Design Topics


Below is a list of articles we have written relating to areas of the design industry, please feel free to read through them for your own information.


The term bleed refers to allowing image to print beyond the trim marks or crop marks which represent the trimmed edge. Bleed is used where the intended final trimmed page has image which makes contact with any or all edges. A bleed can be full bleed, where there is 100% image area on the page meeting all edges – or image/ images meet part of all four edges of the page. Partial bleed refers to only some of the image/ images meeting the edge of the page.


A 3mm bleed – or overlap of image over the trim is recommended on all sides to give the printer a small amount of space to account for movement of the paper and to ensure that no unprinted edges are visible in the final trimmed document. It is important to check with your printer as bleed allowance can vary between presses and printing method


The free white borders between the type area or image and the page edges are referred to as margins and these are set specifically to cater for the final product size once trimmed and page layout. Page Files with white margin on the head foot and foredge do not require bleed as the image does not meet the edge of the page.


The blank space between two pages which face each other is called the gutter. The gutter allows for the binding process in books or magazines and is subject to binding method.



Typography is an art form in itself, and involves the careful selection of typefaces (fonts) to visually represent a message in a product or material. Believe it or not, every type face is responded to and read in a different way. Not dissimilar to how the human brain responds to colours, the human brain also responds to typefaces. It is very important to have an experienced professional, such as a graphic designer, carefully select a font or typeface, which will interact well with your consumer.
In Typography legibility refers to ‘perception’ and readability refers to ‘comprehension’. Good typographers and graphic designers will aim to achieve excellence in both. The typeface should be legible so it’s important to select a typeface which will have appropriate clarity and not be misread. It should also have great Readability – e.g. navigating around the information with ease.


Serif fonts

Serif fonts are a traditional font type, usually reserved for long pages of text, such as in newspapers and novels that rely on compact paragraphs, which offer readability and efficient use of page space. Serif fonts are believed to be visually easier on the eye to read for long periods of time as each letter flows to create words, therefor the reader can continuously read without strain or difficulty.


Sans Serif Fonts

“Sans” Serif means “No” Serif.
Generally used as headings or in paragraphs of text where it is not so important to read every sentence. Sans serif text fonts are often used for introductory paragraphs, incidental text and whole short articles. Such as telephone directories, posters, menus, flyers or time-tables, where the reader is not reading continuously but searching for a single item of information.


A general rule is classical, serif fonts are for a strong professional personality, while more modern san serif fonts are for a cleaner, modern, neutral look. A current fashion is to pair sans-serif type for headings with a seriffed font of matching style for the text of an article, or brochure.



Resolution is a measurement of the output quality of an image, usually in terms of pixels, dots, or lines per inch. The higher resolution, the sharper the image will be. Lower resolution images are good for use on the web, but when printed will appear blurry.


In print a resolution of 300 dpi (dots per inch) will ensure high quality, clear results, although parameters can vary between presses so for best results always check with your printer for the preferred maximum resolution.

Ink Density


Ink density is a term used in relation to process printing and is the maximum percentage of each of the colours that makeup 4 colour process – cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK).


In theory, the maximum is 400% however no printing press can tolerate this makeup. A total of 300% is rule of thumb maximum; however this is subject to a number of elements such as press type, substrate or stock absorbency levels and line screen. For example porous, uncoated stocks may support 270%, whilst higher quality coated stocks may tolerate 330%.


Ensuring percentages are not too low is equally important to reproduction quality and generally less than 3% is not recognised on press and therefore not printed. Printer tolerances and preferred makeup should always be checked with the printer.


Vector Images


Vectors are mathematical equations that direct how an image displays.


Each line as a specific beginning and a specific ending with information about the line is to be rendered i.e.

  • What colour?
  • How thick is the line?
  • Is it straight or curved? If it is curved, by how much?
  • Is it coloured in? If so, what colour, what density, etc…


If you zoom in or are far away, the image will always appear sharp as it is recalculated every time.


Images that are 300dpi are Bitmaps and are suitable for printing even though they are not a vector.

300dpi means that there are 300 dots of information per every inch of artwork.

This means that the lines in the images will still appear smooth. Zooming in will reveal the pixels.


Images that are 72dpi are also bitmaps and are suitable for displaying on computer monitors i.e. websites.

72dpi is not suitable for printed documents as the resolution is too small and it will look “pixelated”.

Images that are 72dpi cannot be resampled to a higher resolution as the original information is simply not there. It would have to be “recreated” and this would distort the image.