Print is alive and kicking, thanks to screen fatigue. In times when we need a break from screens, well-designed print provides a tactile and physical connection in a way that screens can’t.

Hearing the phrase ‘print is dead’ is like a stab in the heart for our Creative Director, Emma, who trained as a print-based designer – back in the days before digital! In fact, Emma and the team here at Door 22 refuse to believe it’s ever been dead. Sadly less used, but not dead. And we actually believe there’s going to be a surge in print-based marketing this year. We spent a large part of last year on screens – for work, for social life, for relaxing, for shopping. The consequence? Screen fatigue. While living on a screen has worked for some, the vast majority of us are weary of it… and looking for something different. Print provides this.

The sensory experience of print

In times when we need a break from screens, be it due to the current situation or just at the end of a long, hard day at work, well-designed print provides a tactile and physical presence that relaxes and energises us in a way that screens can’t. 

Think about the last time you sat down with a brochure or a magazine. And now think about why you didn’t access the online version of that content. More than likely, it was because you needed a break from your computer or phone – from your screen. Print versions offer a different experience.

Print isn’t just words and images printed onto paper. Far from it. The options in print are endless. And, when done properly, print can create a genuine sensory experience for its readers. Let’s look at paper. The quality, size, colour, format, texture – and even the smell – can actually transform and bring to life the information being conveyed. The selection of the paper is often key here. We now live in an environmentally conscious world and we have to make sure that marketing material is in line with our company ethics. Where print is concerned, this can mean choosing matt, uncoated papers rather than using things like laminations, so that the material can be recycled. What’s more, people’s perceptions have to be considered too. Uncoated paper is seen to be a less expensive option, even though it actually costs more. Consequently, charities often feel obliged to opt for it to adhere to audience perceptions, rather than be seen as being extravagant with their funds and creating a negative response to their materials. 

Print makes you memorable

We want to be clear here – we are by no means saying that print should replace digital, or that digital has any less of a role. We’re saying that the two should survive together, as they offer different things. 

Design – for print and digital – is an incredibly creative process and the effects can be, frankly, magical. Where digital can provide visuals, sounds, moving images and clever transitions, print can use texture, shapes, folds, tear offs, metallic finishes and even effects like glow in the dark and heat sensitivity. An approach that integrates the two can have really rewarding results. 

But the cherry on the cake with print is that it makes you memorable. And this is truer now than ever before. Giving people an excuse to switch off their screens to consume your marketing content is going to make you stand out more than your competition who sticks with a digital-only approach. 

Why? Partly because you’re doing something different to the majority, but also because you’re providing an experience. More than that, you’re creating a feeling, and any marketing that creates a feeling will be remembered. As Maya Angelou, an American poet and activist, said: 

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Your reader can take a break with a cup of tea and a biscuit in their favourite armchair and read your brochure or service leaflet. Or they can pop your magazine in their bag and read it sat on a park bench while out on a walk… all while keeping their phone firmly in their pocket, switching off from unwanted interruptions and the latest news. You provide a moment of escape for them.

While our love for print is very clear, we do not have our heads in the sand. We know that the paper mills that were in abundance in the 1980s and 90s have steadily declined over the years as digital has become a central part of our lives. And Covid-19 has been the straw that has broken the camel’s back even over the past year. However, print is far from dead and, if used correctly, can be a massively successful marketing tool. 

Here at Door 22, we work together with a range of small, independent UK print houses to produce specialist marketing materials. If you’d like to know more, we’d love you to get in touch.