One of the ways you can save money on your business printing is to design your own postcards, posters, business cards and other marketing materials.  If you have a talented, creative person on your staff it can often be a win-win for your business. If you are thinking about doing your print design “in house,” make sure you equip your creative team with the right  design software to ensure you get the best results.

Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint Will Not Produce Professional Printing Results

We wrote about this topic a few months ago, so I won’t rehash it all.  Essentially, the main reason why Word, PowerPoint, and Excel native files are not recommend is because they compress images and clip art when they are embedded in the file.  In order to produce high-quality printed materials, your text and artwork need to have a minimum resolution of 300 dpi or ‘dots per inch’ and Word, Excel and PowerPoint simply do not achieve that level of output.  If you want more details – you can read our article on image resolution here.

So, does that mean all Microsoft products are out?

Not at all.  Microsoft Publisher is an effective publishing software that will produce files of sufficient resolution for printing.  Additionally, the learning curve for Publisher will not be as steep as using some of the more advanced print design and layout software we’ll discuss below. They also get you off to a good start with many built in templates you can then modify for your needs.  While it does have some limits, if your needs aren’t too extravagant it makes no sense to buy more advanced software.  Microsoft Publisher is also friendly to your wallet.  We noted prices on the 2010 version of the software ranging from $113 – $139.

Adobe Illustrator

If you want to make your in house designer very happy – go for the Cadillac of design tools.  We know from experience that designers love it, just ask our in house designers sometime. Illustrator provides sophisticated design tools that enable pixel perfect image, text creation, and page layout functions.  This software is not for the faint of heart – it takes skill and experience to fully utilize all its functions to create business marketing materials that POP.  You can read more about Illustrator’s capabilities and cost on the Adobe website.

Adobe InDesign

The latest version of InDesign software provides precise control over typography and includes built-in creative tools for designing, preflighting, and publishing documents for print, online, or to mobile devices. InDesign also mixes in the ability to create interactive elements, animation, video, and sound in page layouts to fully engage readers.  Like Adobe Illustrator, it’s advanced functions take a good bit of time to master, but the results are well worth it.  Learn more about Adobe InDesign and its cost on Adobe’s website.

A Few Words About Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop is another powerful program offered by Adobe, but we should point out that it is really not intended to serve as a print layout program.  Primarily Photoshop is a sophisticated image creation, editing and manipulation software.  It integrates tightly with InDesign and Illustrator and is quite helpful when creating printed pieces that incorporate photography but, we recommend editing your photos in Photoshop and then importing them into either Illustrator or InDesign to create the final layout and accompanying text.  Learn more about Photoshop online.


Like InDesign, QuarkXPress is sophisticated page layout and design software.  It is also compatible with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop – so any images you create in those programs will work in QuarkXPress.  Learn more about it on the Corel website.

Out Source Your Print Design

Sometimes its simply a better business decision to let a professional handle your design work.  If that’s the route you want to go, we invite you to give us a call so we can discuss your needs.

Our in-house professional graphic designer’s years of experience have helped her develop a keen eye for marketing and promotion.  Plus, the opportunity to work on a new project will brighten her day.  She utilizes the latest Adobe design software and has crafted hundreds of unique and effective logos, business cards, brochures, direct mail pieces and more.  If you can print it, she can design the heck out of it. After an initial consultation about your project, she’ll provide you with a free estimate on your project prior to beginning any work.