Not everyone is a designer. We understand that. But some people have no idea where to start when designing their fliers or brochures. Let this page serve as a primer for these folks.

What Tools Do I Have?

When designing a file for print, you'll definitely need at least a very basic photo editing or illustration software. Microsoft Paint comes on most Windows computers now and in many cases will be sufficient. But in situations where you need something flashier with a higher resolution, you may want to invest in something a little nicer. If you'll be putting a lot of photos in your file, try Microsoft Publisher or Adobe Photoshop (Adobe now has a slimmed-down, free version on their website). If you'll be making vector-based shapes and images and want full control over their appearance, something like Adobe Illustrator will be more useful. In any case, your design should catch the eye, not be too gaudy or distracting, and very quickly tell your target audience what it is they're looking at.

Before starting your design, you should think about the following:

  • Who is my target audience?
  • What is the purpose of the fliers or brochures?
  • What are the benefits of printing in color vs. black and white?

Maybe you're a car dealer. You're sending out double-sided fliers to everyone in town highlighting the hot deals you have on new and used cars. Let's assume that everyone who gets one in the mail is looking for a car. In this case, they are likely to not throw your flier away (at least not immediately). Clearly you'll want to show pictures of the cars you have, so you'll want to print in color. You'll probably also want to limit color mostly to the photos so as not to draw attention away from the product line. You'll also want to make the name of your dealership big and bold where they will see it and remember it.

Now let's say you're a non-profit with a small budget. You're trying to get people in your community to donate clothing for needy families. Do you really need color? Probably not. A big bold headline with a call to action ("Donate your unwanted clothing to a needy family!) with some very basic clip art would be totally sufficient.

The elements which go into your design are unique to your job. Make sure you tailor the look and feel to be appropriate with your purpose and subject matter.

File Setup

Here's some important issues which commonly come up when submitting orders. Following these tips will ensure that your job is done as quickly as possible.

1. Flatten your image. Flattening the layers of an image in programs such as Photoshop accomplishes two valuable things: it greatly reduces the size of the file, which expedites the uploading process, and it ensures that we will not have any missing fonts in the file, since the text layers have been combined with the background.

2. Use at least 300 DPI resolution. This is the standard minimum resolution for any printing process and ensures your graphics and text will be crisp and clear.

3. Avoid using 72 DPI images from the web. While this can sometimes be acceptable when the images are very small, it is generally a good idea to get the original image (granted it was originally designed with 300 DPI or greater). 72 DPI is suitable for the web and computer screens, but not for print. If you're not sure what you're working with, talk to the photographer or designer who created the graphics.

4. Export your document as a PDF. We must convert all files to PDF before printing them. Sometimes strange, seemingly random things occur when converting. So it's best that you convert it before sending it to us, because only you will know if it looks right! Your design program should have an option to save as a PDF file. This is usually accessible either under the "Save As" dialog box or in the "Export" dialog box. Occasionally this must be accomplished with a PDF print driver, in which case you would choose the "Print" option from the file menu, and select "Print to PDF" as the printer.

In the event you cannot convert to a PDF, we will do the conversion on your file and send you a PDF proof to review before printing.