Ticket Printing: Design and Print Custom Tickets

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Ticket printing is an important part of a successful event. Whether you design your own ticket or use a template from a website, it counts to have a professional finished product that will make an impression on the ticket holders. Just think of how many people see the tickets at a concert or performance, a fundraiser dinner, or even a school raffle! With so many design elements to juggle, custom tickets may seem difficult to create. However, this guide will walk you through the printing and design basics. Be sure to visit our page of recommended custom printing companies when you’re ready to get started. Also, our section discussing online printing services will give you an overview of how to navigate the world of online printing.

Ticket Design

Ticket design is similar to business card design. Like custom business cards, custom tickets contain information that the holder will likely consult more than once. That person will look at the ticket to find the information, but he or she will also notice the detail that went into the design. It is important to balance the style and text of the design.

As with other printing jobs, hiring a professional increases the chances of an outstanding final result. Graphic design services are found in traditional graphic design firms, but are now also available with online printing companies. Online printers have design departments that can collaborate with you to create a unique custom ticket design.

Custom ticket printing is now easier with the help of a ticket template that printing companies offer on their websites. With a template, a design can be completed in a matter of hours. A raffle ticket template can give you more time to organize the prizes. With a concert ticket template readily available, design and printing only needs to be a small part of your event planning. Using a template will also lower costs, since the ticket design is easy to create.

Simply uploading the completed design to the online printing service is an option if you prefer to use your own graphic design firm or software. Professional and amateur design programs are available online, with professional programs being more expensive. Once you’ve got your design, you can upload it to the printing service directly (just double check which file formats they accept). Some ticket printing services may also require you to place an order before you submit your design file, so be sure to check out each company’s policies.

Ticket Design – Tips

Know Your Event

Is a custom design necessary for 1,000 raffle tickets? Will bold, colorful designs be the best choice for a formal dinner? Can you utilize a concert ticket template if your design is simple? These are the questions you should be asking yourself as you begin making tickets. Event marketing starts with custom ticket printing.

As you plan your event, you will get a sense of its style, and it’s essential to transmit that style in the ticket design. You can use colors, fonts and other design elements to convey the mood of the event. For example, the design for an elementary school fundraiser could have bright colors and a playful font that remind people that the event benefits children and education. Tickets to a classic movie festival could be black and white with images of the actors in the background. Event ticket printing can take advantage of templates too; this could take the guesswork out of the design process. Read on to learn more about how you can include event promotion in ticket printing.

Information Is Key

Just as important as a ticket’s design is the information it contains. After all, a ticket gives the “Who, What, When, Where, and Why” of an event. First, make a list of all the details that must be included, like the name, date, time, and location of the event. Other information like the ticket price, dress code, website address, or event sponsor can also be included, provided there is space available. Remember that you can print double-sided tickets and include information on the back. When making tickets, the text should be organized and presented clearly, and the design should not make it difficult to understand the event details. Test out different combinations to see how certain backgrounds, colors and fonts work together. The bottom line is that the design should not overtake the information you are trying to convey.

Size Matters

Online printing services offer many different ticket sizes. And while many printing companies claim to have standard size event or general admission tickets, the truth is that these sizes can vary from company to company. Custom ticket printing can also include a variety of unique sizes. If you have an example of the size you want, go ahead and measure the ticket and see if the online printer offers that specific size. Keep in mind that custom dimensions may make your ticket printing more expensive since special cutting is required.

Triple Check Your Proof

There is nothing worse than submitting a proof and then discovering an error right after, or worse, when you have the printed product! Remember, ticket printing services do not include proofreading services. Printers follow exactly what you submit and they will not stop an order to ask you if you´ve made a mistake. Once you and your design team have finished designing and have gone over the proof, get some feedback. Ask people involved in the event what they think about the design. Make sure they can understand the information on the ticket. Ask if they feel that the ticket design conveys the purpose or mission of the event. Pin it to a crowded bulletin board and see how it looks from a few feet away. Does the ticket blend in with other papers or does it stand out? Can you still make out the movie time or the concert venue? Take the time now to review your custom ticket before it’s too late.

Ticket Printing – Paper Options & Color

Weighing the Options

The weight or thickness of your custom tickets may seem insignificant but it will make a difference in the presentation of your event. Thinner, lighter tickets can come off as unprofessional and are more easily damaged. You want the final product to maintain its shape even if it´s stuffed in a purse or suit pocket. Before you start thinking about images and text, make sure the paper is thick and sturdy. Most companies recommend cover stock for ticket printing. And for thickness, it´s best to go with 10, 12, or 14 point cover stock. For raffle ticket printing, a thinner option may be fine. However, for concert ticket printing, choose sturdy paper.

Coated Paper

Custom tickets should be printed on glossy or matte paper (cover stock). Uncoated paper is better suited for traditional business cards, but for custom ticket printing it is best to use coated paper. Glossy paper creates a slicker, more eye-catching result. If you want your images to really stand out, glossy paper will achieve that. Matte paper is more traditional but it can give your ticket design a certain touch of elegance. Matte paper also draws attention to the images, but the results just might not be as intense as with glossy. Lastly, make sure that it is clear as to which sides you want to use coated paper. If you have a double-sided ticket design but only want one side coated, confirm this detail with your online printing service. (Coated paper may automatically be used if you do not specify.)


Believe it or not, these jumbled letters actually stand for something. CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black), while RGB stands for red, green, and blue. CMYK creates color by subtracting it to reach the desired shade. RGB is the opposite, and color is added rather than taken away. Our color printing section of this site describes in more detail the differences between CMYK and RGB modes.

You can use either RGB or CMYK mode while designing your event ticket. However, the final design file must be in CMYK. Check with the online printing service to see whether they will convert the file for you, or whether you can only submit CMYK files. Remember that color shades can change noticeably during this conversion. Ideally, you should design in the CMYK mode to begin with. Take advantage of a company’s offer to show you a hard copy proof so you can be 100% sure that they have achieved the correct color for your printed tickets.

Ticket Printing – Fonts & Backgrounds

Font First

While it may be tempting to start creating your custom tickets right away, it’s best to begin by organizing your information. Images are optional; knowing where and when the party is happening is not. Once you have all of the details gathered, experiment with font styles and sizes to capture the tone of your event. For raffle tickets, the font doesn’t have to be that exciting, but for a movie or concert event, font certainly plays an important role. Custom tickets can have specialized fonts and graphic design services can even create a font that suits your event’s needs. Use fonts to your advantage too; if there is information that you want to stand out, choose a bolder font or make the text larger.

Adding Images

With the font and text set, you can now have a little more fun. The background can be a solid color, a single image or a mix of the two. Be sure to try a variety of color, font, and image combinations. If the background of the ticket is flashy or bright, keep font type, color, and images simple. Or, if you have one single image, this leaves you more creative space for the other design elements.

A Quick Note About Resolution

When uploading an image file to use for your print job, check the file’s resolution. In the world of digital printing, DPI (dots per inch) is a measure of quality. Most printing companies will not accept an image with a DPI lower than 150, and photographs typically need a DPI of at least 300 to maintain their clarity in print form. With ticket printing, images need to have the proper resolution. Check the online printing company’s policy on resolution to determine whether or not you need to fix your image file.

Ticket Printing – A Few Extra Details

Double-Sided Design

A double-sided ticket can be very advantageous for your event because it gives you an entire other side of design space. The back may be the perfect place to name event sponsors or to advertise promotional products. (See the Ideas section below for more information on marketing your event with your custom tickets.) However, double-sided ticket printing may not be worth the extra cost. Determine the price difference before making a decision.

Stubs and Staples

Stubs and staples are essential for concert ticket printing. Ticket stubs, or perforated edges that tear off, are great for a raffle or movie, where someone will collect one part of the ticket. Think about what information you want on the ticket body and the ticket stub. If the event involves seating, you probably want the seating information on both the body and the stub. For a raffle, the raffle numbers need to be on both parts. Decide whether the numbers look better arranged horizontally or vertically. Imagine looking at the stub when it’s been detached from the ticket body. Is it missing any information?

Tickets can be printed and then stapled into packs of 25 to 500. The location of the staple can make a difference in the way the tickets are distributed. Request that the staple be placed far from the perforated edge if you need to separate the stub from the body, and keep the staple away from any text or images. A staple should be placed near the borders of the ticket, but not so far to the edge that the staple can come undone easily.

Embossing and Foil-Stamp Printing

Embossing and foil-stamp printing are extra effects that can really enhance your custom tickets. Embossing involves pressing a metal tool into the paper and what is left is a physical impression of the tool’s shape. Embossing is not widely available for ticket printing; however, it may just be a question of asking the printing service if it can be done. Foil-stamp printing uses a piece of foil pressed against the card stock to achieve a distinctive three-dimensional effect. The result is stunning and it will make your tickets pop. The downside to both of these effects is their expense, yet they may be worth it if you have the budget or if your order is small.

General Admission vs. Reserved Seating

Concert ticket printing must take seating into account. If your event is a performance that involves a large viewing area, reserved seating may be an option. If you do choose reserved seating, the seat number and row should be clearly displayed on the front of the ticket. Avoid placing a noisy image right under this text unless you want to spend the entire event decoding the numbers on each individual ticket.

Reserved seating also requires more communication with the printing service. They need to have a sense of the site layout for your event. This step may be as easy as submitting a seating chart of the venue to the print company, or you may need to indicate what the range of seat numbers and rows will be. If your event is general admission and does not have reserved seating, look for an event ticket template that prints “General Admission” on the front. Including this information will make things easier for your guests, since they will know what to expect when they arrive.

Custom Tickets – Ideas

Custom tickets should get your guests excited for the event. Play up the event venue and advertise any raffles or drawings, especially if they include cash prizes. Mention if the event includes a surprise guest or a special performance. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your ticket design.

In recent years, custom ticket printing has evolved to include more information for event attendees. If many people are coming from out of town or if the place is difficult to get to, including brief directions or a map can help guests easily find the location. Let guests know if nearby parking will be available and if it costs anything.

Custom tickets can be used to market your own organization or advertise other businesses looking for exposure. Event tickets can include sponsors or advertisements. For example, you could print tickets with the name of an event’s sponsor on the back. Or, your custom design could include a coupon for a sponsor, or a discount to your organization’s next event.

Another idea is to include random numbers on the ticket backs and hold a drawing for a prize. Not only does this get people involved in your event, but it also gives you a chance to gather customer contact information. Create a fill-in line for an e-mail address or phone number and notify the prize winners if selected. Future marketing campaigns can benefit from the information you collect.

Today, security is a top priority for event planning, and you can ensure a safe event starting with your ticket printing. If guests must present picture or government identification at the door, include this information on the printed tickets. Or, if it is a large scale event, you can take advantage of technology that is commonly used in concert ticket printing: bar codes. If you expect large attendance or many VIPs, tickets with bar codes can decrease the chance of fraud or uninvited guests.

The important thing to realize is there are a wide variety of ticket printing and design options, so get creative!