What's the secret to creating a Flyer in either photoshop CS2 or Fireworks MX that will look the same when faxed?

Posted on 2006-05-31
Last Modified: 2010-04-27
I have just inherited the marketing responsibilities for my comapny which includes FAX BROADCASTING.  I have been a webdeveloper for a while now, but I learned the hard way that what you see is not what you fax!!!

What's the tricks of the trade to designing a graphic/text flyer that will fax clear as it looks?

I couldn't find anything on the web....
Question by:mangerp
    LVL 16

    Expert Comment


    Normally I would try to respond to your question, but having suffered for a couple of years at the hands of FAX-SPAMMERS, you are going to have to convince me that your endeavors are legit, and not SPAM!

    LVL 19

    Accepted Solution

    I agree with BogSoo that fax spammers are scum, however I noticed that you've been an EE user for several years, so I'll assume you're not some criminal spammer planning on violating Federal law by sending junk faxes, and are in fact going to be sending faxes to people with whom you've established a legitimate business relationship, as required by law.

    If you want the finished product to look the same for every recipient, you need to design your ad for the lowest common denominator, which is standard fax resolution.
    Even Fine resolution is only 200 DPI, which is quite low for a printed document. And of course, it's black-and-white. A "standard" resolution fax is even lower, usually approximately 200 x 100 dots per inch. The fax standards allow for some variation in resolution, but 100 DPI and 200 DPI are reasonable approximations.

    Use simple fonts, and use sans-serif for smaller type sizes. Avoid styling small fonts (italics, bold, etc.)
    Avoid halftones, stick with line art as much as possible. Large blocks of solid black or white are best. Patterns, stripes, and so forth should be avoided unless they're quite large.
    If you must use a halftone, convert it into a bitmap (not grayscale) image at fax resolution BEFORE adding it to your document. That way you'll minimize artifacting, and have a better idea how the final faxed image will look.

    Also remember that the receiving fax machine will shrink the image slightly on output.

    Higher resolution modes and color faxes can be used, but you can't design for them unless you're willing to get unpredictable results with older or cheaper machines.

    LVL 15

    Assisted Solution

    Let's not make assumptions; some companies use faxes, including the occasional fax broadcast, to communicate with their clients. We used to run seminars that could involve many people at a particular organization; sending one fax that came out as an 8 1/2x11 sheet that could be posted to a bulletin board was preferable to sending out 40 emails to the company in the hope that one or two people might tell the rest of the company.

    The only thing I'd add to billmercer's excellent advice: give yourself at least 3/8 of an inch all the way around the print area.


    LVL 16

    Expert Comment

    No assumption was made. I only asked for some sort of response that his enterprise was legit. Its been eight days since I asked and he still hasn't responded. That to me says I was right to wait. I respect that you and billmercer are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I suspect thats because you have never truly had to deal with a fax spam issue like I have. It can be a real pain.

    LVL 18

    Expert Comment

    I hate email spam. It spends my bandwitch, my time, my hard disk. The HD can be restored if I delete the spam or even avoided, if I have a filter anti-spam.
    But fax spam is terrible! It uses my paper, my power and my toner. No way to restore the paper to a blank one or put back the toner into printer...

    Well, after the initial speach, assuming mangerp is a professional in need of help, the secret of making good quality faxes from images is to produce the images in Black&White, in the same resolution as the fax will send it and with no half tones. If halftones are really necessary, make your images in B&W with 16 tones only and convert it to dithering halftoning, thus generating a image exactly as will send by fax. Chose the image resolution exactly the same for the fax.

    Of course, send the faxes from the PC and never scan a printed image in the fax device.


    P.S. I work for a Insurance company that sends a quarter of million faxes monthly, with account balance and certificates to our customers, signed by our president and with the logo company. That is not spam, the faxes are individual ones.
    LVL 16

    Expert Comment

    I'd say give the majority to billmercer (say %50?) and split the rest between ericpete and JoseParrot (%25 each?)


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