How Print Design Has Kept in Step with Digital

You could be forgiven for thinking that web design and print design are two different crafts and never the twain shall meet. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Print and digital are actually keeping pace with one another and learning new skills from each other’s crafts. This article looks at some of the areas where print design in particular is adapting web design ideas to the printed page.

Use of colour

Where web design has always used colour to grab attention, print design has been more conservative with colour in the past, originally because only black and white was available. Now print designers are taking a leaf out of the web designer’s digital book and applying more bright colours to the page. Newspapers feature brighter colours than ever before and full page colour advertisements are now common.

Use of shapes

Print design has traditionally used rectangular shapes in layouts, either horizontal or vertical and framing the printed words. Now print designers are doing away with right angles and incorporating the circular shapes of web design into their pages and using elements such as shadowing to lift the printed words off the page.

Use of words

Print design has traditionally favoured a wide mixture of font styles, which do not always go well together. Web design is limited to a smaller choice of fonts and this has helped print designers become more selective in their use of typefaces.

Print terminology is also changing as more print designers work in both print and digital. Old printing terms such as ‘leading’ (the space between lines) and ‘kerning’ (the space between letters) are being replaced by the more user-friendly web terms ‘line height’ and ‘letter spacing’.

Use of tools

With the development of design tools that accommodate both print and web design, print designers are starting to find it easier to work across both platforms. Design tools such as Adobe’s Creative Suite allow print designers to more easily come to grips with working in both mediums.

The future of design would seem to lie in both print and digital and the most successful future designers will be those who are able to work in both mediums, using the traditional skills of print design and the freedoms of web design to create work that jumps off the page, whether that page is made of paper or pixels on a screen.

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