Design for print

Design for Print

At H&H Reeds, we take great pride in our printing heritage. Established in 1878, you could say that we've learned a thing or two about print over the years. With a wealth of experience in printing, including production and design, we're here to help and share our expertise with you.

Key Factors to Consider When Designing for Print

Designing for print is a multi-step process that requires careful planning and attention to detail. It's important to understand the production process, paper types, finishes, colour management and how they all come together to create an outstanding final product.

Below, we have outlined the various factors that we consider when professionally designing for print for our clients.

design for print
design for print

Colour Space

The first thing to consider when designing for print is the colour space. Unlike digital design, where RGB (Red, Green, Blue) is used, printing uses CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key/Black) inks to create colours. CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key/Black) are the four colours print files are made up of and the inks used in offset printing. If we require a design to have an exact colour or colour palette, we use Pantone® swatches (known as spot colours) to make sure we get the precise shade we need.


When it comes to printing, an image or file needs to have a resolution of 300 dots per inch (dpi), as opposed to digital applications where 72 dpi is sufficient. The resolution of an image is different from the size of an image, which refers to its physical dimensions. The resolution, on the other hand, represents the level of detail or clarity. We consider both the file size and resolution when preparing for print.

Image Files

Before sending to print, we check the file types of each image. Commonly used are high-quality JPGs and TIFF files, set to the correct size, colour space, and resolution as mentioned above. While a JPG image can be suitable for print, there is a possibility of loss in quality. On the other hand, TIFF files, although larger than JPGs, ensure that you won't compromise any quality in your print.

Print Files

From the outset of any project, we prioritise the final printed result. Properly configuring our files before diving into the design process is crucial. This involves setting the artboard to the correct size, including margins and bleed. Once the design is approved, we generate a print-ready PDF, carefully selecting the necessary settings to ensure a high quality print. It's important not to forget to incorporate crop marks and bleed, which extend beyond the finished size by approximately 3mm on each edge, enhancing the overall design.

Paper Stock

Another factor to consider is the paper stock the intended print is to go on. It is essential to find the right paper weight and finish for the desired effect – there are endless options, but we mainly work with silk, uncoated and gloss stock. These come in a variety of weights so we can advise on the best solution for what our client is looking for.

We’re Here to Help

This is a very brief breakdown of what goes in to print design, as you can see designing for print requires a lot of technical know-how. We realise there are a lot of ‘design’ programmes out there for businesses to use freely – however they don’t offer the years of experience our designers do. To get the best out of your print and marketing it’s always worth investing that little bit extra in great design for print!

Written by Victoria Bushby, Creative Lead at H&H Reeds.