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4 Differences Between Print and Web Design

Well-rounded marketing campaigns should be diverse, and would benefit from using a variety of different tools. Printed collateral such as mailers, brochures and signs can work in tandem with online strategies such as email campaigns, social media posts, and user friendly websites. Having elements of print, and web marketing can be beneficial (link to 5 reasons print is still necessary blog), but it can be challenging finding a designer that understands the elements of both. Many freelancers and design firms either specialize in print, or in online pieces, and sometimes the results don’t translate between the different media. This can make it difficult to seamlessly move concepts and branding between the two worlds. Using a printer with an in-house designer will help you make the most of your marketing campaign, and here are four reasons why.

1. The Space for Design Varies.

In print, your design is naturally limited by the size of the piece you’re printing. Web design is different, because you have to design for a varying sizes of monitors. Certain designs may be too large to view without having to side scroll, and what might appear to be dead or blank space on one monitor, won’t even appear on a smaller sized monitor. The design will mostly likely be viewed on a tablet or phone as well, which constrains the design even more. In addition, print design also doesn’t have the functionality of providing links or other interactive experiences.

2. Print and Web Designs are Constrained Differently.

How we navigate a piece will make a difference in how it’s designed. For example, when arranging elements in a print booklet, a designer should avoid putting text or in the area that will be folded. Having this consideration will prevent a picture from becoming disjointed, or having text that doesn’t line up properly. Because of slight variations during the bindery process, the pages won’t always be perfect. With web, we don’t have to worry as much about limitations on space, because pages can flow at varying lengths, but it is important to consider what content is viewed at the top of the page.

3. Not All Fonts Are Universal.


It is also important to consider the different options for typography. Until recently, the web has been quite limited in the number of fonts available. Because of this, there are still limitations on what fonts will translate properly between computers, and which fonts have to be applied through different techniques. In addition, some fonts that may work in web design, may need to be placed differently to ensure they’re effective in print pieces. It is important that your designer knows which fonts will be best for communicating your message  effectively between print and web.

4. Web and Print Designs Have Different Color Capabilities.


Color is different when moving between web and print. For printing, your color options are CMYK: cyan, magenta, yellow and black. All print images are composed of a combination of these four colors, making your color options slightly limited in comparison to the nearly endless number of colors you can achieve on the web with an RGB scale. Having a designer that understands this can choose a color that will be consistent on both scales, thus making your marketing efforts more consistent.

Knowing the differences between designing for print or web will help you make a better informed decision when you consider hiring a firm or freelancer to contribute to your marketing efforts. As always if you have a question about your next print or web design project, email us at We’re here to help.

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