Print versus digital: is it really time to stop the presses?

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Print versus digital: is it really time to stop the presses?

By |2018-06-07T11:42:11+00:00June 5th, 2018|Creative, Design, Trends|

The internet is a thing of beauty. I love it as much as the next guy. The power of public opinion has been prised from the pages of agenda driven newspapers and publications.

Think of the spotty kid. The opinionated builder. The tweeting politician. Everyone and anyone can publish what they want, where they want, when they want. Communication resides in the hands of the masses and this is to be welcomed.

As the digital door opened though, did the print door shut? The .com bubble burst and, so say many, the ensuing tidal wave left print awash, ship wrecked for all eternity on a desert island no one would soon be visiting.

Printing off a second life

The peddlers of death have prophesied the demise of print for generations. Claims of mass extinction are nothing new, we’ve heard them all before.

In 1894, Octave Uzanne proclaimed publishing would be replaced in totality by voice. Flash forward a century where we find Egon Spengler famously declaring “print is dead” in the movie, Ghostbusters. He also said don’t cross streams, but that’s a whole different story.

As recently as ten years ago did it seem that books and print had arrived at their final chapter. The new age would be illuminated by the backlit and digitised form. Like a boomerang though, things have gone full circle. People remembered they like holding things.

The inkwell is far from dry. Wind your bucket down and you’ll see that print remains a crucial part of communication. The predictions were wrong.

In fact, print has been awarded a second life thanks to its digital sibling.

Here’s why …

Like a knife and fork, print and digital go hand in hand – each enhancing the experience of the other. Don’t just take it from me. Savvy businesses are adopting a dual approach to marketing, using print and digital media to lure the attentions of customers and prospects.

Offline marketing is tangible, you can hold it, it is real. It grabs people’s attentions in ways that an image on a one-dimensional screen simply can’t. Successful companies create exciting user journeys, leading prospects from printwork, to website, to point of contact.

And, sure, print publications which failed to adapt to the digital climate are on the decline. But if you go chasing the advertising dollar rather than quality content, what do you expect?

Smarter publications simply moved with the times, pushing advertising to the back in favour of more engaging, niche content. It’s ironic really that the digital revolution has pushed many publications to enhance the purity of content rolling from their printing press.

Digital loves print

I’m not the only one that loves print, digital does too. And sure, in our line of work, digital does reign supreme. Even so, among the flashes and beeps of the technological age, print is enshrined by romanticism.

Digital lights the candles. It sets the table. It sits down for a romantic meal with its printed counterpart. Digital loves the look of print. It loves the feel of print. It loves the smell of print. Its heart slumps at the exaggerated notions of print being dead.

Why, you ask? Well, think of it this way. Websites are the brochures of the today. Embedded within the code resides apps such as page turners – the physicality of reading infused in a pixelated form. Twitter’s encapsulates the newspaper headline. Phones are housed in printed VR headsets. Two become one. I could go on ….

And the facts speak for themselves:

  • 84% say they can use data better when they read print on paper (TwoSidesUK)
  • 79% of people are most relaxed when reading print on paper (TwoSidesUK)
  • 92% of people do something as a result of receiving printed mail (RoyalMail)

Start the presses

Back in 1979, the Buggles sang Video Killed The Radio Star. The lyrics are, of course, less cryptic than a one-piece puzzle. Visual media, it proclaims, had rubbed out radio.

Step in my time machine and travel to 2018. Radio – or podcasts as the kids say – is alive and kicking. The same can be said for digital and print. In our Brave New World, there is more than enough room for both. Print keeps digital real and digital keeps print on its toes.

The continued need for blended marketing is apparent. Companies that advance a message, brand, emotion, idea or a cause through print and digital channels have a broader, more effective outreach.

Print, after all, is tangible. It adds weight to communications. Print brings an authenticity that a message composed in pixels often can’t attain.

If print is a dinosaur, it still packs one hell of a roar.

What’s your take?

Do you think print is a relic of a bygone era? Are you excited about the future of print?

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