Friday, 15 August 2014

Badges, posters, stickers, t-shirts... quote an obscure Dire Straits B-side :D

It's quite surprisingly how easy it is to get decent promotional material these days, for whatever it is you're doing, be it your company, your show, your band or your club. So far this week, I've done t-shirts, posters, show programmes and flyers...

The key thing is to get a decent unifying look and feel - for this, grab the services of someone with a flair for graphic design (yourself, even!) and get them to spend a little time working on a logo, a colour scheme. Have them work out a simply style guide - your body text is always in such and such a font, your logo is this font, this colour, etc., and then stick to it.

I can't overstress this - I'm sure anyone who's been to one of our club WAB tournaments will agree that the unifying design on all the campaign documents really adds to the look, for example.

Check out the image above - that's the basic logo for the show I've been working on: the tower/hill silhouette and red to blue gradient are a constant in everything I've had done, as is is the shade of yellow and the Papyrus font for the logo. That can be stretched both ways - I have a web banner that extends the hill silhouette and background horizontally, and for an A4-proportioned portrait flyer, programme cover and poster the black area extends downwards to provide an area for other text.

The next important step is to work big. What looks good on your screen (at 72 dpi or 'dots per inch') will print with a bad case of the jaggies, so make sure all your images are at a bare minimum 150 dpi. This means (for example) that a 12" wide t-shirt logo needs to be at least 1800 pixels wide.

Back in the '90s, when I was producing CD inlays for various projects and amateur operatic theatre programmes, the printers tended to be massively picky about the quality and format of the source files, and if you couldn't scare up a copy of Adobe Illustrator or Quark Xpress, you were likely to incur extra charges in making your work printable. These days, there are any number of companies who will take a PDF or PNG and work from that, for ridiculously low rates. 1000 colour, single-sided A5 flyers from any number of online companies will set you back well under £50, for example. I've just sourced 50 t-shirts from Clothes2Order for a bit over a fiver a shirt, and companies like Vistaprint will basically put your logo on bulk quantities of any promotional material that takes your fancy.

Someone like Staples will do short run on-demand printing for large (A3 or A2) posters at a few quid a throw, or you can, like me, blow £100 on a photo-quality inkjet that'll do A3. My Brother MFCJ5910DW takes third-party cartridges at something ridiculous like £1 each, and Amazon do some decent glossy A3 paper at 25 sheets for £4 (as part of a bigger order). If you have the patience, it's a great way of doing short runs of posters. And then there's banners...


Here's an offer. If you can wait till I'm back off holiday at the beginning of September, and your club would like a hand with some graphic design, drop me a reply, and I'll see what I can do.

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