Today, most designs that are intended to be printed are created on computers beforehand, for example the layout for newspapers and magazines. Page design has started to develop in the Middle Ages, when monks copied the bible, and has been perfected in the modern media. There are specific rules in order to achieve an aesthetic effect and guarantee readability.
In print design, pages are generally made up of text, pictures and other elements, created with the help of special techniques like die or laser cutting, embossing and foil stamping. The technique of creating 3D images is not exclusively used in computer graphics but also in print: The 3D image is printed in several layers by special 3D printers.
Important aspects of page layout are the use of different colours and the choice of the right typeface to match the general layout. The highest goal is to achieve a sort of balance or uniformity in design, meaning that the layout is supposed to be harmonious and that all layout parts match each other to create an integral whole. In general, layouts are first created by drawing sketches, sometimes in a rather old-fashioned way with paper and pencil but largely with the help of computer programmes such as page layout software.
Since computer technology has become easily available for many people, page layout and design has continued from being exclusively used in print media to being used in electronic media as well as print media. An electronic pages is also called a graphical user interface or GUI, especially if the page is interactive. Such interactive webpages do not only have to be planned in terms of general layout but also in terms of attraction and eye movement, creating a great experience for the user. Another aspect in web page layout that has to be considered is that the page layout ought to remain the same whatever web browser is used. To achieve this effect, the designers work with cascading style sheets.
In print as well as in web page design, the layouter has to make up his mind whether to work with grids or templates. Grids are rather flexible guidelines which are used to align or repeat elements on a page. Templates are more rigid but very easy to use, especially when the background is only changed minimally while the foreground content of a page is modified.