Designing for print and online publications differ in a variety of ways. This is because both these mediums cater to different set of audiences and their expectencies and must therefore employ different strategies in their design principles. To further explain this issue, I will use both the print and online versions of The Economist as examples.

Print Version:

(Source: 2009)

Online Version:

(Source: 2009)

As we can see, single columns are not advisable for online sites. Instead framing devices should be used. Framing devices will connect certain elements together and separate others, allowing a clear understanding for the reader (Kress & van Leeuwen 1998).

Print texts are considered to be more personal as compared to those online. This is due to the fact that readers are able to include their own cultural understanding into print, whereas when online, the multimodal features available provide obvious meanings (Walsh, 2006).

Web users “do not read on web” instead they scan through the sites in search of a particular word of interest (Morkes & Nielsen 1997). It is essential to “prune the content to suit reader’s interest” (Schriver, 1997) when it comes to online texts, whereas print texts are usually long and narrative.

To avoid issues of credibility of online publications, hyperlinks should be added on the sites (Morkes & Nielsen 1997).


Kress, G & van Leeuwen, T 1998, ‘Front pages: (the critical) analysis of newspaper layout’, in Approaches to Media Discourse, eds Bell, A & Garrett, P, Blackwell, Oxford, pp. 186-219.

Morkes, J & Nielsen, J 1997, 'Concise, Scannable and Objective: How To Write For The Web',, viewed 18 November 2009, <>.

Schriver K 1997, 'Dynamics in document design: creating texts for readers', Wiley Computer Pub., New York.

Walsh, M 2006, ‘Textual Shift: Examining the Reading Process with Print, Visual and Multimodal texts’, Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, vol. 29, no 1, pp. 24-37.
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