and laser printers, even clients with small budgets can reproduce personal photos and copyright-free images for their printed pieces. Look for free vector art on-line that can be edited to fit your requirements.

Printing in Color:


Here are some tips to help you decide how many colors to use and how to make the most of the colors you choose.


When to use spot colors...

1) You only need one or two colors for the printed piece.


2) No full-color photos are used.


3) Corporate colors need to be reproduced to exact specifications and cannot be reproduced faithfully enough by combining cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK)... the four "process" colors.


4) Your project calls for fluorescent, metallic, or other special inks.



When to use process color...

1) You need more than two colors.


2) Full-color photos are needed.



When to use both...

1) Your project includes full-color photos, but your logo or corporate colors don't reproduce well with process color inks.


2) Your project includes full-color photos and also requires metallic, fluorescent, or other special inks.


Tips to make sure your project goes more smoothly:

1) Make sure you aren't "duplicating" any colors. Look through the color palette in your page layout software. Remove any duplicate colors you find, and reassign the corresponding objects and layers accordingly.


2) Make sure you give your colors the same names in each application used. This will help reduce confusion and ensure the colors separate properly when preparing the piece for print.


3) If you decide to go with process printing, use your design software to convert any spot colors you have to their CMYK equivalents. Double-check the values the software assigns, to ensure good printability. Make sure CMYK values are assigned for full color printing and spot color values are assigned for spot color designs. Note the Uncoated colors versus Coated colors will assign different CMYK values.