I had to chuckle the other day when one of my client's managers asked, "Can't you design our company brochure in Microsoft Word?"
You see this quite frequently in the software industry – just like Microsoft Word™ was originally designed as a word processor. Like other software applications, Microsoft is trying to convince their buying public that Word can do everything. Well I am here to tell you that it is like trying to rake up your leaves with a shovel. Word™ has been a wonderful tool for communications side of business. But it has it limits just like other software!
1. No Bleeds.
You cannot create a bleed with your document. It just looks very unprofessional to have a 1/4" white space go all around your document. Your document just screams, "Is this as creative as you can get – my mother could do this!"
2. Font Conflictions.
It will substitute some of it's own fonts for those that you have specified for the document. The difference in fonts may vary in spacing when the document is moved from your work station. You will notice that these fonts below may look simular but can cause big problems when being substituted on different machines (note: take a close look at the "a" at the end of Helvetica).
3. Word uses RGB color rather than CMYK
To have any document printed in color it needs to be in CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Black). RGB (Red, Green & Blue) is made for video or television. It also is not capable of specifying PMS (Pantone Matching System) colors if you want to print your document more conservatively than four color. Even when RGB is converted to CMYK there is a major color variance. Big problems & headaches for the prepress operator that is trying to make printing plates from your file.
4. What if I need to make edits to my Word document
If there are corrections to be made (after you have sent your document to be printed) the printer most likely couldn't make the changes for you. They would have to send you back the file to be corrected. Now you will be delayed in the timeliness of this project and there will be added costs.
If you were to go to any legitimate printer or prepress house in your local community they would all suggest using a page layout software for all your printed marketing materials (Adobe InDesign™ or QuarkXpress™ are the best and most well known). These are not cheap or easy-to-use pieces of software so there is a learning curve. In these programs you can resize, rotate images, add drop shadows, adjust transparency of a placed photo and quickly make adjustments to the high res files. Finally, if you want to send a pdf to a client to view or print there are lots of options that work to your advantage.
I can guarantee you that by using the correct software to create your files will save you lots of time & money down the road. My policy has always been, "Use the software for which it was created for!"
© 2011 Michael Johnson - Inkspot Graphics. All rights reserved