Is Print Still Relevant?

Is Print Still Relevant?

Right now the marketing world is entertaining a lot of thoughts on the whole subject of print. I, like many other graphic designers, was schooled on the importance of print in relation to a company. “Print is dead,” has been a running theme the past few years, however I (and many like-minded individuals) see that as a completely untrue statement.

Why would anyone say such an awful thing as “Print is dead?”

Times have changed and new mediums are quickly becoming the norm. A few years ago actually being productive on a phone was something George Jetson would be doing! Tablets are already overtaking laptops as a platform of choice for many that need to do particular tasks and/or not be chained to their desk to do them.

It’s all exciting and possible mostly by the creation of 3G/4G/XG and the internet. The internet is a wonderful thing and a great tool to use for marketing, BUT it’s only one piece of the pie. Receiving something in the mail or being physically handed something still has a ton of value.

Stationery and corporate documents are just as important as the information a company may place on their website. If no invoices are sent how does someone get paid?! If no business cards are handed out, do you expect people to just stalk you on FaceBook?!

Print isn’t limited to your screen.

Fold it, mail it, wear it, put it into a container… these are some things you can do with print. There are no restrictions to the size of a screen or tablet. It can be as big as a billboard or as small as a mouse pad. The shape can be altered, corners can be rounded, logos can be cut out and different tactile techniques can be used.

Some effects just don’t translate.

While depth and textures may be visually copied some items like seeing metallic ink or a varnish showing a subtle glimmer due to lighting just can’t be replicated like they are seen in real life.

It can be experienced.

The last time I tried to touch the internet I got a static shock for my efforts! Handing someone a brochure that has texture that can be seen and felt (even smelled) creates an experience for the viewer. If you’re anything like a certain marketing director I know, smelling a freshly printed piece is not out of the ordinary!

Something as trivial as the weights of a business card have a message and an indication of the business. A heavy business card by a construction company makes sense because they do hard work and should have a card that reflects that.

Print is easier to read than on screen.

This is a common preference I’ve heard from multiple sources and avid readers (Light that Kindle on fire! I’d rather read from a book!) Paper cuts aside, there are still those that prefer to read information in hardcopy. Not to mention that there is a large population that work long hours in front of a screen and being able to look at anything else for even a few brief moments is a total change of pace.

No Pop Up ads.

Looking over a piece in its entirety without additional interruption in the same space is possible. There aren’t banners blinking, dogs barking and things intruding on your viewing enjoyment prompting you to click the “x” to get away from the latest car movie that just took up half your screen. My obvious distain for pop-ups aside… the printed piece does not have to be scrolled to be enjoyed.

It is what it is.

With digital being everywhere, the items that are invested in typically stand head and shoulders above the ones that were constructed by some type of “free webpage” offer seen on the interwebs. Websites can be altered at a moment’s notice, whereas a printed piece is not going to change or need to be refreshed in your hands. There was a finality and presence to it that prompts it to be passed on.

So, what is the future of print?

Think about the interactions you’ve had to get to websites or information. There’s a good possibility that a professionally printed item was the tool that was used to get you the information you needed. As a techie/marketing/consulting ally we are seeing a swing back to the importance of print.

Using technology is not about killing print entirely; it’s about using it in a smart way to make an impact. There are things that print can do that web cannot and vice-versa. The general idea is to have everything work together in tandem as a unified approach to your brand.

Joshua Schmitt

Joshua is an award winning graphic designer, who has been working in the field for the past 14+ years. As a part of 4CDesignWorks, he operates as the Senior Graphic Designer and has experience in web, print, user interface (UI) design, layout, illustration (digital and traditional), corporate identity, as well as branding areas of design. In his free time he hangs out with his family (wife, daughter, son, and dog), wears flannels, avoids hair-cuts and reads comic books.

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