One of the best things about digital design is that you can share your creativity online almost instantaneously. If you publish something digitally from a home studio in Newcastle, England, it’s simultaneously available in Newcastle, Australia. 

There’s the rub. Because you need a computer to view it, digital can seem ephemeral and unsettled. There’s something wonderful about being able to create images with a tangible permanence; something that can be pinned to a wall, stuck to a lapel or used promote an event and remain behind as an artefact.  

That’s the joy of creating posters, flyers, stickers and badges. It’s possible to create great print work that will last a lifetime at a relatively low cost, whether using an online site such as Zazzle, your local repro shop, or even on your own desktop using a high-end photo inkjet. Through online stores such as inPRNT, you can make money from your art – they take care of your sales and printing, allowing you to sit back and watch the cash roll in.

For many professional designers and illustrators, posters also provide a level of freedom not often offered by commercial briefs.

“When you design your poster, you have complete control,” says Tom Muller, founder of HelloMuller and Kleber. “You can really be specific about what kind of paper you want, what kind of colours you use; if you want to work with Pantone colours, you can have the exact colours. If you [just show your work on the web], you have much less control over the final product because people will access the site on different screens. Your precious red won’t be the same red.” 

All of which sounds great, but poster, flyer and badge design have quirks of their own. Most significantly, there is the conversion between RGB to design, and CMYK to print, which can yield surprising results. Bleeds and paper stocks also come into the equation: matte versus gloss, for example, as well as thicknesses and print methods.

Read on to hear as five artists explain just how they overcome creative and technical challenges to come up with artwork that stands the test of time.