Print Ain't Dead
Put down your blue light glasses and read that title again... "Print Ain't Dead". How many times have you heard the words digital, virtual, or Zoom recently? It has become a normal part of our vocabulary recently and so has doing everything digitally. Our world relies on technology for everything and most of us can't function without it. For printers and those in related industries, this has become a huge problem for the obvious reason, they have less and less to produce and print and their profits are spiraling downward big time. Companies are racing to keep up with digital trends and create ways to still make products consumers need and want. So where does that leave us little design studios and ad agencies? Smack dab in the middle.
Recently, I subscribed to about six print magazines ranging in all topics from fashion, sports, and healthy eating. I have always loved magazines since I was a kid. There is something special about a printed magazine. 1, you have the excitement and anticipation of waiting for it to arrive in your mailbox and see what the latest issue will hold. 2, you have something tangible in your hand that someone had to check dozens of times to ensure it was perfect, not to mention the fact that months of prep went into creating it (by designer's wink wink). 3, IT'S NOT A SCREEN! That means no annoying pop-up ads, no random video playing music somewhere hidden on the page, you can rip things out and make collages (super fun btw) or circle your gift list, no blue light radiation or whatever I had to buy $20 special glasses for, honestly the list goes on. I know some will say, well digital is just easier to share articles, portability, less clutter, blah blah. But the moral of the story is, we are SO much digital and not enough ANALOG these days. Give your eyes a rest from screen time and pick up something to read and I ensure you, you will find something magical that you forgot about existed- the power of print.
Print still very much exists around us and if you do a quick glance around you, I would guess there's at least 10 things made possible thanks to a good ol' printer. Everyday we receive mail and newspapers, we buy coffee with cardboard sleeves around it, we pass by political yard signs and banners, our boss sends out a company wide memo, and if you're lucky on your birthday you may receive a cheesy birthday card in the mail. We overlook these things so much because their commonplace, but what if they suddenly went away? Coffee sleeves weren't there to protect our hands (ouch) and grandma's card went to your junk folder and you never received it. I think then we would notice the importance of print and get all too frustrated that everything tangible was now contained on a screen.
Rather than give you stats on the print industry, I am here to inspire and remind you to care about silly things like printed material because as a graphic designer, I am not only print obsessed, but I also know the power of print and how it serves my clients well and how it can easily be adapted to digital formats.
If you are one of those doubters of print, here's a small story for you. Recently, I designed a Service Proposal for a client. It served as a mini-brochure, a service offer, and a contract. It was printed on a shiny gloss paper and bundled in a folder complete with other branded marketing materials. My client hand-delivered it to three business owners during a meeting and received calls back on each, for one main reason. Can you guess? They loved the professional packaging, the look of the proposal, and of course the offer. Their main reason for choosing the company was because every other company only dealt with them sparingly through email and provided little to no information, and nothing in print. Just by having something professional to read and reflect on, sealed the deal. In addition, a national non-profit I design for insists members receive membership cards. Why? So members can proudly present the card at wineries to receive special discounts and offers. I love that they do that.
People LOVE holding onto things, passing them along to show others, and having something tangible to reflect on. It makes them feel important. It gives them a reminder that you took the time to design something professional, get it printed, and deliver it. It's serious and it's work. Not just a click of a button to send your info. It's personal and mature. Opening a wedding invitation via email would not be the same warm and exciting feeling you get when you receive a beautiful envelope in the mail with a stunning matching invitation. Heck, can you imagine being in a conversation with a potential customer and saying, "oh what is your wifi password so I can send you my contact info?" Hand them your sleek business card and I guarantee it won't get as lost as your email.
Ok, you get it. I am not hating on digital work, I am simply sending a reminder to appreciate print and remember that it is important and effective. As a designer, I know it only takes a few extra steps to turn something made for print into a digital format and I do it all the time. Us little design studios and ad agencies are being forced to work this 1/2 and 1/2 way. Yes, we are losing some projects that are becoming obsolete (cd albums and vinyls), but we are inventing new ones as we go along. And yes, we do get excited when you want something for print and we will always encourage it. Moral of the story: print has power and we need it in this digital takeover world.