Print Boot Camp for Designers: Part 2- How to Choose Colors and Fonts
Updated: Feb 16
Welcome to our second post in the Print Boot Camp for Designers series. Today we are talking about designing for print, more specifically, how to choose the best colors and choosing a font. As a graphic designer you are most likely using a back-lit computer screen to create a layout, graphic or complete design for a customer. While the technological advancements allowing you to do this are amazing, the finished product rarely translates onto paper in the same vividness as you anticipated. Why? For starters, the use of a non-back lit medium, aka paper, means that your colors aren’t getting the same illumination that you provided with your computer screen. Here are some ways you can solve this problem.
Step 2: Choose Your Colors
Opt for the CMYK color model whenever possible. CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and key or black. CMYK is the go to color choice for color printing. By using the subtractive color model, CMYK is synonymous to printing. Choosing these four base colors as your palette ensures that the final printed product of your graphic designs will always be on point.
Another foolproof method of choosing the correct color scheme for printed work comes from the Pantone Matching System. The Pantone Color Guide featuring the PMS should be stored next to your workstation to give you a quick glance for color matching as you design.
The colors used with the PMS are expected to match regardless of what type of equipment is used for the printing process.
Step 3: Choosing a Font
If you are using non-standard fonts, such as via custom lettering, then outline your fonts before sending the final product to your customer or their printing service. This will help ensure that your customized lettering is printable without issue.
Step 4: Choosing Graphics with Easy to Print Color Schemes
Another way to ensure that your graphic design will be effectively translated onto paper is to opt for a graphic illustration that is best suited for this medium. In other words, go with vector graphics whenever possible. There are several benefits to this including the fact that vector graphics are easily created and scalable, while not suffering from image distortion. Vector graphics are easier for re-editing, if that is necessary, and they feature a smaller file size, which is always a plus when submitting designs by email. Furthermore, your design won’t suffer if it is saved as a smaller file format. Finally, vector graphics translate detailed illustrations to perfection, resulting in a final copy that looks fantastic.