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What Is Print Design?

by Taylor Slattery | October 12, 2023


Print design refers to the processes involved in the reproduction of design onto physical materials. Graphic designers need a working knowledge of the printing methods and techniques that will be used to reproduce their designs in order to achieve the best results. 

Print design can take a number of different forms. While media like books, newspapers, and magazines may be the first things that come to mind when you think of print design, the term extends to a wide variety of applications. Packaging, navigational signage, and advertising materials are other common forms of print design.

Print Design Before the Internet 

Before the digital revolution, when smartphones and search engines became the norm, most of the more specialized information we consumed came from print. Sure, every home had a television families would tune in to stay up to date with general news, but print was where you turned to learn more about your hobbies and interests.

From cult classic books and field guides that were produced in limited quantities and quietly distributed mostly by word of mouth amongst those in the know to the wildly popular pop-culture magazines shops struggled to keep on their shelves. Print was a highly-competitive field and publishers needed great designs to help them stand out from the crowd.


Print Design’s Resurgence

These days, it’s often said that print is a dying industry, but if you’ve been around long enough to witness a couple of trend cycles firsthand, you’ll understand that things tend to come in waves. While streaming is now the preferred method by most for listening to music, recent years have seen a surprising resurgence in vinyl sales, and this number shows no signs of slowing down. Sales in the first half of 2023 are up 22% from the year before.

Everything is a reaction to something. While streaming offers listeners an unparalleled level of convenience, it has come at the cost of experience. To reclaim that experience, many listeners are now choosing to purchase records as a means of feeling more connected to the music they consume. A large part of that sense of connection to the music and overall experience is owed to the record sleeve, which has long been one of the most creative avenues for graphic design. 

Records aren’t the only area of print design experiencing a resurgence. As consumers and users of social media, we’ve grown so accustomed to scrolling past anything that doesn’t immediately capture and keep our attention that it’s become increasingly difficult for online marketers to reach customers. So much so, actually, that an increasing amount of marketing budgets are now being spent on print. 

DTC brands whose presence has been entirely online are experimenting and finding great success with traditional, print-based mailers. A new generation of companies like PostPilot are finding ways to combine traditional marketing with data and lessons learned from digital advertising. If all of your competition is on the screen, sometimes the easiest way to stand out is by being in someone’s mailbox.


How To Become A Print Designer

For a little while there, it may have seemed as though print was on the way out. However, in the words of Cinderella, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” In the case of print, this turned out to be true.

If you’re intrigued by the growing, evergreen nature and creative possibilities by becoming a print designer, there’s no better time than now to dive in. A strong foundation in graphic design principles, combined with specialized knowledge in printing techniques, can set you on a rewarding career path.

At Sessions College, we offer comprehensive Print Design Course and additional Graphic Design Programs that will equip you with the skills you need to excel in this dynamic field. Whether you’re looking to revitalize traditional media or blend it seamlessly with digital strategies, our expert-led courses provide you with the tools to stand out.

So what more are you waiting for? Enroll Today and take the first step towards becoming a skilled print designer.


Taylor is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. Taylor is a graphic designer, illustrator, and Design Lead at Weirdsleep.


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