Design a Black-and-White Promotional Mailer on a Budget

We have another Psd tutorial . If you want to take your Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign integration skills to the next level, then we have an exciting promotional mailer for you.

It’s also focused on making a creative print project come to life on a budget. Learn more at the jump!

Tutorial Details
  • Applications Used: PS, Illustrator, InDesign
  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Estimated Completion Time: 2h +

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Final Product What You’ll Be Creating

This Tutorial is Filled with Creative Tips

Working within a limited budget is a discipline that every designer must master – especially in the current economic climate. Knowing how to squeeze every last drop from a tight budget and still produce something eye catching requires some understanding of different printing techniques.

In this tutorial, we’ll forget about expensive four-color printing and limit ourselves to just one spot color – black! Working in black-and-white is more challenging and also imposes limits on the design process – done right, its simplicity and stark contrast will capture and engage the viewer.

As well as rediscovering the beauty of monochrome, you’ll also add a clear, gloss spot UV varnish to selective areas; this will have the effect of highlighting and drawing attention to parts of the design when the printed piece is moved under different light conditions. So, as a perfect example to showcase these techniques, I briefed myself to design an A5, double-sided, self-promotional mailer.

As far a techniques go, you’ll learn how to use an additional Alpha channel to create the spot varnish artwork; then create your own geometric pattern library with Illustrator. Next we’ll show you how to bring everything together with InDesign. Finally, you’ll get to grips with preflighting your artwork with InDesign and Acrobat Professional – ensuring it’s error-free and printer-friendly.

Premium members can Log in and Download! If you’re not a member, you can of course join today! Below is the final image we’ll be creating in this tutorial.

Step 1

Open Photoshop and create a new A5 landscape document (21cm x 14.8cm) at 300dpi in RGB Mode and select White from the Background Contents drop-down menu.

Ensure you’ve got Snap and Snap To > All selected under View. Now pull in guides and snap them to all four edges of the canvas.

Go to Image > Canvas Size (Option + Command + C), then add 6mm to both the Width and Height fields. Next, highlight the central Anchor point reference and set the Canvas extension color to White.

This is a great technique to quickly add both bleed and guides to any document; it also cuts out the calculation work of manually placing guides using the View menu.

Step 2

Open the model image and zoom in to her left shoulder. We’re now going to remove the garment strap. First, set the Pen Tool (P) to Paths and draw a closed path as indicated in magenta.

Drop in an empty layer on which to carry out the retouching, this way it’s non-destructive to the original and can also be erased if things go wrong! Command-click your path thumbnail to generate a selection, then grab the Clone Stamp Tool (S), ensuring it’s set to Current & Below and remove the garment within the selection.

Step 3

Hit Shift + Command + I to Inverse the selection and remove the strap from her skin using the same technique.

When you’re done hit Command + E to Merge Down. Next, gently smooth out any harsh edges using the Blur Tool (R).

Step 4

Switch to the Channels palette and cycle through each channel in turn to determine which holds the best contrast between the model and background. In this instance it’s the Blue channel. Duplicate it by dragging its thumbnail into the Create new channel icon.

Step 5

Now use a large, black, hard-edged brush to fill in the model, her shoulder is less defined, so leave that area clear for the moment.

Draw a closed path around the shoulder (you’ll find this easier by toggling the visibility of the top RGB composite channel as you work). Now generate a path-based selection and paint with black within the selection.

Now refine the channel by using a small white brush to remove any stray hairs that extend beyond the canvas.

…and that’s the end of the preview!

View The Tutorials

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