Recently I purchased my first high definition television. A salesperson at one of the stores I visited told how he had five HD TVs, and I’m just now considering my first one! I waited this long, so you can imagine I had thought through the process. I had to consider placement of the TV in my home. How was I going to use it? I’m not one for video games, and the word is that plasma is best for that purpose. What about lighting in the room? The room where I would place the set is relatively large with many windows. I was informed LCD or LED would work best in that situation, to avoid glare. Did I want extra features? I did not need the TV to be connected to a computer, so some of the ports on the more expensive models were not necessary for my application.

As I now enjoy the world of high definition, I see a comparison between my purchase process and advertising design. Just as how I was to use my television was part of my decision-making process, so should that consideration be a part of the design process.

As an example, how will a brochure be utilized? If it is going to be mailed, the size and shape need to be considered at the outset. Certain shapes require additional postage. If the plan is to mail just a few at a time, a unique shape may be worth the small amount of additional mailing cost. Will the information in the brochure be short-lived? You may need to consider digital printing where you can print smaller quantities at a more economical rate. Digital presses tend to be smaller, so the overall size of the brochure will need to fit the sheet size of the press. It is possible with today’s technology to personalize each individual brochure as it runs through the press. But, this is only available with digital printing, so once again size is critical. If the plan is for a large mailing of a large quantity, offset printing will most likely be the best value, but the weight of the paper the brochure is printed on will have to be a consideration. The heavier the paper, the more the postage, but a flimsy paper can offer a bad first impression.

With any project, the right questions need to be asked at the beginning. In this instance we have considered only a brochure. Web design, logo and identity development, advertising, direct mail all have strategic questions that should be part of the initial stages. Failure to consider the entire picture in the beginning can lead to costly delays or poor results from the finished project. The right questions lead to right choices that will produce a quality product that performs as it is intended.

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