Applying Web 2.0 Design Principles to Print Design

Designing for print and designing for the web can be kind of like being a double agent. You almost need to have two completely different design personalities, because what works on paper can look terrible on the web, and what works online doesn’t always work on paper.

And now, at a time when print design is all about the elaborate, full-color visual orgasm, web design is migrating towards simple, bold 1 & 2 color designs and clean, uncomplicated graphics. These design principles are part of the web 2.0 revolution, so all the real action is online. Nevertheless, there are one or two interesting ideas flying around that can be applied to print design.

The whole philosophy behind the web 2.0 movement is that the internet should be accessible, and easy for everyone to use and understand, hence the whole clean and clear design strategy. There’s no reason why these principles can’t carry over to print design when you’re stumped for a creative angle.

Here are just a few ways you can use the sacred tenets of web 2.0 to bring this new style to your print jobs:

  • Color:
    Explore all the things you can do with 1 or 2-color designs. These designs can come out looking exceptionally elegant. This can be a great solution to a design problem that's gotten bigger than it needs to be.
  • A whale of a problem
  • Copy:
    Instead of relying on complex metaphors and double-entendres, get your message across using straightforward, compelling statements, printed in large, easily-read fonts. This is a great way to appeal to a wide range of consumers, without alienating anyone. As they say in the biz, “Don’t decorate, communicate!”
  • Keep the message simple
  • Collaborate:
    Online, web designers and web programmers work together closely. The entire design process is very collaborative, allowing artistic and technical sides to arrive at cohesive design solutions. In print design, a similar interchange between designers and printers can improve results dramatically. Try working with your printer throughout the design process, not just after the design is completed.
  • Put your heads together
  • Clean design:
    Get rid of the clutter! Clean design helps prevent against the problem of dazzling people with images that they later find impossible to connect with what was being represented. Instead of overwhelming the eye with images, focus on a single, powerful graphic that trains the eye on the main message you’re trying to get across. For example, "Eat healthy, it's good for your heart."
  • Clean and simple image