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How the Understanding of Print Processes Helps a Graphic Designer?


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The purpose of this article is to concentrate on the various aspects of printing process that any “Graphic Designer" must know for the job to be executed without controversies or difficulties. As with the graphic design fundamentals a print process also involves specific principles that every designer must know. That proverbial “thin hairline" must always remain ‘thin’ and the graphic designer must realise this golden rule.

Mastering the Print Design & Process

Printing is the process of translating ideas into a visible and aesthetic hardcopy. Graphic design is the basis of those ‘ideas’ mentioned in the preceding sentence. One therefore can lead to the other and this thought must be properly understood by graphic artists or designers. What are the points that help in understanding the print design and printing process? These can be summarised as follows:

  • The basic printing processes for various types of printing jobs.
  • Colour chemistry is an important topic along with the subject of colour matching. Some idea must be available with the graphic designers of this branch of print designing and processing. One need not be a chemist to appreciate the fundamental principles.
  • Types of papers available for printing, their salient features and properties, and the aspect of printability.
  • Printing terminology and its meaning.
  • Print machinery - types, limitations, printing range, etc.
  • Colour separation techniques, progressive printing process, bleed concepts, print stability, print retention and shade change etc. Nearly all software meant for graphic designing incorporate colour separation techniques to assist the designer in specifying the colour printing order.

Graphic Designer is a link to the Management and the Printer!

Ideas converted into a reality on paper or Internet (World Wide Web) is the essence of graphic design. How this design is converted into a hard copy for printed literature or information becomes the basis of print design. The graphic designer or even the print designer is that all important link between management ideas and the final product for the customers. Thus the ‘teamwork’ ensures proper communication channels that induce the prospects to become customers. It is akin to how a composer (aka graphic designer) creates a tune; the musician (aka print designer) translates this into the musical notation, the artist (aka printer) translates that into a song that the music lover (customer) buys for his listening pleasure or usage!

Graphic & Print designing are two sides of the same coin!

Many times a company only requires their information or marketing literature to be viewed on the Internet. In such cases the role of a graphic designer is all that is important and the need of print designing or printer not that necessary. However, if the design is to be eventually also translated into a printed brochure, flyer, sales letter, annual report, or technical information sheets etc it becomes imperative to amalgamate with the printing process. This is where the knowledge of print designing and printing comes into play. This could of course be only an exception and in a majority of cases it is a combination of web presence with hardcopy information. Therefore in conclusion it can be said that both disciplines are needed in an organisation to have a complete Design Group.

Wes Towers runs Omnific Design, a strategic graphic and web design studio based in Wyndam, Melbourne, Australia. Check out their website here:


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