By Marc Apple
Rumor has it that print is dead. After all, magazines and newspapers are losing out to websites and blogs. Books are becoming content for e-readers, not bookshelves. Tablets are replacing those reams of paper in the office. With all of this going on, it’s no wonder why many in marketing and beyond consider print to be an outdated medium.
However, that isn’t necessarily true. Print is not dead; its role has just shifted — and it turns out, it can live just fine alongside digital. In fact, combining print and digital can be the best way to move forward.
“From wedding invitations to winel labels to soap boxes, the thousands of different printed components required for daily communication simply cannot be substituted with back-lit displays or electronic ink,” writes Ken McCormick on his company blog.
As owner of Visual Identity and an sfAMA Board Member, McCormick has seen both sides of this equation. “Of all the media vehicles, only print can deliver in physical form. The craft of Lithography, Letterpress, Gravure and other printing processes communicate outside the Cloud and add the means to arrest the attention of fingertips, eyes and noses that their RGB partner cannot.”
Studies have shown that the human eye tends to scan screens as opposed to the left-to-right reading process used to digest paper reading. That’s why web design is a different beast than print design; similarly tablet and smartphone screens produce a brightness and require a focus that is more physically taxing than paper, producing eye fatigue and taxing the brain’s comprehensive abilities. For marketing purposes, the takeaway from this is that one doesn’t necessarily replace the other. Print materials can’t create the flexibility of a digital platform, but digital content doesn’t have the same tactile human response as paper, nor can it be used for specific branding needs such as product packaging.
In some ways, it’s certainly true that digital technology has superseded traditional print outlets — there’s a reason why newspaper and magazine subscriptions have fallen drastically over the past decade. However, print and digital can still live and thrive side-by-side, and when it comes to marketing, taking advantage of both is the smartest approach you can use.
Can Print and Digital Unite?
Join us for a panel discussion entitled “Print & Digital Unite! How To Create Integrated Campaigns That Get Results” on Tuesday, June 17 at the Omni Hotel San Francisco.
Our uniquely qualified panel will be taking on the question head on while discussing the latest in integrated marketing practices and new media technology.
Meet the panelists:
Roman Hasenbeck, managing director at metaio, Inc. in San Francisco.
Ann Jordan, partner and creative director at UNIT partners, a multidisciplinary brand strategy and design firm located in San Francisco.
Michael Fox, vice president of brand management and innovation at Safeway.
Aaron Haas, director, commercial product management at NewPage Corporation in Miamisburg, Ohio.
The panel will be moderated by Ken McCormick, the founder and principal of Visual Identity | Printed Media.
Tickets are still available and can be purchased here.
Marc Apple is a Strategist at Forward Push Media and VP of Marketing Strategy for the San Francisco American Marketing Association.