I spent 10 years as a print designer before coming to Newfangled. I knew almost nothing about how to design for the web when I arrived but, over the past eight years, Ive picked up a few things and I now understand why its very different from designing for print.
For example, one of the keys of a successful website is its content. And one of the keys to good design is making sure your sites content is legible. Admittedly, since Ive turned 40, Ive had to increase the text size on a few of my favorite sites to reduce the strain on my eyes.
But the following example was clearly executed by a print designer who believes function follows form instead of the other way around. I had to hit command-plus on my keyboard three times before I could even make out what the text said.
Designers who think the web is just an online version of the printed page may as well say theres no difference between Mozart and Van Halen; its still music, right? Im not saying that general design principles cannot be applied to the web; good design is still good design. But the medium of the web has unique characteristics that require sensitivity to elements of design that arent considered (or necessary) in print design.
So if youre a print designer looking to break into the world of web design do yourself a favor – before you buy Photoshop, read some books, take a class or kidnap Jakob Nielsen for a weekend and force him to tell you all he knows about user interface design and usability.