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Print is Dead?

Digital is everywhere and it seems as though everything from your fridge to your toilet is becoming digital. The society of tomorrow's attitude seems to be, “if it’s not connected, it’s not relevant”. With this kind of mentality it’s clear to see why print has diminished in the face of ever growing digital mediums. Flat screens, smart-phones, tablets, digital signage. All these things have become commonplace and have replaced much of the printed medium.


Down but not out

Prominent graphic designer David Carson proclaimed “The End of Print” as long ago as 1995. However over 20 years later and we still have shops filled with magazines and newspapers, holiday travel cases stuffed with books, and a business card ready and waiting in the back of our wallets. Print is far from dead. Like a zombie it refuses to go down, you can hit it with what you want, but there still hasn't been that killing blow. But why is that you may ask? - Because it can still grab you (again… a bit like a zombie).

Ironic how a book called "The End of Print" sold 200,000 copies...

Ironic how a book called "The End of Print" sold 200,000 copies...

 

Let's justify this with a bit more explanation. Print still grabs us because we are still very much affected by things that have a physical and tactile presence. Nothing beats being able to flick through the pages of a brochure, or being able to feel a brand by running your fingers over an embossed logo. Print can convey a sense of quality that digital cannot quite reach. This is where materials and finishes in print become very important a thick paper with a matte finish can give you a sense of texture and expense, whereas a more glossy finish on a silk paper can make colours pop and photography look more vivid.  


Spoilt for choice

In digital we mostly have to worry about resolution and file size and then trust that it is executed or seen on a nice screen. A lot of the control on that second part is out of the designers hands. Now enter print, where the options are almost endless but the possibilities all the more exciting. Paper stocks, printing methods and a whole host of finishes. All these serve to convey a sense of your business or merely a more disposable access point to a campaign (i.e. flyers, posters).


No batteries required

It’s all very well saying that print is still relevant but there are actually statistics to back this up. In testing print based advertising against digital, Temple University used MRI brain scans to analyse people's reactions. The results are summarised below:


Bangor University used a similar study to see the effects of print vs digital media. They found that physical material is more “real” to the brain and so connected with a person's emotions. This is important for memory and brand association. Another study in Norway also found that students who read from printed texts scored significantly better than those who studied from digital texts. Science would seem to show then that print is actually more impactful and memorable than digital...*

 

"physical material is more “real” to the brain and so connected with a person's emotions. This is important for memory and brand association."

Put it in writing

The world of videos, websites and apps are an ever expanding medium with growing potential. But print has been around a lot longer and it’s here to stay. Much like writing a letter or receiving a hand wrapped gift there is something more personal about an item of print. Even though there may be thousands of copies that look exactly the same, giving ownership over a physical piece, still holds something special. If you want to say something meaningful, lasting or impacting you should be putting it in print.


Print cheat sheet:

Lithography: The most traditional form of print which uses four inks on plates to create imagery and type. Offers the highest quality print albeit with a more expensive set up cost.

Digital print: Cheaper than lithography, whilst still delivering good print results

Spot UV: A varnish that can be applied to specific areas of the paper to draw attention

Embossing: A way to make areas of the paper stand out in relief.

GSM (grams per square metre): A form of measurement for the weight of paper. For example general printer paper is around 80gsm whereas business cards tend to be thicker at around 350gsm

This cheat sheet barely scratches the surface of the options that print provides. Needless to say our designers will spec up the best options for your print job so that you get the ideal finish, within your budget.


Guy Fernandez