5 things to learn from print designers

Added Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009 at 10:52 pm by

Print designers struggle, when they have to make a web layout. And with good reason, websites don’t have the same dimension constraints and a web page calls for a more fluid layout. Some things are not easy, nor smart, to do on the web. Drop caps, Image wraps, large images just to mention some. But we should learn from print designers. They make great designs in the offline world and some it can be used online too. Below you’ll find 5 things to look out for and some examples of webdesigns that already use these techniques.

Header spacing

Print designers play around with letter spacing in headlines to make them more readable and make them look more dynamic. On the web we have limited tools for this but play around with the letter-spacing and line-height properties in the CSS for your headlines to get a better result.

Grab attention with type

Print designers play around with headline designs all the time, changing the fonts, doing different colors and adding effects. Try that out on the web too. Use Cufon or sIFR to use special fonts and effects on your headlines.

Freelance Switch using sIFR for a fancy headline

Freelance Switch using sIFR for a fancy headline

Whitespace is key

Magazine designers have whitespace down to a fine art, and web designers are getting better at it. Give your elements breathing room. Margins and paddings will make your pages easy to browse through. And that is what people do on the web. They browse. They don’t read every word. A bit of whitespace might make them read a bit more or come back.

Zenhabits using a lot of whitespace to bring focus to the content

Zenhabits using a lot of whitespace to bring focus to the content

An image says more than a thousand words

Print designers love putting big images in and around their content, but for some strange reason this has been avoided by a lot of webdesigners. But the internet is up to a nice speed for most people now, it might be time to consider using more and bigger images in your content as it makes your content more interesting.

Problogger using an image to let you know what the post is about

Problogger using an image to let you know what the post is about

All elements aren’t equal

Get attention to what’s important on the page. Try using boxes, images or pull quotes to get your readers to look at what’s important on your site.

HUGE inc. - Tell me, where are you looking?

HUGE inc. - Tell me, where are you looking?

So remember that for your next design. Think a bit more like a print designer.