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Web Design Vs. Print Design

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The graphic designers at Global Reach have immersed themselves in the study of web vs. print design, and are highly qualified to handle the crossover. Each one has a Master’s degree and years of experience designing for both print and web.

To help our clients better understand the difference between print and web design, our designers have decided to write a series of nine articles on the subject. The introductory article is below:

I say ppi, you say dpi.

Good design transcends all mediums and great designers leverage different disciplines to create a cohesive representation of a client’s vision. Leonardo DaVinci implemented his skills in painting, mathematics, engineering, and anatomy to illustrate The Vitruvian Man with both artistic and scientific representation. Frank Lloyd Wright utilized his engineering and drafting skills not only for the architecture of a building, but also the architecture of the interior from the lamps to the stained glass windows. These visionaries undoubtedly surmised that the whole is only as strong as its parts. In the same regard, your designer should be adept at both print and web design to effectively promote your vision across a wide variety of formats.

Print and web design each present unique challenges that only an educated and accomplished designer can plan for. This means it is very important for a designer to not only be well versed in design, but also in the technical presentation of a unified vision across many different mediums. For example, print has limited space, editability, and color palette, but has a higher resolution that allows for cohesion between large amounts of integrated elements. Conversely, design for web centers around a computer monitor that can only provide a limited window into the overall design of a site; only specific information can be viewed at any time. The web does, however, provide for a malleable source that is forever changing.

In this multipart series we will identify the differences between Print and Web design in order to provide you, our clients, with a better understanding of our craft.


  • Layout – full pages vs. limited window
  • Color space – additive vs. subtractive
  • Typography – web safe vs. full libraries
  • Interactivity – static vs. feedback
  • Technology – paper choice vs. screen resolution
  • Navigation – index vs. navigation bar
  • Audience – targeted vs. open
  • Content – everything else

It may not matter that you know the difference between dots per inch (dpi) and pixels per inch (ppi) because technologies change, but good ideas are seminal. Good ideas continue riffing through history, retaining an intelligent spark that set memories in motion. New trends may catch an eye for being unknown, but it’s the great designer that rises above the cliché with attention to detail and a skillset that dissolves barriers. No matter the medium, an effortless blend of shape and proportions provides rhythm that leads a viewer through a story while providing a backbeat of what the future may provide.


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