Don’t print this obituary: Why paper publications are far from dead
As we move further into the digital age, and more of our life is consumed by screen time, it’s fair to question the future outlook of print media.
Earlier this month, the Society of Publication Designers (SPD) hosted its 50th annual awards gala recognizing the best in editorial design, photography and illustration from the past year. The winners included some of my favorite publications: Fast Company, ESPN, GQ and Wired. For me, the print versions of these magazines have a special charm and appeal; there is just something about a printed piece that resonates. Many stories from these issues can be found online, and many publications have even replaced their print edition for digital-only, but they just don’t have the same feel. There’s a certain sense of legitimacy to something concrete with embossed or coated pages rather than something projected through a screen. Done right, print can captivate and compel, and touch readers in ways not possible on a screen.
Consumers are starting to agree. After a period of decline, the magazine and newspaper industries are showing gradual growth, and the future is again bright. Perhaps it’s the abundance of niche markets to which print media caters. While we have a strong digital marketing focus here at LoSasso, print media still plays an important role for our clients in varied industries—including agriculture, manufacturing and recreational vehicles. While the technology continues to improve, traditions passed down for generations still apply, and there’s still a unique nostalgic feel associated with flipping through the pages of a retail catalog or product brochure. Sometimes print provides an enhanced reader experience that screen and digital simply cannot replicate.
Today, more than ever, design is at the forefront of print. Unrestricted by low resolutions, web-safe colors and varying screen sizes, print is the prototypical medium to showcase great design. Striking photography and strong typography jump off the page and—just like that—you’re hooked to a story. And as the medium continues to evolve, designers find increasingly dynamic ways to bring stories to life.