18 May 2015

Print is dead… long live the print designer

Jo Evans – Senior Design Manager at Spreckley

I’ve been working as a Graphic Designer for some years now (I daren’t reveal how many) and I have seen some impactful changes within the creative industry. I think a lot of industries can say the same, but for now I’m going to stick to the one I know best.

In this world of internet marketing and advertising, there are still a lot of digital designers and agencies trying to make us all feel that we are not current unless ‘everything’ is online. The web has a very definite place for immediate access to information and I, for one, use it on a daily basis. It’s great; I love it and certainly can’t live without it – but don’t think print is dead as a result. Just look around you and you will see the evidence for yourself: brochures, labels, signs, books, magazines and a chocolate wrapper… and that’s just what I can see from my desk. The coalition of print and online media should work in perfect harmony. Print is simply another platform to get your message across and when done right, perfectly compliments your online activity. Yes, print is an older platform – but that doesn’t mean it’s out-dated and obsolete! Print is, and always will be, a beautiful and satisfying media. It’s tactile and gains a longer attention span than online direct marketing. A printed piece of literature, for example, forms an initial impact that can then guide the buyer to a web page.

So, I recently bought an interior design magazine and as I handed over my money I had a thought – why would I choose to buy this from a shop as opposed to downloading it? For one, it’s something I can display on my coffee table to easily peruse whenever I, or anyone else, feels the urge. Secondly, I’m certain I won’t now be bombarded with emails from similar third parties trying to sell me something else. Thirdly, it’s shiny and pretty!


One designer does not fit all

Graphic Design has become an increasingly broad term, covering an ever-widening scope of disciplines and services. Good experienced designers – whether they are print or digital – are worth their weight in gold; they know their field and can deliver the results you want, but you do need to identify what it is you want to achieve, and then find the right skilled person/people for that job. For example, I recently saw a printed brochure from a digital agency that was so badly laid out that my cat could have done it. Some images were low resolution, and had been left as RGB (a colour model using red, green and blue light to create a colour spectrum – great for screen, terrible for print). The text was displayed in a single column, and took up the entire width of the A4 brochure. It just goes to show that one designer does not fit all!

Another problem I’ve found with digital design in particular is its accessibility for anyone who has access to the Internet. Whether you are a designer or not, if you have a computer you can (potentially) do it all yourself. To a web designer/developer this is a frightening thought, and in a similar thread to the badly designed brochure I mentioned earlier – I have seen some heinous online examples! Had my cat done these too?! I’m sure that the invention of the digital camera had the same effect on professional photographers. Anyone can take a portrait shot themselves and upload it straight to their company website… this doesn’t mean that you should! Before spending time doing anythign that seems good to do, put together a comms strategy with a clear goal in mind.

To put it another way: I would rather buy a good looking, high quality pair of walking shoes, which will last me for years, than buy a cheap pair that will only get me to the end of my street.

Get the professionals in and have the job done properly first time.