Branding Recap: 10 Print Design Tips | MP 125

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Do you often need to print things like business cards, packaging, or flyers for your private practice? Are you creating print files by yourself, or with a designer? Have you heard of applying a grid system?

In this podcast episode, Sam Carvalho speaks about 10 print design tips.

Podcast Sponsor: Therapy Notes

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In This Podcast

  • Apply grid systems
  • Layer it up
  • Back to basics
  • Play with borders
  • Use a pattern
  • Invert it
  • Brand consistency
  • Change directions
  • Basic graphics go a long way
  • Use high-quality images

Apply grid systems

Whether you are designing one or hundreds of pages, a grid system is essential in developing a layout. Grids can help you position text and images so that the page will look polished and clean.

Sam Carvalho

The structure is made up of intersecting horizontal and vertical lines.

If you want to add complexity to your page, try adding angular or curved lines. There are no strict rules as to what is and what isn’t a grid: that’s the beauty of design.

As a designer, you can create your own grid. As long as you follow it throughout a project, you will create clean pages.

Sam Carvalho

Layer it up

Print design has come a long way and, with the help of grids, we’ve started creating multi-layered layouts. This includes images over colored backgrounds, type-over images, graphics over type, and so on.

Sam Carvalho

If you happen to be working with heavy content, check if it’s legible, because it all comes down to legibility. So, if the copy is difficult to read, you might try choosing a lighter background for example.

  • Type-over imagery is one of the easiest ways to apply multiple layers.
  • Make sure the colors on the content and the colors of the image aren’t mixing to the point of illegibility.
  • Does it make sense for the medium you are working in?

Back to basics  

Minimalism never goes out of style. You can’t go wrong with crisp, clean, and organized.

Sam Carvalho

Create visual harmony with a few elements, select high-quality fonts and images, a muted color palette, and a basic grid.

Minimalism can seem stark due to the lack of color, but use the content and images as elements to add contrast. You can also use a mix of different font sizes to add visual interest to the page without creating clutter.

Play with borders  

This decorative element on the paper’s edge is not just an adornment – it can help reinforce the theme of your project by stylizing it.

Borders can help frame the page and create a strong delivery.

Borders can also be colorful and help unify the theme of the design by complementing it. However, if it becomes too crowded, try using fewer colors and a simpler design.

Sam Carvalho

Use a pattern

Patterns are extremely versatile and perfect for filling up empty space because they are flexible, functional, and visually effective.

For example, including a pattern on the back of a business card is a discreet way to add something special.

Invert it

Colors evoke different feelings in design.

While we see logos and printed materials in many different colors, black still holds strong. Black translates into high-end, luxury, and elegance. This mysterious color is the new white canvas.

Sam Carvalho

Paired with other colors, black brings out a contrast that isn’t comparable to white. The play of light and dark lends a sharp contrast to the page.

Brand consistency

A professionally designed brand identity needs to be visually attractive and fresh. Aside from marketing, clients will be looking at your branding to make sure you have a credible company.

In case you’re wondering, an identity package essentially consists of business cards, letterheads, invoices, envelopes, and creative folders. These elements need to work together cohesively … if you’re applying a pattern to a business card, this needs to extend to the rest of the stationary as well.

Sam Carvalho

This graphic translation will help you create a quality brand that will stand out from the crowd.

Change directions

There are many ways to add emphasis and movement to your project.

Colors and shapes are a couple, and rotating text from horizontal to vertical is a different way of adding movement and direction to your design.

Basic graphics go a long way

Want to spice up your minimalist layout? Use basic graphics that vary in size and color. They will add visual weight and help with direction by emphasizing content.

Consider: if you open a brochure and are not quite sure what to read first and how to follow the content, you usually lean on the graphics included to help guide you.

Use high-quality images

Using full-page, bleed-to-bleed images creates a major impact.

You need to find high-quality images that you can enlarge to a full page because if you use low-quality images stretched over the page, it will result in pixelation which is a bad reflection on your brand.

Useful links mentioned in this episode:

  • Use promo code ‘JOE’ to get three free months to try out TherapyNotes, no strings attached, and remember, telehealth is included with every subscription free.

Check out these additional resources:

Meet Sam Carvalho

A photo of Samantha Carvalho is captured. She is the Chief Marketing Officer and Designer at Practice of the Practice. She is the host of the Marketing A Practice Podcast and helps therapists successfully market and brand their private practices.

Sam Carvalho is a graphic designer living in Cape Town, South Africa, with over five years of experience in both design and marketing, with a special interest and experience in the start-up environment.

She has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs take their practices to the next level by enhancing their visual branding. She loves working with a variety of clients on design-intensive tasks and is always up for a challenge!

Follow Sam on Instagram to see some of her work. To work with Sam, head on over to

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