Graphic Design for Two Color Printing

How do I design business cards, letterhead, and envelopes for 2 color printing.  For instance, can two colors be combined for a third color?  Can the white of the paper be allowed to shine through to create gradients (like light blue to dark blue)?

Does Illustrator allow you to select just two colors and design from those.  If so, how do you set up your color palette?

Sure, you can use Illustrator to design your pieces with only two colors.  You’ll be working with Spot Colors.

Working in a CMYK document color mode, you can create your CMYK color and add it to the Swatch Window (Window > Show Swatches). Then you can make it a spot color by double clicking on it in the Swatch Window.  Change the Color Type from Process to Spot. Notice the ‘spot’ in their little swatch in the Swatch Window. Or there are entire libraries available from Pantone, who supplies them to Adobe. Windows>Swatch Libraries>Pantone (Coated, uncoated, etc, depending on the gloss of your paper stock)

To vary the screen from 0 to 100 percent, use a percentage tint (Window > Show transparency). To blend two colors, you need to place objects on top of each other and learn about Overprinting. For example.  Create a 100% red spot color square and a 100% yellow spot color square and overlap parts of them so there’s a common area.

Now select View > Overprint Preview from the menu

Now select both squares and choose Window > Show Attributes. There, check the box marked Overprint Fill. The common area will become orange and that’s the way it will print! That’s how you create interesting blends with a limited spot color palette. If one of your colors is black, you can just use 100%K, you don’t need to “Spot Color” it.

Please be aware that there are certain issues with offset printing pieces that use transparency.  There’s a Guide available at Adobe about Flattening your Transparencies before commercial printing.

Business Envelope Sizes

There are more than 1,400 different classifications of paper, and any sheet can be cut to almost any specification. The size and shape of envelopes are limited only by the designer’s imagination.

Envelope Style Classification:
Selecting the proper envelope for your job can mean the difference between successful delivery of your printed product and a completely failed effort. The following envelope classification list describes the many different styles of envelopes available today, several from ImageMakerGraphics

Business  Envelopes

business envelopes

Standard correspondence envelopes. Open-side style with gummed flaps. Made in wide range of Bond and Kraft. Commercial sizes range from No. 5 to No. 6 3/4. Official sizes range from No. 7 to No. 14.

No.                            Size
#5                       3 1/16 x 5 1/2
#6                       3 3/8 x 6
#6 1/4                3 1/2 x 6
#6 1/2                3 9/16 x 6 1/4
#6 3/4                3 5/8 x 6 1/2
#7                       3 3/4 x 6 3/4
#7 1/2                3 3/4 x 6 3/4
#7 3/4                3 7/8 x 7 1/2 (Monarch)
Data Card            3 1/2 x 7 5/8
#8 5/8 (Check)    3 5/8 x 8 5/8
#9                       3 7/8 x 8 7/8
#10                     4 1/8 x 9 1/2
#10 1/2              4 1/2 x 9 1/2
#11                     4 1/2 x 10 3/8
#12                     4 3/4 x 11
#14                     5 x 11 1/2


Booklet Envelopes

For use with booklets. folders and other types of direct mail. Open side design permits overall printing.

No.                           Size
#2 1/2               4 1/2 x 5 7/8
#3                      4 3/4 x 6 1/2
#4 1/4               5 x 7 1/2
#4 1/2               5 1/2 x 7 1/2
#5                      5 1/2 x 8 1/2
#6                      5 3/4 x 8 7/8
#6-1/2              6 x 9
#6-3/4              6 1/2 x 9 1/2
#7                     6 1/4 x 9 5/8
#7 1/4              7 x 10
#7 1/2              7 1/2 x 10 1/2
#8                     8 x 11 1/8
#9                     8 3/4 x 11 1/2
#9 1/2              9 x 12
#10                   9 1/2 x 12 5/8
#13                  10 x 13

Continue reading “Business Envelope Sizes”

Business Cards A Vital Sales Component

In sales, forgetting your business cards is like forgetting your pants.

custom business cardsOne of the most frequent requests I have heard throughout my career is “May I have your card?” Whether it’s a sales call or business-to-business (B2B) networking, the practice of swapping custom business cards is the most common way to make an introduction. So why do so many merchant level salespeople (MLSs) arrive at meetings and trade shows without them?

I’m always surprised when, during the “get to know you” part of a committee meeting, someone in the room announces they have “forgotten their cards.” Or when someone visits our booth at a trade show and is unable to leave a card because they don’t have any with them. In sales, forgetting your business cards is like forgetting your pants. Continue reading “Business Cards A Vital Sales Component”