Cheap Design Can Cost You

“We just released our new self-promotion,” the print service provider (who shall stay unnamed) breathed down the phone line. “It is just the most amazing piece. You have to see it.”

And see I did.

A few days later the piece arrived in the mail. Well, I assume this was it, as no personal note was attached, just the self-promotion and a preprinted “enjoy” sales note. If this was to entice me to call the company in question…I don’t think so.

Where do I start?

The rather sad piece was clearly designed in-house (no offense to professional, well-trained in-house designers). And as much as I would like to say this is the exception, unfortunately this printer is not alone.

The examples of specialty printing techniques were rather sad, not in their execution, but in the designs featured. The paper choices for said samples were uninspired (read: flimsy and did nothing to enhance the techniques). Each piece was hard to pry out of its dedicated slit. They were held in place with dots of fugitive glue, which in the end made all of the pieces stick together.

The business card (I finally found it after looking for a bit) used a nice metallic sheet, but the information was printed with dark ink on a dark paper and barely readable. And my favorite part: I counted 33 QR codes, which were for decorative purposes only I assume, as none of them worked.

Better, but…

Another print shop, not far from my office, has amazing print capabilities as well as some one-of-a-kind technical add-ons. They were smart enough to collaborate with a good design studio to create their new capabilities brochure. I was pleasantly surprised (Ok, I was impressed.) when I first saw it.

Leafing through the piece, it showed off the printer’s capabilities in stunning ways. Then I came to a screeching halt. Placed neatly in the glued pocket on the final page, were handouts that had obviously been “designed” by the printer. Let’s just say the sheets, well intentioned to provide additional information, clashed very badly.

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