After sending their direct mail artwork to the printer, many marketers relax believing all the hard work is complete. They could not be more mistaken. The proof that the printer will provide is a critical and often overlooked step in sending effective direct mail.
Many quickly scan the document and give the approval to proceed. They are filled with horror a week later when they check the mail to discover their direct mail postcard has corporate colors that are out of sync with their brand standards or critical text is cropped off the side of the card. Avoid these kinds of mistakes by taking the necessary time and effort to review the print proof.
The proof is the final chance you will have to check your design before mailing it out. Here are some tips to make sure you review things that often go overlooked:
Review copy for typos and poor grammar
Ideally, you proofed the text of your postcard multiple times before sending the final artwork to the printer. However, you can never check enough. A single typo in an advertisement can reduce a company's sales by as much as 50%. It is best if you have someone else in your company not directly related to the project review your text. Their fresh eyes may find errors that you might not have seen. Make sure you check everything including the use of incorrect grammar. While it is always best to have a human review your copy, there are several pieces of software, such as Grammarly, that can assist you in checking spelling and grammar. Do not rely solely on word processor “spell check” features to find all your mistakes.
Ensure the artwork quality appears as expected
Review each graphical element of your artwork. Does it look as you expected? Make sure to double check that no color shifting has occurred during the prepress process. It can be common for artwork created in RGB color to shift when converted to CMYK for printing. Also, review all of your images to ensure they do not appear pixelated or “soft” when printed at 300dpi. For more information on producing quality artwork for your mailer check out our blog 4 Vital Tips to Effective Direct Mail Design
Check the printer’s “Safe Zones”
All printed pieces get cropped during the production process. Check to make sure all valuable information falls within the printer’s designated “safe zones.” If it does not, your content could be cut off during production. These “safe zones” vary by the printer based on their equipment and processes. To help avoid problems from the start, ask your print provider to supply you with a template that shows the correct safe zones and bleeds.
There is nothing worse than the shrinking feeling of finding an error on your direct mail piece only after it mailing. Take the time to carefully review the printer proof and avoid problems in the future.