the 5 most important differences in your marketing materials

With a well thought-out design and clearly structured content, you can make all your marketing documents interesting and understandable for your target group and communicate your message clearly.

You have two options for presenting yourself and your company and increasing your visibility: the printed and the digital form.

It doesn’t matter whether you choose one or both ways: It is important that you approach your target group with high-quality marketing documents. I heartily recommend that to you. Do not forego professional preparation of your documents. Because this decision has a lasting influence on the opinion of your (potential) customers about you. They might question whether you’ll even be passionate about taking care of their needs if you don’t seem to care about your own presentation and public image. A valid question, isn’t it?

Therefore, in this article today I will show you the differences between your marketing documents in printed and digital form and give you tips on what to look out for when choosing the medium.

Print or digital?

The difference between printed and digital marketing materials can be explained in a few words: Printed documents are materials that you can give your prospects and customers at trade fairs, events or directly in customer meetings. These include, for example, business cards, flyers or brochures.

Digital marketing collateral is everything you come across online. This starts with landing pages, websites and goes through online banners, newsletters, social media ads and graphics to marketing brochures and other documents for your prospects and customers.

You should know that you don’t have to choose one of these areas. On the contrary: I recommend using both media to make yourself and your company known. In the print area you have endless exciting design and processing options. For example, you can offer a special haptic experience when your customer picks up your brochure.

But I clearly see the advantages and flexibility in the digital area. Digital marketing materials are reaching far more people these days and gaining significantly more attention. You can also track and evaluate your digital marketing activities much more easily. And above all, test what goes down better with your customers and where you need to optimize. This is how you make your marketing activities more effective and effective.

And not to forget: You don’t need storage space if, for example, 40,000 copies of your brochure come to your office from the printer.

modifiability and timeliness

In terms of topicality and changeability, you have the advantage with your digital materials that you can update them immediately and without high costs. And once all changes are made, you make the file available to your customers. This allows you to react very quickly to changes and always offers up-to-date information.

With a printed product, updates are much more complex and of course more expensive. You can also easily make changes here, completely change texts and content. However, in the next step you will send your file to a printer and have everything reprinted. These are additional costs that should be carefully considered. If your budget is limited, this could be difficult.

color space

A major difference in the design for print and web lies in the use of different color spaces. The color scheme used in printing is CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key=Black). The RGB color space is used on the web. This is composed of the primary colors red, green and blue (RGB).

Flyeralarm has created a wonderful overview that shows you exactly the Differences between CMYK and RGB explained.

The colors of your printed materials will always look the same. On the other hand, there may be color deviations on the web. This happens when your monitor or that of your readers is not calibrated.

Graphic designers and creative people usually have a calibrated monitor and thus have the best possible color display. If you open the file on your computer, you may see deviations in the colors.

My advice: In order to ensure that the colors of your printed materials look the way you want them, have a color-accurate printout (color proof) made by the printer. This proof simulates the subsequent print result and you can check the colors and fonts of your product in advance. Your product will only be printed after you have given your print approval.


The resolution is similar to the color spaces. Here, too, we distinguish between print and web. The resolution is given as dpi (dots per inch). The default is 300 dpi for print and 72 dpi for web.

My advice: Never use a 300 dpi print file for the web. Because this file is way too big and would load very slowly. Furthermore, print files are created with crop marks and an additional border (trimming), which are completely superfluous on the web. And surely you don’t want to put your marketing material online in print quality so that anyone can download it and have it printed at the printers?

Conversely, it is not recommended to have a 72 dpi file printed. Your result will look totally pixelated because the quality is not good enough for printing.

Interactivity and greater reach

Your digital marketing collateral is a fantastic opportunity on the web to increase awareness and reach potential customers. You can share content on different social media channels, your website or blog and encourage your readers to keep sharing it. In this way you can reach a large number of new, interested readers within a short period of time.

You can also make your files, which you offer digitally as a download or send directly to your customers, even more attractive. If you offer worksheets, forms or checklists, make them interactively fillable. You will find useful instructions in the article “InDesign Tutorial: Create an interactive PDF file in 7 steps”.

My tip: Be sure to check whether your target group is actually represented online. If she prefers to read trade journals or similar, you should place targeted advertising there to draw attention to yourself. Or you can write thematically appropriate specialist articles and show your target group what specialist knowledge you have in your field.


Marketing documents for print and web differ in their creation, design and how they are saved. Different color systems, resolutions, loading times, file sizes and interactive elements – you have many options to put your company and your product in the spotlight. You should get help right from the start so that nothing is left to chance.

Manuela Aksu Manuela is the founder of Kreativcode and a passionate graphic designer from Munich. On her blog she shares her knowledge about graphic design and gives you useful and easy-to-implement tips that you can use immediately for your business.

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