Web Design vs Print Design

So you have tried to understand what is the difference between web design vs print design. They have many things that they share between them, but they’re a key difference in both medias.

Web design vs Print design? Web design is creating websites, and applications that are specifically created for web viewing. Print design is creating printed hand held materials such as signs, business cards, posters, flyers and anything physical. Both share similarities but have different objectives for communicating your message, always work with a professional for help.

If you ever wanted to know some differences between both medias, then you should continue to read further and learn how these work together. We will also talk about the disadvantages and the advantages of both types of media.

Understanding Web Design

web design

Web design is often created by a web designer or web developer depending on what type of project you have. These projects often include things like:

  • Websites
  • Web Applications
  • PDF down loads
  • Web Content

We should consider anything that requires the person to have an internet connection a part of the web design process. While you do have some minor overlap with things like PDF downloads, it’s important to note that these files have to be saved for the web rather than printing.

We will talk about this later on but it’s an important note for anyone looking to start a project in web design.

Advantages of Web Design vs Print Design

Web design has several advantages over its cousin print design and the main advantage is cost. Web design is much cheaper than print and easier to correct changes. 

Unlike print web design can be changed on the fly which makes it an excellent medium for rapid production of something. In fact, the web has only grown while print has started to slowly die. We are seeing more people switch to web-based products and less of them switch to print based products.

Another thing is that digital things that exist are the internet are better for the environment since they involve very little waste. This is one area that is forcing print slowly down a drain hole as paper, ink and physical goods become more expensive.

Disadvantages of Web design vs Print Design

The biggest disadvantage is the amount of information and professionals without knowing what you will get. Unlike print design, web design requires someone who has some kind of programing knowledge to understand how to get your message delivered to someone on the web.

Web designs have specific trades which break down into:

  • Web designers
  • Web developers
  • SEO consultants
  • UI/UX
  • Online Advertiser
  • Social Media

These are just a few of a specialist you may find online, and one of the biggest problems is that not every single one of these specialists will have experience with working in all the trades listed. Because of this, it can be harder to locate the right company or person for your project.

Not to mention that with web design part of the problem online is people’s attention. Advertisers pay large sums of money to be in your face online and there is a good reason, people look less at advertisements. As a matter-of-fact, part of the web industry is blocking ads.

So when you are trying to grab people’s attention, realize that this can be much harder online than offline.

Understanding Print Design

print design

Print design is usually created by a graphic designer, but sometimes it is created by untrained professionals similar to web design. Print design unlike web design is focused on hand-held items that you can physically touch and use.

  • Business cards
  • Signs
  • Flyers
  • Billboards
  • Brochures

These are just a few of the millions of things you can create with print design verse web design. Unlike web design, the price is much more expensive than you would find with websites. Print is a medium that was once popular but has since lost much of its popularity.

Advantages of Print Design

Web design maybe more eco friendly than print design but lumpy mail gets stuff done. Because print design has been around much longer than web design, it has forced people to creative measures.

Marketers have learned tactics to get things like letters or mail opened that keep reminding you about a product or service. It’s no surprise that a majority of companies still use print medium as they go to media when they are trying to get a message out.

This is because people put little action behind things online, often ignoring them while print is often opened and looked at. At least good print is looked at similar to web design good print draws the readers’ attention to your product or service.

Having something that is physical is also something that people can hold on to which differs from web design which is not physical at all. Things like mugs, t-shirts or pens are things that a person might hold on to.

Disadvantages of Print Design

Print design is an older method of communication, and because of this it’s showing its age more than web. Print has become a more expensive medium for communication with customers.

While web design can be costly depending on the type of project you have, print can be very expensive with almost zero way to track your return on investment. An example of this would be a billboard on the side of the road.

Because of this print has been falling down for major projects, which people want more tracking so they can know how well their project is doing. 

Print also has the big negative that it drains resources on the environment. Regardless of what you think, manufacturing paper and ink is not a process that lends itself to clean environments due to waste. Because of global warming and many other issues that we face, that has been a giant push to go paperless.

The future of Web Design and Printing Design

future of web design and print design

No one can tell you what the future holds, but I think that we will see an end of printing in my lifetime. I don’t see how print design can stay sustainable. Not to mention the cost of things like paper and ink will eventually skyrocket as there is a continued push for the paperless trend.

Web design isn’t without its own flaws however, sometimes half the internet lots power because of a cut line. This type of problem has people scrambling to find solutions which make it to where we have extra redundancy.

Not to mention look at Chromebooks as an example, they are computer that requires very little physical storage space for use with cloud computing. Some many not like the thought of putting things up in the cloud but companies just like Apple and others are switching to it for their products.

As things like cloud computing get pushed to their limits, you will see a bigger push to have more e-based products. Amazon has converted much of the book industry to ebooks. I would expect that you will see a lot more of these digital goods being sold.

Good design is good design regardless of the medium

The great news for all those graphic designers out there is that this is not the end of the trade. Good design is good design regardless of how that design is created. So those same skills that someone like me learned in graphic design school will be useful for the web and many futures to come.

Design is a skill in its own that transfers across many types of medium, and we never forget that. 


I hope you have enjoyed this article explaining the difference between web design and graphic design. I hope you have learned a lot by reading this and if you want to learn more about web design, then check out our website.

Patrick McCoy
Patrick McCoy

Patrick is a web designer with over 20 years experience in websites and design. He spends most of his days writing content and enjoys tinkering with anything web or design related. When he isn't work he is often watching a good movie.

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