A Wink and A Nod to

When the world was black and white, we really didn’t have a choice.
Then the 1960’s came. And there was color! Then we didn’t want to.
But occassionally it gets thrust upon you and you’re back to not having a choice . . .
So if we’ve gotta’ do it, let’s learn how to do it better than we’ve been doing it!

Consider graphic guy.

He is a member of a really cool club.
They are planning a fun event and they want everyone to come.
They need to get the word out. They need flyers.
Hey! We have a graphic guy in our club. He can lay them out for us!

Interpretation: Free art!
But graphic guy doesn’t mind at all. These are his fun friends in his really cool club, and he is glad to help. So he gets all the specifics.
In a few days he brings them a layout.

They say, Graphic guy, that’s really nice and all, but the printer was going to charge us $$$ to print these. We told him that was too much. We are a really cool club, but we are not a really rich club. So the printer dropped the price down to $$. He wants to print these in black and white and we’ll just print them on colored paper. They will still look nice and get attention, but they won’t cost so much to print.

Graphic guy thinks, No problem! I’ll just convert the whole thing to grayscale! A couple of clicks and I’m all done!

This is what he gets. And he will get about the same thing if he gives the color file to the printer, and just lets him print it on his black and white digital press.

It’s not terrible, but it’s not great!

If you want great in grayscale, you need more contrast to make it pop. Let’s help graphic guy make his black and white flyer pop!

Very, very simple and uncomplicated. And only a couple of steps.

1. Adjust the levels in whatever photos you have. Without totally blowing out the details, make your darks very dark, and your lights very light. You are after contrast.
2. Now get out the black and go at it! We’re going to use shades of black to get more contrast. Try very dark backgrounds and light lettering. Then swap, and do very black letters on light backgrounds. See what works. With flyers, you want the viewer’s eye to immedately see important info, like announcements, dates and locations. See what combinations work best to accomplish that. Because flyers that don’t do that are not doing their job!

Now I realize this isn’t ground-breaking stuff. No one’s going to be in awe of my fabulous flyer skills. Or be beating a path to my door to see genius at work.

But if you’re here visiting my site, and you work or volunteer at a school, church, community organization or club, and maybe you are in charge of little things like this to promote the activities, just know that there are very simple things that you can do to your promotional materials to keep costs down and still keep a professional image. Even if you don’t have access to professional graphics programs, or can’t afford expensive graphic services, you can still make your printed materials look terrific! If all anyone knows about your organization is that flyer or brochure, let’s give them a great impression!

Remember, for black and white printed materials:

  • Print from grayscale or black & white files, not full-color files.
    If photos, clipart or other graphics are color, convert them to grayscale.
  • Get lots of contrast to draw the viewer’s eye to the important elements on the page.

And when you do print in full color, make certain your file is cmyk and not rgb! Please see my article “CMYK-RGB Side by Side” in the menu at left for more info.