Want to know what’s really going on in commercial printing? Look at it from a designer’s point of view.
“I genuinely believe that printing and therefore commercial print has something to offer that is a viable alternative to digital content and can co-exist with the growing digital universe.”
These are not the words of a print evangelist or the “mad ramblings of a Luddite stuck in the past.” Rather they are the considered opinion of someone who sees what’s really going on with print, on a day-to-day level.
“I believe that it is about reader experience and alternatives. Printers, publishers and creatives should look to what print can offer which digital cannot,” writes designer Peter Batchelor in Graphical Communicator.
Batchelor makes his living designing marketing collateral, both in print and in digital, and from his perspective, he sees a resurgence in commercial printing projects.
“I have been fortune of late to work on a wide range of print projects, either placing and managing the print myself, or via clients. In fact I have had more print in the last 18 months than in a long while,” Batchelor notes.
Tactile experience has something to do with it, he believes, as he sees many publishers “looking to improve the look and feel of their magazines.”
“Flimsy weekly colour glossies are very much at risk from the digital world,” he asserts. “While high end square bound, mainly quarterly but sometimes monthly publications have something different to offer. A sense of occasion, something to consider keeping or collecting, something that feels special to the touch.”
Beyond the sensory, Batchelor believes that print offers opportunities for discovery that are missing online, ironically.
“The nature of printed materials encourages readers to flick through more than the digital interface. And this is coming more prevalent in e-marketing,” he notes.
And this leads to his third point – the immediacy of direct mail. “Are you more likely to notice a fancy wedding invitation delivered by post or an event added to Facebook? Honestly? Which makes you feel more special?”
He’s right, and it’s interesting to see him throw down a challenge to businesses.
“Printing has a future, in the special and unique, in the quality and tangibility, in the variety of options. The question is, how will high street, and other commercial printers face up to these challenges?”
If they all had designers like Batchelor on their team, I’d say they’ll face up to it in grand style.