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What Graphic Designers Need to Know About Print Production

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What Graphic Designers Need to Know About Print Production
What Significant Skills Must You Possess to Succeed as a Graphic Designer?  Sure, You Know It Takes Creativity, Talent, and the Ability to Problem-solve. But There’s Another Essential Skill in the Mix: Print Production.

Print Design Can Make the Difference Between a Project That Looks Cheap and One That Looks Professionally Done. It Also Requires Being Able to Work Within Certain Constraints—a Skill That’s Essential When Putting Together Any Project, Digital or Print.

But Don’t Worry; Learning How to Apply Print Production to Graphic Design Isn’t as Intimidating as It Sounds. In This Article, We Have Five Key Things for Graphic Designers to Keep in Mind When Designing for Print. With These Tips, You’ll Be Able to Master the Basics of Print Production, Whenever You Engage a Printing Company and Make Sure Your Projects Look Their Best!

Learning the Basics of Print Production

Print Design is Still Alive and Relevant! As a Graphic Designer, It's Important to Understand the Basics Behind Print Production to Ensure That Your Plans Are Ready for Print. So What Do You Need to Know?

Well, Here Are Five Things to Learn From Print Design:

  • Have a Clear Understanding of Colour Models, Colour Spaces and Dot Gain. Colour is One of the Most Crucial Elements in Any Design – and Print Production Has Several Specific Guidelines for Setting Up Colours for Press-ready Files.
  • Know the Differences Between Spot Colours and Cmyk Colours. Depending on the Project You're Working on, It May Require One or the Other. Spot Colours Are Premixed Inks Which Allow for Exact Colour Matching, While Cmyk Colours Are Digital Inks Which Create a Combination of Four Base Colours (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black).
  • Familiarize Yourself With Bleed Settings and Different Paper Sizes. To Make Sure That Your Artwork Prints Correctly With No White Borders or Cutoffs, Add Bleed in Your Final Files if Needed. Additionally, Always Check That Your Designs Fit Within the Right Paper Sizes – Such as A4 or A5 – Before Submitting Them for Printing.
  • Understand Typesetting Principles. Typography is an Important Part of Graphic Design; When Working With Typefaces for Print Production, Bear in Mind How Each Typeface Works Best at Different Sizes and How to Maintain Readability Even When Using Small Text Sizes.
  • Be Aware of Crop Marks and Certain Fonts and Images That Cannot Be Printed. Certain Fonts Might Not Be Able to Be Printed Properly Due to Licensing Restrictions; Similarly, Certain Images Might Not Have High Enough Resolutions When Printed Off at a Larger Size.

Understanding the Different Types of Print Techniques

Print Production is a Unique Beast, and if You’re Moving From Digital Design to Print, Understanding the Different Types of Printing Techniques Can Be Essential to Creating Successful Projects. Depending on Which Method You Choose, Your Designs Might Have Different Results.

Here Are Some of the Most Common Types of Print Production:

  • Offset Lithography: This Type of Printing is Based on the Repulsion Between Oil and Water. In Offset Lithography, a Rubber Cylinder Transfers Ink From a Plate to a Rubber Blanket, and Then Onto the Paper Substrate. It’s Ideal for Large-scale Projects Such as Posters and Brochures but Doesn’t Work Well With Designs That Require Sharp Edges or Thin Fonts.
  • Digital Printing: by Using Toners or Liquid Inks, Digital Printing Presses Are Capable of Reproducing Fine Details Like Sharp Edges and Small Fonts Without Any Issues. With Digital Printing, You Can Quickly Produce One-off Pieces Without Having to Do Several Setup Steps Like in Offset Lithography.
  • Screen Printing: Screen Printing Involves Pushing Ink Through a Mesh Screen Onto the Surface Being Printed. It’s Great for Projects That Require Thick Coverage With Bright Colours, Such as T-shirts or Posters With Bold Graphics. However, This Method is Quite Time-consuming and Works Better With Fewer Colours and Simple Designs.

Examining Print Mediums and Their Roles in Design

Moving on to the Third Point, It's Important to Explore the Types of Print Mediums Used in Design. Once You Know What Your Project Requires, You Can More Easily Select the Best Medium for the Job. For Example, Paper Choice Can Have a Significant Impact on the Look and Feel of a Piece.

There Are Four Main Types of Paper Weights Commonly Used in Graphic Design:

  1. Text Weight – This Thin Paper is Often Used for Brochures, Flyers, Business Cards and Postcards.
  2. Cover Weight – Also Known as Cardstock, This Type of Paper Has a Higher Thickness Than Text Weight and is Often Used for Book Covers or Postcards That Need to Withstand Additional Wear and Tear in Transit.
  3. Bristol Board – This Sturdy Paper Has a Thickness Between Text Weight and Cover Weight and is Often Used for Fine Art Prints or Large Posters That Need to Stand Out on a Wall or in a Gallery Space.
  4. Point of Sale – Also Known as Cardboard Stock, This Thick Paper is Often Used for Retail Packaging or Signage That Needs to Be Durable Enough to Be Moved Around Frequently Without Becoming Damaged or Bent.
Knowing Which Type of Paper Works Best for Each Situation Can Help Ensure That Your Design Looks Great Once Printed, So Do Some Research About the Different Types Before Beginning Any Project That Requires Printing!

Being Familiar with Digital Prepress Processes

The Fourth Thing to Learn From Print Design for Graphic Designers is to Be Familiar With Digital Prepress Processes. Printing a Design Requires Not Only a Good Eye for the Details but Also Knowledge of Digital Prepress Processes. Knowing How to Properly Format Files for Print, Adjust Colour Settings and Manage Bleeds, Margins and Crop Marks Will Ensure That Your Designs Look Just as Beautiful in Print as They Do on Screen.

Take the Time to Research and Understand Digital Prepress Processes, Such as How to Create a File Ready for Printing or What Kind of Ink is Used in Certain Printers. Digital Pre-press Processes Require a Certain Level of Knowledge and Familiarity to Achieve the Best Possible Results, So It Pays Off to Do a Bit of Extra Homework.

Using Color Management for Consistent Results

Print Production Isn’t Only About the Printer and Paper Quality—it’s Also About Colour Management. You Might Be Familiar With Cmyk and Rgb Already, but Do You Know How to Calibrate Your Monitor to Ensure Prints Are Consistent and Accurate?

Understanding Colour Management is Especially Important if You’re Dealing With Complex Designs in Multiple Colours That Need to Look Consistent Across Different Formats. It’s All About Making Sure You Create Print-ready Artwork Before Sending It Off. Here Are a Few Things You Should Consider When Working With Colour:

Monitor Calibration

Make Sure Your Monitor is Properly Calibrated So You Can Accurately Check for Colour Consistency Across Formats. Professional Monitors Often Come Pre-calibrated, but Desktop Monitors Need to Be Calibrated Manually. This Can Be Done Using a Calibration Device or Software.

Colour Profiles

Use Appropriate Software Profiles Like Adobe RGB and ProPhoto Rgb for More Accurate Colours When Printing and Viewing Photographic Images Onscreen.

Ink Coverage/density

Be Aware of the Maximum Ink Coverage for Each of Your Printing Methods. Too Much Ink Coverage Can Cause Printing Issues Like Clogged-up Nozzles or Smudged Prints. To Avoid This, Make Sure That Your Design Only Uses the Necessary Amount of Ink—this Means Avoiding Small Text and Thin Lines, or Switching to Vector Outlines Instead.

How to Work With a Professional Printing Company

Here's Something Else You Should Know—working With a Printing Company is Completely Different From Print Design. When You're Designing for Print, You Have to Be Aware of All the Factors That Go Into Creating a Successful Product: the Material, the Cost, and the End Goal.

It's Especially Important to Understand the Different Methods Used by Professional Printing Companies and How They Affect Your Design. For Example:

Different Finishing Options

Professional Printers Often Have Several Finishing Options That Make Your Design Look More Professional and Attractive, Including Different Kinds of Ink Jetting, Foil Stamping and Embossing. It's Important to Think About These Options Early on in the Designing Process and Make Sure They Fit With Your Vision for the Project.

Colour Matching

Print Designers Are Used to Working in CMYK Colour Modes (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) So It's Important to Be Aware of How This Affects the Printing Process. Professional Printers Rely on Colour-matching Systems like Pantone to Ensure That Each Printed Piece Looks Exactly as It Does on Screen. So Before You Send Your Design Off for Production, Make Sure You’re Aware of Any Specific Colour Requirements the Printer Might Have.

By Understanding How to Work With a Professional Printing Company, Graphic Designers Can Create Beautiful Printed Products That Look Just as Good on Paper as They Do on Screen


Print Design Can Be Intimidating for Graphic Designers, but With the Right Knowledge and Tools, You Can Create Prints That Are Both Professional and Eye-catching. Taking Into Account the Fundamentals of Paper, Print Production Processes, and Design Elements, You Can Create Prints That Don’t Just Look Good but Also Tell a Meaningful Story. As a Graphic Designer, Having the Right Insight Into Print Production is Essential, as It Will Enable You to Maximize the Impact of Your Designs. Utilizing the Various Techniques and Materials Available to You, You Can Craft Prints That Stand Out, Ensuring That Your Message is Communicated Successfully.

  Apr 28, 2023       by Adekunle Oludele       119 Views

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