Last month it was announced that after 244 years, Encyclopaedia Britannica will cease to print. Does this signal the end of print as some would claim? Probably not.
The reality is that there is simply a better way of digesting vast amounts of archived information, most will know it as Wikipedia.
Why is print dead, or not?
People don’t tend to recoil at the idea of reading something they hold in their hands (iPad & Kindle are testament to that), for most the strain of turning the page is something that is still manageable, there is a sustainability issue with print but even an email has a carbon footprint so digital is not without environmental impact.
By all accounts the death of print media can be attributed to the death of the print business model. Saturation and diversification also have a role to play but so still does the medium of print.
The future of print?
Most markets are over serviced by print media with endless magazines and little variation. The marginalisation of quality journalism through falling ad revenues paints a pretty bleak picture.
We write it off as quickly as we jump to the next fad or trend, but it’s worth pointing out that the ones who have really benefitted from new media trends have sought to really understand the medium, its strengths, capabilities, challenges and we should be tackling print in the same way.
When the biggest innovation in print was to move from broadsheet to a more handy tabloid format I’d say there’s still a lot of room for improvement. Digital editions, which replicate the format online exactly and add a turning page feel trite – it’s wrong for the platform you’ve migrated to and it simply doesn’t address the issue of the format you’ve moved away from.
How to make print work
Print invokes a variety of perceptions and associations; it’s emotive, its tangible, considered and in an age of ‘digital pennies’ it’s premium.
Is this a cry for the savour of print? Not quite. But understanding the channels available to you and how best to exploit them is essential.
Which is why we’re looking at how we address print solutions – I’ve included some guidelines to think about courtesy of our Art Director, Nick Watts:
- Paper Stock: coated or uncoated, woven or laid. Matt, Silk or Gloss. Stock should always be appropriate to content/message
- Folding: more relevant to brochures than supplements but can make literature stand out or work well as an addition
- Size/Format: standard sizes (variations on A4 – A3, A2) are usually more economical but it can cost relatively little to change the format slightly and prevents publications looking too ‘default’
- Off the Wall: screen-printing and other techniques, cloth, plastic, metal and wood can all be printed on in small runs if you have the money and a good reason
Posted by Oliver Hughes, Business Development Manager, Client Solutions.
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