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What Is Print Media Design?

Tara Barnett
Tara Barnett

Print media design is a type of design that focuses on how items will look when printed. Although the elements of this type of design are often created on computers, the final product always has a physical manifestation. Most companies combine print media design with new media design in order to present a consistent aesthetic. Special considerations taken into account in this type of design include the physical process of printing, the way colors appear when printed, and how different printed elements will interact with other aspects of design.

At its very basis, print media design is a type of design that is intended to be printed. Usually, businesses and individuals are the primary clients for this type of design, which may be for advertising purposes or for dispersing information. What a client needs from print media design must be discussed with the designer, and many different goals can be accommodated.

A printer.
A printer.

One of the most common uses of print media design is for business cards. Having a professional business card is necessary in many different fields, and this custom is not easily replaced with online alternatives. Usually when a designer approaches this type of project, he or she must consider any other designs related to the person or business, as the card must represent the person or company in order to be effective.

Newspapers around the world have run print advertising for centuries.
Newspapers around the world have run print advertising for centuries.

Print media advertising is another common use of this type of design. Advertising may take the form of leaflets or flyers, or it may be designed to be included in newspapers or magazines. Attractive print advertising is very effective at generating interest in a product, so many people invest a significant amount of a company’s advertising budget in print media.

One of the key elements of print media design is consistency. Designers typically work to create a complete profile for a company that is incorporated into all different media used by the company. One easy way to promote consistency among different printed items is to simply include the company's logo on all media, but more thorough designers typically coordinate color schemes, fonts, and other aesthetic elements as well. Consistency is the key to associating a certain look with a particular company in the eyes of a customer base.

Many people believe that print media design will eventually become obsolete. This is possible, although unlikely, because of the prestige and credibility associated with print media. It is much more likely that printed objects will begin to interact with other types of media much more readily, leading to extremely cohesive advertising campaigns across multiple mediums.

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Discussion Comments


What are some print media design items that you would never consider replacing with a digital format?

For myself, attractive DVD covers and packaging are something I am willing to pay for. I like to have something to display on my shelf. A quickly downloaded file just doesn't have the same tangible presence that I need as a collector.


With the rise of digital media and tablets becoming more popular, do you think that companies will start to fully switch from print media design to formats that are available for download?

Digital files are basically free to distribute once the ideas are locked down into a file. With print, there is the additional cost of materials such as paper and ink, mailing etc. I think it makes great business sense to get people to pay for a virtual file, as the overhead cost is so low.


I don't think that print media design will ever become obsolete. People have a great attachment to packaging, aesthetics and physical materials that we can hold and touch.

I firmly believe that with the satisfaction we get from good print media design that companies will continue to use this to promote items for many years to come.

In the case of flyers and brochures. It is one thing to see an advertisement online, but it another thing to have something tangible to hold, that you can post on your refrigerator or cut from a magazine because you like the way it looks.

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    • A printer.
      By: Maksym Dykha
      A printer.
    • Newspapers around the world have run print advertising for centuries.
      By: LiliGraphie
      Newspapers around the world have run print advertising for centuries.