This is a question often asked and one that I often want to answer with something like “Well… why don’t people make waffles with their laptops?”

While that answer sounds a little snarky, the reasoning is actually the same. You don’t make waffles with your laptop because that’s not what a laptop was created to do.  While your laptop has a lid that opens and closes, has similar square pattern on the inside (the keyboard) and plugs into an outlet, it simply was never intended to make a yummy breakfast dish.

Word processing software differs significantly from page layout software. The intent of your designer is not to produce a document that you cannot open without their software. They are in fact producing an end product that is not only designed to properly communicate your brand, but also creating artwork in a manner that can be reproduced time and again with the proper controls for consistency, and in the highest quality possible.

Here are some things to keep in mind about word processing applications before you decide to use one to create your next printed piece:
number one graphic
Word processing applications are not page layout programs nor were they ever intended to be. Word processing applications process words very well, but they do not process graphics very well at all. It is far more difficult to place graphics and get them to stay where you want them or get text to wrap around them properly. To attempt to do so can be more difficult in a word processing application and very time consuming to say the least.
number two graphic
Graphics, such as placed artwork and bitmap images (photographs) are automatically converted to RGB when imported. This is EXTREMELY contradictory to what a commercial printer needs to produce your piece on a printing press. Even if you save a pdf from a word processing application and send it to a commercial printer, it is certain to result in disaster (if they even agree to work with it). Your black ink will not really be 100% black and things will end up with halos and other mysterious items that were never intended to be in your printed piece. Some things you expect to appear may mysteriously disappear.
number three graphic
Word processing programs do not produce artwork using necessary cmyk or pantone colors. In fact, word processing applications do not know what cmyk or pantone colors are. There is no way to define these standard systems of color (used to assure that colors are reproduced consistently from printed piece to printed piece) in commercial printing.

Before computers, no one would have ever attempted to produce a brochure, postcard or any other branded business communication on their typewriter. But when you attempt to produce these things in a word processing application, this is essentially what you are doing. It is important to communicate your brand in a manner that reflects the level of quality and service that you are providing. In the end you will not realize any cost savings as your printed piece will not have the desired end result and you will have to start over from the beginning using the correct tools.

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