Differences between print design and web design
There are several differences between print design and web design. These range from navigation needs to font selection, image display to headline size, static work area to scrolling work zone. This is not surprising: print and web are two different mediums; the design needs and execution therefore are dramatically different.
The print medium has been around for a long time and has given designers enough time to experiment. And experiment they have: large graphics with little copy, lots of copy and little visual relief, large white spaces…designers have experimented successfully to come up with path breaking work.
A web design on the other hand has something of a duality. It is multidimensional in experience yet uni-dimensional in form. It is more a scrolling experience and less a canvas. The way a person scrolls, uses links or plays with the spatial relationship between the elements is what gives the web page its character.
Another important thing to remember is that the same page may appear differently in different web browsers. Thus, what may look good in Internet Explorer may look ugly in Mozilla. The designer has to make sure that the web page looks good in all browsers. This is not an issue in print. A page once designed stays as it is, irrespective of where it is printed.
The look and feel of a printed page is decided by the content, both copy as well as graphics. The interaction one has is fairly uni-dimensional. In a web page, the feel dominates over the look. That is where this medium scores. A web page has many charms; it can be visually enticing, it can be a treat for the ears or eyes, it can excite a person into exploring a link. The experience of a web page can be all encompassing.
Take the example of a map. A printed map in all its coloured beauty and clarity of image still requires you to pour over the details. A map on the web may be visually less charming, yet if you want t a close up, you just have to click on the region and all the details get magnified.
Another thing that sets a web design apart from a print one is the fact that a web page is never complete. Each page is merely a landing in a staircase from where a person can take another flight in any random direction. There is more than just design involved here. What is important is the entire logic of the journey -- the navigation -- and the ease with which a user can undertake the same.
The dynamics of both the media are very different; a good print design will not necessarily translate into a good web design. Keep that in mind and strive for excellence in any one.