When it comes to leaflet printing designing, there are four very important points every designer should know. This article explores these four ideas, helping you to ensure your leaflet or brochure design is perfect every time!

Know The Project’s Aim Before You Start

When you’re being commissioned to design a leaflet, the best thing to do is ask your client exactly what it will be for! You cannot help your client without them first defining their objectives. Are they targeting new customers or repeat customers? Do they have a new product to promote? Why do people use them as their provider? Make sure you ask lots of questions and take a step back to look at the over all project before you begin.

Limit The Number Of Fonts

Unfortunately a lot of inexperienced designers try to use too many fonts. There only really needs to be three fonts: a heading, sub heading and body font. Your client probably already has a corporate design or corporate identity, so best ask them to send across all the fonts they use before you start your leaflet printing project. 

Agree On The Copy Text

Another thing that many beginner designers overlook is text. Graphic designers often are more visually focussed so this is no surprise! However, it's important to get your copy right from a design point of view. If the text has to change, this could mean having to change graphical aspects of the design to fit the text. Headings also set the tone for your leaflet printing project, so these can’t just be added in later. Make sure these are agreed with the client at the start, and you may just find these headings offer you some much needed inspiration for the rest of your project!

Get Some Good Images

Good pictures are a must for every leaflet printing design. Unfortunately, the client may not see it this way and request stock images to keep the cost down, or perhaps your high fees has meant a budget cut in the pictures department! Either way, if you have no option but to use stock images, make sure they are high quality and don’t immediately look like they’re stock images. Try to avoid any clichés and look for natural looking images to keep the design looking realistic.

You may have already heard of litho and digital printing techniques, but are unsure about how they differ and which method you should use. This article will explain the differences between the two and which is best for leaflet printing.

Lithographic Press

Lithographic printing is the older of the two methods of printing, using similar principles to Gutenberg’s press in 1450. However, the latest litho printing presses are very modern and fast, being able to print thousands of pages per minute.

Lithographic printing is perfect for leaflet printing projects that require high numbers of copies. This is because there is an initial set up cost associated with this method, where a printing plate needs to be created before any pages can be printed. However, after this initial cost, printing is very cheap. After a certain point, litho printing becomes a very cost effective method of printing large numbers of leaflets.

Digital Press

The digital press is a newer type of printing press developed in the 1990s. It is essentially an enlarged industrial sized version of the colour laser printer you probably have in your office or at home.

Digital printing is perfect for leaflet printing projects that only require small runs. This is because there is no set up cost associated with digital printing, unlike lithographic printers. This means each page costs the same amount to produce. Per unit, it shouldn't cost much more to print one page verses 1000. However, the cost per page is higher than litho printing beyond a certain point, where litho becomes more cost effective.

Digital printing is also great if you need to produce multiple versions of the same leaflet. For example, you may have three shops in different locations, and want a brochure for each. Digital printing makes it cheap to print different versions of this leaflet with different maps or contact details.

There is a bewildering array of paper types, sizes and coatings out there that you can use for your leaflet printing project, making it difficult to pick the paper that’s right for your project! This article sheds some light onto the different options available.

Pick the right GSM

The first thing you’ll want to consider is the GSM per paper. This might sound confusing, but it basically is the thickness of the paper you are using. Often, office paper is between 80gsm and 100gsm, so these are best avoided for leaflet printing as it could result in a cheap look and feel.

Instead, aim to go for a thicker paper like 150-170GSM which is a good mix of quality and price. Alternatively, you may be looking to go for a post card style look, in which case 300GSM paper may be better.

Why not try coated paper?

Coated paper can also be used to create special effects on the page or for a premium look. There are different types of coating, for example silk or satin coating that looks really professional and high quality. On the other hand, a  textured finish can be used to add a rustic effect. These finishes are a great way to compliment graphic elements on your leaflet printing project. For example, a leaflet with a stainless steel look could be complimented with a matte finish.

Pick the right size

Another important consideration is paper size. It’s best to decide this before you start, as it can affect both your design and leaflet printing budget. It’s important your designer is briefed on the size of your design early, as it’s hard to change this later. Of cause a design could be scaled down, but this can create issues with readability if text has to be shrunk down to half the size.

Your leaflet can be folded in several ways to either maximise text space or front cover space. For example, folding an A4 piece of paper in half results in a leaflet with a large front cover, but with less pages to write on. Meanwhile, a leaflet folded in to three creates more columns, which are easier to read and suit large amounts of text better.

Leaflet printing is more popular than ever due to their low cost but high ROI, however there are three important things to consider to make sure your finished leaflet is perfect for printing! We’ll look at what colour format you should use, what resolution, and why you need to add bleed area on your design.

Colour Format

Picking the right colour format is very important when it comes to printing. Most digital designers use RGB colour, which is designed specifically for use on-screen. However, when it comes to leaflet printing, a different colour format has to be used. This is because RGB is a ‘subtractive’ colour format and only works on screens. Using this on print would result in the wrong shade colours being displayed once the design was printed.

Leaflet designs should instead use CMYK colour, which is an ‘additive’ colour format specifically for printing. This will ensure your colours will look right once they are printed, which is especially important when your brand’s image and look needs to remain consistent.


Another important thing to consider is resolution. Print designs can use might higher resolutions than what is usually used on web or computer graphics. Resolution for print is measured in DPI or dots per inch. Web designers usually design at 72DPI, or 72 dots per inch, however printing out a document at this resolution would look horrific on paper. Leaflet printing projects require 300DPI, which is nearly four times the quality level. This is because unlike a computer screen, paper has no pixels. As a result quality can and should be much higher than images designed for the web.

Bleed Area

The final thing to consider is bleed area. This is important because when pages are printed and then cut, the exact location of the cut can vary by between 1 and 5mm per page. As a result, you need to include some tolerance on the edges of your design so that if there is any variation in where the page’s cut is made, the design won’t be affected.

A bleed area is essentially a blank area with no design on it. The best thing to do is to avoid adding any kind of border to your design and make sure there is no text within 5mm of the edge of your page’s border.

When planning your leaflet printing campaign, there are a number of things you will need to make sure it is a success. This article shares four important things you need to have in place to ensure your campaign delivers a good ROI.

The Designer

The most important part of any campaign is the designer. Having the right designer is essential, as you need someone who understands your brand, your customers and why they pick you as their provider. Without knowing these things, your designer may end up producing a leaflet printing campaign that does not target your customers well enough, or doesn't demonstrate the key benefits of your product or service.

If there’s one thing you don’t want to cut costs on, it's the choice of designer. I would recommend paying more here to ensure you are working with someone who knows his stuff, and preferably has some case studies of previous works in the same industry.

The Right Images

Having the right images is another important consideration. Not only do they have to show off your product or service in a good light, but they also must be in the right format. Standard digital artwork used RGB colour at 72DPI. Meanwhile, print images use CMYK colour at 300DPI. But what does this mean? CMYK refers to the type of colour used. The cyan, magenta, yellow and key format is an additive colour format, where colours are added to a white piece of paper. Meanwhile RGB is subtractive, meaning colour is taken away to create new colour, and is only used on screens. When you plan your leaflet printing campaign, make sure your artwork is in the correct CMYK format and at 300DPI or colours will look wrong and there will be a lack of detail.

The Right Budget

Another important consideration is budget. There’s no point spending a lot on a good designer if you then cant afford to make more than 1000 copies of your leaflet. The best approach is to work out your over all budget and know the number of copies you need before you start. Then, move on to getting quotes from print companies and designers. Only then can you decide where it’s best to spend your money!

A Strategy

The final prerequisite to a successful leaflet printing campaign is a solid strategy. You need to know exactly what you’re promoting, who your customer is, how you will distribute leaflets and where you’ll distribute them before you start. This is important as it can affect what will be on your design. For example if you know the leaflets will be handed out on the street, a map of where your shop is would be useful. If you didn't know that the leaflets would be handed out on the street, this could result in a missed opportunity.

    Desmond Daniels

    Desmond has worked in the printing industry for over 30 years. He has a wealth of knowledge on everything from home inkjet printers to screen printing and industrial litho printers. Desmond currently works as a domestic cleaner but likes to print documents in his spare time.


    April 2013