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The Renaissance of Print

Rebirth of Print


Wodehouse had a visit from a print rep the other day, he came in brandishing a black folder in black with metallic accents and powder vibrant pigment accents. What amazed us was the wealth of material he could print on, and the surface quality and intensity by using an infrared drying process. Spot UV with incredible detail, printing on metallic plastic, the list went on. Very interesting.

The adage of ‘adapt to survive’ seems to hold very true in the world of commercial printers. One year we heard of ten printers go to the wall, partly due to recession, partly due to the advancing momentum of internet printing cutting overheads and costs. Print is, in the old model, quite a bespoke business, many printers are quite exacting and colour consistency on press traditionally dictates that only one job can be run at a time in time slots, or “print windows” as they are termed. In a sense this is a throw back to an artisanal attitude to print control from the early days.

Large online printers use economy of scale and huge presses to run non colour critical print runs of different client jobs imposed altogether, along with streamlined processes and large scale dispatch savings being passed onto the customer. This has decimated professional bespoke printers housed on back streets in small factories, often with high leases and outdated equipment. Only the strong survive.

So, is the internet winning? well no, not entirely, print is not a fossil, it’s evolved into a whole new animal that has cast off inefficiency and is about modern process. In an online age obsessed with fast moving news and celebrity, sometimes a change in pace to something that can be absorbed and your leisure and has a tangible quality is what people want.

There is a new breed of printer, and an evolution, in fact like a thoroughbred the best of its lineage. If people want to disconnect from online, modern direct mail and print gives them just the salve they need. The new printer is an independent that uses technology and variety of finishing to leverage their position against the onslaught of online.

The resurgence of the vinyl record once confined to car boots and the attic is a good testament to this. The decline of print in newspapers and celebrity style magazines, is somewhat skewed since much of this material is online for nothing, and is not reflective of the greater market.

When decision makers sigh and come into work greeted with a full inbox at work the letterbox at home these days is comparatively empty! Email shots are often stopped in their tracks or filtered directly to junk, leaving clients scratching their heads as to why a campaign has not performed, regardless of how seemingly compelling the headline might be. As easily as you can be read, you can also be blocked.

A message that lands on a doorstep, gains increasing relevance and appears considered, particularly if personalised. Technology has advanced but basic human nature has not, we value credibility and tangibility. The fact that sales of physical books have risen by 8% in 2016, despite the introduction of readers and downloadable books says a lot.

 When we design in the studio we consider page feel in thickness and texture, use of spot varnishes or blocked foil to bring a design to life. These are all often subliminal messages that can never be conveyed in an email shot that can so readily be confined to junk. The web just lacks the unique property of print. Print is timeless and can be put in drawer for future reference rather than swept away on the online tide.

 If your audience is to digest information without flashing banner ads and shifting online content, with short attention spans, print is still the go to medium, rather than a face full of digital noise. We offer turnaround with digital printing presses in as little as a day, so print is no longer unreactive to deadlines. We provide personalisation or the use of an interactive element such as QR code that can be printed and reassigned to any campaign in the future to offer enhanced information with the minimum of redundancy. Experiences that combine both printed matter and the interactivity of web in a campaign offer the depth of the unique quality of print and websites and social media in a multi-channel approach.

The emotional connection to a tangible printed piece will always be relevant in modern society, by combining traditional print with a savvy online campaign and good data optimisation you can be assured your message is delivered in the most effective way and gains the attention it merits.

As people seek to rebalance their lives in a digital age, print is the pill to cure our digital addiction. There is no such thing as an entirely ‘digital age’, print is going nowhere. It builds your brand and loyalty and has an audience engage with your message rather than skim through a web page. With print that in turn offers a route to online assets or as a vital considered facet to a campaign, it simply makes someone feel that bit more special rather than just ones and noughts.






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