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Print Design vs. Digital Design: Understanding the Differences


Just decades ago, graphic designers spent their days producing print layouts for products like posters, books and brochures. But in today’s digital world, the realm of graphic design is expansive and ever-evolving.

Although they share the same basic principles, print design and digital design each require a unique skill set and approach. Let’s dive into some of their key differences.

What is Print Design?

Print design is the artful creation of digital files that will eventually be produced as physical media. You can find print designers developing creative for products like:

Print Design Brochure
  • Magazines

  • Books

  • Newspapers

  • Brochures

  • Flyers

  • Business Cards

  • Billboards

  • Packaging, and more

Dive into digital printing >

What is Digital Design?

Digital design refers to the creation of designs intended for publishing across digital media. The world of digital design may include:

  • Digital advertisements

  • Websites

  • Social media assets

  • Apps, and more

The Core Differences Between Digital and Print Design

Whether designing for print or digital, creative designers need to take into consideration these core differences before diving in:


Print design requires a much higher resolution than digital design to ensure the final product renders sharp and clear. Digital design, on the other hand, must take into consideration the resolution of the varying devices on which the design will be viewed (like a small cellphone screen vs. large desktop screen). Digital designers also need to consider the interactivity of their creative, which may include animations, clickable links, and other features that are not available in print.

Device Resolution


When designing for print, it’s important to take into account the physical characteristics of the finished product such as paper size, weight, texture, and colour. This means that the design needs to be created with a specific print size in mind, including appropriate margins and bleed areas.

Print designs must also take into account how colours will appear on paper, which may differ from how they appear on a computer screen. That said, our brand new HP Indigo 15K Digital Press is able to colour match up to 97% of PANTONE® colours—a truly unprecedented innovation!

We own the only HP Indigo 15K in Western Canada! Learn More >


A billboard is huge, a banner is large, and a mobile screen is itty bitty. Our point? The layout of a design is heavily influenced by the medium in which it will be displayed. In print design, the designer has complete control over the size and placement of elements on the page, allowing for precise control over the visual hierarchy of the design that guides the viewer's eye through the content.

In digital design, layouts often need to be responsive—meaning that it must adjust to different screen sizes and resolutions. This can limit the amount of control that the designer has over the layout, as certain elements may need to be moved or resized to fit the screen.

Print Products

Calls-to-action (CTAs)

In digital design, the audience’s call to action (CTA) often renders in the form of clickable buttons, links and forms. Because taking action from a print piece typically requires more effort, print designers need to be creative in the way they incorporate their CTAs. Many designers today are using print-based digital technologies like QR codes and augmented reality (AR) to make it easier for the audience to move through the journey from physical to digital.

Printing & Publishing

Finally, the production process for print and digital designs varies greatly. Print designs must be sent to a printer for physical production, while digital designs can be published online with the click of a button. This means that print designs require more pre-production work—such as physical proofing and colour correction—to ensure that the final product matches the designer's vision.

Get a designer that can do both!

Did you know WCD’s in-house Creative Services agency specializes in both print and digital design? Not only do we have the all-around expertise, but we also have the production capabilities to print small and large format projects—from 10” brochures to 10’ banners!

It’s never been easier to produce your multimedia campaigns in one place. But don’t take our word for it—get immersed in some of our favourite creative campaigns!


From Your Hands to Their Hearts: Corporate Holiday Gifts & Decor for 2023

The holiday season is fast approaching—which means now is the perfect time to think about how you can make a lasting impression on your customers, employees, and partners. Lucky for you, our latest offerings are designed to add a touch of personalization and holiday spice to your upcoming gift-giving and event festivities, making this year's holiday experience that much more special (and simple)! Let’s dive into our favourite ways to make your holiday season both memorable and impactful this year, including: Local goods gift boxesBranded holiday cardsPersonalized holiday party invitations Custom corporate calendars, and more! Give the Gift of Curated Goods Meaningfully Made by Local Makers Creating heartwarming gifts for your customers just got a whole lot easier. Collaborating with Alberta creators, we've curated custom gift boxes full of premium products—all sustainably sourced from local makers you'll love. What's inside? Option 1 includes two stunning glasses from MTNPAK Glassware, gin from Burwood Distillery, tasty treats from The Shortbread Company and hand-crafted coasters from Kingwood Decor. Option 2 includes mouthwatering maple syrup from Wabanaki Maple, a custom-made tree ornament and wooden calendar stand from Rocky Mountain Creators, and a brand-designed calendar to go with it! The best part? We top both options off with personalized, custom-designed cards and address labels that add a tasteful touch of branding to every gift. Plus, we fully manage the kitting, packaging and mailing—making it a hands-off experience through and through! Send us a note to inquire about pricing and availability. Personalized Holiday Cards For An Extra Thoughtful Touch Sending out holiday cards is a time-honoured tradition, and working with us, you can elevate yours. Say goodbye to generic, store-bought creative and tap into designs that effortlessly align with your brand. With a personalized holiday card, you can send warm wishes to your customers and partners in a way that says "we care." Personalized Invitations & Décor For Memorable Holiday Parties Planning a holiday party? Imagine custom-designed invitations that capture the essence of your event, setting the tone for a memorable celebration. And when you arrive, every little detail — from the party favours to the table settings — is flawlessy thought out. Our in-house Creative Services design group specializes in bringing your vision to life, ensuring that every detail of your event's branding effortlessly reflects your unique theme.

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Back to School in Style: A Classroom Checklist for Teachers

As summer break winds down, teachers everywhere are gearing up for another exciting chapter. While lesson planning and curriculum development take centre stage, it's equally important to create an environment that fosters creativity, organization, and inspiration. That’s where we have you covered. As the exclusive printing partner to several of Canada’s largest school boards, we're your go-to for creating a personalized classroom experience. So, we've put together a comprehensive checklist to help teachers elevate their space and head back to school in style. Here’s your step-by-step checklist to a killer September kick-off: Print your classroom course materialsCreate a personalized notebookDecorate your classroom Fuel your day with a personalized mugOrder a custom calendarCreate a custom teacher's tote1) Print Your Classroom Course Materials A successful school year begins with well-organized and engaging course materials. Instead of relying solely on generic handouts, consider the impact of personalized course materials – from custom worksheets to study guides – that reflect your unique approach to teaching. Plus, if you order your classroom materials from WCD before August 15, not only will you receive them by September 1—you'll also get a FREE personalized notebook. And on that note... 2) Create a Personalized Notebook Jot down lesson ideas, doodles, and reflections in a notebook that's as unique as your teaching approach. A teacher's desk is the heart of the classroom, where lesson plans come to life and creative ideas take shape. With a notebook made specially for you, you can make this space truly your own in a fun and functional way. Use our custom template made just for teachers, or create your own design that mirrors your personality and teaching philosophy! 3) Decorate the Classroom with Vibrant Posters Engage your students visually and foster a stimulating environment that encourages exploration and curiosity. A well-decorated classroom is a canvas for creativity and learning—and you can transform those beige walls into a vibrant educational masterpiece with just a few posters and prints. Whether it's motivational quotes, historical timelines, or scientific diagrams, you can bring life to any subject in creative ways. 4) Fuel Up with a Personalized Mug Energizing your day of teaching begins with a steaming hot cup of coffee or tea—and what better way to enjoy your favourite beverage than with a mug made just for you? Showcase your name, motivational quotes, or even subject-specific graphics as a fun way to sip and savour while creating conversation with students and fellow teachers. It’s a way to self-express, reminding you of your dedication to your students and your craft. 5) Manage Your Time with Customized Calendars Balancing lesson planning, grading, meetings, and personal life can be a juggling act. Stay organized and in control with a customized calendar made just for you. Tailor your calendar to include professional development days, to-do lists, and other special notes meaningful to your day. Whether it’s a miniature standing desk calendar or an oversized wall calendar, you'll navigate the school year with confidence and ease, ensuring that no important task slips through the cracks. 6) Get a Personalized Tote Bag for Teaching Essentials From textbooks and lesson materials to personal items, a teacher's tote bag is a lifeline throughout the day. Choose a design that resonates with you and add your name or a motivational slogan. Not only will you have a functional bag for all your essentials, but you'll also make a statement among students. Claim Your FREE Personalized Notebook! Teachers across Canada—we’ll send you a FREE personalized notebook for ordering course materials through WCD prior to August 15, 2023. To claim yours, simply submit your order online. For support, email clientservices@wcdconnect.com.

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How to Use Signage to Enhance Your Customer Experience

Have you ever walked into a store or office building and felt confused by your surroundings? Maybe you weren’t sure which line up at the coffee shop was for ordering versus pickup, or what floor of the high rise your meeting was on. These subtle but critical interactions—or lack thereof—all contribute to the customer experience. Customer experience is a hot topic for businesses today—and it’s no wonder why when 73% of companies that do well with it perform financially better than their competitors. While customer experience is a broad topic and includes many facets of your customer-facing interactions, there’s one aspect of it that businesses often overlook: signage. In the examples above, proper signage would have made for a smoother interaction with the customer, creating a better overall experience. Let’s explore how your organization can enhance the customer experience using signage solutions. 1) Direct customers with wayfinding signage Wayfinding signage helps customers navigate your space, find what they're looking for, and feel more comfortable in the process. Wayfinding signage can include directional signs, maps, and floor decals that guide customers to different areas of your retail store or office. By making it easy for customers to find what they need, you can help reduce frustration and create a more positive experience. Some examples of wayfinding include: Directional signs that point to restrooms, elevators or exitsPathfinding signs that guide customers from point A to BIdentification signs such as floor numbers and room namesRegulatory signs including warning signs, exit signs and parking regulations 2) Establish connection with brand signage Your brand is a critical part of your organization's identity, and signage can help reinforce it to create brand recognition, attachment and recall. By incorporating your logo, brand colors, and other branding elements into your signage, you can create a cohesive and memorable experience for customers. This type of signage can include exterior signs, window displays, and even custom wallpaper or murals that showcase your brand in a unique way. Get inspired by our signage gallery > 3) Communicate clearly with informational signage Making it easy for customers to find the information they need is essential to creating a positive experience. Informational signage can include things like your hours of operation, pricing, policies, and other important details that customers need to know. By making this information clear and accessible, you can help customers make informed decisions and avoid confusion. 4) Create an atmosphere with decorative signage Signage can also be used to create a welcoming and inviting atmosphere. Decorative signage can include artwork, inspirational quotes, and other fun elements that add personality and warmth to your space. By creating a space that feels inviting and comfortable, you can help customers feel more at ease and enjoy their experience more. Next time you’re out and about, take time to spot all the different types of signage that were well thought out and intentionally installed to make your experience a positive one—or, not so positive. Being strategic about your signage placement can make a space easy to navigate, reinforce your brand identity, provide customers with the information they need, and create a welcoming atmosphere that wins loyalty. Are you ready for a signage refresh? We’re here to help! If you’re not sure where to start, we’ll send a signage expert to explore your space and provide strategic recommendations for signage that can improve your customer experience. Drop us a line to get started.

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