Web Designers vs. Print Designers

Many Web designers come to the Web with a print background. Either they were print designers, or they are just used to the control that a print world gives. When you print something, it provides permanence and stability. You don’t have this on the Web.

The problem is, that it’s easy to forget. When you build your Web page and test it in your browser, you get it looking exactly how you want it to look. But then you test it in a different browser, and it looks different. And if you move to a different platform, it will look differently again.

As you’re a designer, you’ll need to work with customers. You will be doing them and yourself a disservice if you don’t explain the difference between print and the Web. Especially if you bring your portfolio as print outs. This is a common problem, where the customer expects the printout to represent exactly what the page will look like.

What To Do? Working with Customers
Printouts as a Portfolio
It is always important to have a portfolio, but remember that the Web is not print, and bringing a print out is not a strong representation of your Web site design skills.

  • Setting Expectations
    Be up-front with your customers. If they want their page to have very specific layout, font, and design elements, be sure to explain the tradeoffs such as download speed and maintenance before simply building them a completely graphical page.
  • Know what your customer uses
    If you’re a big Netscape on the Mac fan, and your client only uses Internet Explorer for Windows, you should keep this in mind in your designs. Your page could look very different to them.

Design Techniques

  • Know your audience
    Know the characteristics of the audience of the site you’re building. If they are propellor-heads, they might browse in Unix on a 21 inch monitor. Or if they are more conservative they might have a 12 inch monitor running Internet Explorer 3. If you design a site that suits your audience, your customer won’t be complaining to you later.
  • Test test test
    Test your designs in every browser and OS combination that you can get your hands on. Emulators work if you have no other choice, but there is no substitute for hands on experience.
  • Don’t forget resolution
    Browsers and OS are important, but if your readers and customers are browsing on a smaller screen than you design on, they could be unpleasantly surprised.

The Web is Not Print
While it is possible, with CSS, to get very precise layouts, but it will never be as precise as print. If you can remember that as you’re designing your Web pages, you’ll save yourself a lot of stress.

Package Design

In The Visionary Package, branding and packaging consultants Herbert Meyers and Richard Gerstman argue that package design is the same as the branding of products and product lines (Palgrave, New York, 2005). This picks up from an idea first proposed by the late package designer Walter Landor in the middle of the last century. According to Landor’s daughter, Susan Landor Keegin, “Walter’s overriding view was that everything you project into the world goes toward creating your brand. Each little piece is of equal importance, equal weight, and has to be appropriate to the audience it is reaching or the message it is trying to promote.” Keegin adds, “The idea of branding the whole line started early. It was logical to him.” Read more

History of graphic design and its audience


To insist that, or to prescribe how, the history of graphic design need be taught in any particular way is to unnecessarily limit the field in both methodology and pedagogy. Since there is no consensus amongst historians of graphic design on what the history of graphic design is or what it should be, no scholar studying the subject should commit to any one way of researching, writing, and teaching.

Read More Here: http://www.aiga.org/content.cfm/the-history-of-graphic-design-and-its-audiences

Rock Art

Archaeologists, anthropologists, and historians know that prehistoric people did not spend all their time finding and collecting food. For many nomadic hunter-gatherers and later agricultural societies, food sources were abundant. Their lives allowed free-time to play games, to tell stories and socialize with their family groups, and to create. Prehistoric people used rock for tools, but also as a medium for artistic communication and expression. Many examples of prehistoric rock art survive today. Ancient rock art is found around the world and can be attributed to many different cultures. Cave pictures such as those found at Lascaux, France (c. 15,000 – 10,000 BC) and Altamira, Spain display animals and hunt scenes. This rock art is not ancient grafitti. These people did not have an alphabet, paper, pen or pencils, cameras, or any other way to record their beliefs and experiences. The rock art tells us stories, reveals traces of their religious beliefs and ceremonies, and relates some of the history of the people who created the images.

For additional information about rock art, pictographs, and petroglyphs, visit some or all of these websites:

“The Journey” of Roy Purcell from Roadtrip Americahttp://www.roadtripamerica.com/places/chloride.htm
Petroglyphs and Rock Paintings http://www.execpc.com/~jcampbel/
Rock Art Pages by by J.Q. Jacobs http://www.jqjacobs.net/rock_art/index.html
Rock Art & Petroglyphs http://www.rupestre.net/rockart/
Southwestern United States Rock Art Gallery http://net.indra.com/~dheyser/rockart.html
What is Rock Art? http://www.asu.edu/clas/anthropology/dvrac/aboutus/introduction.html
World Rock Art http://www.une.edu.au/Arch/ROCKART/MMRockArt.html

Try a webquest activity.