No School Like The Old School: The Joy of Print

24 October 2017

New. We love that word, don’t we? We’re always looking for the next big thing, the latest craze, a new way to talk to each other (which often ends up being a new way for brands to talk to customers too). New apps like Snapchat and Instagram boom in popularity, virtual reality and artificial intelligence are on the horizon, and the biggest brands make headlines with innovative digital campaigns that create new experiences. So it’s all about digital, right?

Well, no.

Social hangover

While out-there digital campaigns and Silicon Valley wild children may make headlines, there are quiet whispers that such platforms are not everything they’re cracked up to be.

The effects of social media setting up unrealistic expectations of picture-perfect lifestyles are starting to show, and with our phones constantly buzzing there’s a sense that maybe…we need a screen break sometimes.

Still standing, after all this time…

There are plenty of reasons why traditional media and marketing channels like newspapers, brochures, customer magazines, radio, TV and even good old postal leaflets still exist, even in a world of smartphones and websites.

The art of design is just as important to these channels as it is for websites. The ever-changing size of phone/tablet/computer screens makes it difficult to perfect the visuals, whereas magazines have been around for years. Getting the latest articles on your phone is all well and good, but there’s a kind of pleasure, a deep delight, in a beautifully laid out print article where words and pictures are experienced together. We’re yet to see a smartphone layout that matches this.

Of course, a digital presence is crucial too – any customer would at least expect a brand to have its own website – but when your end product is something tangible, the visual design continues to hold significance. What will your packaging look like, feel like? What would a brochure look like, or letters to customers?

A feast for the eyes

Maybe we didn’t appreciate it as much before the digital age, but there is real pleasure in picking up a glossy magazine, turning real, printed pages, closing your eyes and listening to a soothing voice on the radio, or even getting something colourful in the post. When once a personalised email was a technological achievement, for some brands it’s a print piece that stands out these days – putting something physical in front of your audience breaks the screen cycle.

The value of well-thought-out design can’t be underestimated; to build trust with your customers, their experience of your brand needs to be consistent. It might sound abstract, but the same words you use to describe your brand can apply to design too – what layout looks “friendly”, what font is “modern”, what colour scheme is “traditional”?

There’s a reason older, printed mediums are still around – and a subconscious beauty in the layout you hold in your hands. Digital activity and offline activity must work together seamlessly.