Fresh Crap! What I've Learned About Print

Posted by AMac on August 26, 2009

This week's newsletter is about going "Back to School," so I'll start with a short bit about school.

It wasn't long ago that I was in school. It's interesting to me that I've spent two-thirds of my life in school, the majority of my time up to this point. But a person twice my age has spent two-thirds of his life out of school, his time defined by what he's done since. It's a funny thing to think about—school becomes less relevant as you get older, to the point that school has almost no relevance to a person in their 90s. Crazy.

It's hard to imagine going back to school, having been there for so long, but let's talk about learning new things in the real world. Recently we've had a wave of print work come in the door. Print work introduces some new design challenges, but also comes with some advantages that can't be matched on the web. I haven't been working in print for long, but I've learned a few things so far.

The biggest advantage to print design is that there's a little more flexibility. There are design and budget principles about size, shape, fonts, and colors, but I don't have to think about what is "web-safe," which is nice. I have no doubt that in the future the web will be much more flexible, but right now it could use some yoga classes.

On the flip side, print work is much less forgiving. Proofreading is essential, in order to avoid things like this:

Image removed.

Some other observations I've made about print

  • What gets printed isn't always what we see on the computer screen.
  • There are a ton of cool ideas for print work, brainstorming is fun.
  • Printers are either slow, picky, or slow.
  • It's nice to have a hard copy of something I've worked on to hold in my hand, point and say, "I did this."
  • Illustrator and Photoshop should be more interchangeable. If I know how to use one, the other should be easier to figure out.
  • In print, I don't have to worry too much about usability unless my flyer has to explain, "How to make this flyer into a paper airplane."
  • Bigger file sizes are good for more computer crashes.
  • Clients understand how a poster works, more so than they do a website. We don't have to train a client on how to use their new poster.
  • Budgets just got more irritating, with the inclusion of printing costs and footwork.

School is just fine, if you're into that sort of thing, but I like learning in the real world, trial by fire. I tend to pick it up faster if I'm working for a client rather than a teacher. This is how I've learned print design so far, and I look forward to learning more, doing more, and staying out of the classroom.

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Submitted by Guest on Sat, 10/03/2009 - 12:08pm

Can I have a copy of that sign to put on a Joe's Tshirt? It might help me at work :) Love the blog AMac!