content in both print and electronic formats is a cost-effective way to stretch
your budget. Here are some design tips for making a successful conversion.
you have a finite, predetermined size and shape in which to present your content
– an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper, for example. Everyone who sees the print format
will see the same thing. Web-based products, however, are more challenging.
Readers are using different computers, browsers, and monitors of different
sizes and resolutions. The publication has to look good with all of them.
PDF to Print
starting point is a print publication, you won’t need to alter your images for
the digital version. But if you’re starting with a standard-resolution PDF for
the web and want to take it to print, it’s not so easy. You will need to obtain
the original, high-resolution images from your original source. An image can be
downsized from 300 dpi to 72 dpi, but not vice versa.
another issue. A computer monitor displays color in RGB, so if you’re starting
with an electronic version and converting to print, all colors will need to be
converted to CMYK for printing.
Choosing a Font
typefaces for the web are different from those for print. If you know ahead of
time that your publication is going to be in PDF, then choose typefaces that
display well on the web.
choices for sans serif typefaces for web applications are Verdana, Arial, and
Lucida. Georgia, ITC Charter, and Utopia Serif are good selections for serif
typefaces. Keep in mind, too, that while these fonts work well on the web, they
may look awkward or amateurish if used in printed versions.
fonts are specific to either print or web. To better serve your readers, you
should create two versions: one print and one PDF. For the web PDF version,
choose from the web-friendly fonts listed above. For print, use a typeface from
your association’s branding guidelines or go with your designer’s
One of the
most common digital formats is the flip page book model. Others include e-books
(good for mobile media), HTML viewers (which can only be viewed on a website),
and PDFs (which can be printed out or read on a computer monitor). The digital
provider typically uses your press-ready PDF files (the same ones sent to your
printer). There’s no extra work on the designer’s part to prepare these files.
choose the easiest option: a printer-friendly PDF version of the publication
available on their website. To ensure quality graphics, decrease the size of
each image to 72 dpi, or "save/optimize for web” in Photoshop. Higher
resolutions won’t make it look any better, but it will create bigger files with
longer download times.
graphic consists primarily of line or flat colors without gradients, such as
logos and line drawings, use a GIF format. JPEG graphics are best for
photographs or images with fine tonal variations. The right file format is also
important for keeping the image’s file size to a minimum.
pages in standard resolution mode. This will create a document that is much
smaller than its high-resolution counterpart. Adobe Acrobat will automatically
make hyperlinks out of all of the email and web addresses. It’s a good idea to
make your links stand out with color so the reader knows it is an active
Quark Xpress are the two most widely used design software programs. The process
of making PDFs from Quark or InDesign files is simple. Ask your printer or
digital provider for a script to automate this process.
here’s what you need to keep in mind: High resolution graphics are needed for
print, but you should convert them to lower resolution for electronic
applications. The best fonts for print publications don’t usually work well on
the web, and vice versa. And using the right software and finding the right
digital provider can make the job much easier.
Lynn Riley is
creative director at Lynn Riley Design, Inc. and a member of the Association
Media & Publishing Content Creation Committee.