Is Print Dead?


Not a month goes by where ‘the decline of print’ is not mentioned in some marketing bible or a design blog. Digital design is said to have shaken up the design world and as we dive further into the information age, is seen as the replacement for print. However we regularly forget that in the beginning, information and knowledge gave birth to print itself, and you could arguably say when one exists so will the other.

It would be naive to ignore the fact that digital design has acquired itself a foothold in the industry and its popularity is unquestionable; but this does not mean that ‘print is no more’ as many people would think. It is projected that £2.5bn[1] will be spent this year on print advertising in the UK alone and last year the majority of people still read the news in printed papers[2]

When people generally think of print or print design, they picture campaign flyers, brochures and books; but in reality print is everywhere and its beauty is its versatility and variety. A website, video or app can only exist where a screen permits, whereas print can appear anywhere and on any surface. Without diving too much into the world of printing presses and the effect of digital printing on the industry, there is something special about ink or a finish applied to a stock — something I hope not only us print designers appreciate.

The old saying of ‘great design is invisible’ has never been truer. People simply do not notice print design as much, because it has always been there. We engage with it every day without even knowing.

There is such a great need for brands to communicate with their markets on many levels — whenever and wherever they can — that simply visiting a website, sending an email or building up a social media presence is not enough. You only have to walk down any street in any city to realize that on more occasions will you be engaged by something from the print world than from the digital.

Moving forward print will always be part of an integrated service delivered to clients — whether it is seen as relevant or not, but I look forward to the day where digital becomes the norm and the printed page receives the recognition it deserves.

Sources: [1]… [2]…


Ian Jeffries

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