Design Sprint 4 of 4: 10 Tips for Great Print Design | MP 81

On this marketing podcast, Sam Carvalho talks about 10 tips for great print design.

Are you needing to revamp your print design processes? Which printing process should you use? In print design, why should you limit your color palette?

In this podcast episode, Sam Carvalho speaks about the dos and don’ts of print design.

In This Podcast

  1. Limit the color palette
  2. Give the piece room to breathe
  3. Avoid borders and keep it spacious
  4. Use high resolution or vector artwork
  5. Consider the color of the paper
  6. Readability
  7. Always keep to the grid
  8. Less is more
  9. Design for the printing process
  10. Be versatile

1. Limit the color palette

The more colors there are to process, the bigger the risk that something is going to clash and that readability will be impacted.

If you think you will be printing in different processes, it will save you money to use fewer colors. Successful print design is all about communication. So, when it doubt, keep it simple.

2. Give the piece room to breathe

Always make sure there is ample space around text and images. If they are cramped, then the border will be uncomfortable to look at.

If these elements are too close to the edge, you also run the risk of having crucial information cut off when the piece is trimmed down from larger sheets.

The rule of thumb is a 1/4 inch text-safe margin for all items to compensate for any shifts in registration during printing and cutting.

3. Avoid borders and keep it spacious

If you are looking for a way to spruce up a simple design, you may think that adding a decorative border around your copy will bring a touch of elegance to it. While you wouldn’t be totally wrong, borders need to be done correctly, or your risk crowding your copy and making the design unappealing. (Sam Carvalho)

Keep your borders within the 1/4 inch bleed. If there are any shifts in registration, an uneven border will stick out like a sore thumb and potentially ruin an otherwise successful design.

Make sure that you are not trying to fit too much copy within the border, include only what is essential. You can always add a web address as a call to action for people to find out more info.

If you are wondering how your piece will look in print format, pay for a printed proof to provide you with a better idea.

4. Use high resolution or vector artwork

Raster Images are made up of tiny pixels. For print production, the standard is 300dpi.

The image should look beautiful at 100% but start to pixelate at 125% and larger. An image that is 72dpi, which is meant for the web, may start to degrade more quickly, and will almost always print badly.

Vector images are made from mathematical calculations and will look as smooth and gorgeous at the size of a business card as they will on the side of a wall. Vector images tend to work best with solid colors and illustrations.

5. Consider the color of the paper

If, for example, you’re wanting to have a design that includes black text on a full-bleed colored background, you may want to reconsider. While this looks beautiful on the screen, it could be challenging to print, depending on the process you’re using. (Sam Carvalho)

Consider printing black text on colored paper. This is a lot easier than attempting to recreate the color. Certain papers will also add a specific texture to the final printed piece that you could never approximate on a computer screen.

6. Readability

In print design, you need to spend a lot of time concentrating on the text. Typography is a vital part of your design process.

As such, aim for eye-catching, but always remember that readability takes precedence.

7. Always keep to the grid

When it comes to good print design it is advised to always work with grids. Make use of composition guidelines and proportional relations to form the foundation of your print design idea.

There are many grid options to choose from, from the standard 3 column grid to 2 column overlaps.

8. Less is more

If you feel like your design is cluttered with text it probably is. Look at what is necessary, ensure the message is reflected, and that the call to action is visible and easily interpreted.

At the end of the day, when it comes to design, less is more. You do not want to overwhelm your audience, because they will not be able to digest your message.

9. Design for the printing process

Common printing processes include:

  • offset
  • letterpress
  • foil stamping

If you work with a full-color business card design that is reprinted often, you will be better off printing digitally in small quantities. If your design is simple and your goal is to present a premium, high-end aesthetic, letterpress will serve you better. (Sam Carvalho)

10. Be versatile

Even if you keep the above nine tips in mind, things happen. Your needs at one point may not reflect those at another.

So, above all, you should be versatile. Consider all the things that could impact your design and how it could be printed.

Useful links mentioned in this episode:

Check out these additional resources:

Meet Sam Carvalho

A photo of Samantha Carvalho is captured. She is the Chief Marketing Officer and Designer at Practice of the Practice. She is the host of the Marketing A Practice Podcast and helps therapists successfully market and brand their private practices.Sam Carvalho is a graphic designer living in Cape Town, South Africa, with over five years of experience in both design and marketing, with a special interest and experience in the start-up environment.

She has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs take their practices to the next level by enhancing their visual branding. She loves working with a variety of clients on design-intensive tasks and is always up for a challenge!

Follow Sam on Instagram to see some of her work. To work with Sam, head on over to www.practiceofthepractice.com/branding.

Thanks For Listening!

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