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Print Media: The Not-So-Dead Horse We Keep Beating

20 Mar, 2019 Shawn Koga Brand & Traditional Advertising

I think we can all agree that some forms of print are indeed dead, or going to die. It’s a sad but honest truth — when was the last time you used a phone book? That being said, I don’t think it’s useful to continue to argue that print is, or isn’t, dead. We know the medium as a whole isn’t headed toward extinction anytime soon. If you didn’t know that, there are overwhelming statistics, articles and blog posts justifying print media’s relevance. Rather than spend the rest of this post philosophizing about the life and death of an oddly evolving industry, I’m going to give you a slightly romanticized list of what it means to me, and follow up by trying to stir the pot on your own thoughts:

  • My college degree: Not only the physical copy of my diploma — the most expensive piece of printed and embossed paper I’ll ever pay for — but both emphases of my BFA can be classified as print media.
  • Comics: I wouldn’t consider myself a hardcore collector, but in the scenario that any of the single issues I own turn out to hold any value over time, I think selling a printed copy will yield higher results than their digital counterparts.
  • Books: I’m a sucker for turning a physical page and lifting insanely heavy boxes every time I move.
  • A resting place for my eyes: Since graduation I have made a career change to become a web developer. Aside from watching TV when I get home and spending too much time on my phone, reading a physical copy of anything gives my eyes a much needed break from our backlit universe.
  • Style: Despite what anyone thinks, or realizes, graphic tees and most repeat print woven shirts are part of the print industry and will probably always be in style to some degree.
  • Advertising material: Billboards, signs, boxes, bags, magazines, brochures, flyers — print is still everywhere!
  • Nostalgia: Whether or not I ever give up on print media as a whole, seeing, holding or feeling any kind of print will probably always bring some kind of nostalgic feeling.

So there you have it, a not-so-beautiful list of my thoughts. In addition to that list, I think it’s interesting to step outside the main bubble of what the general public views the print industry as and fully realize what it’s becoming. Textiles, décor, 3D, industrial and packaging can all be thrown under the print umbrella nowadays and there are many well-known companies that can prove the returns on investing in any of those fields. So if you ever find yourself on the defensive about any part of the print industry, remember that there is still value behind it all, and that value alone is enough to keep the industry on the offensive.

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