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What Is Publication Design Guide

What Is Publication Design? [Ultimate Guide]

Publication design has been primarily in the print space, but we've been seeing a big uptick in digital publication design.

But let's stop here, this probably makes no sense if you don't know what publication design is.  Luckily, this guide will break down all the different types, benefits, and use cases for publication design.

However, if you're one of the few that are familiar with this type of graphic design and need to hire a designer, check out our vetted list of the best agencies for publication design.

Design PIckle Logo Main

We tested Design Pickle and thought they were the best all-around option for unlimited graphic design

  • One of the most established and largest graphic design providers
  • Most professional systems, design and support teams; great communication
  • Most comprehensive suite of services and extra tools offered

Visit Design Pickle

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What Is Publication Design?

What Is Publication Design

Publication design refers to the process of creating and designing layouts for things like newspapers, magazines, books, and the online equivalent to those.

It includes elements like images, typography, and designers consider things like size and color to make publications attractive, eye-catching, and easy to take in.

Types of Publication Design

Types of Publication Design

There are two main types of publication design, each requiring a unique approach.

Here are some of the main types of publication design.


Print is the original type of publication design and includes books, magazines, mailing materials, newspapers, and any other material that requires good design to communicate important information and/or marketing materials.

Print publication design requires considering color, typography, white space balance, images, placement, and navigation.

For print, publication designers also have to think about the quality and texture of the paper, cover, or other material into account when thinking about the overall impact intended by the publication design.


Today, most publications are either strictly available digitally or have online versions available to consumers. Books, magazines, newspapers, and just about anything you can think of also have an online version.

Of course, things like color, images, white space, and typography are still relevant in this form of publication design, but digital publication designers have more elements that they need to take into consideration.

Digital publications include more moving parts like functionality, interactive elements, animations, and making mobile versions as well as computer browser versions.

Examples of Publication Design

Examples of Publication Design


A few specific examples of publication design include:

  • Books and book covers
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Reports
  • Pamphlets
  • Catalogs
  • Brochures
  • Calendars
  • Directories


Specific examples of digital publication design include:

  • Online newsletters
  • Online magazines
  • e-Books
  • Blogs
  • Digital reports
  • Digital catalogs
  • Digital brochures

What Are the Benefits of Publication Design?

Benefits of Publication Design

What can good quality publication design do to better your business?

Here are a few of the ways that your company can see success from good publication design.

Increase Viewer Interaction

When online publication design is done well, more viewers are likely to be driven to your online publication.

Functionality and attractive, intuitive design increase the likelihood that people will not only subscribe to your online or print publication but also increase the likelihood that viewers will return and remain loyal.

Better UX

You always want your users to have a great experience and good publication design can do just that.

By making your publication accessible and easy to navigate, you increase the quality of the experience that any of your visitors or customers have.

Strengthen Your Brand and Message

A successful brand is a cohesive brand. If your brand image and message are messy, undefined, or all over the place, customers can’t understand who you really are.

By creating a publication design that uses specific typography, color, and imagery, you can make it clear to your audience what your brand is all about.

Social Media

Social media, in any form, is primarily about what looks pretty.

If your publication looks pretty (which a good publication designer can do), you’re more likely to get shares, likes, follows, and other engagement, which ultimately means a larger audience and more customers.

Increase Subscription and Conversion Rates

All of the above lead to any publication’s ultimate goal: more subscribers and customers.

Who Should Hire a Publication Designer?

Who Should Hire Publication Designer

Obviously, publication design is important to some companies, but which ones?

The most obvious examples are a newspaper, an author of a book, an online or print magazine, or the owner of a blog.

The need for a publication designer doesn’t stop there. Any company that delivers any sort of consistent information-related information could use a publication designer.

This includes things like brochures, newsletters, regular reports, pamphlets of information, catalogs of products or services, or any type of manual.

How to Pick a Graphic Designer for Publication

How to Pick a Graphic Designer

So how do you go about finding a graphic designer that is qualified to help you create a stellar design for your publication needs?

For either one, you need to start by setting up your budget. How much money can you find in the budget for a graphic designer for your publication? Keep in mind that you will get what you pay for.

You then need to find either a large agency or a freelancer (check out our list below) and find the right graphic designer with relevant experience to create your publication design.

Since print and digital publication design require different sets of skills, we’ve broken them up into two sections.

For Print

If you’re looking to hire a publication designer for print, here are a few of the qualifications and skills your prospective graphic designer should have:

  • Experience with Adobe InDesign and Photoshop
  • Illustration skills specific to your content (children’s books, etc)
  • Print advertising experience
  • Experts in self-publishing if you’re writing a book
  • Typesetting and typography
  • Marketing assets (brochures, business cards, etc)
  • Publishing strategists (if you are publishing an original work)
  • Branding

For Digital

For digital publications, many similar skills are required like experience with Adobe InDesign and Photoshop. Even illustration and self-publishing experts are needed for things like eBooks.

A few of the more specific skills you may want your digital publication designer to have are:

  • Logo and icon design
  • Infographic design
  • CSS
  • HTML5
  • 3D design
  • Canva
  • eBook design
  • MOBI
  • Animation
Design PIckle Logo Main

We tested Design Pickle and thought they were the best all-around option for unlimited graphic design

  • One of the most established and largest graphic design providers
  • Most professional systems, design and support teams; great communication
  • Most comprehensive suite of services and extra tools offered

Visit Design Pickle


How much does a freelance publication designer cost?

On sites like Upwork, freelance publication designers charge from $15 to upward of $150 per hour, with an average rate of $25 an hour.

Where can I hire a publication designer?

You can hire a publication designer from a freelance website like Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer, or an agency like Toptal. Unlimited graphic design services like Kimp can also do publication design.

What’s the difference between print and digital publication design?

Print publication design is used for physical materials like books, brochures, pamphlets, magazines, and newspapers. Digital publication design is a form of graphic design for eBooks, online newsletters, blogs, and digital reports.

Is publication design a form of graphic design?

Yes, publication design is a form of graphic design.