This will walk you through top ten guidelines for direct mail art file setup, and how to manage them accordingly to ensure you receive a quality art file to ensure the overall success of a direct mail campaign.
1. Vector files
First and foremost, in order to ensure that the direct mail pieces print in the highest quality, it’s best for direct mail printers to work with high-resolution files, such as vector files with the extension .ai or .eps. Typically files that are jpegs or gifs have the potential to print at a lower resolution (.jpg or .gif). By printing from high-resolution source files, a direct mail printer can ensure a great, finished product.
Secondly, the graphics that are included in a proof should also be high-resolution in order to ensure overall print quality. How do you tell if a file contains high-res graphics? The overall graphic or image should be a minimum of 240 PPI, which is perfect for most printing needs.
Cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. This color model is also known as “full color”, “four color”, or "process color" which is the formula that goes into the printing method. Files that are expected to be printed in color should be color, and the “full color” formula should follow this format.
4. High-Res files
We already talked a little bit about high-res files above in regards to vector files and graphics. Any file that should be printed should be printed from a high-res file, which can also include the following file formats: .eps, .tif, or .psd.
5. Raster files
All raster files should be within 10 percent of the final size used within the direct mail piece.
6. Mailing address
The mailing address should appear in a clear space and should be a minimum of 4.5" X 2".
In addition to ensuring proper space and a clear, printed address, postage should be clear and accurate or else it will be rejected, causing delays in the campaign and even lost money.
Any direct mail piece needs to be the right dimensions in order to quality for letter rate postage. Letter rate postage is based on a sliding scale. It is recommended to check with your vendor to confirm size and qualifications prior to design.
Content that extends to the cut edge of a printing piece is called a bleed. Graphics that bleed typically extend 1/8" beyond the trim edge.
All files sent for approval or for final printing should have all fonts embedded. If fonts aren’t properly embedded then the final print pieces will end up in the audience’s mailboxes with symbols and different fonts rather than the desired font.
Finally, ensuring that all files are high-resolution, clean, and are appropriately sized are all some of the top guidelines to keep in mind to set up a direct mail art file. Working with an experienced direct mail printer will ensure that all files are print-ready before printing in order to avoid embarrassing mistakes, such as missing fonts or missing addresses. However, these guidelines can help any direct mail provider properly set up art files for premium print quality and a successful campaign.