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designpro_9To save money on digital printing costs, I use Avery media resources for doing small or short run print jobs, such as business cards, name badges, CD labels, and binder materials. The card stock for Avery resources has greatly improved over the years, and while its Matte White business card stock for ink jet printers may not fully match the quality of professionally printed cards, these Avery cards work great for testing out new designs or for a project in which you need only a handful of cards to get started.

For a long while, you needed to use Microsoft Word to design and print media resources using one of hundreds of Avery templates. But Avery also now provides two free standalone applications, called DesignPro (one for Mac and one for PC users) that includes all its templates and the design features for putting together and printing media projects.

If you want, you can design your digital printing project in say Photoshop, save it as JPEG file and import it as an image file into DesignPro. In this article, however, I will give you an overview of designing a label project in DesignPro for Mac.

  • Start a new project (File>New) in DesignPro. Select the type of media project you want. Search for the type of template you want to use. You’ll probably want to make sure your local office supply store carries the media stock for the template you’re using. Or you can order the stock online.


  • Double-click on the pre-designed template label you want to use, or select a blank design. Now customize the template. For many projects, like labels, I suggest using strong bold fonts (e.g. Arial Black, Helvetica, Baskerville) with a 10+ point size. The design features of DesignPro are not nearly as advanced as what you can do in Photoshop, but most for jobs, the tools are sufficient. The application includes tons of clip art and vector shapes, and you can also import existing image files from say iPhoto or anywhere else on your computer.


  • Now here’s the tricky part. You can select to print the same text and design on each label, or you can choose to have different text and/or design for individual labels. If you choose the latter, you’ll have to select each individual label and copy and paste in the design and/or text you want. There’s no way, as far as I can tell, to select five labels at once and paste in the design or text. If you select the first label and create a design, it will be applied to all the labels that come after it. But when you click the All Same – Off button in the tool bar of DesignPro, you can further customize individual labels.


  • There’s also an option to use Mail Merge in DesignPro with your contact data in Apple’s Address Book or Mail application. But for some odd reason, this mail feature merges all the contact data in those applications. You can’t select individual contacts to merge with those data applications. So it’s better to create a comma delimited (CSV) or tab delimited (TSV) spread sheet of your contacts and import it for mail merge in DesignPro.


  • After your labels are set up, you”˜re ready to print. I suggest first doing a test printing on regular typing paper before using more expensive Avery media stock. When you’re ready to print, make sure you have selected the appropriate media stock in your printer’s dialogue box.


If you have any questions about using DesignPro, drop me a line in the comment box.

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