Join Kristin Ellison for an in-depth discussion in this video Making your designs a reality, part of Getting Started in Graphic Design.
The role of a designer doesn't end with a final design on screen. It ends with the finished product, be it print or digital, so you have to understand what your options are, as well as the pros and cons of each. When I say pros and cons, I'm referring to your costs, what the item will look like when it's finished, and where it can be accessed. Let's start with print. Costs can range wildly depending on the quantity, size, printing method, paper, special treatments, finishes, and more. There are a lot of decisions to be made for each printed piece and one wrong choice could result in unexpected costs.
This could be the result of creating a mail piece that's too large for standard postage or choosing a three-color job when it could have been two-color. Being surprised by how your piece looks when it comes off press can be equally problematic. Let's say you're doing a brochure for a bike company and your client really wants to show off the shiny components. If you choose the wrong paper, that finished piece could be dull and lifeless, resulting in a very unhappy client, an expensive reprint, and a potentially blown schedule. When it comes to print, you don't need to know everything. You just need to know the right questions to ask and you need to share your vision with your printer.
If they know the look you're going for and the budget you need to stick to, they can help you make the best choices. Digital pieces will require a bit more research on your part when it comes to understanding your options. And with pace of technology, those options are shifting on a regular basis so you have to stay current. E-books are a prime example of this. We've come a long way in terms of getting some standards, including EPUB, which is now the most widely supported format. But if you're serious about distributing your e-book, you can't ignore Amazon's Kindle format.
Adding to the complexity is Apple's iBook Author app. All of these have their strengths and weaknesses. The right platform just depends on the needs of the project. The same is true for digital and interactive magazines. An interactive PDF may be the right fit for one project, while another may need the capabilities of Adobe's DPS, Digital Publishing Suite, so do your homework before setting out. Find out the cost, capabilities and limitations because success comes when preparation meets opportunity.
To help you get started, Kristin curated a playlist of courses covering just the foundational elements of design. View and subscribe to the playlist here.