5 Basic Principles of Print Design

In a world as digital as ours, it's easy to think that print is dead. 

I'm here to tell you, it's not. Print design may actually be one of the best forms of design. It's the basis that design was built on. It gives people something tangible to hold onto. It allows your design to reach past a traditional shape and create something fresh. Print design is not dead.

Hopefully, now I have convinced you of the value in print design. But, how do you create a quality print design?

In this blog post I'm going to share with the 7 basic principles of print design so that you can start utilizing this under appreciated format.

5 Basic Principles of Print Design | This infographic and accompying blog post walk you through the 5 essential principles for getting started with print design. Find more helpful resources at www.jordanprindledesigns.com


1 | Start with proper coloring

Coloring is king when it comes to design. 

When preparing a document for print design set the color mode to CMYK. This stands from Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. Be careful that your design software isn't set at RGB, which is used for the web. 

CMYK dates back to the printing press when each color needed to be applied separately. Now, printing is a little more efficient, but due to the set up of our design software and printers the industry standard still operates from a CMYK basis to ensure the proper color is used.

Related: How to Create a Distinct Color Palette


2 | Remember to bleed

When setting up your page you'll want to remember to include a bleed. 

Bleed is when you let your colors, images and texts extend across the trim of the page. This ensures there is no white margin (or border) around the document after printing. When you are exporting your document remember to add 1/4 inch of space for your bleed. 


3 | Learn your grids

When learning design principles it's important to learn your grids. 

Grids are the fundamentals of your design layout. When starting a new design, you'll want to think about each design element you'll need to include. For example, a logo, header, body copy, graphic, website URL, etc.

Before you begin designing any elements, you'll want to decide a few layout options that would best showcase your design.


4 | Think outsize the letter

When taking your first steps into print design, you'll probably rely heavily on the standard letter size. But, as you grow in your skills and creativity, you'll want to begin thinking outside of the box. Literally. 

Instead of creating a flyer on an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper, try a rectangle, include moving parts or add cut outs. Get creative! This will help you stand out from the crowd. Plus, it will demonstrate some of that creative muscle. Win-win!


5 | Demand quality

Last, but definitely not least. Quality. 

When you're exporting your final product you want to ensure that you are printing at the optimal quality. The print standard is 300 DPI. You can occasionally get away with 150 DPI, but if you don't have to print at 150 DPI, you shouldn't. 

Opting for the best quality ensures the best resolution. This means no blurry images, hard to read text or costly re-prints. 

Have some print design principles I missed? Include them in the comments below!