Print design – tips on all you need to know

From business cards to posters and flyers, print design plays an integral role in any small business seeking success. But what do you really need to know? Relax – we’ve got the low down! Read up on our top tips for brilliant printing projects that will have your brand standing out from the rest!

What is print design?

Print design is an art form that combines a range of elements such as typography, illustration, and photography to communicate ideas through printed materials. From product packaging and business cards right up to magazines or billboards – this craft enables almost limitless avenues for creativity!

Print design is an essential strategy for promoting products and services. Graphic designers make use of color theory, composition, and layout to create visually stunning designs that capture the attention of viewers while delivering a strong message. With its blend of creative elements and thoughtful messaging, the print design effectively captivates audiences in various ways!

The history of print design can be traced back to the invention of the printing press in 1440. However, its roots go much further back, with visual communication being used as far back as 15,000 BC. Ancient Mesopotamia and Babylonia used to design for economic and religious purposes through clay seals and stamps. In the 6th century CE, woodblock printing was developed in China.

As the centuries passed, print technology evolved at an astounding rate. The 19th-century lithography was a major milestone in its progression, and by the start of the 20th-century offset printing had become commonplace – producing highly accurate prints with intricate detail.

The term “graphic design” first appeared in print in 1922 in an essay titled “New Kind of Printing Calls for New Design” by typographer William Addison Dwiggins. This period marked a shift towards modern graphic design with the launch of the Bauhaus School in Germany by Walter Gropius.

Today, modern print designs have opened up an exciting world of possibilities – from texture-rich visuals to intricate vector artwork. Thanks to technology advancements like CAD software and Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, designers are able to unleash their creativity in ways that couldn’t even be dreamed about two decades ago!

Main types of print design

Print design is a powerful force in our everyday lives. Whether it be helping us stay connected to the brands we love or introducing us to budding authors, print media consistently adds value! Looking for examples? Here are some:

Differences between print design and digital design

Print design and digital design may share the same DNA, but there are some major differences in how they’re created. Print calls for a deep understanding of color theory and resolution to make sure physical materials like brochures, posters, or banner ads look their best. 

Digital designers on the other hand have browser compatibility, web accessibility, and mobile responsiveness at top-of-mind when putting together online products – three things that print designers don’t even need to think about!

The bottom line? While both types of graphic design benefit each project differently – it’s important not to forget which one you’re dealing with before you create something your audience will love (or hate).

How to design for print?

If you want your print design to stand out from the competition, mastering both creative and technical elements is essential. To achieve top-notch results, consider everything from paper weight and coatings to printer registration issues, as well as contrast ratios between page layouts or spreads.

But don’t forget about typography – font selection should never be overlooked when crafting professional designs! Choose easy-to-read fonts that look good on paper, given their limitations compared to digital platforms.

With these considerations in mind, creating a good print design can easily become a reality for any passionate designer who takes the time to understand proper printing principles and techniques.

Difference between RGB and CMYK

Ever wonder why the same digital design looks different on screen than in print? The key is understanding when to use RGB vs CMYK color modes. Even if you possess magical powers and know what each of these mysterious letters stands for (it’s mostly colors!), that won’t help select which one works best without knowing where your finished project will be displayed – it all depends!

Differences between RGB color code and CMYK color code, to show how to use each of them in digital or print design
Difference between RGB and CMYK color codes

RGB or Red-Green-Blue lighting is a key component of the technology that makes digital screens work. By blending various intensities of these three colors together at each pixel on our devices – from phones to computers and televisions – we can achieve incredibly vibrant displays in order to view images, text, graphics, and more with stunning clarity!

RGB values provide a virtually limitless amount of possibilities when it comes to color selection. By combining 256 levels each for red, green, and blue in the range between 0-255; over sixteen million colors can be created on the spectrum ranging from black to white.

CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (Black). It’s a subtractive color model used in printing to create a range of colors by combining the four base colors. When these colors are printed on paper, they absorb light and create an image. The combination of these colors creates a wide range of hues that can be used to produce images with high quality and accuracy.

This model is widely used in the printing industry thanks to its ability to accurately reproduce images on paper! It has 4 colors at 100% each for richer tones and deeper shades than RGB (Red Green Blue) which contains light in its range of 256 variations per hue. 

However, because it offers more vibrancy, images designed using only RGB may appear washed out once converted into CMYK – so remember not to get your creative process underway without double-checking what type of output you’re aiming for!

Have a good print resolution

When it comes to printing, the resolution is key for creating a high-quality image. Resolution measures the level of detail and sharpness in an image; this can be quantified by dots per inch (DPI). The higher the DPI, the more ‘dots’ are printed onto one square inch – resulting in increased clarity and superior overall quality.

Maximize print quality with the golden resolution – 300DPI. This resolution is appropriate for materials viewed up close and ensures that the printed image looks quite sharp and clear. Anything lower than that would detrimentally affect the visible detail of your file. But keep in mind that different resolutions may suit different applications – an enormous billboard doesn’t require as high of a DPI as, say, something small like a leaflet might demand.

The importance of scaling

Every artwork has to have the perfect balance of size, color, and texture. Otherwise, you may end up with a project that looks completely out of proportion! Forgetting about scale when it comes to design is like trying an entrée without salt – sure all the ingredients are there but something significant’s missing!

Quite simply put: if you don’t check how all elements interact on different scales from micro-detail through macro-context, then what’s the point? Quality and scale are essential to design. Without meticulous attention, designers may unwittingly put their work at risk of failing the industry’s standards for professionalism- causing damage not just to themselves but also alienating would-be customers.

With strategic resizing of your design elements, it becomes possible to add an extra layer and dimension to any composition. By using relative sizes in a layout, we can easily create visual hierarchies highlighting the dominant aspects while still allowing lesser components room to show their true potential.

Scale can be an effective tool to grab your audience’s attention as well – making sure they focus on the content that matters. Big enough to make a difference, yet still subtle enough not to interfere with other design elements like typography or color palette; scaling up certain aspects in your message is guaranteed to get it noticed!

Bleed in print design

The printing world is full of technical details, but there’s something important to bear in mind when crafting your projects: bleed. Applying it appropriately can mean the difference between cutting-edge brilliance and sloppy edges on your printed output!

Bleed refers to the extra 1/8” (.125 in) of image or background color that extends beyond the trim area of your printing piece. This ensures that the artwork will be printed all the way to the edge of the paper, and not have any white space at the edges.

Make sure there is plenty of room between your design components and the edge of where you plan to have it cut – any objects that are too close won’t make it through production!

There are two images that show the correct (left) and incorrect (right) use of bleed when it comes to print design
How to use bleed in print design

Don’t forget to proofread

Before taking off with your print design work, don’t forget to add one final layer – proofreading! By taking extra steps to double-check elements such as factual accuracy, formatting consistency, and visual alignment, you can ensure a final work that looks really professional and polished.

Visual proofreading even helps make sure small details like color accuracy or font size aren’t missed – tiny changes in these areas could have a major impact on how the final product appears. 

Spend enough time reviewing your designs prior to sending them out into the world; it’ll pay off with projects you take pride in sharing!

Some print design inspiration examples

We’ve gotten the theory out of the way – now it’s time to get your hands dirty with some fun and useful examples. And stay tuned! There’ll be more delights coming soon on the Wepik blog, so you don’t want to miss out.

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