Our Graphic Designer Jim joins Chelsea in this episode to talk about the fundamentals of Print Design and how you can take your marketing materials to the next level.
When print design pops
Podcast When print design pops
In this episode, I’m joined by our graphic designer Jim and we’re going to be talking all about print.
Hi, everyone. So I’m here today with Jim. He is our graphic designer, and He specialises in all of our print projects. So yeah, over to Jim, really. So tell us a little bit about yourself, Jim.
I didn’t guys. So I’ve got a background in print. I worked at a princess for five years. So I was doing anything from business cards to, you know, a lot of stationery to a large format. Yeah, working with Pantone colours, basically, making sure everything is Colour Correct. And I wanted to take this step into doing a lot of web design as well. So that brought me here, too. So marketing, but then also, I’ve brought my skills of print design. So here I am. And I’ve been at City marketing now for nearly two years.
Brilliant, and making it an absolute pleasure. If you heavy metal everyday in the studio. You’re welcome.
Absolutely. Welcome. Everyone needs a bit of heavy metal in our life. Julius.
So yeah, I mean, heavy metal and print. This episode is getting interesting very quickly. So tell us a little bit then about the differences between print and web design and why you weren’t necessarily getting the experience in your old place.
I mean, it was primarily apprentice, he did try and get into web design, which he did. And it wasn’t probably to the extent that I’d like to do. But yeah, he was trying to separate well enough to print and web design art. So bearing in mind, things like CMYK, and RGB, that when we get photo sense over from clients that are always RGB, with enough to change them to CMYK. And because otherwise, colours can vary, and we have to keep everything. Colour Correct, basically. And we just have to make sure everything is spot on. Because if you if you make an error imprint, then you have to. It’s easy, it’s easier done and web, you can fix something quite easily. It doesn’t cost anything, really. But within print, you then have to buy the paper again. You don’t have to cut it down again. It’s yeah, it can go terribly wrong.
Very quickly. Yeah. No, um, so just touching on a few of the things that you said, Then, Jim, I am with my limited graphic design knowledge. I know that RGB is primarily digital, it’s based on the pixels and how it’s colour coded. So RGB means red, green, blue. If I’m incorrect, just jump in. Because you never know what might be. Correct. So yeah, red, green, and blue. That’s how it’s primarily mixed and CMYK. I’m not even going to attempt to guess what they stand for. But it’s basically how they actually use a physical print to mix into those colours, isn’t it?
Yeah, so cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. So it’s, with prints, it’s all about the number of dots. So if you had 10%, black, therefore, the dots have very small and spread apart, but you won’t be able to see that from the naked eye from, you know, as you would read a brochure, you won’t be able to see those dots necessarily. But if you actually look closely on the microscope, you see the dots quite clearly. And so the number of dots and say the number of dots in magenta, the number of dots in yellow, will then make a different colour, basically, yeah. Then RGB, like you say, red, green and blue. Then if you go too far and too bright, then those calls will not translate to print. They won’t print out they’ll go, they’ll double down. And some clients don’t realise that, that the authors might say, Oh, this looks dull now. So
yeah, no, I know what you mean. I guess it’s, it’s one of those if, if you’re not really used to it, and I guess we have a lot of time as well, when we’re packaging designs up for clients, specifically for web. So if you’ve done like a, like social graphic for them, and they real, like they don’t understand why they can’t just drop that into a brochure, for example.
Yeah. With print images need to be 300 dpi, whereas for web 72 DPI says dots per inch. So the more dots per inch that you have, the clearer the image will be. Yeah. So when you print, I mean, it needs to be 300 DPI images very clear. And you can expand it to some, some extent.
Yeah, no, that makes sense. And I guess, obviously, with whether it been web or digital 300 DPI just takes way too long to load.
Yes. Oh, yeah. Yeah. If you had a full website full of 300 DPI images, you’ll be sat there for a while. So like, 20 years ago, on dial up?
Yeah, no, and it’s still it’s still not great today. I mean, in terms of like, so SEO, from my perspective, I’m always getting onto the guys like, make sure they’re saved correctly. So it doesn’t like hinder the load speed of the pages, things like that. But yeah, they’re pretty good. They don’t need telling good stuff. So yeah, I guess we’ve covered them the difference between CMYK and RGB, and making sure that your images are sized correctly. And in that case, then Jim, I guess next question is, what’s the best software to use? And can I design a leaf lit up for print in Photoshop?
Don’t you dare? It? Yeah, I mean, for some people, they only have Photoshop. I mean, now everything’s on the cloud. So in order to buy the whole suite, I can understand why people might just purchase Photoshop, because then that’s just 10 pounds a month. Yeah. Whereas if you bought the whole suite source, and it’s, I can’t even remember, is it 50 pounds a month?
It’s like 60. If you buy it for a business, it’s like close to 80.
Yeah, it’s, it’s ridiculous. But I would advise if anyone is either use Illustrator for simple print, or then if you do more in depth brochures, specifically as well, magazines use InDesign, you can set the margins up. So you created a safe area a lot easier with Illustrator, it just opens up the artboard. With InDesign it asks you, we believe as well, your margins, which is your safe area, so where you keep your text in. So if you imagine when you finally get to print, if your text is too close to the edge, and the guillotine can move when it cuts, yeah, if something’s too close to the edge, and it can get forced to the edge, and it looks like it’s just gonna fall off the page. Yeah, when design keeps everything structured. Okay. So I would Yeah, 100% say InDesign is the best software to use for print.
Okay, and you touched on the if it’s a simple print, illustrator could be okay, what can I get away with using Illustrator for?
I mean, you could do your business cards letterheads very easily, you could do some leaflets. There’s some things that Illustrator can do that InDesign can’t. And it’s easier to use. So again, I can understand why people use Illustrator can do some large format as well is there’s no issues in that as long as everything’s imported to CMYK. That’s great. It’s absolutely fine. Because you can export it with the bleeds, you can export it with the crop marks, and therefore that’s fine. But then within design, what we’ve had is it so if you’re doing a brochure and they go, You know what, we need to remove pages 55 to 70 or something. Because you can set page numbers within InDesign moves, everything structured that Yeah, but if you did that and illustrate it, then everything just gets messed up. Yeah, so again, in design, or every time
so in design, then I’m guessing if you do in any kind of large form print, then go to InDesign don’t even translate on Illustrator.
Yeah, it’s, it’s a lot easier to use as well for for actually dealing with print. And how you can print preview, it’s, it’s a lot easier. It’s illustrator can do it, it will give you a print preview. But it won’t tell you what percentage of colour is being used within the print. Okay, how it’s and how it’s been used. So InDesign, again, is far better for the prints.
So in terms of being able to do especially kind of like small form print and some more simple things, and why should I even bother using Adobe Creative Cloud? Like surely even I could just go on Canva and do it
Send, every designer hates that word Canva. Really to Canvas guides, if you don’t, if you don’t really have much design background, it gives you a lot of elements that you can use. But if you want to be a designer, you want to create everything from scratch, you want to make it personal. So that’s why I would always use Adobe.
Yeah, no software, I’m just playing devil’s advocate here. Because, obviously, me being a marketing manager, trying to save a bit of money on on small businesses, kind of their marketing budget, especially if I was in house working for a small business, or I was a business owner. They obviously go onto these platforms and see that you can do business card mock ups and things on there. I mean, I don’t know if you’ve ever really done this, we’ve actually been a designer, but do you know, the sort of quality of them? Are they? Are they actually any good? Like, how would you go about kind of testing that?
Again, I don’t know, I don’t actually know. I’ve never used comfort? I’ve probably I’ve never wanted to get into? You know, look at the page of all this is what you can do. And it um, you know, I think that’s good. For like you say people that are in house, that once you create a business card once you create a letterhead, absolutely fine. But I don’t think I would ever go there. I don’t know how you’d be able to print preview. I don’t know if you can
I don’t even know if they have CMYK setup. I don’t know. But yeah, I’m just asking because obviously if if there’s a if there’s a will to save money, there’s there’s definitely a way to do it.
Oh, yeah. I mean, you can get mock ups from anywhere as well. If you can get your hands on Shutterstock just for a small licence, and you can get plenty of different layouts, different images as well. All vector? I don’t know, I don’t know, if confer can use it. I don’t, I don’t
know, either. This one that actually has used it in the past. goes as far as to share what my knowledge is
there. I mean, I think just for designers, you just get to make your own stamp on things. I design that rather than I sort of to this element, and drop that in. And then I click save, you know? I don’t know.
Yeah, no, that makes sense. I definitely wouldn’t be trying to make myself a business card anytime soon. on Canva.
Fantastic. Thank you very much.
So yeah, I guess a few other things in that I am, I just wanted to touch on really, we’ve kind of working on print projects in the past and making sure that clients have the right thing. And one thing that really scares me is any sort of like exhibition stand that he’s creating. Because I, I feel like in my role, I am sort of being a bit of a mathematician in terms of like, Go, like taking a brief from a client like this is this is the size of our pitch. This is what we have. And this is what we want to showcase, then I’m trying to liaise with like a designer and pitch them what the kind of big vision is, I guess in terms of what they want to get out there. And in terms of actually seeing it before it goes off to the exhibition, and whether there’s been agency side as well, we don’t even get to see the final product. It’s really scary. Because your CAD, everything’s just out of your control, isn’t it? And you just rely on the fact that the clients briefed you properly. And then the marketing manager or an account managers briefed it into the design team correctly, and it’s actually got off to print. Okay, and yeah, by the time it gets to wherever it needs to be, it actually looks how it’s meant to look.
Yeah, I mean, exhibitions, dances, it’s, it’s tough, or as long as everything is organised. It can be I did a exhibition stand in like, a couple of hours, because they were just small things that were needed. But because the princes were so well organised, that I didn’t really have to think about it that much. Yeah, so probably the best thing to do is for a client to liaise with a printer, if they’re not too short and obviously then then come to us, and then we can, you know, organise their printing effort standards. Well, we need to know how big it’s going to be. I mean, everyone has been to Birmingham NEC or something like that. Yeah. So you can see how some stances. It’s just a banner. But then there’s other stands that have got lights hanging down and everything is just lit up and everything looks amazing. Like a full on production. Yes. And you’re like arguing to buy from them? Because that stand looks incredible. Yeah. I mean, you don’t really think that what you’re saying, are they really professional? So I’ll go to them. Yeah. But so we’ve got quite a few clients that have asked for stands, because they are so familiar with it anyway, that they’ll go to apprentice. And they will say, right, so we need a standard that’s, we need about boards. That’s three metres by three metres. Yeah. So you go. Okay, so that’s one panel, and then the last for another panel. And then you’ll ask for another panel, and everything just starts to come together. And if they’re not too sure of how it will look, then the princess have probably got a mock up of it. Which we then can apply the mock up in Photoshop, so they can get an idea of how things are, look. I like to do those things anyway. So if there’s something where understand is where you might stand, and then there’s there’s a Mac on top of it or something like that. So that might then block what will be on the back. So a client might say, I want all of these bullet points going from top to bottom. You know, that won’t work. Because surely, because you’ve got that in the way area, haven’t thought about that. But it can be difficult, but at the same time, as long as everything’s organised, it can be it can be absolutely fine. And as long as all images are supplied high res, again, 300 DPI as large as they can be. People say I want this image. And it’s been taken from Google. And it’s absolutely tiny. It won’t, it won’t work. And we just have to find an alternative that simpler for the for the client.
Yeah, no, that makes sense. So I’ve got a few more questions for you. And so in terms of bleed when printers ask you what the bleed is, what does that mean?
So the bleed is the area around the document. So if you think of where you might have an image that goes off the page, that image will then go into the bleed. Okay. And so if you think where it gets caught, you don’t want to have a white line if the image doesn’t go over. Yeah. So if the image goes over, and it gets caught through, because like I say, when when your prints, and then when it gets trimmed, like the guillotine can move. So on, so meat might come in woods, and so we might go out. Yeah, so it might leave a white line. So it leaves a three millimetre safe area outside the print. So everything should be absolutely fine. There.
Brilliant. Okay, that makes sense. And I guess that goes on to then why margins and safe areas are pretty important.
Again, when it gets trimmed, it can come in. So then if you have a margin that’s too small, then it doesn’t look right, it kind of looks like the contents just gonna fall off the page. So it needs to be kept within a safe zone. So again, we’ve had it where clients have supplied artwork, and text is too close to the edge. So we have to move it and so then it looks like it’s just from a graphic design point of view as well. And I can think from a brochure, everything fits onto the page and you might find it it will have a margin around the edge which that would then be your sation.
Yeah, that makes sense. So in terms of materials and things that you can get things printed on what are what are some of the best ones what some of the best materials to use?
It depends on what you’re going for really. I mean, if I did before if you prints in brochures where you might use a gloss paper so you know it’s got the shiny effects but then also people might go for an uncoated paper, uncoated stock. And actually that can look quite nice. Especially when I have printed children’s books. Yeah, on gloss that won’t look right. On an uncoated stock, it actually makes illustrations stand out more.
I thought you were gonna say pop. No,
no, no, stop it you were banned in the studio.
So yeah, I guess then in terms of of print. With the digital world being as it is now, what would you say is the future of printers print still have a place?
Definitely. I mean, when you buy a new product, it comes in the packaging comes printed. Yeah, if if that packaging is like to bet enough, you’ll think of kind of wasted money there. But if you bought an Apple product, yet the packaging is specifically designed so that once you’ve opened it, because it’s so tight, that it takes like seven seconds for the actual for the bottom of it to fall out. Basically, it gives you Spence, which is actually a really clever. Yeah, I know in as well, because he’s trying to pull on it, but it won’t actually work. So you just have to leave it. You know, it’s obviously digitalist is taken over, where people before, you know some years ago would say Have you got a brochure? It’s where’s your website? Because it’s so easily accessed on your phone with 4g. So, you know, web has taken over to some extent. But obviously, with print if it will, it will never go. People will say it is I’ve read articles where it’s like prints is a die in ArcSight is going nowhere.
Yeah, no, I think from a marketing perspective, if I ever wanted to do something and gets done like to stand out, I’d go print 100%. Because now there’s so much digital noise that it’s hard to get caught through. Even if you are very good at what you do and know how to optimise content for the best audience. You’re still up against like however many agencies there are in the country. However, kind of internal marketing teams, however many freelancers are out there. So it’s just difficult. Whereas if you actually think outside the box and send something physical, it’s just a lot easier to actually get that initial spark of conversation going. If it’s if it’s a well done well,
though. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Well, then also a brochure. It’s, it’s still, it’s nice to still have something physical. Yeah. I don’t know why you but if I still like to buy records, because I like having a physical copy. I like the physical print.
Yeah. And the same with books. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. You know, and
I still read graphic novels and comic books are much prefer by the graphic novel there. I mean, you can get them on Kindle now. But I prefer to have it printed.
Yeah, I do think I’ll share your opinion with getting rid of their catalogue last year. You know? I mean, they’ve gone full digital first. Now. They don’t have any catalogues out there.
Yeah. What I mean, when that’s going to be how many pages result like 1000s.
It was chunky, I used to use it to stand on and reach top like, cops in the top on the top shelf, because I couldn’t quite reach.
Yeah, you know, I’m six votes. But there’s, obviously we need to think about the environment as well, to that extent, so rightfully so large catalogues like that, especially when I think they were getting printed twice a year.
I think it was either twice a year, it was quarterly. Yeah. I don’t know how often it was off the top of my head.
So when you think how many they probably printed? And that that isn’t good for the environment? But also you got to consider the transport of that as well. Yeah. So if they’ve stopped printing it, then obviously, that’s environment of using using trees? And obviously, because you’re not transporting anything, obviously. Now you then cut down on fuel?
Yeah, no, that makes sense. So in terms of because you’ve touched on something that I think is worth actually dwelling on a little, a little bit. Are there anything? Are there any better products to actually kind of use for print in terms of sustainability? How would you, how would you broach that subject?
The raw mean, with some paper, it can get recycled paper, but then it will come with a certain texture. I’m not sure if there’s technology now that’s been able to create, you know, so many different papers there are. But it’s it’s it is a difficult one. I mean, having a recycled paper usually has a texture. That’s that’s how I think anyway. Yeah. Sure,
yeah. No, I mean, I guess with that it’s something that people are becoming more and more aware of now. So it’s technology that’s going to just keep improving, and there’ll be solutions that are coming up all the time. So one last question and two, before I let you go, what’s the best print project you’ve ever worked on? And why
so good I mean, currently when working with auto bright doing their labels, yeah, I’ve actually, I’ve really enjoyed doing them. But then they’ve done all the work, they’ve asked for so many different things. So I think my favourite one was last year that they asked for a Halloween special. Yeah, and I, we want it, it’s going to be called that to plasm, fluorescent green, and we’re going to hide bugs in them, for customers that if they open one that’s got a bog inside, then they get a voucher of some sort. But it is printed on like a silver foil. Okay. So there are certain elements that that stood out, when I made it. very illustrative. I think it’s very much my style. So I think they asked for something, but I kind of did something different of where I thought it should go. And that’s probably the best thing you’ve ever done for us. So I was I was really chuffed with that.
That’s nice. It’s nice. I think it’s nice. The relationship we’ve actually got the water brightened. Yeah, it’s great. They do let you do that. And kind of they they trust us completely, and they trust our direction with things and you’ve worked with them for such a long time. Now you’ve really immersed yourself in their brand, and they trust your creative direction. So yeah, it’s I guess it’s always really nice as well, when it actually comes together. And clients have that trust in your creativity. And don’t don’t put a dampener on it.
Yeah, definitely. I’ve yeah, I’ve loved working with those guys. They’ve been absolutely brilliant. I’ve been able to do logos for them, been able to help out on the website with them been able to do all these labels for them, and give them pointers on prints and saying, you know, if you wanted to make something pop, you know, as you like to say, I’ve some spot up here is yeah, it’s been really good often. I think they’ve really appreciated that as well.
Brilliant. Well, thank you very much for your time. Jim. I hope you’ve enjoyed this podcast. Watch. Yes, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. Excellent. And if you’ve got any questions about prints, or if you’ve got anything coming up, maybe maybe you’re listening to this in 2022 when we can actually do exhibitions and you’ve got some questions about exhibition stands. Just drop us a line at Hello at so marketing.com