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Put it in Print Preparation and considerations for Design for Print



Put it in Print Preparation and considerations for Design for Print



Introduction. Designing for print has a lot of considerations to take into factor for example: the size of the type, the stock choice and how to setup a document to send off for printing. Things you might not think about, but are vital when it comes to making print. These are considerations that need you to be known aware of when it concerns designing for print. However, from picking up the book, I’d hope with it, you’d be able to put these concerns to rest. I split up the book into 3 different chapters that I felt were most applicable to the subject of the considerations to be aware of and the preparation of designing for print. These are: Colour & type, Format and Process & Setup. Each of these covering the topics mentioned above, obviously with more to them then that. Hopefully within these chapters you’ll find what you’re looking for and you’re able to take away from these books something that will help you designing for print, or it’ll give you some new considerations to make.



Colour & Type


CMYK: The ink type of colour. I’m sure you will have heard of CMYK before if you’re even in the slightest interested in print, which from reading this I will assume you are. CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key*) are the 4 different inks used in the process of printing, you’ll find them easily within your standard ink jet printer and in a laser printer. These inks are used on a much larger scale than these but using different processes (half toning) to create similar products. The reason CMYK is used is because the 3 colours CMY overlay one another they create gray/black, adding the K on top solidifies and strengthens the black tones within an image. This is ink is subtractive, the more you add the more colour is ‘subtracted’ hence why it leads to black, theoretically. *You’re probably thinking ‘What’s key?’ Well, ‘key’ is the called that because it is the key plate in printing (The plate that Is used to align the other colours), because in industry large-scale printing, plates are used, also because B stands for blue already.






RGB: The light type of colour. While CMYK is ink and pigment based, RGB on the other hand is light based. Red, green and blue are the colours we see in everyday life, people who are colour blind lack one of these colours. However, how does all relate to print? In a way it doesn’t, you just need to be aware of it when you do come to print. RGB has a much bigger range of colours available then ink does when printed, mostly because there are more colours in light that are reproducible. This has consequences when you have an image that you are working with that is set to RGB, when you go to print that piece of work, if there exists any colours that are outside of the colour range of CMYK the image you are creating will appear duller. Although it’s minor, obviously it’s something you need to always consider and be aware of when it comes to printing. However, RGB does have its uses but there not for print, they’re for screens and light based media. RGB takes form in pixels in monitors and within your smart phone screen.





A colour for every colour. Pantone is a colour matching system for matching up the colours you want to print to the colours that are represented within programs that utilise Pantone colour matching systems within them. This book was printed with a fluorescent red ink using screen-printing.

For example: Adobe’s creative suite features such swatches within most of their programs. This is used then by printer who sees which Pantone colour you has specified and then is able to mix together those inks specifically to print. So instead of having to have 4 colour CMYK you can have the colour as a spot colour and save your self the cost of using 4 plates. This works out a lot cheaper if you only needing to print one colour in a run of things. Sometimes there are colours that you can’t create with CMYK, for example: Fluorescent colours. These are inks that can’t be recreated within the spectrum of CMYK printing and are considered Spot Colours, or they can be used in the way specified above using Pantone. Spot colours are colours created for single run prints that can be combined with CMYK as a 5th colour or simply used alone.


* Not the actual PANTONE swatch colour.

Red 032C


Talking with type.

The headings of each page are written with 24 point type and Edmondsans. The body copy however is written with 8 point type in Edmondsans.

Right Aligned Central Left Aligned J u s t i f i e d


Although you’re probably aware of the world of typography, serifs and sans serif and point sizes too. It’s important to understand how they look and feel what understand what is being communicated when you use a certain font. Comic sans, Times New Roman and Helvetica, 3 different font types that all give different messages to one another. Comic sans comes across as fun, playful and childish due to its curvy and bubbly aesthetic. While Times New Roman comes across authoritative and is very readable with it’s distinguished serifs unlike Helvetica, which is neutral, it’s very clinic and because of that not much is being conveyed with it. It sets a tone for whatever you create with it, the same applies for all the rest of the fonts and whatever font you pick delivers a punch with it that is not brought across in the text it’s self but along with it, depending on which typeface you choose. Size, weight and alignment all play a part too, print out samples and see how they appear on paper for the best decision-making.

8 point

12 point

18 point

24 point

36 point

48 point

60 point 14




The paper is what makes it. The feel of the book is just as pleasing as a front cover; the same goes for a leaflet. If you like the feel of something, or look you’re bound to keep it, some papers feel great to read, some do not. This book was creating using white mount board to make it more durable and unique.

However to have something that not just feels good but makes images look good is one property glossy paper has. It holds the ink on the page well, making the pictures look sharp. While something such as sugar paper feels cheap and doesn’t really make images shine on it. A piece of paper is going to react to when it comes to printing on it is paramount, it determines how the look of the design piece and the feel of it too. Knowing what paper stock to choose is one of the major design decisions that some people do without thinking about, it seems natural to get the gloss paper for photo printing because that’s what you get them on. Sometimes such as matte photos aren’t possible on gloss paper and you have to choose a different stock type that would achieve that effect at the end of the day.



ISO Paper: A-series.

The pages in this book were made to be a custom size at 13cm x 17cm with a bleed of 1 cm.

A series paper is probably something you’ve come across a lot in your life. A4 sheets of paper are the general all purpose use, where they get used for letters, posters and documents. It’s a widely used paper size, but so is the rest of the A-series paper. Such as A1 & A2, which are, most often used for posters. If you were to get a design printed in a big run, printers would often use R or SR paper sizes, these are parent sheets of the A series paper, they’re slightly bigger then the A series so they’re able to fit a A1 size print onto RA1 sheet. So you wouldn’t have to worry have how much is going to be cut off because there would be room for print anyway. The best thing to do is if you’re printing at A5 print it on an A4 sheet of paper to be cut down, say if you’re doing screen-printing as printers normally crop work for you. Obviously, ISO series paper isn’t the only thing you can print to; creating your own paper sizes is a great exercise too. A series paper is there as a template to simply explore and do what you like with it.


A 20

ISO Paper: B & C series. B series paper sizes in measurements, halfway between 2 A series paper sizes. So B3 is half way between A3 and A4. They’re slightly narrower and are most often used for charts, posters and envelopes. They’re an alternative to the A series simply put. It’s also the format that is use for passports too. However, C series is only really used for envelopes for A series paper. C series is the average of both A and B series. C4 is the mean of A4 and B4. So it’s slightly larger then A4 but B4 is slightly larger then C4, The practical side to this is that A4 folds down into C4 envelope, while C4 folds down into a B4 envelope. Although these paper sizes seem like the only thing you can use, they are not. Create your own paper sizes, these simply serve as a template for you to use. However life is made easy when you do use these sizes but they aren’t a rule to follow is the main thing to remember.


BC 22

Pick a book bind. How you bind your book is as important as the content within it, you may judge a book by its cover but the bind is just as important, it affects the durability, the feel and how you eventually put together your book. This book uses perfect bounding because it was the most appriopriate method for the stock used. Plus it was quick and easy to put together.

For example: if you were to saddle stitch you have to then put your book together in 4s, where if you were to perfect bind you can slot leaves in individually and you don’t have to worry about pagination. Knowing this before you start putting together a book is vital otherwise you’re going to have to end up redoing your book if you were to do one, it’s one major consideration to take in before you start designing for print. But that’s not all, the binding of a book is vital to determining your target audience through how they would interact with your book. A children’s book is strong, opens flat for easy reading but is durable and tough enough to take a bumps and bashes and usually glossy so they don’t take on stains from the mucky fingers touching it.


Perfect bound

Case bound

Saddle stitch

Double-loop 24


Plastic comb


Saddle stitch

Screw and post

Binding Does it Is it Relative What is What is Type: lay flat? durable? costing? good? bad?

Perfect bound




Cheap in big runs.

Lost image in gutter

Case binding





Most costly

Saddle stitch




Fast and cheap to make

Pages need to be in 4s

Side sitch




Fast and cheap to make

Won't lie flat open

Screw & post




Easy to add more pages

Takes to long for big runs

Tape bound




Durable option, cheap

Pages need to be in 4s

Plastic comb



In small runs

Easy to add more pages

Costly in big runs

Ring bound




Easy to add more pages

Takes to long for big runs



Process & Setup


Final touches to consider. There will be always something left that you will to improve, but there is sometimes final touches that you might not have considered that will enhance your print work through feel, look and interactivity. Although this book doesn't use any of these finishes, it was a consideration.

For example: Embossing paper adds extra touch and dimension to a printed piece. While something such as perforation adds interactivity, it makes the printed piece more than a simple piece of paper.

Sometimes they don't add anything more to the design.

These final touches, or finishes, end your print on a high and designing with these in mind allows for you to add extra value to your design. It makes them more memorable and if that’s something you want it’s best to be aware instead of attempting to fit them in later on. However these things don’t come free when you send them off to print and obviously they will add to the cost, but there is ways to DIY it if it’s something you want to test out. Foil blocking can be done with the use of a laser printer and laminator, and perforation can be done with a steady hand and a scalpel or a craft knife.


Foil Blocking

This finish is a high quality finish that adds metallic foil, typically gold or silver, to medium you want printed.


Embossing is a finish that creates an impression into a surface, which stands out. It is cost effective and cheap.


Debossing is a finish that creates an indent into a surface, the opposite effect of what embossing is.


Lamination is the process of applying thin plastic film to paper or surface to create a gloss look on both sides.

Spot UV

UV spot varnish is typically applied to a specific area such as text or a logo to create a gloss look.


Perforation is a dotted cut line, typically die cut, that signals the user to rip along the line, allows for easy tearing.


Varnishing is similar to UV spot varnishing but is normally used to cover an entire page instead of a specific area.


Document setup for print. Once you’ve sent of your document to be printed at the printers, there is probably nothing left you can do after that. If there have been any mistakes and things that need to be changed, it’s possible you could be charged for the correction. I used a 1cm bleed in this publication, however that was to account for cutting errors.

300DPI is the resolution that is optimal for printing with, to low and it may be possible to see pixelisation.


Or if files are missing they’re going to have to chase you up for the files. It’s something you probably want out of mind and not have to worry about. To the right is a quick checklist of things to go over when it comes to setting up your document for minimal mishaps, something such as sending images with too low a resolution just by mistake is something that’s going to have consequences later. As a first things first to know when it comes to printing, if you’re using InDesign, Illustrator or Photoshop always remember to setup your document to be CMYK and set to 300 DPI. This is the most important two things you really need to know, because otherwise you’re going to encounter disappointing results later on when your work comes back pixelated if it’s pictures, and dull if it uses bright colours.

Make sure there's a 3mm bleed. Send single pages to print, not spreads. Send a PDF and the original artwork. Make sure it's set to CMYK colour mode. Set spot colours to Overprint. Don't use big images, size them down.



What are the printing costs? Obviously commercial print is going to cost a lot, but picking the most appropriate and cost effective method to print with.

This book was screen printing simply because of the material i wanted to use, but also because it allowed me to used the colour i wanted which wasn't offered in Digital printing.

Each method and process obviously all have their pros and cons and knowing them is vital if you want to pick a process to print with especially if you’re going to be paying for it. For example: Screen printing is very time consuming, with each colour having to take up a separate screen as well as it having to be done by hand. But once you’ve done the setup printing off lots of copies is incredibly fast and easy. While something like lithography is incredibly fast and cheap, unlike digital printing which is slow but high quality. When you do commercial print, you’re not just going to be paying for the print, if you were to say, stapled book, you will be paying for the whole process in creating it, not just for the print. So that would make it more expensive then just a leaflet using the same printing method.


Printing methods

Lost image in gutter


image in Pros Cons gutter



Fast and Not good cheap for short long runs runs at all


Screen printing

Fast and Takes a Cheap in long time short runs to setup



High quality printing

Expensive and takes time


Digital print

High quality printing

Expensive in long runs.


Laser print

Quick Lowest printing at quality of home print



Cost Not suiteffective able for short runs photos

££ 34