Print design mistakes you should better avoid


Impeccable design is the main feature of modernity. That is, entrepreneurs spend more time optimizing their products as potential customers are constantly changing their preferences. Today it's important to pay special attention to the quality of the things and unique visual effects that can attract attention. 

It seems to be a common thing: new trends in graphic design appear all the time, but for some reason, there are the same mistakes constantly traced. 

Well, let's not waste time and discuss them all.  

Table of contents  

7 print on demand design mistakes people do, and you shouldn't


Have you ever created a perfect design that, after printing, becomes something unimaginable and different from what you saw on a computer monitor?

The text cut off at the edges, and the colors didn't match. Most likely, you made the most common print design mistakes, which we'll analyze further! 

№1. Incorrect cropping

Digital printing always leaves white margins on the sheet. To avoid errors when cropping the image, be sure to add 2-3 mm of the background image on each side. In other words, if you plan to make a print on a T-shirt with a size of 297×420 mm, then in the editor file you're working with, it'd have an extension of 300×423 mm. Professionals have a concept of a safe zone (margin): 3-5 mm from the edge of an already cropped image. The crop outline (page) - is the picture view after cutting off the edges. Bleed is the clipping part of the background that goes beyond the format outline (usually 2-3 mm on each side). You'd avoid white fields and stripes in the finished product.

Avoid placing main items close to the edge. For example, in A4 format, it's necessary to retreat 7 mm from the edge: 2 mm allowance + 5 mm safe zone.

№2. Low resolution 

Resolution is the tiny dots of color that form an image, measured in pixels per inch or PPI. In the case of a picture for printing, measure its extension in DPI. Often it's calculated in dots per inch. The more there are, the sharper the image becomes. The standard print value is 300 DPI. Be sure to match the correct extension with the image size. 

№3. Incorrect color modes

One of the biggest printing mistakes you make is not knowing where this printing will be applied. If you plan to display the design only in digital form, then you must use RGB - a mode with blue, green, and red colors. These are the coloration of light screens used to display a range of colors. 

Designers use CMYK mode for printing. It includes cyan, magenta, yellow and black. When creating a design in this range, you see how the printed version will look. This way, you can avoid a situation where colors aren't displayed correctly. 

№4. Unreadable fonts

Overflowing the layout with different typefaces and fonts makes it illegible. This design becomes unreadable. Don't use more than two fonts. Also, try to find the spacing between characters using kerning. 

Try not to overload your design with text elements. Brevity and clarity are the privileges of successful design.

№5. Pay attention to the format!

You can apply many formats to images. Which one will work best for your print? One of the most important graphic design rules is deciding what format should be: raster or vector?

The peculiarity of raster images is that they contain pixels and can lose their shape when scaled. Vectors, which consist of lines and curves, are another matter. Expand or narrow it to any size, and at the same time, don't be afraid that this will somehow affect the image.  

№6.  Ignoring copyright

Using other people's designs without permission violates the work copyright and the policies of the sites on which you hosted the products. Such behavior can lead to legal problems. That means that you shouldn't use any materials, including images and text, without checking who they belong to. And even if it's fan art or your favorite brand slogan, you must ask for permission to use them. But, you can use some designs as cultural gains or in the interest of freedom.

№7. Great design, but not the right product

This rule is one of the most controversial for printing on demand: accurate analysis of the market plays a crucial role, as well as a lot of additional work (a selection of trend colors, designs, things, platforms, and even generations). Compare print on demand services offered by your competitors. For example, among Generation Z, a pillow with a cute cat may not give rise to a desire to buy, but socks, on the contrary, will become a widely popular product. Your competitors are selling this print on women's T-shirts. By comparing conversions and using marketing tools, you can probably figure out which product will sell the best. That's why marketing analysis of potential consumers and their relationship with products, trends, and situations in the world is a lever to increase conversions. Indeed, today the product is as individualized as possible and occupies its niche. 

common graphic design pitfalls

And finally, a few tips from professionals.

Information on the label

For your brand to develop, you need to be honest about its usage patterns. It's about the information on the label. If in the description section you indicate that the product consists of cotton, but actually of elastane. Would your clients like it? Thus, developing honest tags is especially important. If you add a short slogan, a cute picture, or an emblem to it, the label will bring a smile to the buyer.

Savings on design

If you buy designs for print on demand products, don't choose the cheapest. They may not correspond to the time, be original, or of high quality. Template designs often lose popularity and don't lead to great conversions. Unlike traditional delivery-based online stores, print on demand items are more expensive. Boring non-original images won't be in demand but also lead to brand degradation. Moreover, the wrong strategy in the design development affects competitiveness. You won't catch up with manufacturers and wholesalers even by lowering prices. 

Design check

The best practices are proofreading design before printing, as well as pre-ordering samples from manufacturers. If you're unfamiliar with any language, one glance at the correct spelling will save you money and time. A grammatical mistake or an inappropriate comma underestimates the brand in the buyer's eyes. It looks less professional. Buyers perceive such mistakes as complete failures. That can even lead to them abandoning brand items or making repeat purchases.

We hope that all the basic rules of graphic design that we talked about in this article will help you avoid mistakes in printing. 

Often a design may seem perfect, but after printing, it turns out that the image is very different from its digital reproduction. This problem arises every time the specialists neglect the most important principles of graphic design. That includes incorrect sizes and resolutions, format, and color modes. In the case of interaction of a product with a potential buyer, you'd consider readability, copyright, and niche products. Whenever you think of a design, keep these positions in mind. They distinguish the amateur designer from the professional. Moreover, when it comes to promoting your brand, such mistakes become noticeable to customers. Correct and original solutions will become brand ambassadors!

PODApril 1, 2021
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