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Why Print Designers Make Quality User Interface Designers

Posted by esther on March 28, 2012, 6 p.m.

There’s not a whole lot of doubt that UI design (or User Interface Design) is a design discipline of its own. As I made the transition from print to web, I noticed that my history in print provided me with some challenges - but also some advantages.


Skills that will help seasoned Print Designers convert into good UI Designers:

  • Making mistakes in print costs money, and so print designers tend to review their work carefully. This attention to detail comes in handy when making sure a site looks and behaves consistently across multiple browsers.
  • Recognizing important data. Building a good usable website primarily means organizing content accordingly and emphasizing the important elements. This is something that comes naturally for print designers who must sometimes fit big messages in small spaces.
  • Since offset printing is usually more expensive, it means we have learned to be more sparse with colors and Full Color imagery. This will come in handy as UI Designs puts more emphasis on the actual content delivered.

A few tips for Print Designers working on becoming more comfortable with UI Design:

  • Try to avoid fixed heights to text boxes, they should be flexible as text tends to be unpredictable cross-browser. Fonts don’t render exactly the same in IE7 as they do in more modern browsers - like Firefox and Chrome - and can still differ from Operating System to Operating System; for example Chrome on Mac OS versus Ubuntu.
  • Up your font size, make your body text larger than you normally would for print pieces. Adding a couple of pixels to your standard line-height will increase the usability of your site as well.
  • Try not to ‘frame’ your websites in. Instead use your guides in Photoshop set at the your suggested website dimensions (such as 800x600) as your temporary ‘frame’.
  • Last but not least, explore, learn and develop!

Esther is one of our crack web designers at Fusionbox here in Denver. She is originally from the Netherlands and graduated with a Graphic Design degree from the Grafisch Lyceum in Rotterdam in 2003.

Contact Fusionbox today to see the UI we can design for you!