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The Ultimate Round-Up of Print Design Tutorials

Although web design is everywhere nowadays (even when we’re not at the computer it still manages to squeeze it’s way in to our everyday life), print design is still a huge part of the design industry and is everywhere we look: newspapers, posters, prints, manuals, restaurant menus, business cards – the list goes on and on. So how do you make sure that you leave a good impression on people holding your piece of art in their hands? This is where experience and advanced print design skills come into play.

Below we present 25 useful print design tutorials as well as a collection of inspirational links at the bottom of the post to improve your skills and get your imagination running wild. These tutorials make use of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, and even the experienced designers out there can give their skills a polish by taking the time to read through these tutorials to squeeze a few more tips, tricks, do’s and dont’s up their already stuffed sleeves.

Printing and Prepress Basics (Ps, Ai & Id)1

  • Learn about four-color process printing (CMYK)
  • Find out the differences between plain & rich black

Prepress Basics2

Making a Print-Ready Business Card (Ps)3

  • Set up CMYK documents in Photoshop with bleeds
  • Use textures to spice up your backgrounds
  • Create custom shapes using the Polygonal Lasso Tool

Print-Ready Business Card4

Create a Magazine Cover Design (Id)5

  • Use the Fill Frame Proportionally Tool to save time
  • Create custom shapes with the Pen Tool

Magazine Cover Design6

Design a Super Cool Retro Poster in 10 Steps (Ps)7

  • Create custom type in Illustrator
  • Use textures to add depth to your artwork

Retro Poster8

Create a Five-Color Magazine Cover using a Spot Metallic (Ps, Ai, Id & Acrobat Pro)9

  • Learn how to print spot metallic inks
  • Create custom shapes using the Shear Tool
  • Use textures to add depth to your artwork

Magazine Cover with Spot Metallic

Create a Grid Based Resume/CV Layout (Id)10

  • Use grids to create a professional page layout
  • Work with text settings to align paragraphs to grids

Grid Based Resume11

Create and Print a Business Card with UPrinting (Ai)12

  • Use templates to assist in setting up documents for print
  • Create outlines of text to prevent problems in pre-press

Envato Business Card13

Create an Impactful Magazine Headline (Id)14

  • Learn the process of designing a page layout
  • Use several tools to learn professional page layout techniques

Impactful Magazine Headline15

Designing for Print – Setting Up Crops and Bleeds (Ps, Ai & Id)16

  • Correctly set up bleed margins in Adobe CS
  • Correctly set up crops in Adobe CS

Designing for Print17

Combining Special Finishes (Ps, Ai & Id)18

  • Turn sketches into process ready vectors
  • Design complex sculpted embosses
  • Prepare artwork for foil-blocking

Combining Special Finishes19

Create an Intense Movie Poster (Ps)20

  • Use curves, color adjustments & the burn tool to manipulate photographs
  • Use brushes & the Pen Tool to create new light sources
  • Work with different blur tools to create a spooky text effect

Intense Movie Poster21

Design & Print Bold Promo Cards in 60 minutes (Ai)22

  • Set up Illustrator print documents with bleed margins
  • Learn about different kinds of blacks used in CMYK printing

Bold Promo Cards23

Design a Print-Ready Business Card Design for Designers (Ai & Ps)24

  • Set up CMYK documents in Photoshop with bleeds
  • Use Illustrator vector images in Photoshop
  • Exporting files as print-ready PDFs

Print-Ready Business Card25

Business Card Design Walkthrough (Ai)26

  • Set up CMYK documents in Illustrator with bleeds
  • Use the Gradient Mesh Tool to add depth to print products

Business Card Walkthrough27

Design a Print-Ready Beer Label (Ai)28

  • Work with Warp Tools to create realistic shapes for labels
  • Use the Threshold and Live Trace Tools to create interesting vectors

Beer Label29

PreparingMultiple Instances of a Bumper Sticker for Print (Ai)30

  • Add Crop Marks to your artwork
  • Set up a page of multiple copies of the same artwork for print

Bumper Stickers31

Designa Print-Ready Ad (Id)32

  • Learn how to correctly place images into your InDesigndocuments
  • Use the Placeholder Text Tool to fill areas with mock-text
  • Add custom CMYK swatches to InDesign

Print-Ready Advertisement33

CreateStunning Printwork using Overprinting (Ps)34

  • Experiment with unique CMYK color combinations
  • Learn how to create an overprinted composition


Howto Create a Music Magazine Cover (Id)36

  • Set up CMYK documents in InDesign with bleeds
  • Use the Rectangle Tool to make your work more interesting

Music Magazine37

Createa Grungy Poster (Ps)38

  • Work with textures to create interesting backgrounds
  • Use the Brush Tool to add depth to your artwork
  • Combine stock photos to produce the images you want

Grungy Poster39

Design an Abstract Business Card (Ps & Ai)40

  • Set up CMYK documents in Photoshop with bleeds
  • Use vector shapes from Illustrator in Photoshop
  • Use textures to increase your artworks visual interest

Design an Abstract Business Card41

Create and Print a Brochure (Ps & Id)42

  • Learn why you should export PDFs in InDesign
  • Set up CMYK documents in InDesign with bleeds
  • Work with text and character styles in InDesign

River Brochure43

Design a Ready to Print Brochure (Ps)44

  • Set up CMYK documents in Photoshop with bleeds and column guides
  • Work with images to create grungy textured backgrounds

Tutorial Brochure45

Designa Six-Panel CD Package (Ps & Ai)46

  • Use cloning, burning and dodging to manipulate photographs
  • Work with TIFF images and text in Illustrator

Six-Panel CD Package47

Gig Poster Design: The New Sex (Ps & Ai)48

  • Combine stock photos to produce the images you want
  • Use the Live Trace Tool to produce vector images
  • Produce custom patterns to add distress to your artwork

Gig Poster49

Inspiration & Further Resources Link

To get your imagination running wild we’ve collected a few round-up links which are all jam-packed full of stunning print work! You’ll also find a link or two for the beginners just stepping into the world of designing for print.

Footnotes Link

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Callum Chapman is a self-employed blogger and graphic/web designer. He has recently launched a blog dedicated to visual inspiration for designers, photographers and artists called The Inspiration Blog.

  1. 1

    Are you sure Marco?

    Last time I looked if you were to create document in InDesign preflight would throw up an errors for RGB image that was in the document. I’ve worked in InDesign for years and nobody has ever mentioned you’re way of approaching things.

    We all have our own ways of working, but i’d rather not take the chance on a problem with InDesign when it comes to preparing my document for print. I’d rather convert the images in Photoshop before I import them, then I know it’s done and I know i’ll not encounter any issues.

  2. 2

    Callum Chapman

    October 2, 2009 5:45 am

    Thanks for all the great comments about my first round-up guys :)

    Marco, you’re right, you can work in RGB then import it as CMYK into your InDesign project, but the majority of articles in this round-up are for one page documents such as posters – in which case there really isn’t much reason for exporting the file to InDesign in the first place, you can just export a PDF straight from Photoshop…

    Everybody does work differently though, I only ever really use InDesign if it’s a leaflet or booklet etc, just because I find it easier. My dad has been a printer for 30 odd years, and my uncle is also a printer at a different company, yet they both export PDF’s differently with the same quality outcome. It’s up to the individual :)

  3. 3

    woo first! anyway good roundup, it’s my daily bread at them mo, and to be honest a welcome break from web based activities. In fact get print nailed on the head along with typography and your web design skills will go through the roof.

  4. 4

    Awesome. Knew some of these before, but is it always a gift from you to get clearly the best tutorials around… thank you & keep on doing like this.

  5. 5

    wow.. great…

  6. 6

    Wonderful round up, I love print design and it’s good to have some great tutorials.

  7. 7

    I’m sorry but you don’t set up Photoshop documents in CMYK. You just don’t. RGB is the way to go ever since InDesign came along. Just choose the correct CMYK color-space when you export to PDF. (Like say uncoated for uncoated paper). If you wish to see what it looks like in CMYK, choose ‘command + Y’. (Oh and also: don’t switch back and forth between RGB and CMYK).

  8. 8

    Not a bad round up although completely exclusive to the CS suite, not a single mention of Quark Xpress!

  9. 9

    @marco it’s always good practice to convert all image files to CMYK in Photoshop then import them into ID or QX!

  10. 10

    @Antony; actually it’s not. It’s terrible practise. I can’t drop a link in this text-field, but if you run a search on Google “rgb workflow digital-engineer” you’ll find an article by me regarding the RGB Workflow and why everyone should use RGB.

  11. 11

    Dövényi-Nagy Tamás

    October 2, 2009 3:50 am

    I’m simply not the kind to post “Wow”, “Great”, “Extremely userful” and such things, but this one is really “Just what I needed!” ;) Thanks.

  12. 12

    Yeah, again nice collection of useful informations and tutorials! I’ve already known a lot of them, but I like the way make Your posts – everything together with nice big preview!

  13. 13

    Amando Rosales Gonzalez

    October 2, 2009 4:26 am

    Wie immer super content! Danke.

  14. 14

    This is very timely – I work on an internal newsletter and we are planning a redesign, so I shall definitely be giving some of these resources the once-over!

  15. 15

    Awesome post love it all!!!

  16. 16

    QuarkXpress Bad! Pretty good round-up! @Marco Nice shameless self-promotion. Ha!

  17. 17

    I’m sure. I’ve worked in the pre-press for more than 10 years. I’ve interviewed multiple authors for InDesign and/or Illustrator books (including Mordy from Real World Illustrator) and people from Adobe and Color Management Professionals (one of those guys even checks Apple). Please search for the article “rgb workflow in real life”. In Europe everybody uses the RGB Workflow. I wish I could just drop a link here!

  18. 18

    this article is great and helpful in al what the word means, thanks very much

  19. 19

    Guys Thank you soo much for putting this article!! (Please more articles about print) !!!!

  20. 20

    Martin Bentley Krebs

    October 2, 2009 4:59 am

    Great and useful tips; thanks for publishing them. More people in our business should go back and review them.

    Marco, please! You are a perfect example of why “experts” need to go back and re-learn the basics. If you are printing ANYTHING on a press, you absolutely, positively, need to work in CMYK. And spare us the “ten years of pre-press”; I’ve been in this business since shortly after stepping off the Ark. RGB is for web and certain digital graphics, that’s all.


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