Why The Gutenberg Principle Should Be Important to Web Designers

Why The Gutenberg Principle Should Be Important to Web Designers

A few aspects of design that have become standard over the last two decades are borrowed from basic newspaper design. Website publishers have two main goals in mind these days: To engage visitors and encourage them to return. Newspaper publishers have pursued similar goals ever since they started charging per copy and attracting advertisers; they always want to create an everlasting impression to ensure that readers will purchase their next edition or renew a subscription.

Web designers and developers should take time to review some of the tenets of newspaper layouts for the purpose of understanding how content and information should flow across pages. The first concept deals with the freshness of information; newspapers editors know that more than 95% of what readers see one day will not be there the next. Fresh content is one of the strongest motivators of return visits, and this is why so many brands have adopted the practice of maintaining blogs.

Newspapers have established layout frameworks that help them establish a brand identity while at the same time helping readers process assimilate information. The two main elements in this regard are the masthead and the above-the-fold section. The latter refers to the practice of readers folding hard copy newspapers into halves so that they are easier to carry; anything above the folded line is what gets an impression, and this is where the most impacting headlines and images should be placed. The web equivalent of the masthead is the header; it is crucial for branding and identity, and it should foster familiarity.

The way information should flow on web pages, at least those displayed on tablets, laptops, and desktops, is known as the Gutenberg Principle. In essence, this tenet refers to the way we are accustomed to reading in the Western World: From left to right and moving our eyes towards the bottom right corner. The primary optical area of focus is on the top left above the fold, which makes it a good spot to place an impacting photo with a headline-style caption. The reading gravity flows in a "Z" pattern towards the bottom right, thus making the bottom left corner a weaker spot. For more information click here https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2019/11/newspapers-teach-web-design/.

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