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50th Anniversary Print Survey

how do designers feel about print?

Designers feel strongly and positively about print, thanks for asking.

Designers value print for its classic strengths and how these can be effectively leveraged to convey a message or a feeling. Foremost among those strengths in an increasing virtual communications world is touch ‒ the promise of the tangible, sensual, physical, real. Other practical attributes that continue to matter: permanence, portability, convenience, accessibility.

Print works, in the view of most of our readers, because it creates a human connection missing from the ephemeral and desensitizing media world of digital communications.

Print will always have a place in graphic communications. Web and social media is an ever flowing river and always changing. When you want to make something that will last, that will make a statement, you work with print. People relate to the tangible and intangible in different ways. There is a beauty in print that can not be replicated online.

Maria Black Graphic Designer, MJB Design

Print will always be important. As a Gen X/Gen Y “cusper” I have appreciation for social media, but I deeply cherish quality printed pieces. I literally judge a book by its cover ‒ being drawn to printed pieces featuring deliberate paper choices. I am enveloped in the feel and characteristics of the paper. Elizabeth Griswold Graphic Design Director, MSA Architects Print is still central to design. It is still the touchstone from which interactive and web design departs. It grounds the web work because it is not just tangible ‒ it is still more mobile than web work. While print’s share of market had diminished as other forms of expression have proliferated, all other media are still its progeny.

David Henry Designer, Onay-Henry Design

Print continues to have an important place in graphic communications. The trick today is how to incorporate print and digital media together into a larger, cohesive brand experience. Kim Dow Owner, Kalico Design I have been hearing that “print is dead” for over twenty years! In my opinion print is alive and well. We have the professional and personal need for both mediums. Touch, image and copy performance, along with permanence, are the powerful qualities that print provides.

Robert Talarczyk CEO/Creative Director, Darkhorse Design

Print is growing in importance rather than declining. As digital media proliferates, tactile, printed communications may not always be in the moment, but project a lasting, substantial meaning to messages and leave meaningful impressions more than ever.

Francis Shimandle Owner/Creative Director, Shimandle Marketing and Design

Online shelf life is not as lasting as print. Whether you like it or not, the online file goes to oblivion and is forgotten once it is saved to a folder.The traditional strength of print ‒ touch and fell ‒ is always there. Andy Eugenio Solutions Specialist Advisor, FedEx Sales Programs & Events In some ways, print has become more meaningful because it is more rare. A direct mail piece can actually get more traction than an HTML email because there is less clutter surrounding it. That being said, print without value to the receiver is seen as wasteful. Care must be taken to make sure any printed piece is worth it.

Wendy Ruyle Co-Owner, 5 by 5 Design

Print is an important medium yesterday, today and tomorrow. In our professional life print has diminished some, but I still love to produce books for people to enjoy for poetry, photography and artwork. I own all the digital devices and am a geek about technology, but nothing will ever replace the enjoyment of sitting down and paging through a coffee table book of photography or artwork.

Timothy Cory VP Creative Director, TeamDetroit

Print is still very much “in your face,” more so than its digital counterparts. With things like posters, brochures, magazines, invitations, catalogs, books and business cards, the tactile aspect of the paper and the printing techniques definitely play an important role in the overall experience of the viewer. The impact is completely different, more visceral. I dare say that the printed word still carries more weight than the digital one.

Ken Springer Graphic Designer, Road Scholar

Printed communications are still relevant and effective. Books and newspapers have made a successful transition to digital formats, but nothing beats a current issue of a magazine in hand. And while digital media may delight the eyes with color and motion, beautifully-crafted pieces designed for personal contact, like a formal invitation, event poster, restaurant menu or product packaging, impact the viewer in tactile, intimate ways that are impossible to achieve through a video screen. As freelance graphic designer, I’ve seen no decline in projects that require printed materials. My clients still demand brochures, reports, and posters as part of their communication efforts.

Luke Duran Owner, Element L Design

Print’s tactile quality is even more meaningful today than in times past. Because web-based media and communication are so popular, print when done well really stands out dramatically. I once heard the quote, “Print won’t be out of style until there's a computer in every bathroom.” We’ve gone even further where we have a computer in our pocket nearly all the time, and print is still not dead. Safe to say it’s here to stay, but always evolving for sure.

Jenn David Connolly Founder & Creative Director Jenn David Design

Print is not going away. It's still a vital part of any communications program. Technological changes continue to occur at an increasingly rapid rate, forcing communications professionals to adapt or die, but overreacting is a mistake.

Chris Gorman President, Chris Gorman Associates

Although many clients balk at the high costs of printed pieces versus an online presence, I always point out the benefits of a printed piece. A well designed, beautifully printed piece has an impact and permanence that cannot be achieved online. Print can be very classy and in this age of web, web, everything web, the rare printed piece really stands out.

Donna Calcavecchio Graphic Designer, DMC Design

Until we're only Avatars in an electronic medium, people will need to touch, feel, see and engage with print in the world.

Sam Hetzel Graphic Designer, Self Employed

Interactive media cannot replace the tactile element of a well-designed and produced promotional piece. While the piece itself may not produce an immediate response, it can serve as a reminder when the time comes for a purchase or other action.

Edward Knight President, Communications Art & Design

Print still has an important place in graphic communications! I had a conference this year that my marketing person refused to use anything but Facebook and email to advertise the conference. Needless to say, our registration numbers were down my 85%. Within a week of putting out print ads, posters and brochures along with our online marketing,our registration numbers surpassed the previous year registration numbers. Just goes to show, the printed piece is still a powerful tool and always will be.

Phyl S. Kabins Designer, University of Arizona College of Nursing

As a support piece or leading design element, print is, and should be, an important part of any marketing mix. I love watching designs test the boundaries of paper and post to engage responders and set the tone for a message.

Amy Jackson Creative Services Manager, RamQuest

Print is and will always be important. I’m so happy to see letterpress making a comeback. Hand rendered typography is exploding. Informational graphics are everywhere! Technology will always be advancing but it is nice to know that there are those who appreciate the feel of ink on paper. The feel of an embossed image. Color as reality not just on a screen. And packaging ... look around... where in your life does packaging not have an impact?.

Kerry Gonzalez Associate Professor, Salt Lake Community College

With all of print’s strengths, do not forget ultimate portability. You can take print virtually anywhere and it will function beautifully, as designed.

Jeff Smith Co-Creative Director, Smith/Walker Design

As we are inundated with digital media, printed pieces become more rare and that simple fact helps them stand out, provided that the piece has relevance or an interesting story to tell. As humans, we still like to touch, feel and smell tangible things.

Lucinda Moore Graphic Communicator Moore Design

Print is our life blood. More and more of our clients have maintained a printed promotional piece along with electronic. There printed promotional items stick around. Whereas the digital, in todays information overload world, get deleted to make room for more information.

Mary Schill Art Director/Owner, Forte Design I start with print

I start with print in mind, then adapt the print work for online distribution. So, yes, print still has an important place in graphic communications, at least for me.

Wes Fleming Editor, BMW

I do not understand why print is being put out to pasture. Of course print is important ‒ who doesn’t like to be able to touch and hold something of beauty or an example of exciting design, up close and personal? Not everything needs to be electronic based.

David Antonuccio Owner/ Creative Designer, David Antonuccio Design

Interactive media cannot replace the tactile element of a well-designed and produced promotional piece. While the piece itself may not produce an immediate response, it can serve as a reminder when the time comes for a purchase or other action.

Edward Knight President, Communications Art & Design

Most of social media and web content has its roots in print. The big stuff, the important stuff, the more permanent projects are usually created for print, but then redesigned and repurposed to suit a myriad of channels.

Amie Schilson Art Director, Reliv

Yes, there is nothing as tangible and as appealing to all the senses as print. It’s always tempting to keep a particularly attractive print sample to admire over time.

Martin G. Lopez Graphic Designer, Martin G Lopez Design

Yes, print still has a place in our business. Yes, print has a place in my personal life, too. Yes, traditional strengths are still a requirement with most projects.

Marlon Sharpe Principal Graphic Designer, Amtrak

Yes, print still has a critical role in graphic communications - on a professional and personal level. Humans are designed to touch and feel. We need the tactile qualities of print!.

Mary Keough Art Director, Immaculata Academy

In many ways, print cuts through the clutter, making a stronger impact than online design solutions. Print should remain part of an overall marketing or design strategy. For example, I attend a lot of business networking events. The printed business card remains the number one vehicle for making business introductions and passing along contact information. Generally speaking, print is shifting its role, but it’s sticking around.

Alvalyn Lundgren Owner, Alvalyn Creative

Print is still strong and especially needed for informational pieces. For example, could you imagine shopping for a hot tub and you ask for a brochure on a couple models and they tell you that you must go online to research the models? They would lose my business for sure. I personally still like to hold an actual piece in my hand whether it is a brochure for a product, direct mail or a catalog.

Kelly Masella Owner, Vibe Graphix

Touch and permanence are still important to my more sophisticated clients. Unfortunately, for the majority of my clients, cost is a major concern and print media is becoming more of a luxury. Digital is more of the standard.

Susan Kelley Creative Director, kelley|fortuno marketing design

Everything print has ever been in communication is, in my opinion, as relevant today as ever. Done well, and on point, it can still be a dramatically effective means of delivering important ideas to critical audiences.

David Hlebcar Owner/Creative Director, FBN Strategic Creative Services

Print is important, but not as important as it used to be. It can't deliver dynamic content like the web.

Matt Dirkx Creative Director, Matt Dirkx Design

Print still has an important role in business communications. And thank goodness for that as I am primarily a print designer. Right now I am working on a direct mail post card campaign and a custom 9 x 12" Tyvec envelope. Clients still need compelling materials to hand out or send to customers.

Robyn Brooks Owner, Brooks Design

I feel print is growing in importance. Online marketing is becoming as annoying as direct mail once was. People are unsubscribing and blocking out online marketing, so that leaves us with the challenge of how to interact and get our message across to our markets. A lot depends on the target market age and gender. When I print, the paper feel and finish always comes into play, within the context of the client’s budget.

Linda Parks Principle, The Parks Group

With mobile devices in almost every hand print, has a much smaller roll today compared to 40 years ago. The days of the large “Life Magazine” are in the past. I do not think print will ever die, but when most want to see what just happened right now, it is hard to compete.

David LeDrew Art Director, PhotoZig

I care about print. Very much so. Not sure if clients care about quality of paper as much as how much they can save on their invoice, so I take it upon myself to provide the highest possible quality at the same time limiting the customers options to such items rather than producing low end media.

Randy Braunstein Creative Manager, IM Graphics

There will always be a need for print. I design a lot of political direct mail that can reach many more than just online. I believe that a printed piece can touch all the senses not just visually like digital.

Steve Oatmeyer Owner/Creative Director, Steve Oatmeyer Design

Printed material have a more personal touch/feeling than digital material it’s like if a part of yourself is impregnated in every printed piece.

Daniel Ferla Graphic Designer, Agility Printing

Print is still a valid venue for design. In many instances, holding a product in your hands, employing the sense of touch is integral to the visual statement. Not all design products translate well to online format; this small percentage of output hopefully will be around for a long future.

Joseph Piliero Art Director, Arterium Design

Print is more impactful. It demands more attention than an online communication, which can simply be deleted. The hands-on aspect involves more of your senses and appeals more to those that are more visual and tactile. Print is more attractive and incorporates more textures.

Carol Wludyka Corporate Training Specialist, Wakefern Food Corporation

Print definitely still plays a very important role in graphics communications. These days, our email is overrun by endless amounts of targeted email campaigns by all our favorite brands. With the cost of printing a direct mail piece more expensive than email, this leaves a once flooded mailbox begging for a customized mail piece that will spark an interest in consumers.

Stacy Lizzo Creative Services Manager, Integra

Print absolutely is still relevant. It’s a way to stand out. Our agency is creating a series of books we use for promotion and they are very well received. It’s the one place we can design something and present it as we intended ‒ people can't increase the font size or pinch the screen to zoom in or change the “window” so the layout reflows.

Jeffrey Ringer President, Creative Sheriff, Arengee

Many are surprised when I tell them what I do. Print? they ask. Who does print anymore? All my non-profits do. All my small businesses do. That’s who! It’s still important to have a permanent reference instead of heading back to the Web to find a page you wanted to read again. And you can't hand out web pages at trade shows.

Constance Tucker Owner, Star Design

It is a digital age, but print still has a foothold in graphic communication. I still produce a high percentage of print materials from ads to billboards and signs. Many now are both print and digital: a print flyer will also be emailed. I have seen a decline in significant print materials such as annual reports. Most of the print I work on is point of purchase or direct mail.

Tom Hannes Creative Director, Hannes Design

In daily interoffice communications I can see how print may no longer be the best way to communicate. But when it comes to magazines, direct mail and invitations, print quality is still very important. Who doesn’t love receiving a beautiful formal invitation with folds, die-cuts and embossment? It’s the first peek at the event’s theme..

Vanessa Cohen Graphic Design Manager, Medi-Weightloss™

Print will always have an important place in graphic communication and design. I hear from people all the time ‒ and I agree ‒ that there is nothing that can truly replace the feel and experience of handling a printed piece.

Katie Harley Print Production Assistant, McMurry/TMG

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