The following is excerpted from a presentation I gave this past month. While my talk that night was targeted towards photographers to encourage them to print their photos, much of this holds true for businesses too.
Print matters. It breaks through the clutter. We see it. We touch it. We remember it.
We have been told that paper is going away—that magazines, newspapers, print media of all kind is dying. I'm here to tell you it isn't true.
Moo.com, Parabo Press, Artifact Uprising, Shutterfly, Blurb, Framebridge, Tiny Prints and Pinhole press—among many others—are all betting on print.
We are witnessing the rise of the maker. The anti-mass production if you will. We are shopping at farmers markets, drinking regional beer, sipping local whisky and scouring Etsy for unique treasures for our homes.
And did you hear, book sales were up last year...
So what is going on?
It may be a response to the digital age. It may be due to societal trendsetters like Martha Stewart and her American Made awards or our neighbors at Beekman 1802.
It may be because neuroscience is telling marketers what people who work with their hands have always known. That physically interacting with something makes it more real, more impactful and more memorable.
My guess is that personally and professionally you are spending increasing amounts of time on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and the like. And that is GREAT. The instant feedback that social media offers is nurturing to your creative or entrepreneurial spirit. It keeps you going when your work feels stagnant. It inspires you to keep improving. And most importantly it helps you find your tribe—or audience—and helps you figure out what motivates them. So social media has its place in any marketing mix.
But social media disappears. Posts come and go. Files and links are lost. We get disorganized and can't remember where we saw something.
Physical print defies these hazards. Print is here to stay. Sure, we may not be printing off roll after roll of photos at the lab—or producing thousands of brochures. But who needs a box full of second-quality work in storage. Mass quantities become a burden we have to manage and store. But hold that thought.
We CAN use print to produce really special work. A tactile brochure to promote a flagship product line. The photographs that we think are really special and worth remembering. Or a handful of unique retail promotions. Remember those marketers I mentioned earlier? They are betting that we want to print out things that hold special value.
I know your work has value. You spend a lot of time on it so it is worth it to print it and treat it with respect. You think your work has value. Print it.
To quote an email I received in early January:
"We’re wired to create. Throughout time, humans have been makers. Modern makers are using the tools of their forebears in new ways to produce goods with a fresh sensibility. …
We want unique.
Are we coming to the realization that more isn’t better—that owning lots of junky stuff is less satisfying than owning fewer, better-quality items? Bespoke may not be the new mass-market (yet). But savvy consumers recognize that they can convey their personal style and character by surrounding themselves with one-of-a kind goods.
We treasure heirlooms.
Because we recognize the effort, craft and vision that goes into handmade goods, we regard them as keepsakes. A gorgeously bound volume of classic literature isn’t something to off load in next summer’s garage sale; it’s to be passed down to children and grandchildren. The hand bestows meaning, longevity, value."
So don't rule out print. Just save it for your work that is most important. And give me a call, I'd love to help you make print matter.