Quick Reads

Is Print Really Dead? Or Just Out To Party?

Gianfranco Valentini

Creative Strategist & Designer, étude Digital

For the past 20 years, the phrase "Print is dead" keeps popping up on all sorts of publications. But somehow, printed touchpoints are alive and well in the mailboxes and hands of people everywhere.

PRINT DESIGN IS HERE TO STAY

In today’s age of always-connected devices and digital marketing, the phrase “Print is dead” inevitably comes up when analyzing the best channels for a campaign or brand launch. We’ve heard it hundreds of times during brainstorming meetings with stakeholders. Is print really dead? Our answer is always the same: The phrase was a myth when it was coined circa 2001, and it’s still a myth today.

Don’t believe us?
Here are some hard numbers (our math-nerd boss Gonzalo loves those): According to a 2017 Nielsen Homescan study, about 80% of households in the United States still use circulars and other traditional, printed sources for product information.

Want more?
In 2020, sales of printed books rose 8.2%, according to Bookscan, a portal that tracks book industry data and analytics in the U.S.

ADVANTAGES OF PRINT DESIGN

  • It’s tangible; print design is a physical thing that customers can touch and explore at their own pace.
  • It’s much harder to ignore a well-thought-out piece of print design than it is to delete an email without even opening it.
  • It’s more engaging; on average, consumers spend 30% more time browsing the information on a brochure than on a website.
  • Eliminates barriers between consumers and content; no clicks or CTA’s are needed to access the content. Plus, no malicious links or viruses to worry about.
  • Ecologically sustainable; new production technologies such as cane sugar paper and vegetable-based inks help make print design greener.

The false belief that “digital books are better” made me try countless options, from Kindles to iPads, but I always felt something was missing. It wasn’t until I received as a gift a printed copy of one of my favourite books – Meditations by Marcus Aurelius – that I found that missing piece: printed paper.

A well-designed printed piece also has that je ne sais quoi (pardon my French) that makes consumers stop and consider the information in front of them. The best example of this and the idea for this article came from personal experience: For the past three years, I’ve had the goal to read more books – or any books at all – but after countless tries, I never got past that first week. The false belief that “digital books are better” made me try countless options, from Kindles to iPads, but I always felt something was missing.

It wasn’t until I received as a gift a printed copy of one of my favourite books – Meditations by Marcus Aurelius – that I found that missing piece: printed paper. I was able to highlight paragraphs and write notes on the side, plus just seeing the physical book on my nightstand is a reminder of the habit I am trying to build. It made me want to keep pushing that bookmark deeper and deeper into the book. After that experience, I’m now proud to say that I read 5 books last year! (Baby steps, ok?)

So, is print really dead?

Not. At. All. In 2021, print is still a strong asset in every marketing campaign that helps businesses stand apart from their online-only competitors. Print design will always be a tangible asset that creates a connection with your audience and longevity that screens cannot replicate. Plus, it made me a reader!

Author

Gianfranco Valentini

Creative Strategist & Designer

Hailing from the sunny Replublic of Venzuela, Gianfranco is nothing if not jovial.
Author
Gianfranco Valentini's Profile Image
MORE

Let's talk about you

If you are tired of your organization being underrepresented, let's talk about your business objectives.

We would love to hear your vision

Visit or Call

312-510 West Hastings Street,
Vancouver, BC V6B 1M1
View On Google Maps