Takeaway #5: Print Means Human Connection

Under normal circumstances, this would be the week we would conduct our 57th annual Print + Paper Reader Survey. Hence, we included a query into the role of print in a post-pandemic world. It may seem counterintuitive, given the ascendance of virtual meetings and digital workflow, but respondents affirm their love and respect the traditional strengths of print — permanence, touch, connection, credibility, authenticity. They see those factors enduring and remaining relevant despite the disruptions wrought by the pandemic. Interestingly, a surprising number of respondents believe that, once the coronavirus crisis recedes, traditional modes and materials will have a renaissance in response to, as one person put it, the flood of digital messaging and the current “tactile drought.” Or as Kevin Kernan and Allan Espiritu of Philadelphia’s GDLOFT put it: “We believe the pandemic has changed the role/power of print. Prior to the pandemic, we believe print had already gained traction with audiences, with its ability to cut through the digital clutter, by appealing to our human senses. Now, we believe print has reached a tipping point because people are craving interaction, people want their humanity back.”


I come from a strong print background. While print can be more expensive to produce, there is a certain authenticity and trust in receiving a printed piece of collateral than seeing a digital ad. Digital is too easy for scammers to take advantage of. Non-profits especially should rely on print. I would trust a donation envelope, accompanied with collateral, received in the mail versus a digital campaign. Both work nicely hand in hand, though. I strongly recommend print for clients if they can afford it.

Print will be highly valued when this crisis ends. We are having a sort of tactile drought. The human element will be most meaningful, and includes both print and more. We are mailing products and giveaways to our audience, and it is making a large difference. They are very excited to receive something new, something that makes them feel connected to someplace/ someone/something else.

Right now nothing is normal. When this pandemic is over people will crave the traditional. Even more so than they did before the pandemic.

We will be doing more print when this is over. People need a break from all this digital content. I know I do.

I think everything that helps us connect with others will be valued more. Print can be a good approach to getting people out of their devices. We’re doing a lot of digital stuff now to promote our client’ businesses but when this is all over, I see print and packaging coming back.

That’s a great question! I believe print materials will always be around and it depends on the project and the client. We have many clients that I do not believe will be able to eliminate their traditional print materials. But I must say that during this pandemic, a lot of our clients have had to solely rely on social and digital media to get their messaging across.

Print still holds its value. Print will be more valued. Much more value! People will want a respite from screens.

There will be an expanded focus on digital platforms going forward, but that evolution was already happening before the pandemic. We still have many requests for physical pieces, such as product brochures, product sample pieces, tradeshow graphics, and POP signage for Big Box stores. I don’t think print will be going away any time soon.

We are still planning to do print promotions as long as we can get the correct home addresses for our contacts. Direct mail should take off again since more people are in their homes.

I love and will always do print along with digital design. Digital is a companion to print, and I would caution against becoming entirely digital. There is something to be said about offering a brochure or business card to clients. That personal touch and interaction cannot be replaced. Likewise digital books and magazines are never a substitute for the smell and feel of print.

We plan on doing less printing in the next year. When we use print, it will be more targeted when we do print and made more impactful with high end techniques.

Print will easily be more valued in the aftermath. Hands down we have had a spike in volume in print-related projects. Food and beverage and pet products still need packaging and some have more demand than before so if they go up so do we. I’ve always been pro-print even when the industry is going more digital. I hope more see the value of it, but who knows?

There are definitely benefits to digital communication, but there is so much of it and it is so in your face, there is still a need for all the benefits that print brings. Touch, smell, the stimulation of the senses. Credibility is a big thing for me; there’s more credibility in print.