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Understanding Graphic Design for Print: Elements You Need to Know

Graphic design for print can teach a lot to new designers. You are likely to make so many mistakes that can seriously affect the final prints. Unlike in the web, print runs are expensive and permanent. Thus, any mistakes conducted when designing for the print can prove to be costly. You cannot tweak the design and update the files (like in web designing). Print designers work on products like print advertisements (for newspapers and magazines), product designs, packaging, logos and business cards. Find out what are the main elements of designing for the print.

Graphic Design for Print: Elements You Need to Know

What is print design?

Size of Document

Although there are standards like Letter and A4 paper in printing, many other products exist in all sizes. For example, the size of business cards can vary from one client to another – thus there could be thousands of custom sizes. Therefore, it is crucial that you design to a specific size. Similarly, there are size variations when designing for magazines, newspapers, pamphlets and other products.

Choice of Colour System

CMYK is currently the standard color system in printing. The designing software including Illustrator and Photoshop need to have their color palette set to CMYK before working on any network. Graphic designing in print produces much smaller spectrum of colors as compared to when designing for the web. Besides, CMYK is closer to the final output that you will get on paper. You will have to worry less about any surprises in terms of color variations when the final print is out.


When designing for print, the space is usually measured in inches. The layout can vary from a small or large billboard to a business card. One of the unique advantages of designing for print (than for the web) is that some of the elements will be fixed. You will know about these elements from the start. For example, you will know the space allowed for the finished product. You will also know that the final product will look the same to everyone. There’s no need to worry about different users getting a different product (in visuals), which is the case when designing for the web. In web graphics designing, you will have to worry about the final product being compatible with all types, sizes and orientation of screens.

Bleed Area

Another aspect of print design is safety and bleed areas. They are required for guaranteeing print results. Print design is typically 2 dimensional with a lot of attention being given to layout. All views are meant for a specific canvas size but this is not the case in web graphic designing. In that case, it’s more about scrolling the page, which is entirely different from the experience of canvas.

While web designing is based entirely on user movements, print designing enables you to walk through the info, select the required info, improve and explain the elements. Thus, designing for the web is all about delivering an experience, which is not the case when creating a design for the print.


When designing fro print, designers work at 300 DPI instead of 72DPI screen resolution.

24 thoughts on “Understanding Graphic Design for Print: Elements You Need to Know”

  1. This blog post is great for learning print graphic design basics. I like the clear explanations of design elements and how to use them to make effective printed materials.

  2. This blog post introduced me to graphic design. The examples and tips were easy to understand and apply to my design projects.

  3. Even though I’ve been doing print graphic design for years, this blog post was a good refresher. Clear visuals and explanations helped me quickly review and reinforce my knowledge.

  4. This blog post highlights the importance of typography, colour, and layout in print design. I like how the post shows how these elements can create different moods and messages.

  5. Thanks for this helpful print graphic design article. As a marketer and designer, I know how important print design basics are. From colour theory to typography, this article simplifies print graphic design. The tips and examples are useful for creating effective and visually appealing print materials.

  6. I like that graphic design emphasises printing process knowledge. If your design doesn’t print well, it’s pointless. This article describes printing methods and how they affect design. Designers can ensure their prints look as good as their screens by considering these factors.

  7. The section on designing for print materials was particularly helpful. Business cards and billboards have different design considerations. Designers can create appealing, functional materials by tailoring the design to the medium. This article describes those factors and gives examples of good designs.

  8. This article was easy to understand for someone like me who has worked with designers. It covers print graphic design without being too technical. I liked the design software section, which compared programmes and their strengths. This article is great for learning print graphic design.

  9. This post is very educational. It’s true that many blog owners underestimate Google’s traffic potential. This post will help bloggers rank high in search engines.

  10. This print graphic design blog post was helpful. Since print runs are permanent and expensive, as a new designer, I appreciate the emphasis on understanding print design elements and the potential consequences of mistakes. The discussion of size variation and the importance of designing to a specific size was particularly helpful, as was the explanation of the standard printing colour system (CMYK) and the smaller colour spectrum compared to web design. Designing for a fixed canvas in print versus different screen sizes and orientations on the web was also insightful. I now realise that print design requires 300 DPI, while web design requires 72 DPI. This post gave a good overview of graphic design for print and its need for precision and detail.

  11. You illuminated the challenges new print designers face. Your post helps explain print design, where mistakes can be costly. Your colour, layout, and resolution explanations are clear. Discussing bleed areas and safety zones helps ensure high-quality printing.

  12. New web-to-print designers should read your post. Explaining print design elements like size, colour system, layout, and resolution helps ensure a smooth design. New designers should focus on print design’s fixed elements and ensure consistency. Thanks for helping new print designers.

  13. I’ve worked in print design for 3 years and know the importance of getting things right the first time. Once the print run begins, even small mistakes can have a big impact on the final product.

  14. I liked your explanation of print vs. web design. While there are similarities, designing for paper presents some unique challenges and considerations.

  15. This post made me realize how much print design layout and canvas size matter. It’s intriguing to consider how that differs from web design scrolling and how it affects the design process.

  16. This post helped me understand print design basics as a new graphic designer. As I create my own print designs, I’ll remember these tips.

  17. It’s easy to forget that designing for print means working with a limited color spectrum and that your computer screen may not match the final printed product. Thanks for the reminder to work in CMYK and consider paper colors!

  18. Graphic design for print beginners will benefit from this post. It emphasizes understanding print design elements like document size, color system, layout, and resolution. The post also emphasizes print design’s fixed elements and ability to provide a consistent visual experience. This post gives a great overview of print design and the key factors designers should consider when creating print materials.

  19. This post is spot-on, as a web and print designer. Understanding print design’s unique challenges and requirements is essential. To avoid costly mistakes, I appreciate the emphasis on size, color, and resolution. This post is great for print design beginners and experts. Congrats!

  20. This print design guide is great. I’ve always loved graphic design. I didn’t realize that color system, layout, and bleed area were so important. It’s interesting to see how print design’s fixed elements would be an advantage over web design’s flexibility. I didn’t know print designers work at a higher DPI than web designers, which is crucial. I now appreciate print design thanks to your insights!

  21. Great print design guide! Mistakes in print runs are costly and permanent. Web designers consider screen compatibility, while print designers focus on sizes and colors. I appreciate the resolution reminder—print designs need a higher DPI than screen designs. Thanks for these print design tips!

  22. The author emphasizes the importance of being careful when designing for print as mistakes can be costly and permanent. This is an important reminder for designers to double-check their work and make sure everything is correct before sending it off to the printers.

  23. The blog post does a good job of explaining the differences between designing for print and web. It points out that designing for print has certain advantages such as fixed elements and the ability to control how the final product will look, while designing for the web is more focused on creating a user experience.

  24. This blog post is informative and useful for new designers who are interested in learning about the differences between designing for print and web. It highlights the various elements of print design such as size, color system, layout, bleed area, and resolution, which are important to consider when creating printed materials.

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