Print and Online Publications Analysis

12 Feb

In this entry, we take a look at the design differences between the print and online editions of the February 2011 issue of The Reader’s Digest.



Intended Audience
The print edition of the Reader’s Digest is intended for its subscribers and other readers who pick up the publication at newsstands.

The online edition publishes excerpts instead of full articles, possibly as a teaser to entice its online readers to sign up as subscribers.

Layout and Design

The online edition of the publication is laid out in a single clumn. In the  instance of an interview article, the header and questions are distinctly marked out in bold. All text in the body copy of the publication is justified, giving the entire publication a clean, balanced look.

White spaces provide a frame for the text and graphics on a page (Reep, 2006), and in this instance, images have been placed in some of these white spaces to break the monotony of the text.

In the print edition, articles are laid out in two columns with balanced margins on both sides of the pages. According to Parker (2003), multicolumn layouts make the best possible use of available space as the word count per page can be significantly higher than pages containing a single column of text. Making efficient use of space is a fairly big consideration in print publications as every inch costs in terms of printing and paper costs.

Images of different shapes and sizes are also interspersed throughout the articles, giving the layout good balance.

Textual and Visual Elements

The online edition uses a sans serif font on a plain white background throughout the site. The white background serves to enhance the content.

In the print edition, a serif typeface has been used throughout the body text to maintain readability.

NavigationIn both the print and online editions of Reader’s Digest, it is clear that the order as stated in the Gutenberg diagram showing the basic eye movement has been closely observed. This is crucial to ensure good document design (Putnis & Petelin, 1996).



Liu, I. 2011, The accidental movie star [online]
Available at: <>
[Accessed 12 February 2011]

Reep, D. C. 2006, Document design, Pearson/Longman, New York

Parker, R. C. 2003, Beginning observations, Paraglyph Press, Scottsdale, Ariz

Putnis, P. & Petelin, R. 1996, Writing to communicate, Prentice Hall, Sydney


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