Designing for Print, by The Print Guys

4 years ago by

Brought to you by The Print Guys

As a design professional, you’re going to come up against all sorts of challenges and issues when printing your designs. Print is a highly complex and technical area with huge potential for mistakes. The great news is that you don’t have to make every single mistake yourself.

The Print Guys have put together a series of articles that feature particular types of jobs, and we point out the hurdles along the way. With some good advice and fore-warning, you can adjust your pace and stride before a hurdle arrives, so that you can leap over it with grace and elegance, earning the admiration of your clients and colleagues.

The series starts off by featuring a piece that The Print Guys produced for themselves — a mailer that was sent out to their clients. This piece had the potential for disaster, but with a little fore-thought and testing, all hurdles were leapt and the piece went out and arrived safely. Mike from The Print Guys takes us through the process:

This was a piece that folded down from a 200mm square to a 100mm square, with a tricky little fold. The nature of the fold meant that the ink was going to be stressed at the creases and the major hurdle here was that we could end up with cracking. We managed this by our choice of stock, selecting an uncoated stock that we knew from experience could handle creasing in multiple directions without cracking.

Folding the brochure was a fiddly job as it all had to be done by hand, and when it was finished we decided that it deserved a special kind of envelope to send it out in.

Imagine from your studio perspective, that your client has asked you to design a piece that’s a little different and funky. It’s nice to be able to offer a method of mailing that’s also a little different — so that’s what we did here.

Now, The Print Guys aren’t designers, and we don’t pretend to be, but we did manage to come up with a design for the envelope that suited the piece and that was a bit different. The design relied on an overlapping fold to seal it down rather than glue.

This is where the next potential hurdle cropped up — would the fold be sturdy enough to hold together in transit? We figured the best way to answer this question was to make a mock-up and then pretend to be courier drivers and throw the envelope around the office to see if it would stand up to the rigours of the postal system.

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To be fair, it was a lot of fun, and the envelope was soon dubbed “The Flying Ninja Star” — the point here though is, if you’re doing something a little different, test it out first and think through where and how your piece is going to be used. Your client will appreciate the attention to detail, and if it turns out that the piece doesn’t pass the test, you still have time to do something about it. We figured, in this case, that we would apply a small sticker over the join if the design didn’t hold up. Luckily however, it passed the test and no sticker was needed.

In case you’re interested in doing a similar piece, we have a cutting forme for this now, so you won’t need to go to the expense of having a forme made. Of course, you won’t need to test it now either, as much fun as that can be. Just email if you’d like a copy of the dieline.

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