First we thought the PC was a calculator. Then we found out how to turn numbers into letters with ASCII — and we thought it was a typewriter. Then we discovered graphics, and we thought it was a television. With the World Wide Web, we’ve realized it’s a brochure.
— Douglas Noel Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
As digital technology evolved from graphic design to page layout to web design, graphic artists adapted software tools and design principles to work in the new discipline. Initially, many designers with roots in graphic design for print migrated to the less controllable and more fluid design environment of the World Wide Web while retaining skills in design for print.
Today the situation is different. A graphic designer may train only for web design and have no experience with print. And even though design for print and design for web both must consider how to display text and graphics, how to use color and typography, and how to guide the reader around the page, the two design environments are very different. To be successful, today’s graphic designer must either understand the requirements for design in each, or limit their activities to web or print.
In this issue of Printips we’ll discuss three primary differences between the two environments and explain why what works in one may not work in the other.