When Designing for Print – Think Backwards
I’ve certainly been guilty of it in the past – starting work on a print project with minimal consideration about the printing process. However, Sandee Cohen’s book From Design – Into Print is doing a great job of putting me on the right track.
The first two chapters focus on important printing process considerations designers should make, before starting on their print project. Here is a general overview of the initial considerations:
1. What are the physical properties of the project? – Size, number of pages, number of colors, and number of folds.
2. What is the budget for the project? – This will help you with choices about the colors, the kind of paper, and the place where you will print.
3. What is the deadline for the project? – This is very important, because correct timing and appointment scheduling (such as a photo shoot) will ensure that the project is delivered on time and your relationship with the client stays strong.
Now lets talk about some of our paper choices. Here is a list of paper considerations:
- Color – A project may be printed on white or colored paper. It may also be printed on a substrate, which is a surface such as what’s used for candy bar wrappers. Depending on the paper color or surface, you may need to pay for more than the CMYK colors.
- Coating – This refers to the smoothness on the surface of the paper. Uncoated papers tend to absorb more ink.
- Finishes – This refers to the texture of the paper. This may affect how your text or graphics look.
- Weight – This will affect your budget, since heavier paper tends to be more expensive.
- Strength – You should consider if your finished project will be put under a lot of stress.
- Thickness – Keep in mind that thick paper is not necessarily heavy paper.
- Brightness – This will affect the look of your graphics, so choose wisely.
- Opacity – Paper with low opacity will create an interesting effect in some projects, but it is not recommended if you don’t want the next page to show through.
Chapter two is about printing and printer considerations. Sandee Cohen does a great job of presenting both advantages and disadvantages to using inkjet printers, laser printers, imagesetters, dye-sub printers, and film recorders. I never knew there were so many choices. It makes perfect sense that any design for print should be well planned in advance. One of the best features about these first two chapters is the Project Preparation List on page 19.
So again, start from the end. Figure out your budget, your deadlines, the paper and printing needs. The more detailed you are at the beginning of this process, the easier and faster it will go.
resource: From Design Into Print by Sandee Cohen