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Our organization generally won't spring for professional printing. Some people that receive my work are expected to print it themselves, and then use or distribute it as needed. As a result, a lot of work I've produced, gets printed by recipients on low-cost inkjet or laser printers, sometimes with color and sometimes without. Usually on plain old office letter paper they have around.

What are some techniques I can use in designs to minimize the variance in appearance and quality of printed materials when I have no control how they are printed, especially when low-quality printers are used?

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Export a PDF with a list on suggestive procedures to make sure there is the best chance of a quality print. Maybe create a document to be sent with instructions but that will still rely on user interaction and some appreciation for design.

In reality there is nothing you can do but communicate up line why our branding material is garbage because we rely on an internal solution that will not cut it. You could try to get a list of common hardware you have in your company and maybe test accordingly by going there and testing but I think that's a waste of time.

You could maybe illustrate the time, material cost, hardware cost, software cost and show them that a decent solution exists. There are plenty of quality and affordable online solutions if you were to do some testing. Reach out so some printers and ask for samples of your company branding and show a comparison of what could be.

In reality if you are looking for a solution the only thing you could possibly do is test and calibrate each printer.

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