Ensuring Your Brand Identity Looks Good on Screen and In Print

by | Nov 4, 2015 | Blog | 0 comments

It is important for your branding to give out the same message wherever it is seen or heard. For your visual identity, that means that consistency and quality are key. In the digital age, it is becoming increasingly important to look good on screen, but most brands also still have printed marketing materials, such as corporate letterheads, business cards, leaflets, brochures, or perhaps product packaging.

Designing for screen and designing for print are actually very different and we hope to help you understand the complexities involved.

In terms of designing for print, the first thing to understand is what you see on screen is not an accurate representation. Print is not based on what your screen shows you but how the design is built. The screen on your computer displays in RGB, and tends to work at 72dpi, which may be ideal for websites but not print. Most print is CMYK or pantone and images need to be at 300 to 450dpi for print (I tend to find 450dpi gives a better print result than the standard 300dpi).

Even if you get the correct settings you still need to understand how colour is made and how easy it is to get it wrong. Black is a colour that can be made in a huge variety of ways and on screen it will look the same, but when printed it can show these differences. You can make black with the K plate, which is ideal for normal text, you can add Cyan to make it a rich black for solid areas or you can use all 4 plates when blending with an image. The key is to ensure that the colour breakdown of the black is the same across your artwork. As an example, I have seen images with a 50c, 50y, 40m, 95k black breakdown blended with a 40c 100k rich black. This looked fine on screen but would have printed with a clear difference. Remember the screen is not a judge of how it will print, so to ensure your print looks high quality and therefore makes your branding look good, you need someone experienced in designing for print to look beyond it.

To get the best out of your print, make sure all images are converted to CMYK and are set to at least 300dpi at size of print. Ensure that colours are CMYK if you are having process print or Pantone if you have spot colours. Most importantly, check your file to make sure your colours are correct to those that are in your branding guidelines.

Branding guidelines should set out your brand’s colours, fonts, styles and sample layouts, all of which should be used to by your designer to ensure consistency across all of your printed and online materials.

For any further advice in this area, our brand stylists can help, so just give us a call.

Until next time,