Common Errors Web to Print Designers Make

April 15, 2010 at 9:46 am Leave a comment

Whether you’re a graphic designer working on web to print projects or a small firm specializing in commercial printing products, be sure to avoid these common errors in laying out and finalizing your content. Overcrowding content spaces and creating eyesores, overusing too many different types of fonts or templates, and saving your project in a color format incompatible with most printers are all common flubs that can make your work less effective and more time-consuming.

A good rule of thumb for general graphic design as it relates to web to print applications is that less is more. When designing your first few projects, it’s easy to let your enthusiasm carry you away. But getting too heavy handed with sharp, contrasting colors, overly complicated graphics, and crowded content can actually be quite counter intuitive. Considering the visual comfort of your audience is a courtesy they will repay by giving your product more attention.

There should be enough space between major images, graphics, blocks of background color, and text to allow the eye to wander comfortable between them. Too much content jammed into one space is not only confusing but it will ultimately detract from your goal of communicating as much information as possible as visually pleasantly as possible. Web to print projects are almost always rich in visual content as well as text, but remember that graphics, images or pictures should enhance your overall message, not drown it out.

Along the same lines, resist the temptation to use every type of font in one page. Overusing font types gives an overall appearance of disorganization. Using one font type for headers or titles and another comfortable, easy to read font for all the body text is usually advisable. Using only two or three font types at max gives an impression of careful forethought and uniformity which are hallmarks of professional design.

One of the biggest headaches facing designers of web to print content is the RGB and CMYK distinction. Remember that RGB, which stands for red, green, blue is a coloration mode that is typically used for displaying colors on a computer screen or other graphical monitor. RGB mode achieves its various display colors by blending its three basic shades, and then adding these shades against the black background of the display screen to produce the final target hue.

Unfortunately, even though this mode of coloration is extremely prevalent on the soft-copy side of design, it doesn’t quite translate to hard copy printing without some careful coaxing. This is because most printers employ the CMYK mode of coloration, which stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and black. The CMYK mode is far more effective for printing because it features a dedicated black ink component for printing onto paper, which the RGB mode lacks.

However, because these modes are so different in terms of their makeup, the specific numerical color values they use to describe common colors we use everyday also differ. For this reason, make sure you convert your files from RGB to CMYK before you attempt to start finalizing and printing. Otherwise you’ll end up with a finished product that could look drastically different from what you designed on-screen.

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