Designing For Print: 6 Brilliant Tips & Tricks You Must Know

In a digitally-forward world, do print designs still matter? Is it worth funneling time and money into this venture? Yes, yes, and yes! Print designs are very much valid even in this day and age. 

You may think that digital designs reach people faster but did it also occur to you that they can disappear just as fast?

Think of the last digital ad you saw. How easy is it to recall it? The benefit of a print design is its physical presence. If it’s visually appealing there’s a chance that someone out there would keep it with them for longer. It could be as a token or maybe they forget to throw it out. Regardless there’s a chance of them seeing it over and over again as opposed to digital ads. This can do wonders for brand awareness. 

The only way to properly achieve this is by making your printed designs as attractive as possible. In this blog, we will be covering things like how to choose the right colors, the right fonts, the proper images, the bleed, and the layout of your design and why all of these things matter in making your print designs attractive.

6 tips to create better designs for print 

1. Choose the Right Colors

The proper usage of color is one of the top things to be cautious of when designing for print. If you don’t know the theories that go behind color formation when printing, you’re in for a disaster. 


While there’s so much to learn about color theories, the 2 types of color formats you need to be mindful of are RGB and CMYK. A professional designer would know which to use in a given situation. However, it’s always good to be knowledgeable about these things. 

The RGB color system is used for anything that’s digital while the CMYK is used exclusively for printing. The letters in CMYK stand for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (black). These are the colors in ink cartridges used in printing. The proper color values will ensure that you will have it printed in exactly the color you need. 

Have a look at the example below:

If this is the color you need then providing the CMYK values on the left will ensure that it will be the same when printed. 

If you want to further clarify this, you can provide a Pantone® Color. Sometimes you may have a CMYK value but your printer or manufacturer asks you for a Pantone (PMS) color. In that case, use a converter to help you solve this issue. 

Keep in mind, the color can also slightly vary depending on the kind of printing you go for.

Offset vs Digital Printing

Offset printing works well for larger projects while digital printing is most suitable for smaller projects that don’t require many copies. You can choose whichever works best for you depending on your volume.

2. Choose the Right Fonts

Typography is important in graphic design. So it’s no surprise that you need to make careful typographical considerations when designing for print. In printed work, typography is a matter that decides if someone wants to read the content or not. 

Print designs will remain one size in their final form. They cannot be zoomed in or zoomed out. This is why you need to use legible fonts that are appropriate for the design and the size of the design. The placement of the font, tracking, leading, kerning, and spacing all play a major role in your design. These are crucial things to look into when designing for print. 

When considering the fonts for printing, there are 2 font families to choose from. Sans-serif fonts are best for titles while serif fonts are better suited for smaller text portions. Of course, you can step out of these norms if you think you can make something else work. 

That said, always tread with caution when mixing fonts for print work. Choose fonts that complement each other. Don’t forget to check the readability of each of these fonts both combined and individually. 

Your font also sets the tone of your design so don’t get carried away. Be true to your overall brand guide.

3. Choose the Right Resolution and Use High-Quality Images

The overall quality of a printed design depends on the image resolution. The design might look good on your computer screen but once printed if it looks pixelated it will not work. The resolution directly influences how professional your work appears to be to your audience. Therefore it’s one of the most crucial things you must consider when designing for print. 

Printed work should be exported in 300 DPI. This ensures the final print will be of the highest quality. If you’re not too familiar with how this works, hiring a professional designer who is experienced in the subject is the answer. They are well-versed not only in doing the design for you but also in the technical work that goes into it when designing for print.

Another thing to look into is if the images you choose are properly sized, enhanced, sharpened, soft-proofed, and cropped before they are printed out. If you’re working with a professional, these are things that they will take care of while working on your design

4. Design for Bleed and Margin

Bleeds and margins are an important detail to look at when designing for print The bleed and margin are the extra space on the sides that is left out when designing for print. The bleed tends to exceed the actual size of your work while the margin is the space between your content and the edge of the document. To visualize this, observe the example below:

It is imperative to consider the bleed and margins all around especially when placing important assets like your logo. You don’t want to have a chunk of your logo cut off when the final print is done. This contributes to how professional your print designs look.

The designer should be mindful of this when the actual work for the design is being done. Designers who have had experience with print work know how to set up their work to account for this. 

5. Utilize White Space

White space is always important in both digital and print designs. White space doesn’t technically mean it’s “white” in color. It is basically the blank spaces between each of the elements placed on your design. 

Why is white space so important when designing for print?

1. It helps bring the whole design together.

2. It helps your reader or viewer distinctly identify and read your work. Readability is key when it comes to all print designs so it is vital for print work to have balanced white space.

3. The content of the design will look clear and concise.

4. It helps draw attention to the important things instead of making the viewer’s eyes wander. 

5. Utilizing the white space will make for a clutter-free design, making your work seem professional and classy. 

When designing for print it’s important to give your designer concise content. It’s true that we tend to want to say all that we can about our brand in one shot but stick to minimal content as far as it’s possible.  This will give them the liberty to lay out the design properly and thereby utilize white space more efficiently. 

Here’s an example of a business card where the white space is used perfectly:

Why hiring a professional for print designs can make a difference

While it’s possible to do these things on your own over time with a bit of practice, it’s always good to let the professionals handle the technical side of things. On top of all your campaign work, it’s not easy for you to make certain that all of the above tips and tricks are followed. Here are a few reasons you should consider hiring a professional for print designs.

1. No turning back

Printing designs is like pouring out concrete. Once you pour that concrete (i.e. print your designs), there’s no turning back. Imagine you spend hours on a business card design. You had it checked a million times over. And once you deemed all is done properly you sent it for print. After you receive the bundle of 100 copies you notice a  pixelated image. A professional would identify this and correct it immediately while working on it.

2. Calibrated monitor

Another reason it’s good to hire a professional is that they have calibrated monitors which show exactly how the image on your design will be when printed. Calibrating the monitor means balancing and correcting the color settings. Do keep in mind that if the colors in your computer aren’t calibrated the image you’re viewing could be another color on another device and in print.   

3. Fully equipped with the relevant software

An experienced and professional designer will have all the relevant software that is needed to turn out a great design. They know which software is best suited to work on when designing for print. You shouldn’t have to bother searching and downloading all the software that you’re going to need. 

4. Turnaround time

How much time do you have to spare? If you’re not a professional, chances are it’s going to take a great deal of time to come up with a proper design that’s fit for printing. There’s no time for trial and error. Whereas with a professional you can get your design within a day at most depending on how complex your requirements are. 

What’s the bottom line?

Print work is still a great advertising method. It helps spread brand awareness to a wide demographic. In fact, according to Finances Online, 82% of consumers mostly trust print ads when it comes to making decisions about a purchase. This clearly confirms that print ads are still very much valid.

With that in mind, these tips and tricks are things that you need to remember when working on designs for print. As we’ve established already, print work is a risky business owing to the fact that it’s literally “set in stone”. It’s hard to revert if there’s any mishap. That’s why you need to be extra careful. Always be sure to double-check your work. 

We hope you take into account these tips and tricks when you start working on your next print design project. Too overwhelmed to take note of all of this on top of the other work that’s going on? Don’t fret! Try an unlimited graphic subscription to relieve yourself of the stakes involved.

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