Despite sweeping changes in the print landscape, the debate of whether print is dead will be around ad infinitum and has created a riot of controversy between print literary aficionados and bloggers, not to mention panic in the publishing and printing industry. In this decade alone, there has been a monumental shift in having access to online content. It's immediate and informative, but it's only one of several delivery methods. For economical and sustainability reasons, many publications have gone to a strictly online presence. The New York Times launched Times Skimmer in 2009, a quick overview of each section of the Times, in seven layout choices. It claims to "bring the feeling of reading the physical newspaper to online", but in my opinion, that feeling has been sacrificed. The original online version is actually laid out more like a newspaper (http://www.nytimes.com/).
Understanding the sensibilities of print
Although print may have taken on a different face in the world of publishing and many long-time publications have been discontinued, there is still a need for print designers that understand typography and have training in designing print. More and more gadgets, such as the iPhone and iPad, are being created to give us information on a moments notice, but there is still the desire to recreate the actual experience of turning pages and the feeling of holding the real thing, not the electronic version. From posting your annual report online where the pages actually turn and have shadows and dimension to reading a book on the iPad, all the essentials of designing a printed piece should go into that so the sensibilities are stimulated. Despite the fact that the future is online, people still like to touch and hold and develop an emotional connection with the paper. Print design is a different discipline of understanding those elements and it will never fade into oblivion because there are still traditionalists that like the feel of newsprint and getting ink on their hands. Or the tactile feel of an art book that looks and feels like a watercolor. Print has texture, is tactile and sexy.
When something is designed to be printed, it's expensive and permanent. Once the ink goes on the page, it's there forever. Content and images are considered and reconsidered, from a longevity standpoint. We are still in an era where people want their annual report accessible online but they want the printed version to hand to people or to leave behind at prospect meetings. The paradigm has shifted in that a website is the first thing clients want and then the print materials to follow. Professional service firms still need letterhead, brochures and sales kits to leave behind at meetings, events or conferences. And some clients need to have a full collateral suite of their brand to reach all audiences.
At Moiré, we are continually educating ourselves and staying current on technology and trends. We offer the full gamut of services and believe that providing expertise in all mediums to our clients will strengthen our partnerships and build longevity for whatever the future holds. Even when print decides to move on.
How do you feel about print and its involvement in your firm?