Print Design vs. Web Design: How Do They Differ

In the world of graphic design, there are two types of design that many, even new designers, find themselves confused in trying to draw differences. Undoubtedly, there are many similarities between print design and web design, but the differences also come in varying kinds.


To start off, we define what print design and web design are:


Print design

Print design is anything viewed as a physical item and comes in various forms such as magazines, posters, flyers, invitations, book covers, billboard signs, graphic t-shirts, and product packaging. All of these are things that you can pick up and look at in physical space.


Web design

Unlike print design, web design is primarily viewed on a computer, tablet, or mobile device. Basically, any design that you view from a screen is considered as web design. Moreover, it comes in the form of visual aspects of a website and ad materials.


More of the difference between the two lies with its aspects, as well as the manner that users engage with it.



With print design being tangible, it gives users the chance to physically hold on to the design and keep it with them anywhere they go within their palms or inside their pockets. With web design being found on a screen, instead of the physical approach, it provides users the scrolling experience within their devices.



When it comes to user experience, print design as a physical item makes people feel the intimacy, giving them a special feeling. Web design, on the other hand, makes the most of user engagement with features such as call-to-action buttons. It effectively exchanges physical touch with an immersive and interactive experience.


Static vs. Engaging

With the end product of print design being final and static, it is unable to deliver the ability of web design to implement interactivity once it is viewed by its users. However, an edge that print has over web design is that it can be presented in the best way possible by controlling its environment, a quality that web design has to fill by ensuring that its final outcome is enough to attract the attention of viewers.



Although colors may appear the same, they are projected differently on screen and on print. To make sure that a design is able to provide the quality that you are after once you have printed it, making use of the CMYK color space is efficient as this breaks down the percentage of ink color that will be used in the final design. As for web design, the RGB color space is mostly used as this regulates the number of light a certain color projects to show a certain shade on screen.


File Type

In creating print and web designs, the file type of the outcome varies too. Although there are file types that are valid for both such as JPEG, PDF, EPS, and PNG, there are specific file types that cannot be used for the other. Specifically, print design uses TIFF since it delivers high image quality and large file size that does not reduce in quality even when it is compressed. As for web design, GIF and SVG files make the interactive quality of digital designs more than possible.



In print design, the size of the printing surface is as important as the layout that will be used when printing on a surface. Designers determine how they will be able to make the most of the space allotted in making their work come to life. While for web design, having a specific size is an abstract concept. With this type of design viewed in various types of devices, designs are optimized or ideally scaled to fit on the screen of any device.



The resolution of a design determines the quality of the final outcome for both print and web. DPI or dots per inch is used for the standard resolution of print design, making use of at least either 300 DPI or 150 DPI. As for web design, PPI or pixels per inch is used for the standard resolution requiring at least 72 PPI for clear and crisp images.


To sum it all up, there are immense differences when it comes to print design and web design. However, the differences show how each type of design works to deliver the highest quality output and to provide users with the ultimate experience.


Whether you are looking into coming up with printed designs or having your website revamped, the monsters at MicroCreatives can help you out with our team of talented designers capable of doing print and web designs. Our creative writing team and web developers can also help out in keeping your ad materials and websites looking sleek and of great caliber.