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November 20, 2009

Common Misconceptions in Graphic Design and Printing

“Why does it always look different on my screen? A client might ask for a specific Pantone color from their own Pantone swatch book. The designer sets the file exactly as it is required, yet when the client sees an example on their computer monitor they are very disappointed that the color isn’t the same or even close. Why is that?

Brightness, contrast, color settings… all monitors have them. Unless two monitors are calibrated to the exact same settings then the colors will always appear very different. The best way to color-match is to use printed proofs, and even then, your choice of paper can critically effect the color of your printed product.

When printing digital, ask your printer for a pantone swatch color sheet. This sheet will include all the pantone colors to give you a chance to see what the pantone colors look like when printed digitally. Remember, Pantone is a standard for offset printing to standardize the color reproduction system such as CMYK or spot colors.

“Can you use the image from the web for our brochure or rackcard?”

Sourcing images can be very time-consuming. Many people believe that an image they find online is perfect for any print job. However, in order to look clear, web images must have a minimum resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi). Digital or Offset Print work, on the other hand, requires images to have a minimum resolution of at least 300 dpi.

“Why does graphic design cost so much?”

The client doesn’t often see the process involved when a graphic designer takes on a design project. In fact, on most occasions the client will only see a few computer-generated proofs or design examples. It is always best to give your client a timeline of your design process so they can understand the steps that are necessary in the creative process.

For example: A designer typically only use a computer at the end of the design process. Beforehand comes clarifying the design brief, research, brainstorming and logo sketching.

What problems do you find cropping up again and again when dealing with graphic designers, clients or printer?

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