New web pages are being designed every day. Great web designers not only keep up with the rest of the pack, but stays ahead of it by tracking what the current trends in web design are. Right now the influence of print design on the web is making quite an appearance in online page design. While many consider the days of newspaper to be archaic and magazines to be a waste of trees, there is great design to be found in these publications. Using that as inspiration for your web pages could jump you up to the cream of the web designer crop.

Print publications have decades worth of experience in the type of design that works and is the most impactful. The best design is always powerful, clear, simple and easy to understand. Negative or white space is king when you are talking about print advertisements including billboards, magazine layouts, newspaper ads and other forms of visual marketing.

The Internet has not necessarily followed this method of reaching their target audiences and making a strong statement to their traffic. One of the greatest benefits to web design is that users are not restricted in what they can say. There is no per word charge when designing a webpage. There was also a lot of flexibility in what graphics could really do. Print advertising does not allow users to incorporate audio, video or Flash. The novelty of being able to design and use these tools is really the fuel for early webpage design.

Today, however, the market is asking for less clutter. They are overloaded with all the information available on the Internet. There is a demand for better search engines, easier to navigate websites, and simply less animation and distracting graphics in modern web design.

This type of design is especially frustrating and ineffective for businesses and marketers who are trying to get one message across. It is too easy for that simple message to get lost in the bells and whistles of an overly design website.

Instead of reinventing the wheel, web designers are going to the experts of old. Print publications have mastered these challenges and understand what it takes to get an audience’s attention.


The selection of a font is crucial in web page design. Designers need to have an understanding of how fonts affect a design in general, how they affect readers and how best to use them. Typography is design’s way of communicating without speaking. It is common knowledge that the written world can be easily misinterpreted since there are know vocal inflections or an idea of tone.  If your message is not clear or can be easily miscommunication, you lose impact. If you have a great message, but it does not stand out in your design, you lose impact. Designers have to find the right balance in order to properly communication with their target audience and traffic.

Editorial Layouts

When web design began, traditional layout rules were thrown out the window. Frames and tables were the thing and design revolved around creative ways to use them. However, with the demand for simplification and the popularity of blogs – today’s websites more closely resemble their print ancestors.

Print layout design, especially magazine layouts, is great for controlling content heavy sites as well. Not only are the advertisements influential, but the editorial content and design is becoming the go to for blogs, ezines and other content rich websites.

Big bold headlines are common using keywords that enhance SEO techniques. However, the art of the headline is the offspring of newsprint. Other common print approaches that are being used more in web design include indented text, quotations, text in multiple columns and sidenotes and footnotes.

Striking and interesting graphics and photography have always been fundamental parts of design. The layout of these images is also being influenced by traditional print layouts.

Of course, the reason websites were not using these techniques originally is the complication of creating pages using this design style. This is no different today. Beginning web designs may find it difficult to code this kind of layout since the advanced HTML and CSS can take up much more time than more common design approaches.

However, those designers who are familiar with traditional web design are looking for ways to make their sites more appealing and interesting. Incorporating print design ideas and layouts is one of the ways to make a designer’s work stand out. Magazine layouts are known to have even more impact than television advertising – this means spending time studying magazines and using them for inspiration and motivation.

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  • Flavio Mester

    We see that happening. We provide a platform for designers to create and build websites, and many of our clients are designers and studios who previously only did print. Then they started to get requests for Web work, but either couldn’t do it themselves or had to hire programmers. Many turned into horror stories. Then there cam a phase when they tried to do it on their own, using WordPress or even trying to learn Drupal or Joomla, until finally coming to people like us.

    What I can see is that the influence of print designers is great. Many bring a maturity and clarity that’s certainly welcome, a positive influence to the clutter of previous years in website design and development.

    • Chris

      Great insights Flavio thanks!

  • allan jose

    thanks! the article rightly pointed out the necessity to stick to our basics. the success of newspaper layout shows that the key to be successful is to take measured steps in the field of web designing.

  • Magento Themes

    I think the influence of those medias has bought a great change in the web design industry.

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  • Fresh

    Well, sticking to the basics is always good but in todays world we need to move on.

    Print is till widely popular but I think that we should take into consideration the number of Online Magazines that we find nowadays. Aren’t they also hindering the effects of print?

  • web design

    Hello, yes sticking to basics is the shy and safe option, but you have to think outside the box here to really get your message across.

  • Groupthink

    The economy has really pushed people to digital publications. Getting the timid user to accept not having paper is tough. But by utilizing a design similar to what they had is a good first step.

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  • Adhere Creative | Web Design Houston

    I think there is always things to learn from the past. Keeping designs powerful, clear, simple and easy to understand is timeless.

  • Charly

    hey, well for professional magazine layout I would suggest dealing with a professional, although it is always fun to learn. But the underlying meaning of reading a magazine can change the entire experience and boost or kill your sales…

    here’s someone I know specialized in publication and magazine design

  • Web Design Cambridgeshire

    This is a very interesting article – print has had a very big influence in the past, but we are moving on now to the online world more and more, and so it is become more and more irrelevant in my opinion. Thanks for sharing :)

  • Catering London

    Thanks for these great article. It’s great to read people’s views on print and the way it affects us.

  • TSSVeloso

    Congratulations, a very complete article, and, for those interested in knowing more about the evolution of printing in the news industry, we’ve released recently an infographic about it, tracking back the main milestones in history:

    Keep up the great work!

    @TSSVeloso / @visualoop

  • Graphic Designer

    The print vs web topic is a great discussion. Print from an overall layout and design perspective allows for more creativity. Todays website design and structure have become very static and less creative because of the template based sites but, the media applications influences open up additional platforms of expression that print does not have. Great topic, thanks for sharing.

  • Galey Yang

    Very Professional

  • Lavamarketing

    This is a very good topic,also very informative and effective.Printing is one of important catagory in design.One of best web design sites in canada is Lavamarketing.

  • Sale

    I would prefer to go back to those good old days when the press was all that was not today, but we must follow the modern technology. Certainly, a good subject, and another good article. My compliments!

  • Manuel

    Good article, I’m about to redesign my blog and was thinking about a magazine alike layout , thanks for the post! :)

  • usa webmaster

    excellent web design blog. it shows the success of newspress :)

  • PrintingPages

    “95% of web design is typography.” I would apply the same rule to paper page layout also. Clear, simple websites work best for me, with plenty of white space, much like traditional print. Too many websites these days, fill evry spare pixel with animations, flash etc. Interesting article, thanks.

  • Printing

    Thank you for this information. The print are very important in our community even we are in modern we still need the printing for any source of news.

  • Web Design Columbus

    That really a lovely article describing all features of prints and design……loved reading your article :)

  • balancecreative

    Great article. With the advent of crappy site builder packages, clients need to realise it’s design that will elevate their site above the masses.

  • Mathew Kerber

    I really enjoyed reading this article, I have been designing for web for a few years now, having spent most of my career designing for print which I still love. I found that applying similar rules when designing for web, as I would for print has been extremely successful for myself and my colleagues. What is really interesting for me is that a fantastic layout is instantly brought to life with applications like j query, css & flash. I seriously urge designers who have not yet experienced designing for web to find themselves a great team of developers and coders and give it a go, you will be hooked! Also don’t be afraid of learning the back end development/coding that goes into it too, this is more or less the same knowledge of pre-press in a print environment, the coding staf will love you for it too. Once you know what is possible you’ll really find it hard to stop. This exciting direction for web design has really allowed graphic designers to step into the digital world and get their hands dirty.

  • grafxdesigner

    Video killed the radio star…. I started web deign in 1995. It was frustrating to mimic type with html. What happened in the time since then is good print layout took a beating by amateurs pretending to be designers. Hopefully new media hasn’t killed good layout like MTV killed music.