The Power of Tangibility: Exploring the Benefits of Print Design in a Digital World
Understand the benefits of reaching your consumers through the tangible, multi-sensory experience that will ask them to: Stop. Digest. Comprehend.
It’s no secret that we are in a digital age that doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Generations younger and younger are glued to their digital devices, and the older generations are being asked to keep up. Don’t get me wrong, while personally trying to keep my 2-year-old away from screens, I do understand the benefits as a business owner, marketer, and designer to reach your consumers where they are spending most of their time. Zippia tells us that “Globally, the average screen time per day is 6 hours 58 minutes.” A staggering, yet if you really think about it, not that surprising of a statistic. It should also come as no surprise if we are spending countless hours consuming digital media that it isn’t actually possible to fully comprehend all that’s on our screens at the rate we are taking it in.
My argument for including print design as you consider developing your visual brand identity or executing a campaign is this: print — the tangible — involves a multi-sensory experience that will ask viewers and consumers to Stop. Digest. And comprehend, process, and/or make a decision. Ultimately leaving a bigger, long-term impact.
Think about it. When you engage with a brand that offers literal touch-points in their marketing efforts and in-person experience, you are often left with a more holistic understanding of the brand, the impact they are trying to have, and more clear action steps on how to engage with their brand, restaurant, or experience.
Personal story time and shameless plug:
I have a side hustle, Kindly, a greeting card company with quarterly subscriptions that sends exclusively letterpress cards to your mailbox. I made a conscious decision when choosing letterpress as my method of printing. It is, by no means, the most cost-effective route, however, it does communicate a sense of intentionality, thoughtful process, and authenticity. It is these same things that are often asked of the letter-writer, which is, in turn, sending these cards to friends and family. Decisions in design matter.
While I am making a case that print design creates a lasting impression and establishes your brand, I do understand that, in order to make your mark in today’s cultural moment, ignoring digital marketing efforts is certainly not the play. With digital design, you have the ability to adapt and evolve as you analyze performance and engagement, your dollars will go further as you strategically target your ideal consumers, and there are fewer decisions to be made as a designer when creating digital assets. Then, launch it into the world, and your audience has the choice to simply click or keep scrolling. Of course, our hope is that our insights and strategic efforts are working, and we get more clicks than scrolls. With print, there is a greater investment and commitment both financially and in the decisions needed to be made, not to mention the number of people you are able to engage often is more limited. However, it is the “less is more”, “quality over quantity” philosophy. At the end of the day, with print, you are likely receiving less-distracted attention and holistic (even if subconscious) engagement from your audience.
Why Print & What Makes it Important
- Print requires thoughtful design and thoughtful production.
When designing for print, not only do you have to consider the size constraints to which you are printing (vs. a screen), but decisions are made around the type of material you are printing on, the weight of the paper, the finish, the technique (letterpressed, embossed, screen printed, laser, etc). All of these decisions play a role in your overall brand and how it is perceived and experienced.
- Print offers an opportunity to engage at a multi-sensory level.
Print engages your senses of sight and touch, sometimes even smell and sound, ultimately leaving a greater and longer-lasting impact.
- Print speaks with authority.
Whether on a billboard, in a magazine, or on a menu, the decision to design something with a more permanent place reads with trustworthiness and confidence.
- Print, in a positive way, pulls us away from our over-digitized world.
“Turns out print is easier to comprehend than digital text. [Print reading] is kind of like meditation — focusing our attention on something still,” says Anne Mangen, a literacy professor at the University of Stavanger in Norway. “And it’s a whole different kind of immersion than responding to [digital] stimuli. I think it’s healthy for us as human beings to sit down with something that doesn’t move, ping, or call on our attention.” (Kerry Benson, brainfacts.org)
Asking more from your audience isn’t a bad thing; asking them to look up, hold something tactile in their hands, view a poster on a wall, or read something printed in ink will ask for less-distracted brand engagement and consumer experience.
Ultimately, for a well-rounded, holistic brand identity or creative campaign, there is a need for both print and digital design.
When asking for a virtual response, speaking to your consumer on a digital platform is the way to go. To create consistent brand awareness and get countless eyes on your brand or what you’re offering, digital marketing efforts will allow you to see who is interacting, how they are engaging, and what’s working. When wanting to create an experience for your consumer, asking them to engage in a physical sense, or are looking to leave a long-lasting impression — look to print. Create a postcard, print your menu, invest in a billboard, or send a quarterly magazine (and hey, you can even use your digital analytics to inform where, who, and how to engage with your audience through these physical pieces).
The balance of print and digital design to engage your ideal consumer will create a brand that is comprehensive and memorable in a world where brands are asking for our attention at every moment. Let us help you tell your full brand story in multiple mediums. WeCreate is in the business of ensuring you have high-conversion rates through your digital efforts, while also engaging your audience in a tangible way. Our decisions are not made lightly and our solutions are backed by strategy. We can’t wait to share your brand with the world in-person and online.
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