I see it happen all the time. Most designers are guilty of it and don’t even realize they’re doing it. It’s not because they’re hacks, I’ve seen some crazy talented designers do this. It’s not because they’re working with nightmare clients. I’ve seen this happen on print projects for dream clients. It’s not because they’re under ridiculous deadlines or on shoestring budgets. I’ve seen plenty of designers produce amazing work under those circumstances. It’s not any of those things. The #1 mistake designers make when it comes to print design that’s ruining their work?
They choose the house sheet.
Think about it. How many times have you felt like the comps for your print design looked way better than the actual finished piece?
The way I see it, the house sheet has two things going for it. It’s cheap and easy to find. You know what else is cheap and easy to find? McDonald’s.
Yes. In a fit of hunger, on the turnpike with no other options for 50 miles, I’ve scarfed down a Big Mac. But if I’m going out of my way to find a tasty, craft burger – I better not get a gray, compressed, gristly beef patty hidden under condiments and a pretzel roll. Who wants that? The same goes for the paper you choose for your print project.
If cheap and easy where what your client really wanted, they wouldn’t have invested in your design services to begin with. There are plenty of McDonald’s-like options for that. No, clients that seek to work with print designers have certain expectations in mind. They want a rich, tactile, engaging custom experience that only print can provide.
The #1 mistake designers make when it comes to print is settling for the house sheet instead of specifying the paper.
It’s the difference between producing print that underwhelms – or wows.
The choice is yours.
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