If you’re keen to update your marketing materials, but don’t have thousands of pounds to spend on revamping your entire print portfolio, help is at hand!

There are in fact plenty of ways you can add a little sparkle to your brochures and business stationery without breaking the bank. Here, we’ve listed 5 simple ways that you can create more impactful printed materials that will make your audience sit up and take notice of your brand.

1) Opt for a thicker GSM

Have you been let down by the quality of your brochures or business cards in the past?

Chances are that the look and feel of your assets could have been dramatically improved with a better GSM.

GSM – which is the shortened version of ‘grams per square metre’ – refers to the weight and overall quality of the paper. As a general rule, the higher the GSM, the heavier and more robust the paper will feel.

Standard GSMs are often used for different types of marketing materials. For example, an average flyer or leaflet will tend to have a GSM of between 130 and 350gsm, while business cards generally come in between 400 and 810gsm. Our advice would always be to go for a higher GSM if you want to produce thicker, more durable materials that will be able to accommodate extra special design effects with ease.

2) Make use of spot colours

Spot colours require a different printing process to standard CMYK tones. Spot colour printing involves using a screen plate or pad to produce single colours that have been created using pre-mixed inks, instead of layering four tones on top of each other to achieve a certain colour.

If a particular Pantone shade forms the basis of your brand guidelines, the best way to ensure you achieve the same colours across all of your materials is to print using spot colours. The results will be more accurate and consistent this way.

You’ll also need to choose spot colours over CMYK colours if you want to incorporate any special effects, such as metallics and varnishes, into your print designs.

3) Laminate your design work

Wrapping a protective layer around your print collateral is guaranteed to add a premium look to your designs.

Smoother surfaces give off a quality impression, and what’s more, laminated business cards, leaflets and flyers will be more resistant to wear and tear.

Lamination is absolutely vital if you want to produce menus for a restaurant or bar, too, as these heavy-use items will quickly succumb to rips, scratches and stains if they are not finished correctly.

4) Experiment with die-cutting

Die-cutting involves using a special machine to mass-produce cut-out shapes.

From simply using rounded corners instead of straight edges to creating fascinating pop-ups within greeting cards, you can use this technology to create one-of-a-kind materials in all kinds of funky designs that are sure to stand out from standard print fare.

Die-cutting is particularly well-suited to business cards, but you can also use the process to develop imaginative flyers and mail-outs that will be instantly more intriguing than those with everyday square or rectangle templates.

PrintPlace.com has put together a list of 9 brands that have taken die cut business card designs to a whole new level. Take a look and prepare to be inspired!

5) Add texture by embossing or debossing

Using a combination of metal dies, heat and pressure, it’s possible to add enticing textures to cards, folders and other assets that are printed onto thicker, cover-weighted paper.

Embossing uses male and female dies to raise graphics from the paper to create an irresistible three-dimensional effect. Debossing, as you have probably guessed by now, has the opposite effect – the dies are used to lower the surface of the paper to create recessed letters or images.

Plus, foils can be incorporated into the embossing or debossing process to add colour to your designs and make them even more eye-catching!

There are so many tools and techniques available to brands today, so it’s never been easier to get creative with your printed marketing collateral.

However, if you’re not familiar with the printing process, it can be tricky to know which effects are going to best suit your project (and be within your budget).

If you need help putting together quality, stand-out print designs, remember that I offer a comprehensive print management service that covers the design and development of all kinds of printed materials. Contact me today to discuss your print requirements in more detail and I’ll happily help you bring your ideas to life!