Print design is a crucial element of any marketing project, and can be a powerful method of engaging a potential customer with your brand. Print media can be tailored to reach your target audience, in your design and distribution. You can focus your marketing budget on creating relevant and appealing print that directly reaches your target market, making it far more cost-effective. Print media also gives your brand an air of credibility; you believed in your brand enough to pay for physical, printed material, and the customer should too. Providing the customer with something they can keep, something they can hold in their hands and potentially leave on a coffee table, immediately creates a relationship with that customer, building a bond with them that otherwise might not have been possible. Print media is wildly important, but doing it right takes a decent portion of knowledge, and a hefty serving of practice.
THE MANY FACES OF PRINT DESIGN
Printed materials come in all shapes and sizes. Packaging design gives your brand the opportunity to stand out from the crowd and grab the attention of a potential customer. Brochures are effective and often budget-friendly, allowing you to quickly and easily inform your customers in a way that is handy, accessible and engaging. While brochures draw the customer in, catalogs are a brilliant medium to maintain engagement, let an interested customer know exactly what you offer and get them ready to buy. It gives the customer a physical version of your online catalog, and lets them easily engage with your entire range. Decals are an interesting medium that allow you, not only to spread your brand, but also any messages you want, too. Decal graphics can be anything from icons and logos, to typography and snappy catchphrases. Making sure they are consistent to your brand identity is crucial. In a similar way, business cards are a powerful method to spread the word about your brand through the more classical methods. Word of mouth and human interaction are still vitally important ways your brand can get exposure. A business card provides a customer with all the crucial information they need to get in contact; its quick, its efficient and highly effective.
Stonefern has experience in all these mediums. Whatever your brand or market size, we can create eye-catching and memorable print materials that are highly engaging and highly effective. Through our partnerships with specialist printers, and our vast printing experience, whatever you’re looking for, we can do. What’s even better is that you don’t have to do it yourself.
PRINTING JARGON AND DESIGNER-SPEAK
While you’ve probably never wondered about the importance of CMYK, the bleed of your design or the difference between an EPS and a JPG, all are crucial elements when it comes to designing for print. Without knowing the difference and importance of these, and plenty of other terms, your design can suffer massively.
Let’s start with colour. Put simply, the difference between CMYK and RGB is that one is for print, the other for screens. You can probably tell how important it is to know the difference now. CMYK is what the professionals call a ‘subtractive colour mode’, as it is printed on white paper, and the colour subtracts from the brightness of the page. RGB, on the other hand, is an ‘additive colour mode’; the colour of the screen is naturally black, and so the individual LEDs that light up add colour to the black. It’s crucial that your design for print is made in CMYK, or the colours will shift, and that can ruin the design.
Next, why does my design need to bleed? Technically, it’s not actually bleeding, but the imagery is perfect. The ‘bleed’ of your design is the overspill from the trim boundary, to make sure that, when cut, everything goes to the edge. As print designs are cut to size once they’re actually printed, the bleed makes sure it’s flush to the edges.
Now, what file format should my images be in to work for print? The simple answer is: vector. Vector images are entirely scalable, which means they’re able to be used on massive billboards and tiny business cards without losing any of their quality. Vector files are those with the extensions: .ai, .eps, or .svg. These work for print. Files with the extensions: .jpg, .png, .gif, or .tif are ‘raster’ files, meaning they can’t be scaled up without losing their quality and resolution. Best practice is to avoid them as much as possible when designing for print.
These are just a few of the terms crucial to print design. We also made a more detailed post, asking just what the hell a designer is on about, by clicking here. This is practically a whole new world, so it’s usually best to leave it to those who have already learnt it all. Stonefern can navigate these complicated and confusing waters for you, to help you create perfectly formatted designs ready for print.
PRE-PRESS AND PRE-FLIGHT CHECKS
Just like a pilot has to run through all the final checks to make sure the plane is ready for take-off, so too must we check our print designs before printing. Pre-press checks are the larger-scale checks, things like making sure the artwork is right up to the bleed lines, the colours are CMYK not RGB, spill checking and making sure your fonts are all available,active or outlined. These are most likely to be done manually. Pre-flight checks, on the other hand, are the deep, nitty gritty checks usually done by an automated add-on software. To pre-flight a job is to make sure that there are no technical errors stopping it from being ready to print. It double checks things like font conflicts, misused colours, heavy inking and missing graphic links to guarantee that the printing process will be plain-sailing.
These checks are indispensable, and its crucial that you know what to look out for. At Stonefern, we do. With all our years of experience, we’ve ticked our way through plenty of pre-press checklists (from national newspapers and monthly large distrubition magazines being the most challenging) to know exactly what we need to look out for.
If you want to leave all this in the hands of ready and able professionals, Stonefern is here. We can walk you through every element of the print design process, making sure you get the best results with greatest ease.