Compare the design (in terms of pace and contrast) of an online magazine, blog or website to that of a printed magazine, book or journal. What differences can you see between the kinds of design strategies used in the two formats?
For this Learning activity, I’m going to compare the Spanish edition of Elle magazine, March 2020, both their printed and online versions.
Cover of the printed magazine
Home page of the online version
The cover of the printed version uses one big photo that can also be seen on the homepage header of the online magazine. The logo is present in both versions as well.
On the printed cover, the designer has used a combination of typefaces -serif and sans-serif- to catch the attention of the reader. The online magazine also uses a mix of serif and sans-serif typefaces and similar colors as the printed one. The difference is, of course, that the web version is interactive, and the information can be presented differently. There is a menu just below the header with some fixed categories that the reader can click to get to the desired information. If we scroll down the main page, we see the same categories with some of their content, showed in a grid design with pictures and the title of the article they link to.
The design for the printed magazine has a lot of pictures to make the read easier and more dynamic, and so does the online one. The difference lies in the way the text and photos are distributed in the article. In the images above, I show the same story in both paper and online. In the printed one, the designer uses a 3-column grid where they add large pictures, some even taking a whole page. The web article, on the other hand, has a unique column, and the photos are inserted in between the lines, more like a blog post, since the reader will scroll down to read the piece rather than turn the pages on a more traditional magazine.
The way a reader navigates a magazine is very different for printed and web, and it is essential, as a designer, to consider that aspect when designing the layout and the way the information will be presented.