As a designer, I have more apple products than I know what to do with. Most of my life is spent staring at a screen. I love technology and the possibilities it gives me. However nothing quite beats opening up an old book and smelling that oh so familiar aroma or displaying a beautiful coffee table book for the world to see. So it begs me to ask the question, is print really dead or is it just transforming?
Paper is one of the most versatile inventions in our history, extending its uses from artistic to political and hygienic but rarely do we give it credit. The disposability of paper leads us to take it for granted – even resent it. I’m sure I’m not the only one to be overwhelmed by all the junk in the mailbox only to throw it out all in one go.
Businesses are constantly being told they should be looking at the shinier appeal of the World Wide Web and heading towards online platforms and social media for their promotional strategies. Nobody can argue this isn’t an effective marketing tool; however as the saying goes ‘you shouldn’t put all your eggs in the one basket.’ I mentioned throwing out the junk mail before but how much easier is it to hit that delete button on your email? While searching for more important work related emails you could quite easily delete other emails without even opening. Print has the ability to cut through so you, at the very least, see it right in front of you.
The main advantage print has over digital promotions is trust. For example, when making big purchases such as cars, houses or holidays, there is a reason why we keep coming back to the printed brochures. The tangibility of printed promotional materials is what consumers trust and enjoy – especially if it is done in a unique way.
Print still has the appeal over flicking through different screens on a tablet or smartphone to find the information needed. Sure, you can find all the information you need online for pretty much anything these days… almost too much. But how many times do you bookmark a page only to forget about it later or get distracted with all the options of click throughs that you forget what you were originally searching for? Now where were those brochures?
Digital media and social networking, whilst considered the future of marketing, are not the only tools businesses should be using while there is still such value in print. One of the best ways to solve the debate between digital or print promotions is by using a bit of both. Use digital media to compliment printed campaigns or vice versa and you can’t go wrong. Social media users can access advertisements and those who prefer print media can receive targeted online campaigns relevant to them.
I can’t speak for everyone but there is something about reading from a computer screen that isn’t quite the same. Perhaps there are too many distractions, or maybe it is personal preference. One thing is for sure both print and online media enrich our lives in different ways. I hope you now have a renewed appreciation for the value and power of printed items on your coffee table, mailbox and all the other places where you don’t want a microchip.