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Handy Tips for Optimal Print Design

Updated: Jan 25, 2023



USE HIGH RESOLUTION OR VECTOR ART

High resolution assets are critical for successful print design. Too often, people are in a rush to find an image for their project, and they look for open source images on the Internet, or pay for mediocre clip art.

You don't want it to look like the pixelated world of an old computer game right??


So ask yourself -

  • Is your artwork high resolution?

  • Is the logo crisp?

  • Would it be crisp if you put it on a postcard, poster, banner, or billboard?

If the answer to any of the above is “no”, you should fix this before you go to press. It will save you time and money in the long run.


AVOID BORDERS (IF POSSIBLE)

If you’re wanting 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. This is not entirely wrong, however borders need to be done correctly. The last thing you want is for the design to feel cramped.


Don't forget - The piece will have a natural frame when it’s cut down to size. The edges of a business card, postcard, invitation etc, all provide a natural frame for your design.



BREATHING SPACE

Always be sure to leave ample space around text and images. If your design is easy to read, people are more likely to read it. Remember, when design elements are too close to the edge, we recommend a good 5mm from the edge, you risk important details being cut off when the final trim is done.

This could mean no phone calls if it's a contact number!


If you are designing pages for a bound book, check with us what the recommended border width is to allow for the particular binding method. For example, Wire or Plastic Coil Bound booklets need a wider binding margin to allow plenty of room for the punch holes. You don't want holes through your text or images, ruining the all the great design work you've done.


LIMIT THE COLOUR PALETTE

The more colours there are for the eye to process, the busier the designs appearance, this can make it difficult to read meaning your message can get lost. Of course, this doesn't mean you should only print black and white! Just go with a theme.


Clever print design is all about communication.

So when it doubt, keep it simple.




DESIGN FOR THE PRINTING PROCESS

Keep in mind how your piece will be printed. Here at Printcraft, we offer Offset and Digital Printing. Offset printing is best suited to larger print runs. These presses print CMYK (or four colour process). You can also add varnishes and specialty PMS Inks like metallics and even fluro colours.


Offset Press - Heidelberg Speedmaster

Smaller quantities are often better suited to our Digital Presses. With both ink and toner options, we have the bases covered. Our HP Indigo press is synonymous with high quality digital printing, while the Xerox iGen handles a variety of different stocks and sizes.

Printcraft Digital - HP Indigo Press

CONSIDER COLOURED PAPER

If you're thinking of a full-bleed solid colour background, have you thought about using a coloured paper stock? It's certainly no drama for us to print a solid colour, however there are added benefits to using different paper types.

Many specialty coloured papers also have a specific texture, which adds a bonus element of interest to your piece. Colorplan paper is a popular choice with designers. This stock option offers a huge selection of colours — it prints well, and also comes in small quantities.

Don't forget, you can use a white or metallic foil on darker stocks if you want something really eye-catching!


STAY FLEXIBLE

Consider everything that could impact your design, and all the ways that it could be printed. Ie. You may wish to avoid a metallic as your primary branding colour. Why you ask? As a general rule, metallic ink can only be printed either offset or using foil stamp. So when you need an urgent digital print—an event flyer or a short run of business cards —you will have to compromise and use an alternate colour.


Pick a brand colour that is recognisable, yet versatile enough to use in various contexts. This is also helpful when you need non-paper items printed, such as textiles.



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