Is paper and print still important?
From traditionalists to technologists, we asked the experts
There’s no denying we live in a digital world, but it seems that printed communications still hold a place in our hearts, despite what the naysayers will have you believe. To find out just how important the medium still is, we called on a diverse group of experts, all involved in the paper and print industry in various different ways, to share their thoughts, and their favourite work. From traditionalists to technologists, here’s what they had to say…
THE PAPER MERCHANT
Emma Linley, creative papers product manager, Antalis
A world without print would be a pretty dull place! Print is still a vital part of the marketing mix and helps to provide a real world point of context for many campaigns that would otherwise exist only online. The role of print may be different to the part it has traditionally played in communications, but it’s clear that it still has an important place.
THE GRAPHIC DESIGNER
Craig Oldham, founder and creative director, The Office of Craig Oldham
Like Streetfighter, Mortal Kombat, and those shit Alien and Predator movies, there’s a lot of versus action out there. Print versus digital is the best that communication design has to offer up. Hardly surprising then that I feel it’s a bit of a no-brainer.
People often forget, because it’s been with us for such a long time, that print, especially the book, is a technology — a piece of equipment created to perform a task. And if the last 50 years have told us anything it’s that technology is there to improve things, and offer new and alternative ways of doing them. But it’s exactly that — an alternative.
Dr Kate Stone, founder and MD, Novalia
I struggled to think of a stand out reason why print is important, I struggled because there are so many reasons, each significant in different ways, so I thought I would list just a few of them. Print communication is pervasive, we all come into contact with it many times a day. As well as advertising print is used to cover walls in our homes, patterns on fabric and even used on floors and tables.
Print is physical. We live in a physical world; until our brains are uploaded to the cloud there will always be a need for physical media. We like to touch, taste, smell and feel things, print does them all. Print can be temporary like a newspaper or permanent like art, becoming valueless or priceless with time.
Marcus Kirsch, founder, SenseLab London
Before a medium or idea enters the mainstream, and during any relevant paradigm shifts affecting it, its role and relevance enters a phase of exploration and experimentation. Those phases tend to be significantly more important than the smaller incremental progress it makes, once it is a big or otherwise large scale entity. As for any system, size can mean stagnation of some, if not all, of its parts.
The same is obviously true for print and its future since digital publishing and the internet appeared on this planet. Personally, and taking reference from culture and history, I believe a ‘Blade Runner’ scenario is more likely than a ‘Things to Come’ scenario, meaning nothing new will ever completely kill the old. It will mix in various ways, traces of decades if not centuries still humming about in the years to come.
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