5 areas to avoid when designing Corporate Identity Systems

Corporate Identity package done right. The MGM Resorts.

  1. Specifying Reflex Blue ink on the back of business cards
    • Unless coated, reflex and other blue litho inks seldom dry completely, especially in designs that call for a flood of that color. This can lead to offsetting and smearing. Specify Clear Coating or consider a redesign or different print process.
  2. Designing bleeds on one side of envelopes
    • Envelope presses cannot print to the “bare edge,” and bleeds require envelopes to be custom-converted from large sheets. Custom converted envelopes are many times more expensive than standard. Avoid designing with bleeds on envelopes unless your client is prepared to order very large quantities or shoulder an additional expense.
  3. Designing business cards with variable information in 2 colors
    • “Variable copy” in 2 colors isn’t a design mistake, but it greatly impacts service time and cost – matters which affect a client’s view of the wisdom of a design. This is less of an issue if printing is digital, but is still a factor to consider for your time and cost-conscious clients.
  4. Embossed or engraved products designed with back-printing “conflicts.”
    • Any processes which apply great pressure to the front of a stock leave a “bruise” on the backside which can interfere with design integrity or, in worst cases, readability. Ensure that the bruised area doesn’t interfere with other designs or information. Cards can also be mounted to hide bruising, but is a significant additional expense.
  5. Using only “plain” embossing to convey a brand.
    • While blind embossing works well within a design, used by itself client communications neither photocopy, scan or fax well. The brand effectively disappears. Consider registered litho ink or foil to add contrast to the printed page.


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