If you are not repurposing your print files for your digital version, then kudos to you! Your extra investment is likely serving your readers well. But it does mean that you need to design once for print, then design once for digital. (And in some cases more than once for digital.)

I have an issue with how it usually works when creating a version for each platform: design your print version first, then design your digital version.

Why do I have a problem with that? I understand that the print needs to lead in the schedule to have arrival timed with the digital release. I get that. But, there are times when your digital content should drive the design and you should back it out to the print. And that does mean that sometimes digital content is not identical, but that is a whole other debate, isn’t it?

For example, if you have particularly interactive and multi-format content for your digital version then that platform will likely be the more complex design challenge. The visual solution should be created to work best for the most complex need. Once resolved it can be adapted to the simpler need. So, it should not always be print first, digital after.

I propose that the print and digital are done at the same time, with influence traveling from one to the other as needed. A skilled publication design team can adapt designs in either direction to yield a heightened reader experience for each platform.

Despite the schedule needs, should digital should start dictating the design more often? And if so, shouldn’t content be created for the possibilities of the digital environment then adapted for the ‘limited’ print environment?

Do you currently design your digital AFTER your print? Why? Does the idea of having some measure of differing content in digital vs. print make you want to scream?


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