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How to get more from your print projects: 5 top tips

In an ever-evolving digital world, it’s easy to overlook the power of print. But the medium is far from dead, as many a designer will tell you and these amazing print ads (opens in new tab) prove. Here, freelance designers Clementine Carriere and Caterina Bianchini, reveal the best ways to get the most out of your next print-based project.

01. Befriend your printer

“Sometimes the client wants something very specific, but it might not be possible physically or in terms of budget,” admits Carriere. “Being able to talk freely with your printer is fantastic. Ask as many questions as you can – if they can’t do it for a certain price, they might be able to help you find a better option.”

02. Test finishes and paper stocks

“It’s a question of budget,” adds Carriere. “Can you afford it? If you can, which option is going to best serve the final project? Depending on the topic and design itself, the most appropriate finish or stock may quickly become clear, but if you don’t know, test.”

Two flyer designs for Jamie Roy Junior G

Caterina Bianchini’s posters for Sub Club in Glasgow

03. Understand the print process

“You need to understand how certain stocks will take ink. Sometimes if you have a cream stock, a light colour will sink in and actually become a lot darker,” points out Bianchini. “Understand texture and the printing processes – embossing, debossing, painted sides, whatever – and how that stock will hold ink, or a deboss.”

04. Match stock to the product

“A stock should have the same feel and aesthetic as the product,” says Bianchini. “If it’s a premium brand, it should be heavier. You could use a sandwich stock, such as a gold fill within a three-layered paper. For a music company, you might use something more interesting, like a textured stock with, say, glitter or a holographic aspect to add an element of surprise.”

05. Limitations can be helpful 

“Limitations can push you to be more creative,” argues Carriere. “If you can only use one type of paper, maybe you could go crazy with colours inside. Maybe not. If you’re using risograph printing, you’re limited in terms of colours. You can go more crazy with stock, but this technique tends to be quite specific as to what goes into the mesh and what doesn’t. Limits push you to constantly rethink your project, and question why you’re doing something one way and not another.” 

Watch the video:

Designers Caterina Bianchini (opens in new tab), Clementine Carriere (opens in new tab) and Filip Pomykalo (opens in new tab) share their enduring love of print and give some top advice for making the most of the medium, from choosing the right materials to building a relationship with your printer. Presented in association with Route 1 Print (opens in new tab).

This article originally appeared in Computer Arts (opens in new tab), the world's leading design magazine. Subscribe here (opens in new tab)

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