It’s Time for College Marketers to Raise Their Print Bar

Be the change you want to see.

It’s a well-known philosophical saw … and it holds true in business too. For Sandy Hubbard writing in Print Media Centr, it’s not enough to talk about good print products. It’s our duty to make whatever we print amazing.

“I yearn to see AMAZING print, but there are days when all I see is CRAPPY print,” Hubbard, who volunteers at a high school college center, explains.

“Printing every year is a chance for colleges to ride the cutting edge of design and incorporate the newest creative trends,” Hubbard continues. “It’s an opportunity to appeal very specifically to that year’s college-bound teen with current references and imagery.”

Unfortunately, the vast majority of them fail, ending up with brochures that all look alike, replete with a litany of clichés like administrators shaking hands, young adults drinking coffee in the snack bar, the bell tower with college logo superimposed … you get the idea. You’ve no doubt seen it before too.

The problem, Hubbard insists, is that the brochures don’t talk to the people they need to attract – the teens.

She did find two exceptions in the search for good print – University of Vancouver, B.C. and Marlboro College in Vermont. She cited the paper, the finish, die cuts, hard drawn art, interesting graphics, excellent color choices … all things that can help your print stand out.

“If we want young people to love print as much as we do, we cannot be sending them this boring stuff at a time when they actually are interacting with print,” she notes. “If you can’t do it for yourself and your company, then DO IT FOR THE CHILDREN!”

Her humor comes across loud and clear, and so does her important message. Print takes effort, and it can be a powerful secret weapon in higher education marketing. It’s a fantastically creative medium that allows you to design in ways you never could on a screen. It is well worth the time and trouble to create a design that truly speaks to your audience.