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In the digital world, a masthead is a set of features or layout at the top of a web page that marks the site and page, and delivers identifying information to web users. The online masthead is based off of the idea of the print masthead, most popularly, as it has been used in print newspapers throughout history.
The masthead is an excellent example of a digital phenomenon that, while pulled from traditional print media, has become much different in a digital context. Like a printed masthead, many web mastheads have large logos or text pieces naming a publication or party that is responsible for the site. However, digital mastheads are also quite different. The majority of them have functional menu links and other functional equipment incorporated into that top masthead portion. Many of them have icons and, in the age of responsive design, many mastheads now have responsive icons that can be recognized and used from a desktop or laptop computer or a smart phone or mobile device.
In a sense, the digital masthead is different from the traditional print one in the role that it plays and the functions that it delivers. However, it is still a recognizable design component that graphic designers or others may talk about when laying out web pages.