Designing for print? Get to grips with the basics to avoid disaster

Designing for print? Get to grips with the basics to avoid disaster

We have specialists across a number of different areas here at Catalyst, as each sector comes with its own unique trials and difficulties.

The Internet has introduced a range of new areas for marketers to master – online, social and mobile – bringing new opportunities and flexibility but also its own challenges.

Print, on the other hand, has very little to no flexibility at all. Once something is printed, it is almost impossible to change, unlike, say, an annoying typo in a blog post. Instead, everything should be thought through in advance and executed correctly with as much consideration as possible.

Few tips to keep in mind when embarking on a print marketing campaign:

Make sure your logo is versatile

MarketingProfs’ Vladimir Gendelman starts his list of things to be aware of with logos, which he claims should be versatile. There are two main things to consider when designing for print: colour and size. When it comes to size, remember that logos are sometimes printed on large posters and sometimes only as a footnote. No single element of the logo should disappear or become unreadable when it is scaled down.

Check if it looks good in greyscale and in full colour

Printed material is very often in black and white, usually to cut costs but sometimes for aesthetic reasons as well. So, a logo design should definitely look good in black and white. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it shouldn’thave any colours, but that it should still be recognisable when they are taken away.

Mind the difference between RGB and CMYK

Designers and print marketers should also know that there is a difference between how colours appear on a computer screen and how they appear in print. Computer monitors use red, green and blue (RGB) light to create colours. In print, colours are created by mixing cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink, called CMYK colours. There may not be a noticeable difference on screen but that doesn’t necessarily mean the result of the printed material will be identical.

Be aware of the colours’ subconscious impact

Colours also provide a lot of subtext that many people are oblivious to, but marketers can use it to their advantage. Colours are subconsciously linked with different emotions, making different colours suitable for certain products. Marketers should therefore learn the psychology behind different colours.

Use all 5 senses

The biggest difference, however, is that digital stays on a screen. Print on the other hand is a physical object that can be touched. Try to exploit the extra senses that are used by consumers when they interact with print media. Different kinds of materials, as well as different cutting techniques, can be pleasant or unpleasant to the touch.

The final product and the customer’s experience can be enriched with everything from adding textures to the print to actually applying different smells to it. The more options explored, the more tools a marketer can add to their arsenal. With good planning and an informed approach, print media can be used to great effect.

Help from the experts

As stated at the beginning of this blog, we have specialists from a number of different sectors employed at Catalyst and are proud to say we know our way round both creative and digital marketing.