There are designers who make their career in print, others in digital, and others who go from one world to the other. Everything is different, the dimensions go from millimeters to pixels, which leaves us a bit confused about the sizes we are using. CMYK becomes RGB, colors become lighter and those color palettes we loved so much may not work as well and become a shock to the vision.
The feel and the special finishes of the paper completely disappear and we start having animations in buttons and transitions from screen to screen. When it comes to final artwork in print, we have to export assets for web, with various densities for both Android and iOS, which might be quite confusing at first. Besides that, there is the big challenge of usability, which is crucial not only to make the users stay in the website/app for over 3 seconds, but also to make them come back. Here, everything has to be thought around the user and it is important to make a design that is visually good, but also fully functional.
This new reality might be a “shock” to someone with little to no experience; everything that seems simple at first might become a headache and anxiety every time you start a project. From the programs we’re accustomed to use – for example, going from the pagination in InDesign to the layout designs in Photoshop – to the design changes needed to make something responsive. Or even having to change layouts due to the order of importance and to the different dimensions and resolutions. Not everything about this transition is bad though: those small changes that have always been a headache now become indifferent, all you have to do is modify the file and replace it.
In print, any designer who wants to make the best out of his work, and execute it in an excellent way, should have knowledge about the final artworks, the printing process and every limitations that exist and that might shut down the project. In the digital world, some people argue that you should have some notions about HTML and CSS, so that you don’t damage the developing process. But should we really have those limitations in the digital world? Couldn’t we find a solution for something more innovative, different and “outside of the box”, when talking to the developer and presenting our ideas in terms of design, transitions and animations? If we’re not in the print world, we should make the most out of the fact that there are no restrictions impossible to overcome. The secret is working even harder as a team, take what is hard in digital and make it real. This way, you can receive great feedback from the client and, even better, from the user, who is the main focus in the digital world.
Deep down, even though these two worlds are quite different, they also have their similarities. The initial scare is perfectly normal but we shouldn’t be afraid of this change; we should just adapt to the newness and work hard to be as good in the digital as we are in print.