How Paper Choice Can Make or Break Your Design

Taking the time to consider a colored paper stock can add visual interest, especially in a limited color project. Learning to familiarize yourself with how certain hues react to  each other will save hours in test printing and correcting poor color choices. Hopefully everything you learned in color theory class is all coming back to you now...

Use the tricks below for testing how your design will look before actually printing it:

InDesign can simulate how ink will react to various paper colors, but you have to trick it into giving you the effect you're looking for. Changing the paper color is simple: Paper is a builtin swatch that simulates the paper color on which you’re printing. Objects behind a paper-colored object won’t print where the paper-colored object overlaps them. Instead, the color of the paper on which you print shows through. You can edit the Paper color to match your paper stock by double-clicking it in the Swatches panel. Use the Paper color for previewing only—it will not be printed on a composite printer or in color separations. You can’t remove this swatch, but you can edit it as many times as you'd like. Once you've edited your swatch you'll see that the background has changed, but the graphic contents are still vibrant, as if printed on white. Simply select the objects and reduce the opacity to 99% and you'll be viewing a more accurate representation of how the printed final will look!

Neenah Cabinet App

Cabinet gives you powerful paper tools to make paper specification more convenient and creative on your iPhone and iPad. The app provides intuitive ways to find papers: you can compare, search, filter, and mark your favorites—and most importantly it allows you to view your design on various paper stocks!

Design Mockup Resources

Don't let the inability to produce or professionally document your work negatively impact a strong design. If you are looking to save some money (as most students are) or don't have the skills to pull off the perfect photo shoot, mockup templates are a professional alternative. Mockups are used in professional studios and agencies everywhere to present work to clients. Using them in your own portfolio will keep the focus on your strong concepts and visuals while illustrating to a potential employer that you have the ability to prepare projects for professional presentation in a digital format. There are many online sources for mock-up files. Below are a few options to fit any need and budget.

MOCK-UP EVERYTHING Go Media, the creators of Shirt Mockup, are proud to bring you Mockup Everything. Mockup Everything provides an easy-to-use online platform for applying your graphic designs to a growing variety of print products. Creative artists, like you, can visually prototype your merchandise design and save jpeg snapshots to share with your marketplace. This is a great way to test your product’s market potential as well as explore how it might look before going through the expensive manufacturing process. Take it a step further and upgrade to the Pro version to gain access to many more product templates and the ability to mockup snapshots twice the size of the free version.

PLACE IT PlaceIt can tell the story behind your app in seconds. The service is simple. You have screenshots of your app but that doesn't cut it if you want to engage your audience. PlaceIt is constantly working to take beautiful imagery with the latest devices. They process your screenshot and place it within environments for a final photo that can be used as marketing collateral.

GRAPHIC RIVER Everything you need for your next creative project. Over 4.5 million digital products created by a global community of designers, developers, photographers, illustrators & producers.

SPOON GRAPHICS No matter whether you’re presenting designs to a client or showcasing your latest work in your portfolio, taking the time to present your work can really boost its value and shows how the design works in its intended use. This collection of free PSD templates makes it easy to showcase your stationery & branding designs, business card and posters & leaflets in realistic settings as if they had been professionally printed and photographed.

PIXEDEN Great design resources all year round, Pixeden releases between 12 to 16 premium and 3 to 5 free resources a month. You can expect to get 150 to 200 quality resources a year from them in a wide range of categories from print templates, to icons set and web elements... Their resources have no download limit and are royalty free for use in both personal and commercial projects.