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Why print is still relevant in this digital world

Updated: Jan 18, 2018


I've just received a commission for a piece of print - yey! - one of my favourite jobs.


I love working on design and print, especially the challenge of bringing together the perfect combination of words and images – it must be due to my upbringing by an English teacher and a graphic designer! It got me thinking about the role of print in an era where digital appears to be our ‘go to’ medium. It seems many clients are in a similarly contemplative mood, musing whether the investment into printed media is really worth it.


For years, print has been THE most important promotional tool for most businesses. An essential first point of contact for a potential customer; a tangible item to distribute at events; the coffee table or desk piece that can be passed among colleagues and friends. However, factor in photography/imagery, copywriting, design, print and possibly postage - not to mention your time - it can be a high cost item, so you have to be sure it is delivering value for money for you.


So where do you start? Where you should always start - with your customers! How is a piece of print likely to affect their behaviour? What will it prompt them to do? What do you want it to achieve? A special offer received through the post to reduce my shopping bill is much more likely to catch my attention than another 'promotional' email. If I attend an event or exhibition, receiving a flyer from a business or service will remind me to visit their website when I get home. Getting a postcard from my vet to remind me about the cat booster and popping it on the fridge means I'm less likely to forget that appointment (a theory which was proved right recently when the vet decided to abandon reminder cards, and I promptly forgot the cat jabs.)


There are other factors at play here, too. Not everyone is online, so a piece of direct mail may be one of the most effective ways to reach this audience. There is a train of thought that a piece of print conveys a more authentic and credible impression of a brand than its digital alternative. Think about the feeling you get when visiting a library or bookshop: print is undoubtedly more engaging, it's physical, harder to ignore, and if designed beautifully, will captivate the reader in a way that digital often fails to.


Admittedly there are probably some industries where print just doesn't have such a significant place now. When did you last use a package holiday brochure to book your annual break? Or a mail order catalogue to purchase a new outfit? Or - dare I say it - buy a printed daily newspaper?


If investing in print is your current dilemma, have a long think about what your printed effort can achieve alongside your digital efforts. Don't necessarily give up one for the other; they can (and should) complement each other perfectly. But in a digital era, there is a risk we abandon print based simply on cost, when the reality is, it could just be your secret promotional weapon...


If you need a hand, I can chat through your project with you, work out the best format for your promotional piece, ensure your branding is carried through consistently, source the most appropriate images and see it right through to design and print. And if you need a cost-effective mailing house, I can help with that as well.


So is print for promotion still relevant? You bet! But I’d love to hear your views!

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