Print Design Vs. Web Design

25 Aug

Hilligoss (2002, pp.97) states that page is the basic elements of print documents while screen is the basic element for electronic document. The beginning for the layout of pages and screens are the concept of Gestalt psychology and the genre. Both concept best fit for genres that have visual flexibility like flyers, brochures, newsletters and websites. It do not fit genre which needed certain formatting rules.

Most of the time, readers read word by word on print documents while for electronic documents, reader prefer to scan the page and read only the highlighted words. Kress and Van Leeuwen (1998) said that reader have a certain way of reading in scanning the page. This reading path will determine the design of the page. The reading paths will start with the most salient element and to the next most salient element.

Differences of Print and Web Design

1. Dimensionality 

 (, 2010)

Print documents is 2-dimensional where most of the attention is put onto the layout. The design of print documents uses a large size canvas for viewers to scan the document.

(, 2010)

Web dimensional is 1-demensional or N-dimensional. It is basically a scrolling experience for the viewers.

2. Navigation

In web design, the N-navigation aspect follows from the hyperlink navigation where it lead for one link to another.

For web design, the navigation only consists of turning pages. It is easy and benefit the readers on their readings.

3. Multimedia, Interactivity and Overlays 

Print documents can attract reader with the high-impact visualization but web documents can do it better because of the user engagement. It allows user to click on certain link to get a more in-depth information about certain issues. (Nielsen J. 1999)



1. Holligoss, S 2002, Visual Communication: A Writer’s Guide, Clemson University, viewed  on 25th August 2011

2. Kress, G. and Van Leeuwen, T. 1998, Approaches to Media Discourse: The Critical Analysis of Newspaper Layout, Blackwell, Oxford.

3. Nielsen J. (1999), Differences Between Print Design and Web Design viewed on 25th of August 2011


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