Web-to-Print vs. Web-to-Publish

by Veronika Altenbach

11. May 2023 3 minutes

The terms Web-to-Print and Web-to-publish, which share the abbreviation W2P, describe two different concepts related to online printing and publishing. They differ essentially in their purpose and application. Comparing the two approaches helps to get a better picture of how they work. Therefore, in this blog, we will take a closer look at the two concepts.

What is Web-to-Print?

Web-to-print refers to a system or technology that allows users to design, customize and order print products such as business cards, flyers, brochures, banners and more online – via a web-based application. Users can select templates in which they can either enter or select text, upload or pick images, change colors, fonts, and other customizations allowed by the template creator. Typically, web-to-print systems are integrated with print workflows, enabling seamless production and delivery of ordered print products

In short, Web-to-Print offers a simple, fast and cost-effective online solution for creating and updating print products.

What is Web-to-Publish?

Web-to-Publish, also known as Web-to-Media or Web-to-Market, refers to the process of publishing or distributing content through various digital communication channels. Web-to-publish can be used to create complete publishing processes, with which digital content is edited and published via web-based platforms. Content such as articles, images, videos, audio files and other media are created, managed and distributed simultaneously for multiple online channels. The goal is to get content out to the public quickly and efficiently while maintaining a consistent brand presence.

A Web-to-Publish system has many more features than a Web-to-Print system, but is also significantly more complex to implement.

Differences between Web-to-Print and Web-to-Publish

If we look at both W2P systems in the same way, there are two techniques that can be used for the automated creation of standardized communication materials. A Web-to-Print system is particularly suitable for the production of mass print products such as business cards, flyers, postcards, fact sheets, etc. It uses ready-made print templates that can be personalized online. A Web-to-Publish system, on the other hand, is more suitable for individual publications such as social media graphics, videos, magazines, and brochures. Here, data is also often transferred directly from external data sources, such as an editorial system. Workflows enable the control of content, as well as approval before it is forwarded for publication. In both cases, a high-quality publication is guaranteed.

Conclusion on Web-to-Print and Web-to-Publish

In summary, Web-to-Print focuses on online customization and ordering of print products, and Web-to-Publish focuses on content creation and management, as well as distribution across multiple channels on digital platforms.

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