How to design for web vs print

Designing for the web can be a completely different ball game to design for print. I’ve worked with both design fields for over 10 years and never stop learning how to better myself as a graphic designer.

Designing for the web can be a completely different ball game to design for print. I’ve worked with both design fields for over 10 years and never stop learning how to better myself as a graphic designer.

It’s my intention to share what I’ve learned through this article, so I can help aspiring graphic designers with the basics and explain to business owners some of the things to consider when choosing a graphic designer.

If you want to become a serious graphic designer, then you have to understand the difference between working on a website or a print design. The same is true when choosing a designer to work with.

Consider differences in various areas of design including color, resolution, file size, unit of measurement and the ability to transfer files from one medium to another.


The main difference you need to know between web and print graphic design is the color profile used for both media at best mobile casinos.

Basically, when working on the web you have to use an RGB (red, green, blue) color profile while for printing you will use CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, yellow, black).

Although there are a number of printing companies that will change the RGB colors on your behalf, we recommend that you convert your files to CMYK yourself. Often times when a printer changes colors, it doesn’t print as you expect for the sample colors it may appear washed out or muddy.

When designing for the web, the basic thing that you should pay attention to is how your colors appear on different computer monitors. One color can appear many ways on various monitors depending on if they are using an LCD or CRT screen, and the monitor configuration.

Unfortunately it’s not perfect science so you just have to keep that in mind.


The next big block a graphic designer will experience if they are not familiar with both mediums is the resolution of your project. Ideally, you would use 300dpi for printing, while 72dpi is the maximum resolution used for the web.

If you are designing something for both media, design it for print quality first and then resize it for the web. You can always shrink files but try to scale something up until it results in a loss of quality.

File size

While you don’t have to worry about file size if you’re primarily designing for print, it’s a big concern if you’re designing for the web.

As a web designer, you have to make sure that your designs are free of excessive file sizes so that they load as fast as possible. Most people are on fast broadband these days so you don’t have to compromise on quality but you should keep the file sizes to a minimum.

Unit of measurement

If you place the rulers against the monitor and measure on the website you will find the measurements vary according to the monitor used. That’s because the units of measure used for web and print design are different.

Design for web is measured in pixels, whereas print design is measured in millimeters, centimeters or inches.

Medium limitations

Print-based designs clearly have limitations and requirements based on the materials and printing techniques used. Understanding the print process used for a particular project will be a huge advantage when designing for print.

For example, if you are designing a project that will be screenprinted on a t-shirt, you may need to make sure the colors are ‘loose registers’ which means the colors don’t touch. This allows for the small movements that may occur in some forms of printing. Meanwhile, if you are designing for the web, you need to consider resolution, interactivity and design layouts suitable for different lengths of content.

This article is really only scratching the surface of what it means to design for print or for the web.

The important thing for a graphic designer is to understand the medium you are using. It is important for any business owner to choose a graphic designer with experience and expertise in the medium you are using.

Categories Web Design

Post Author: sanussalvuscom

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