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Published: 30 July 2014

When we look back at websites from decades before, it is clear to see how far we have truly come in the world of web design. With greater browser capabilities and much more advanced technologies designers have been gifted a playground of opportunity to play in. The fluidity of modern web design really is a far cry from the dark days of static web design. However, we have to ask ourselves whether designers really helped themselves in the transition from print to web? It is easy to see that web design has been subject to a snowball like effect, starting slow and unsure of where it is going but eventually exploding onto the screen with an avalanche of engagement, usability and beautiful design.  

Now we are seeing web designers pushing the boundaries of graphic design across all medias. After recently travelling to Egypt, the inflight magazine, aptly named ‘Travel’ was so heavily influenced by web design it was like looking at a printed website. I found it was very well executed as are much print material in the digital era. Find the link here to the download - http://book.thomascookairlines.com/pdf/20140519_travel.pdf. There is nothing new about using a good balance of photography, illustration and typography, however this printed document was clearly born in the shadow of web design.  

Here are the main elements of web design, I believe, have jumped off our screen and into our magazines, newspapers and influenced nearly every bit of printed material being produced today. 

Using icons allows designers to quickly sum up what your text is about. In the fast past world of today people tire of hunting through tower blocks of content to find exactly what they are looking for.  Icons can even be enough to communicate titles, navigation and content that make reading additional text unnecessary. The introduction of icons suites the mobile browser world we all live in today. Like ‘Travel’, many magazines are using icons to guide a reader through its content or to simply accessories key points which stand greater significance on a page.   

Flat Illustration
Designers can use illustration to take a well-designed basic website and turn it into something very unique and personal. In recent years we have seen the rise of flat design and now it truly is dominating web space with its minimal features and easy-to-use journeys. It was only natural that a new wave of flat design illustration would be born because of its capability and versatility in dealing with responsive integration.  Now we are seeing flat design not only dominate websites but also our TV’s, in our magazines, infographics, instruction manuals, newspapers, posters and birthday cards and its popularity has been quite remarkable and print designers did not miss this web born trend.

Navigational tools are also borrowed from the world of web design. Print designers have long used forms of indexing but simple navigational keywords, often colour coded have gained popularity due to its user-friendly experiences in which customers are used to using on mobile and web devices.

So what’s next for web and print design?
I believe we have seen lots of cross over between the two fields and it seems print design still holds up with its on point relevance with the above mentioned features and is typically executed very well. However, how long can it really hold on? Just one example would be the rise of SVG integration making our sites “flat designs” animate and work across a multitude of browsers and devices. The design theory will always have its background in print and has a lot to be thankful for however, I find hard to see how well print design can keep up with the avalanche that is web design.

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