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- Setting up file dimensions and resolutions
- Using consistent fonts
- Creating custom swatches
- Designing the front and back of a business card
- Integrating a logo in designs
- Outputting files for proofing and printing
- Finding branding inspiration
Skill Level Beginner
Similar to designing a business card, printing also plays a huge part in how you'll need to design your letterhead. By keeping your design with boundaries, or margins on the outside of the page, it's possible to print letterhead each time you need it, rather than having thousands created ahead of time by a professional print shop. Here are some of the considerations we made when designing our Red 30 Letterhead. Let's create a new document. In our New Document setup, let's just leave the Intent set as Print and let's turn off Facing Pages.
I'm going to create two pages, as I'm going to create two different versions: one with bleeds and one without. We'll leave our Page Size set to Letter, our Columns the same, and now let's just adjust our margins. Often, office printers can't print right to the edge of the page, so let's set our Margins at 0.25 inches. That's what I estimate most printers to be able to print to. Lastly, we'll just set our bleed. We'll set the Bleed at 0.125 inches, and let's click OK.
Now that we've got our document set up, let's have a look at how we can print this. Using the Rectangle tool, I'm just going to draw a couple of different color blocks. I'll zoom in a little bit and collapse this panel. If we were to design our letterhead with a solid-color block at the top-- something like this--you can see that it extends outside the boundaries of the page. If I preview it, it fills the top, which means we'll need to print it with a bleed. This can be really nice from a design standpoint, but it's costly for printing, because now we've got to print on a bigger sheet than a standard 8.5 x 11 and cut it down to size.
If we scale this block down and we keep it within our margins and our design is built in this way, then we preview it, we can see that it sits nicely within the page. What this means is that you could potentially export this file or create a PDF from it and print out your own letterhead at home. This is especially helpful if you export this file as a JPEG and then place it into a background of a Microsoft Word document. Then you are basically printing your letterhead along with the document that you are creating on top of it.
Lastly, let's just load in our swatches as usual, and our document is ready to design. Setting up your file for your letterhead is primarily determined by how you intend on printing it. You will need to use bleeds if you are going to extend elements off the outer edges of the page. And you need to leave a white margin around the outer edge if you plan on printing them on your home or office printer. We will explore some of these considerations in more detail in our next video.