By Rachael SheaSenior Design Lecturer
There used to be a time in the creative industries when you’d ask a graphic designer if they worked in print OR digital.
In one short decade, an entire profession has evolved. The art of design hasn’t been lost… far from it… design has left the confines of the print house and infiltrated every aspect of the creative industries as we know it today… and this is just the beginning.
For all you traditionalists out there, the demand for print design is still strong, so if you are considering which path to take, it is important to understand the differences between print and digital design, as these involve different methods of planning, workflows, and tools and have different terminology, technology, and file formats.
For many designers, it isn’t a simple matter of working in one or the other, but being able to problem solveÉ like taking work that’s been produced for print (brochures, posters, signs, or stationery) and making sure it can be accessed online as well. Because design is so much more than pen, paper, and interfaces! Check out these 5 design components and see how design has evolved to become part of our everyday lives.
All good designers lean on some fundamental elements of design principles. These are the basic rules that can be applied to any design whether print or digital, to make it look better or work harder to get the message across. Things like font, layout and colour palette all have some of these rules to keep in your back pocket.
Design and technology
The printing press was invented in 1450 and it changed the world, making information portable and shareable on a large scale. In the same way that printing transformed our world, the internet has completely revolutionised the way we communicate.
Just as in print design, computers, mobile phones, browsers, and social media platforms have their own set of technical requirements for displaying colour, text and images – if you’re working with these platforms, you’ll need to understand the design requirements in that space.
Design and human behaviour
As well as considering technical requirements, designers need to understand the different ways humans interact with print or digital media. A printed brochure is tactile and textured and is an object that you can hold, display or recycle. A digital design can’t really be touched, but it can be interactive, responsive, and shareable on a much bigger scale. Both offer exciting possibilities for the designer with a creative mind.
Design and engagement
Technology has revolutionised our ability to measure ROI – our return on investment. One of the major wins for designers in this technological age is the ability to measure how many people are interacting with your work, for how long, and in what ways.
Design and storytelling
Design is about storytelling, whether it’s a branding exercise or advertising for an event, product, or service. Design is immersive, through all aspects of our lives. It captures audiences at different times and places in different mediums.
For a clothing brand, you might come across billboard advertising, swing tags, and packaging in person, and then you may see an Instagram campaign, online shopping, e-newsletters or digital ads for the same brand on your mobile phone. This string of narratives is intentional by design.
It’s easy to see why increased design capabilities are being demanded across many industries and this is resulting in predicted jobs growth over the next five years. So, if you’ve been thinking about design as a career path… you’re on the right track!