As a graphic designer your top priority is to create a stand-out illustration, image or cohesive content design that suits your customers’ demands. Yet if you stop at that point you are doing your customers a disservice. In today’s market a graphic designer has to translate their creation to multiple mediums, such as business cards, direct mailers, tradeshow printings and brochures in terms of print layout design. Say that you have designed a splashy new logo for Client S. It is everything that Client S has requested including a ton of different colors, custom lettering and a large scale landscape in the background. Client S wants to use the logo on everything in their marketing arsenal including pamphlets, postcards, flyers and letterhead. This is where it helps to understand how to bridge the gap between computer screen and paper. Welcome to Print Boot Camp for Designers, a place to learn how to weld this disconnect.
Step 1: Identify Your Dimensions
Before you begin designing anything for your customer, determine the different ways the customer will be utilizing your design. Are they going to use it for printing letterhead and business cards, or will the design replace their old one on their store front banner? Understanding what the design will be used for is your first priority. Once you find out the size of the printed area, you know the amount of space you have to work with for the overall design. Furthermore, your print dimensions must take into account the file format for printing. Among printing companies in Chicago, having the correct print layout design from a graphic designer is paramount to printing efficiently and timely.
Yet all too common here at MidAmerican Printing in Chicago, we experience a disconnect between graphic designers and their customers. Print dimensions for mailers, color, margins and bleed are at the core of this disconnect. By keeping in mind the print dimensions and margins, along with file format for printing, while designing a product for a customer, you ensure that their finished product will look exactly as you imagined it would. You are also saving your customers money. If a finished print mailing, for example, does not come out as planned because of your failure to account for print dimensions, that is wasted money on the customers’ part.
The next step, color and bleed, will be covered in the second post in this series about designing for print, Print Boot Camp for Designers. Check out this valuable information from a print professional regarding how to choose the best colors for your designs, so they translate perfectly via print.