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What is Graphic Design For Print?

Graphic design for print can teach a lot to new designers. You are likely to make so many mistakes that can seriously affect the final prints. Unlike in the web, print runs are expensive and permanent. Thus, any mistakes conducted when designing for the print can prove to be costly. You cannot tweak the design and update the files (like in web designing). Print designers work on products like print advertisements (for newspapers and magazines), product designs, packaging, logos and business cards. Find out what are the main elements of designing for the print.

What is print design?

What is Graphic Design For Print

Size of Document

Although there are standards like Letter and A4 paper in printing, many other products exist in all sizes. For example, the size of business cards can vary from one client to another – thus there could be thousands of custom sizes. Therefore, it is crucial that you design to a specific size. Similarly, there are size variations when designing for magazines, newspapers, pamphlets and other products.

Choice of Colour System

CMYK is currently the standard color system in printing. The designing software including Illustrator and Photoshop need to have their color palette set to CMYK before working on any network. Graphic designing in print produces much smaller spectrum of colors as compared to when designing for the web. Besides, CMYK is closer to the final output that you will get on paper. You will have to worry less about any surprises in terms of color variations when the final print is out.


When designing for print, the space is usually measured in inches. The layout can vary from a small or large billboard to a business card. One of the unique advantages of designing for print (than for the web) is that some of the elements will be fixed. You will know about these elements from the start. For example, you will know the space allowed for the finished product. You will also know that the final product will look the same to everyone. There’s no need to worry about different users getting a different product (in visuals), which is the case when designing for the web. In web graphics designing, you will have to worry about the final product being compatible with all types, sizes and orientation of screens.

Bleed Area

Another aspect of print design is safety and bleed areas. They are required for guaranteeing print results. Print design is typically 2 dimensional with a lot of attention being given to layout. All views are meant for a specific canvas size but this is not the case in web graphic designing. In that case, it’s more about scrolling the page, which is entirely different from the experience of canvas.

While web designing is based entirely on user movements, print designing enables you to walk through the info, select the required info, improve and explain the elements. Thus, designing for the web is all about delivering an experience, which is not the case when creating a design for the print.


When designing fro print, designers work at 300 DPI instead of 72DPI screen resolution.

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