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Print Is Dead

WRITTEN by: Chris Fry |
categories: Branding , Content Marketing

Jun 2014


Yeah Right!

As a matter of fact, there has never been a more exciting time in print than right now. With fast-moving technology and digital media touch points, your print media has to stand out. It has to be unique, and it has to hold its own – which means you need to really give thought to the purpose of your print media in order to get the most out of your print pieces and print marketing dollars.

People, by nature, are tactile. We love to touch stuff. It makes things real for us. Why else would they put do not touch signs in museums, don’t pet the bears signs at the zoo or make smart devices with touch and swipe engaging features? The original touch and swipe device would be something called a book, and that type of interaction doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. Audiences still want to pick something up. Hold on to it. Absorb the information and keep it lying around on a desk or coffee table for future reference.

With Print Marketing, Everybody Wins

In a way digital cannot, print gives you the opportunity to engage and make a meaningful impression with your audience. The look and feel of your printed collateral can literally be part of your brand messaging and should be considered when working with your designer to develop any print marketing pieces. Print media has also evolved and adapted to its new place in the marketing environment. New tools including: advance press capabilities, variable data and interactive components like QR codes, PURLS and Augmented Reality; have extended print into not only a companion to digital marketing, but quite often the main marketing showcased to draw in the audience and relay your message. The key is to take the time to discuss the best possible use and explore the real desires of your strategic end-goals.

Is one of your marketing goals sustainability and creating a smaller environmental footprint? There are a multitude of recyclable options available – compared to years past. All paper has a mandatory post-consumer percentage of recycled content. But with the advancement of recycling technologies and consumer demand for better recycled products, printers can now offer up to 100% post-consumer products that rival virgin products in look, feel and print quality. Plus, you get the added bonus of the warm and fuzzies in doing something nice for the environment.

The ABC’s of Printing

The way we print has changed over the years. With a big shift from offset to digital, some explanation seems to be in order. So here is a brief run-down.

Offset/ Traditional Printing:

?Offset printing is created when a plate transfers ink from a cylinder onto paper. It’s a huge process. Most of your cost comes upfront through set up and producing the printing plates and press set up alone.

Advantages of using offset printing include:

Lower prices for high volume printing compared to digital, superior image quality that is sharp and clean, the ability to print on virtually almost any paper or surface, a variety of finishing coatings and exact color matching by utilizing Pantone spot colors.

Some disadvantages include:

Cost – You will pay more upfront when choosing this method of printing, so when you decide to produce your print marketing, make sure you choose the highest quantity to get the most of your money.

Time – Offset takes more time. Printers need to review files, set up the press, make print plates and send proofs before your project has even started.

Best use:

Use offset printing when you have more than 2500 8.5x11 pieces, need specific color matching, print items with longevity and when you want to make a bold statement with different paper stocks and superior image quality.

Digital Printing:

Some of these printers resemble your office color copier, but on a larger production scale and with extensive color calibration software. They have the capability of producing hundreds of printouts in a matter of minutes.

One of the benefits of printing digitally is the use of full color at a lower cost than offset. Digital printers use Process CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black) to create a full gamut of colors like offset printers, but some can also implement spot colors and special coatings. A few other advantages include shorter production times for tight deadlines and lower upfront costs for low volume printing.

Some disadvantages include:

Limited paper choice – Most digital printing equipment is constrained to a certain type of paper with limited options according to size, texture and weight the equipment can handle.

Final Piece Size – You are mostly limited to a 13"x19" foot print. So doing a 9"x12" pocket folder digitally is pretty much out of the picture…for now.

Lower print quality – Photos and color may not seem as crisp, exact and can vary between runs. This is important to know when trying to achieve brand color consistency across multiple print pieces.

Best use:

Digital printing makes sense when you need less than 2500 8.5x11 pieces printed, have a limited budget, are creating something with a short shelf life and when you need a quick turnaround time.

The Future of Print

Marketing tools evolve over time. The decrease in print collateral isn’t because print marketing is not effective anymore. It’s due to the increased availability of other tools like web ads, email marketing, social media and texting campaigns (to name a few). The number of touchpoints an audience is exposed to has fractured the marketing landscape. We have to hit all corners. And print marketing can help solidify your marketing message within this expanding communication landscape. After all, it’s seen the rise and fall of empires, stood the test of time and continues to grow in visual strength and messaging capabilities. Long live print!

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