I have spent a better part of my career dedicated to print production, and I hear this phrase all of the time.
I love print, and on the rare occasion that I receive a piece that was traditionally printed, I want to feel the surface textures, smell the fresh ink, and I want to appreciate the craftsmanship that went into producing it.
It saddens me that my daughter will never experience the joy and anticipation of turning the pages of the Sears Christmas Wishbook, that she has no idea what the Yellow Pages are, and that we do not refer to the Encyclopedia Britannica to help finish her homework.
However, she does get to make an Amazon wish list, find things much more quickly with Google, and can always refer to Wikipedia to help finish her homework.
I wonder, am I alone when I say I occasionally miss receiving a greeting card in the mail? Will social media be the only way we send well-wishes in the future? With the current cost of a greeting card averaging $3, I would venture to say yes.
Recently, Restoration Hardware took a risk and shipped 13 different “source books” to their customers. Was this a throwback-attempt at marketing? Comments flew on social media on whether or not their print efforts were appreciated by the consumer.
Nevertheless, as much time as we spend on our computers, phones and tablets, think about how much paper you still see in your day. Granted it has been reduced, but we still rely on it.
A great package design or a cool sign display in a store can always catch your eye in a way digital cannot. Print can also be used as a tool to drive consumers to their computers or mobile devices for more information, or to make a purchase.
In a business meeting it’s nice to have something to touch, flip through or take away. These printed materials are physical reminders and serve as visual cues, while also acting as a gateway into the digital world.
On the flip side, the world of print has not been killed by digital, but enhanced by it. In the past we used to manufacture print jobs with special attention to color, paper texture and intensity. Now, because most print pieces have such a short shelf life, and we have such short delivery times, we rely on the swiftness and cost-effectiveness of digital printing. The quality of digital printing has grown substantially over the years, and any average person would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between a traditional and a digital printed piece.
So, even though I have dedicated much of my career to print, I am not worried. Because just like me, print is not dead…it is evolving.
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