How to Use a Template for Catalog Printing

Direct mail catalogs open up an entire new customer base for your company by reaching those consumers who may never set foot in your store or visit your website. For this reason, designing your catalog correctly is of the utmost importance. Consumers will flip through a catalog only if they are intrigued and impressed by what they see on the cover and subsequent pages.

Knowing correct catalog printing requirements provides the groundwork for an attractive design. A top notch design will never be noticed through glaring printing issues, so researching the standards of your printing company assures excellent results. Often, a printer provides a catalog template to aid in following their printing guidelines, but you will need to know a few terms that you will encounter on a catalog template before beginning:

1. Bleed: The term "bleed" refers to the technique of extending graphics beyond the finished size of the catalog, usually at least 0.125". The pages are first printed on large sheets of paper, which are then cut down to the specified size by an oversized paper cutter. The cut made can be slightly off, so a bleed allowance prevents strips of white being left on the edges of the catalog page.

2. Bleed Zone: The bleed zone is the area within which you need to extend your images. Be sure to extend across the entire zone specified by your printer's template.

3. Cutting Line: The cutting line indicates where the page will be cut to size. Make sure that the template you have chosen is the same size that you intend to order.

4. Safety Zone: To avoid important text and images from being cut, keep this necessary information inside the safety zone line. A commercial paper cutter may cut the page up to but not beyond this line. You may want to extend a photograph into the bleed zone, but keep any part of the picture that you want to remain on the page inside the safety zone.

Don't hesitate to contact your catalog printing company with any questions that you may have about the template or other printing requirements. The small amount of time it takes to ask a few questions for clarity is worth preventing costly and timely setbacks because of printing mistakes.

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