5 Design Tips to Make You Stand Out

Your customers are buried under an avalanche of conventional and uninteresting print materials every day. How can you elevate your marketing collateral, direct mail, and displays with simple design changes, no matter what your budget? By creating a unique visual identity.

Being unique doesn’t mean throwing out the basic tenets of marketing and design. But with a little creativity, you can incorporate out-of-the-box typography, an unexpected use of color, or a dash of purposeful discontinuity that will build an engaging and memorable experience.

Here are some tips for creating a lasting impression:

• Communicate with clarity, humility and brevity. Try some light humor, if appropriate.

• Use typography as a design element. Experiment with different fonts and selective kerning to convey a specific image and tone, from classic to playful to edgy.

• Pick unique imagery. While stock imagery is readily available and affordable, stock images can make your marketing look like everyone else’s. Custom photography is worth the investment.

• Use placement and color of images as part of the design. An image that is tightly cropped or bleeds off the page in an unexpected way will capture the reader’s interest. Try black-and-white, selectively colored, or sepia-toned photos for something a little different.

• Select papers and finishes to further set your piece apart, taking into consideration textures, coatings, varnishes and unusual shapes and sizes.

Be creative, but don’t skip on the basics, such as including all special fonts in the files you send to us. Skipping this step can lead to printing delays. Also, in your enthusiasm to be different, avoid using techniques that make copy difficult to read, such as over-hyphenating, using too many windows, and filling every space with text.

Need help with color or design suggestions? Just ask. That’s why we’re here.


Do People Learn Better in Print?

The debate has been raging for a long time — which is more effective? Print or email? If you want people to understand and retain information, studies consistently show that it’s print.

“Print and Paper Play a Key Role in Learning and Literacy,” an e-book produced by Two Sides (2015), compiles data from a wide range of studies showing what makes print so different. While many of these studies cover students from elementary through college, they have a direct correlation to consumers reading advertising and marketing information.

What makes print so valuable for information retention and learning? According to the studies, print readers . . .
• Experience less mental fatigue.
• Report significantly lower levels of eye fatigue.
• Find it easier to concentrate.
• Retain more of what they read.
• Score better on reading comprehension tests.

Some of this has to do with mentally “mapping” information in relation to other information or “landmarks” (for example, creases or smudges, page numbers, location of information on the page). Such spatial maps “have been shown to improve learning, retention and comprehension overall.”

Students reading on screen also tend to be more easily distracted. They read more superficially, have shorter attention spans, and have shorter reading sessions. All of this translates into poorer comprehension and retention of content.

In fact, in a comprehensive study of students at five major universities (Cornell University, Indiana University, University of Minnesota, University of Virginia and University of Wisconsin), most students preferred print textbooks over e-texts. Negative aspects of e-texts included “poor readability, eyestrain, insufficient resolution for graphics, zooming and scrolling difficulties, and difficulty annotating.” Faculty also expressed the belief that e-texts did not “enhance student outcomes” and preferred printed texts for class instruction.

This doesn’t mean that print is superior in all cases to electronic communications. But when you are communicating detailed information that needs to be analyzed and processed, print has benefits that electronic communications do not.

Want to find out more about print’s role in learning and literacy? Download the fact sheet here: