Some people assume that designing for Web and designing for print is identical. You can create a logo and attach it to virtual or physical products. A website can simply use the same font as a business card, or a presentation can simply consist of pages from your website. While these shortcuts may occasionally work, they often create more problems than they solve.

Working With Dimensions

When you design for print, you’re working with set dimensions. Even after you run out of business cards or pamphlets and need to print a new batch, the size remains the same. This isn’t true for Web design.

In fact, it’s less true than ever, thanks to mobile devices. You can never be sure of a visitor’s screen size. They could be logging on from a laptop, a tablet, or a smartphone, and there is no standard screen resolution across all of those devices. For example, many Samsung phones have a resolution of 1440 x 2960, but this is just one of several manufacturers. There’s even more variation when it comes to tablets.

Printed text must only be readable at a specific size. Users cannot change the font size like they can when viewing your website in their browser. You don’t need multiple image sizes to cater to different screen resolutions, either.

Once upon a time, designers might have assumed screen size or even forced the browser window to become a specific size, but it’s become apparent that Web design is most effective when a website works on any screen and looks good while doing so.

Responsive Web Design

This is the core of responsive design, a Web design concept that allows a website to adapt depending on the visitor’s screen resolution. Responsive design means a shift away from designing for specific resolutions in absolute dimensions. Now, designers focus on relative dimensions — percentages.

When screens become small enough as in the case of smartphones, it isn’t enough to just shrink text containers or images on a page. It may be necessary to rearrange content, which is why menus may be minimised, or sidebars may drop down to the bottom of the page when browsing a website on a smartphone.

There are many considerations, and a skilled designer will code for the Web in a way that can handle most — if not all — variations. This ensures the people who need your website can access it.

Unique Challenges

It might sound like designing for the Web is more difficult than designing for print, but this is not necessarily true. Each medium requires knowledge of how people will use the product. For example, packaging design needs to hold up as a product is handled by various people before it finally winds up in the hands of the end user. It may also be the very thing that draws a consumer’s attention, whereas visitors rarely know what a website will look like before they visit it. Furthermore, printed items might range from as small as a business card to as large as a billboard.

Don’t forget that visitors must be able to read your site, check out from your shop, leave a comment on your blog, or share the content you’ve written with ease, all the while your site must load quickly enough that they don’t become impatient and go to your competitor’s site.

There are similarities between print and Web design, of course. Paying attention to detail in both cases results in a design that stands apart from the rest. However, approaching both types of design as if they were the same can have less than optimal results. The Web provides challenges that print does not, and the opposite is also true. A design company that understands this can meet all of your needs.

If you’re in need of new print materials or want to refresh your website for the modern world, contact us.

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