As a designer, I can’t tell you how many times I have heard “less is more.” I’ve heard it from all directions – college professors, colleagues, friends, seasoned designers. Don’t get me wrong, I agree that a minimalist design can be visually effective and surely achieve beautiful results when done right; but sometimes a design cries out for ornamentation and decorative elements. And you know what? That’s ok! Even though it is more elaborate in design, beauty and balance are achieved when the many design elements work in harmony, complementing each other rather than fighting for the spotlight.
When a client recently came to us with an open mind and the challenge of “let me see what you can do,” I found myself saying “more, more, MORE!” – contrary to the “less is more” motto. I’m not one to use every trick in the book, but when it’s done right, I can surely enjoy the end result. That result was recently accomplished for our client, Complete Medical Solutions, through printing techniques.
A beautiful way to add visual interest to your design is through printing techniques. Playing with paper, coatings, cuts, folds and inks, among other techniques, can reveal a beautiful, multifaceted piece that transforms your design into something much more unique and interesting. Being that there are multitudes of printing finishes and options out there, here is a rundown of things to consider for your next project.
Varnishes: A varnish is a clear coating that not only protects your paper from smudging and everyday wear-and-tear, but it can also enhance the look of your piece. This liquid lacquer can be applied to the whole page, or only specific areas, called spot varnish. There many types of varnishes out there, including gloss, matte, silk, etc.
Folds: While most marketing materials fall into the ‘standard’ paper fold category – like half-folds and tri-folds, folding possibilities are really endless. Paper can be scored and folded in a variety of shapes and sizes, helping to deliver a message with greater impact and interest. Plus, being creative with folds is a great way to stand out from the crowd and get your customer engaged in the piece. We recently received an awesome book of folding examples done by Trish Witkowski of foldfactory.com. Check out this Sappi video on scoring and folding to get an idea of the endless possibilities.
Die Cuts: Die cutting is when the shape of the paper is altered or areas are cut out. Have you ever seen a business card that was in the shape of the logo or had round corners? This effect was achieved by die cutting the paper. Die cuts, no matter the shape and size, are a great way to add visual interest and attract attention.
Embossing/Debossing: Embossing and debossing are techniques in which the paper is made three-dimensional. This textural effect is achieved when the paper is raised (embossed) or lowered (debossed).
Foil Stamping: Foil stamping involves the process of stamping a colored foil onto paper with heat. Foils are available in a wide variety of colors, tints, patterns and finishes that can help your work jump from the paper and catch the potential customer’s attention.
Inks: Hundreds, if not thousands, of different inks are available for use today. So what’s out there? Off-set printing inks, ultraviolet inks, six-color process inks (like Pantone colors), metallic inks, pearlescent inks, and even scratch and sniff inks! These are only a small sampling of inks to consider when taking your work to the next level.
Now that you are familiar with some printing terms, take a look at the custom design below done for Complete Medical Solutions. We worked with our local printer, Baton Rouge Printing, to achieve beautiful, unique business papers. To deliver these results, we used a custom die (letterhead and business cards have 3 round edges and 1 angled edge), silver metallic inks (used for the network pattern), PMS inks (the vibrant orange), and nice paper (the bright white, smooth paper intensifies the colors and shows off the metallic pattern).
As you can see, there are a lot of printing options out there to make your piece memorable. While printing techniques can add that extra special something to your work, it can also add up in cost. Since using printing techniques can be expensive, choosing the right technique or combination of techniques will add value to your piece and attract potential costumer’s attention, making it worth the added cost. Let Xdesign help you with your next project in the design and selection of print finishes that will make your work pop and gain the attention it deserves.
Tiffanie Pitre, @tiffaniepitre