Why do we need print designs?

Print design is a field of graphic design that has been around for a long time. It is used in a huge part of marketing strategies. Recently, however, digital marketing and advertising have become increasingly popular. That’s why more and more business owners and managers are starting to ask questions like “Do we need print designs nowadays?” and “What’s the difference between print and web design?” Today, we’ll explore these important questions and explain why print designs will continue to be relevant for a long time to come.

What does “print design” mean?

Generally speaking, it is any design that is intended to be printed on some kind of physical medium. Perhaps the first that comes to mind are business cards, brochures, flyers and leaflets, menus, posters, and posters. However, the print design also includes billboards, vinyl banners, product packaging, and even mugs and t-shirts! Window displays and windows are also branded using print design.

What makes design for print different from design for the web?

If you’ve never had to deal with the world of graphic design before, you might be asking yourself, “How different can print design be from web design?” The answer is – a lot! What’s more, the differences are so key that even if you need the same image for both web and print, it’s not possible to use the same design for both. Let’s take a look at what the key differences are.

Color profiles

Have you heard the terms CMYK and RGB? These are the two most popular types of color profiles.

CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key. This is the standard color model used for printing, and most printing presses use it. In the CMYK model, you start with a white substrate onto which you apply paint with different ratios of the three main pigments (cyan, magenta, and yellow). In theory, mixing the three pigments should result in a black color. In practice, however, a dark brown results. For this reason, the system also uses a fourth pigment – black.

RGB stands for Red, Green, and Blue – i.e. red, green, and blue. The name comes from the three types of light that are emitted by all types of digital displays – computers, tablets, TVs, and smartphones. The principle of how the screens work is the opposite of how they work in print. Whereas in the CMYK model, mixing all the pigments results in black, when the pixels on a screen emit the three types of light in equal amounts, the result is white. This model produces vivid and bright images and allows up to 256 colors. The disadvantage, however, is that the way the colors are visualized and perceived by the eye depends entirely on the characteristics of the screen.

You might be asking yourself if it is possible to directly reformat from RGB to CMYK and vice versa. In theory, it is possible. However, the truth is that with each conversion, some of the color quality is lost. If you convert the profile several times from RGB to CMYK and vice versa, you may end up with completely different color combinations. Because of the differences between screen and print color, design for printed materials requires special monitors that can be calibrated to give the most realistic view of the final image. Another method of obtaining accurate colors in print that is used in corporate advertising is Pantone standardization – that is, an exact recipe for obtaining a particular color.

The resolution

When designing for the web, we often think of the term “resolution“. But what does it mean and how does it differ from the resolution used for print design?

Resolution is the number of pixels or “dots” used to create an image or to display an image on a computer monitor or other device. The two most common measures of resolution are dpi (dots per inch) and PPI (pixels per inch).

In web design, resolution is measured in pixels per inch (ppi). The higher the resolution, the sharper the image will look. However, due to the characteristics of the predominant devices in use, and the need to load web pages as quickly as possible, the standard resolution for web images is 72 ppi.

When designing for print, the resolution needs to be significantly higher. The gold standard is 300 dpi. It is important to note that when it comes to print design, the resolution is only relevant for raster images, as vector images can be scaled freely.

And can the resolution of the images be changed? Yes, but this has several consequences. The resolution affects the size and quality of the image, but also the size of the working files. If you want to enlarge a low-resolution image, this will inevitably result in a loss in quality.

File formats and bidding (bleed)

In graphic design, size always matters – whether it’s print or web. However, the goals being pursued are different. On the web, we aim for maximum image quality at minimum file sizes. This can be achieved in various ways – through compression and the use of new file format types created specifically for this purpose.

Print design, on the other hand, requires a precise calculation of the number of applications of each design on the entire medium. Of great importance is the so-called bleed. This extra distance left from the background (usually a few millimeters) is where the knife will pass when cutting the article.

As you can see, the differences between the two design types are not just many, but important. That’s why it’s especially important that when you need print designs, your designer knows exactly what he or she is doing. This will save you time and headaches, and sometimes a lot of money – especially if you’re using expensive printing supplies.

Why are print designs still relevant?

The reasons for this are many and varied. For one, many still prefer the feel of paper to the ephemerality of digital images and materials. Let’s take the brochure of a furniture store as an example. The digital option allows for some interactivity to be created. But a beautifully designed paper brochure creates a completely different feel. It can be annotated and parts of it can even be cut out and overlaid on top of each other to gauge the effect that certain combinations of furniture would have in a customer’s future home.

The versatility of printed materials should also not be underestimated. While the percentage of people in Bulgaria using smart devices and the internet is quite high, there are still certain demographic groups that either do not have access to modern technology or simply prefer not to use it. Print advertising requires neither specific devices nor additional skills from the user. This is the reason why for certain industries and sectors, print advertising materials continue to be indispensable.

Last, but not least, if a print ad is approached creatively, it can be very effective and a huge success – even by people with a modern mindset who wouldn’t generally be its proponents. Examples are many and varied: advertisements with witty messages, billboards that make you smile, but also cards made of cardboard with seeds that can be sown in the garden and turned into flowers, or flyers that can be folded into an interesting Christmas toy. These are all great examples of how innovative and creative print advertising could be.

On the threshold of every revolution, innovators announce the “death of the old.” Similar gloomy predictions began to emerge for print advertising the moment the digital environment evolved sufficiently. The truth, however, is that it remains ever so relevant. That’s why print designs will be needed by most businesses for a long time to come. If your company needs professional graphic design too – Martian Designers can help! We will produce all the print or web graphic materials you need – quickly and professionally.

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