Print: Its Novel Uses & Why It Refuses to Die

Print has been around for thousands of years and has been one of the most ubiquitous modern-day tools for spreading knowledge, philosophies, ideas and news all around the world. Ancient scrolls bear things like Egyptian inscriptions and Biblical stories, and the creation of the printing press brought revolution when single-copy, hand-written books were replaced by mass-produced volumes which were available to exponentially more people. Paper is part of humanity’s story of knowledge and learning.

In addition, there are paper lovers proliferating everywhere! Paper calendars, planners and notebooks are suddenly an exploding retail category. Hard copies of books are clawing their way back from the basement, and magazines literally devoted to paper and its samples are best sellers at Barnes and Noble.

So with the digital age as hot as ever and the usage of devices not appearing to slow down anytime soon, why is it that print just won’t perish like other things of old?

Here are a few things we’ve found…

People still prefer a real book

In a recent analysis, 65% of those polled said they preferred a real, paper book over a digital version when they wanted to relax and seek comfort (such as having a rainy day of reading, or curling up by the fire, or reading before bed).

Print still matters in terms of driving social media

A shift that’s been seen from 2008 to 2013 and beyond has been marketers saying, “How do we push this through social and digital media?” to “How do we push this through traditional media- that is print, radio, TV- to get traction in social and digital media?” People are still using traditional media, and it’s important to not discount it entirely when considering how you’ll market.

Print has a long shelf life

While social media campaigns and images can come and go from newsfeeds, print sources of information and advertising can live for many years. How many times have we picked up a glossy magazine in a waiting room only to find it is several years old?

Print is useful

Certain pieces of print are just superior to electronic versions. Menus, for instance, are not as effective when digital signboards are mounted and print versions are not also available. The physical act of reading print on paper helps some people process the information better. In addition, you can showcase branding and design aesthetic far better in print pieces than some digital formats. The classic print brochure is still a key tool used by small and large businesses everywhere.

Newspapers, books and magazines are an “experience good”

This means that people have a different, more intimate experience with these print items than they do with digital. Holding a physical newspaper and being able to underline interesting things, tear out an article for later, or point to an article found interesting while sharing with another person; or having a magazine in-hand while reading in bed or (ahem) going to the bathroom is a much more personal and tactile experience than just toting your digital devices everywhere. Beyond that, people who choose to act on something they read on paper are also apt to follow up digitally, be it shopping, price comparison or research. And of course, those who enjoy reading in the tub, at the beach or poolside usually opt for a paper copy over bringing along an expensive device that could either be stolen or destroyed by water. Devices are rendered useless when submerged. Books are still relatively inexpensive and if they get wet, they dry and are still readable. 

Just Because It Is Print Doesn’t Mean It Can’t Be Interactive 

Print doesn’t have to be stale. If you have a low budget, fret not- you can encourage your readers to interact by placing calls to action, using hashtags, sharing ideas or snapshots of them with your product on social, or including tear-out items they would find useful such as a coupon, discount code, checklist, or other resource. If you have a higher budget, check out some of these amazingly creative ideas for marrying print to technology:

NIVEA– the skincare line created a magazine ad in 2012 that included a wristband to put on your child while at the beach and designed an app to go with it. You were able to program a notification to go off if your band-wearing child wandered further than the perimeters you set on the app.

Why Print Won't Die | Visual Creatives, West Palm Beach

KONTOR RECORDS- Instead of taking the usual route of mailing out promotional CDs, Kontor sent out a vinyl record with a paper turntable that would play the record with an iPhone app.

Kontor Records | Visual Creatives, West Palm Beach Print Design

PEUGOT- This car company took print advertising to a whole new level when they did a three-page spread that asked readers to hit the front page of their ad (the front of a Peugot car). When readers did so, a mini-airbag inflated behind the first page, which when opened up became a two-page spread of the inside of the car with an inflated mini-airbag. Slick!

Peugot pioneers interactive print | Visual Creatives West Palm Beach Print design

LLADRO LIGHTING- This lighting company kept things simple, yet took an innovative approach in a pop-up book styled ad that gave readers a lampshade when they mounted the popped-up ad into a room corner.

Lladro innovates with Print | Visual Creatives West Palm Beach Print Design

SHIKUN & BINUI SOLARIA- This Israeli energy company took a topic that is usually stagnant and boring and created a beautifully creative ad that, when held up against sunlight, went from a stark black and white ad to a full-color ad utilizing green solar energy. Brilliant!

Solaria Print | Visual Creatives West Palm Beach Print Design

Print is here to stay

Print as an artistic and useful medium of communication is here to stay! So how will you use print to position your online and offline business? Visual Creatives loves to work with branding and packaging and collateral design to tell your story through beautiful print pieces. If you have a project you would like to discuss, get in touch! Let’s create something that lasts!