who says print is dead concept development 1

Who says print is dead?

25 March

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Publication design is one of our longest running and most consistent services, however it is one that we rarely shout about. Publication design is something that we all enjoy doing and especially when we can see, smell and hold the finished article in our hands. We always have at least one publication project in production in our studio, and in our digital age it is refreshing to see that the demand is still there for this relic of Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press.

Our approach

While each project is unique our processes are consistent. Our methods are tried and tested, so to deliver a publication that the client is happy with and we are proud to put into our portfolio, we follow this four step approach:

  • Print management
  • Brand discovery
  • Design
  • Project management

Print management

Before any publication project is kicked off, we first establish the requirements of print management. These include the following:

Print specs
Our clients generally provide us with a rough page count and number of printed copies required. From there we offer advice on the following:
Format: Is it A4, A5, B4 or a custom size altogether?
Binding: Saddle stitch, PUR bound, Wire bound or Folded?
Stock: Glossy, Matte, heavy or light paper?
Colour: CMYK, Pantones?
Finishing: Spot Varnishing, diecuts, lamination?

All of these options are negotiable and offer completely different finished products. They all have costs associated with them which brings us onto the next point.

We are completely transparent when it comes to budgets. Unlike many studios we pass the printer’s price directly on to our clients and charge a print management fee based on an hourly rate determined in advance and costed by estimating the expected amount of time required to liaise between the printers and clients.

We work backwards from the launch date of the publication and create timelines based on that date. We typically allow 7 days for printing and delivery but this can differ depending on the scope of work.

Once the requirements for print management are agreed we then move onto the next phase…

Prospectus Publication - Limerick Institute of Technology - Concept Development 3
Prospectus Publication designed for Limerick Institute of Technology

Brand discovery

A publication, like any piece of design, should be an accurate representation of a brand’s communications. Therefore, we take time before the start of a project to fully research the client’s brand guidelines and ensure that we are fully informed and consistent with the brand.

If a client does not have brand guidelines or wishes to express something different, then time is factored in at the start of the job to explore design concepts. This is done through a period of research and presented back to the client as moodboards and/or case studies. We research audience profiles and make sure that our proposed strategy is on target and effective. Once we and the client have reached an agreed direction we move on to the next phase.


Publication design is a fundamental discipline of graphic design. It is taught to every design student as it contains every core principle of design. A good read on the principals of graphic design can be found here but we have compiled a quick summary below.

These 5 core principles of graphic design are:

  • Alignment
  • Repetition
  • Contrast
  • Hierarchy
  • Balance
Basic Graphic Design Principles Illustration
Basic Graphic Design Principles Illustration. Source: www.shillingtoneducation.com/blog/graphic-design-basic-principles

Alignment is one of the most basic, but most important principles of design, as it allows our eyes to see order, which is quite comforting to a reader.

Think of repetition as consistency. By repeating elements of a design, you immediately create a familiarity or identity.

Contrast is the most effective way to create emphasis and impact with your design.

Hierarchy creates a visual organisation to a design and gives the reader an idea of where to begin and finish reading. Each element that is part of the design can be given a ranking of priority.

Balance provides stability and structure to a design, either through symmetry or tension of elements.

Using these principles we can create any type of design from a super organised formal document to an off-the-wall contemporary art and culture book made by children. Whatever we design depends on the client’s desired goals and the intended audience, all of which are taken into account at the start of the design phase.
We use all of our collective skills including branding, typography, illustration and photography to create a publication that meets the client’s desired outcomes.

Project Management

We work with the client to determine a point of contact and set up timelines for the project, allowing time for feedback on design and proofreading* of the documents. We use project management tools such as Asana and Google Calendar as well as old fashioned emails and telephone calls to make sure that all projects are taken smoothly from brief to delivery of your great smelling, tactile, printed document.

*While we use our software to perform spell checks, Piquant does not offer proofreading as an in-house service however we do work with third party proofreaders if required.

If you want to chat to us about a publication project, feel free to call us, send an email, or message us on Facebook

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