The Difference Between Traditional Design and Digital Design

A common question asked by many – what is the difference between traditional design and digital design? Branding and design experts offer their explanation on the matter:

In the strict sense, traditional design refers to print based creative. Graphic design initially revolved around print advertising and editorial. Designers where charged with hand crafting all work before sending to print companies who would re-create the work on plates ready to be printed. The advent of the personalised computer changed everything as design packages were created, allowing designers to form pieces on screen and send artwork digitally.

Everything really changed when the internet was born, giving way to a completely new arena for design and advertising. Digital design came in to play for the first time, as the web designers started getting to grips with the new media. Since then, the possibilities within digital design have blossomed and enlarged beyond comparison. Digital design not only covers web design, which in itself is hugely varied, but many other forms of marketing such as email campaigns, viral advertising, flash animations, games, banners and social media marketing.

The essential difference lies in the way design is viewed. Traditional design is purely tangible, where a piece can be held in your hand and viewed as such. Digital design is purely screen based. However, the screens can be anything from a small laptop to a huge billboard in Time Square. Thus the possibilities of what can be achieved are vast and ever changing as technology advances. iPads and iPhones have created a completely new market where digital design can be viewed in the palm of your hand. Modern digital design agencies are continually being valued as highly as the top advertising agencies in today’s climate. The ability to reach people via digital mediums vastly exceeds traditional methods. The spread of social media means that well crafted messages have the potential to reach over 500 million people.

This potential explains the cooperation between digital and brand design agencies. Key figures within the branding arena have recognised the importance of keeping their identity clear and their identity cohesive across digital mediums.

In conclusion, there is room for both forms of design. Traditional design media adds prestige to the message and can utilise textures, weights of papers and different finishes such as foiling, varnishes and embossing. Digital design is accessible to all and can take advantage of animation, functionality and interactivity.

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