Breaking free of the print design mentality

Paul Boag

In a world where even your watch can access the web, it amazes me how many are still fighting for pixel control over their websites. It’s time to put them straight.

I am going to make the presumption that if you read this blog, you get that the web is not like print. You understand that there is no canvas size for a website and that trying to hold on to pixel perfect control is pointless.

However, shockingly many still do not get it. For those used to working in print, the idea of designing without knowing a canvas size is impossible to conceive.

Photoshop canvas size
When even our design tools force us to set a canvas size is it surprising that so many have trouble wrapping their head around a medium where the canvas size is unknown?

Those who work in marketing and print design are stuck in the mentality that each device and each platform needs to be treated separately, in the same way that you cannot use the same design for both a business card and a billboard.

This is part of the reason why we see so much money being sunk into mobile apps when a website would achieve the same thing. How can you create a compelling design that works just as well across all of these canvas sizes? To many this sounds impossible.

It’s a misconception that has been around since the birth of the web, but until the arrival of so many internet enabled devices it has been possible to bury your head in the sand. However, now it is obvious we need to start thinking about the web differently and stop seeing it as an extension of print.

With that in mind, I have written a post over at econsultancy (which I know is read by many marketeers stuck in the old way of thinking) outlining why they need to realign their mentality.

If you have clients, bosses or colleagues that are stuck in the print mentality, then you might want to refer them to this post.

Read my econsultancy post