Notes on Print Design

Notes on Print Design

1. Print Design is a graphic design process. Its end-product is a design in a digital form (.psd, .tif, .indd, etc), which then gets printed onto a material, such as paper, cardboard, plastic, metal ceramics, etc. Print Design, therefore, does not include the process of printing, i.e. producing hard copies of documents and other designs. (

2. This is done for various purposes obviously, but the mains are for marketing and brand awareness. These print design materials serve to reach the target and potential audience out there.

3. The following are types of print design that are meant to have hard copies to serve the said purpose. Though, there may be differences on how they will be designed but to deliver their content in the most compelling and effective way should top the priority list. Business cards, branded packaging, labels and shopping bags, brochures, billboards, book covers and interiors, magazines and newspapers, signage, stationery, greeting cards and invitations, calendars, posters, menus and banners.

4. There are some jargon or terminologies in print design. These are:

Bleed - any design element that extends the past edge of the paper
CMYK - stands for the combination of the ink colors most commonly used (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black)
- aka Pantone Color Matching System - comprised of universal set of colors that every printer in the world can replicate
- indicate where the printer should make the cuts to the final printed piece
- aka 4-color process printing specifically for CMYK color (digital printing)
Finish - the surface quality of the paper used for the printed piece
PPI / DPI - the former stands for pixels per inch and the latter for dots per inch. These are used to determine the resolution of images
RGB - this is an acronym for red, green and blue. These are the colors that make up all the color combinations one sees on the computer screen
Proof - this is typically a digital file in pdf and is essential for any design or content issues before sending the print design to the printing press

5. Print document images should always be at 300 ppi before printing, otherwise , it will look blurred or pixelated.

6. People don’t realize the perpetual relevance of print design since the rise of digitalization, but the truth is that we encounter it every single day. We were just used to its existence since it has been there before we were even born. Every day, we see posters, signage, bills and such, and these are all products of print design.

7. Print design and digital design actually have the same denominator and that is to communicate the message of a brand or an organization.

8. When it comes to putting designs out there, print design is actually more labor intensive than digital because print designers need to make sure the whole design/ lay-out is perfect. All the grammar and design elements must be right until it is pixel perfect in the hard copy. The smallest error cannot be corrected once it is printed, that is why even a smallest mistake can cost a thousand bucks. This is also proof that print design is costlier than digital design.

9. There is almost no room for mistakes in print design however in digital, designers can easily edit or fix mistakes.

10. There are a lot of things to consider in print design. It is because the screen to page or the 2D to 3D process is a complex journey of a material. Designers must always take note of the following:

Bleed Lines - it allows the printer to grip the print surface as it passes through.
File output and RIP settings - if you’ve dealt with transparencies, gradients and such in your design, you need to check your printers and how those are gonna be in the settings.
Font Choices - your font may look all fancy on the screen but always think and imagine what it would be like once it is printed.

11. Good typography will always have a huge impact on the end product of the print design.

12. Print designing must also follow the basics of graphic design. Its foundation must always be rooted to its mother subject. The concepts of the color wheel theory, visual hierarchy, and even the act of proofreading and editing must all be applied to print design.

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