For Web-only designers, you know what platform you’re going to be working on. You know that no matter what you do, it’s going to be on the Web. In the print world, you need to first decide what kind of print material you’re going to design. Does the company need a direct mail postcard, brochure, poster or flyer?
Selecting Your Printing Pleasure
One thing you have to consider with print design is portability. What will make people pick up this piece of paper and take it with them? Print does encompass including URLs, but you need to gauge where exactly the best place to put the URL is on the printed piece. And with no search engine or reviews to guide people to pick up a brochure, your design is that much more important. It has to follow the same design idea of the Web to grab someone’s attention in precious few seconds (the most time you get to capture attention is 5 seconds according to research).
You also need to consider what you want the printed piece to accomplish. What is your goal, or objective, for the direct mail postcard? To drum up new business, to announce a sale or to direct people to your Web site? All of these objectives lend themselves to different types of design and could be achieved by multiple paper sources, like flyers, postcards or sales letters.
Your Natural Competition
Once you choose what type of printed material would work best for your objective, you have to think about where people will be viewing your printed material. If you’re sending a postcard to people’s homes, there’s not much to think about there. But an item like a poster outside your building has natural competition, such as weather ruining your print job or trees blocking the view of your billboard.
Depending on if it’s the rainy season or if your item will be in direct sunlight will influence your choice in paper and ink selection. UV- and water-resistant paper and ink will help weatherproof your work and will keep it fresher longer, but it might also change the way your colors look. That, in turn, could affect your design. Another factor is finish: a high gloss finish will stand up to weather conditions better than matte, so you’ll need to design accordingly.
You’ll also need to drive by the location your printed item will be hung – are there tree limbs in the way? If you’ll be hanging it on a red brick building, you won’t want to use rust red as a background color for your poster. Also, look at the location at night to figure out how street light will affect your printed material at night.
Another biggie is that in print design you have to catch people’s attention from everything surrounding your item; on the Web, people search you out and you convince them to stay. Be sure you use colors and an eye-popping design that stands out from surrounding elements.
As long as you take into account what will get a human’s attention, rather than a search engine crawler’s attention, you’ll have success going from Web design to print.