Is there still a place for Print Media in a Digital World?


There have been many discussions to whether or not there is a foreseeable death sentence for print media, in the up and coming future.  Will we all be completely  converting to digital mediums for things we’ve relied on paper for, in our day to day lives? Or, are people just succumbing to the mindset of a Luddite?

If you can recall, the same point of view was had with the invention of the Printing Press!  People thought, that because we could tell stories and communicate to people through print, spoken language would be lost.  Or even the invention of the Television. People again were afraid that the film industry would be destroyed! Since these inventions though, more stories have been verbally told, because of something they have read about in an article or in a book, and the film industry is doing better than ever.

Here are some factors that will contribute to the life that print media has ahead for itself:

Print has Affordance:

It’s an easily accessible and portable method to display media; whether it’s for marketing, advertising or pleasure purposes.  You don’t have to worry about having it “charged”, or having a power source close by when it “dies”…  Also when it’s really nice and sunny outside, you can still see the screen, and it won’t tell you that it’s too hot or cold to operate.

Print is Getting Smarter

Along side the development and progressive intelligence of technology for the Digital world, the technology for print is also becoming smarter.  New Technologies to customize, personalize, sharpen, target and interact. Colour is becoming brighter, images are becoming clearer.  One of the biggest advancements in print is 3D Printing! You can now think of a 3D object you want, design it, connect it to a 3D printer (like the MakerBot in the Community office) and then voila! It’s yours.

Did I mention it was a Team Player?

Although not usually the focal point, print is an excellent complement and collaborator in marketing.  It is now a huge advantage in Cross-Media Marketing, bridging the physical world to the online world.  On many business cards, invitations,  flyers, posters and even magazines, you will find augmented reality, PURLS, and QR codes, which will guide you to the related online world.  For example, if a film director handed you a business card with a QR code on it, and you scanned the code with your phone, it would bring you to their website. Their site would show you their film portfolio, allowing them to hand out their portfolio to anyone.  In this case, Print Media design is crucial, because it‘s the first thing people see.

According to an article written by Aislinn Barry, on Mckinsey Development Integrate Marketing Communications Blog, Direct Marketing Association revealed that “ Statistics show that campaigns that combine printed direct mail pieces with internet advertising yield up to a 25% higher response rate than using internet alone.”

Lastly, Print becomes Sentimental:

Daniel Green, Lead Graphic Designer at Foth, explained it perfectly on GD USA’s blog:

“Print and paper may have a reduced role, but I believe it will still have an important — and very personal — role in the years ahead. I can open up and read a book that belonged to my great grandfather, but the same can’t be said about various electronically and digitally formatted information that has become — or will become — obsolete. Paradoxically, what was once considered ephemeral may become valued for its longevity.”

Although I do believe print will have a decreased role in society, it’s not going anywhere.  After all, you can’t cut out a digital newspaper article of a loved one, and attach it to your fridge.


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