I strongly believe that any printed piece can benefit from a web component. Yes, any. Combining print and web creates another channel for people to engage with and absorb information.
What about sticking a PDF online? Does that count? Well, not so much. It can actually hinder your efforts. If a printed piece is put online exactly as it has been designed—it can become a mess on your tablet, phone or smaller devices, which in turn would be detrimental as a marketing effort. Pretty much, what might be beautiful for print might be a no-go on the web.
The best way to combine print and web
Here are 5 things to consider when combining print and web:
- Say ta-ta to perfect and hello to responsive. Print is a beautiful medium. You can control every last detail, and it’s going to look exactly how you want it to. Web is more fluid. Sure, you can control many details—but you also have to expect some variation. Text will dangle. Font size will vary. Know how to maximize these variables for a fluid and seamless user experience.
- It’s gotta work on every device. If you’re going to put your printed piece online, it should be easy to read (with minimal pinching and zooming) on any device: a computer, phone or tablet.
- Get colorful! On the web, you can achieve a lot more color. Unlike spot colors, you can do fluorescent green all-day-long on a monitor at no extra charge. Great plan? Probably not—but you get the idea. Plus, while your web piece must compliment your printed piece, it doesn’t have to be matchy-matchy.
- Lower-res images are ok. On the web, image resolutions don’t need to be as high as printed images. It’s all about finding the sweet spot where file size is lower, but image integrity is still preserved, and the images look clean and crisp even on high-pixel density devices (a.k.a. retina). To reduce size and avoid unexpected color output, save your images as RGB (instead of CMYK) including all images you send to your web developer.
- Embrace the possibilities. Doesn’t WordPress have limitations? People ask me this a lot. As a WordPress Designer, I believe WordPress is not only a great way to manage content—but that it’s limitless when it comes to design. Anything can be done.
An example of combining print and web
I designed and developed a custom WordPress site for Tectonics, a team of skilled engineers, printers, sewers, fabricators, and installers. If you can dream it, Tectonics can build it. We created a Fabrics & Specs section for clients to view individual fabric swatches, specs, and get more information. While we do link to a PDF download, we could have stopped there.
We wanted the viewer to have access to the information beyond having to download a PDF. I developed individual lightboxes with all relevant fabric specifications and details that match the print sales sheets and look great on any size screen.
Let’s work together: I love working with print designers and clients who need a web partner. Let’s chat!