Select Comments: Print Design in a Post-Pandemic World

Print will never die. There will always be room for business cards, posters, brochures, etc. There is a segment of people who don’t care to use their iPhones or computers for everything … Ultimately, we’ll always need some form of print. For example, in our business, a product catalog, used intentionally, is an effective way of exposing new customers to a brand and an effective tool to educate existing customers about new products.


Digital fatigue is real. I am tired of screens. I am looking forward to holding something real in my hands — books, magazines, menus, flyers.

Digital fatigue is real and we are on virtual overdose. When we had a client with a virtual sales kick-off, we sent more than 100 huge kits to everyone to bring them something tactile. THAT’s the piece they talked about for days.

I feel torn on this issue. While I agree that digital has become even more important because of the pandemic, print still has a place. Though we might need to figure out exactly how it can be optimized. Delivery services with pretty packaging/unboxing seems to be on the rise even with the pandemic. I also think that people are craving to get away from their screens and get out as the economy opens up so there could be a comeback to in-store shopping.

I can see the future as further integration of print and digital, and translating from print to digital and digital to print — back and forth — like some of the electronic pens and erasable notebooks. This will be “the new normal” where most pages, flyers, memos, etc. are equipped with QR codes and are responsive to digital pens that write on both electronics and paper.

Fatigue is a good way to word it. A parallel is virtual learning versus in-class. Students, teachers, parents, and supervisors are eager to get back to the classroom for obvious reasons. Virtual-only is missing something elusive .

I have a feeling that print will rebound in some ways, but will be needed less in other ways. After spending so much time in front of a screen, it’s possible people will want to read actual printed books/magazines, but there are items such as menus that may now reside mostly in the digital realm with QR codes. The ease at which they can be updated/modified without having to reprint may be a marked benefit for that industry. Also, with so much digital marketing and targeted marketing, the need for sales circulars may have been diminished now that people are much more proficient at online shopping.

Some people will always appreciate the feel and permanence of a well designed print piece, but I also feel, some people don’t really care, and find it cumbersome and are more enamored with a digital piece that includes motion. I don’t think we are anywhere near digital fatigue. It is a way of life.

I think that post-pandemic, the mix of digital and print will remain the same. People are either comfortable with digital or not. I don’t believe the pandemic will change those preferences.

I have been a designer for almost 40 years and have lived and worked through many prophecies about the demise of print. While the industry is not the same (is much of anything the same?) as it was, I find that all forms of media ebb and flow with the times and seasons. Lately, some clients are actually more eager to print their promotional material. “It depends” sounds so non-committal, but it’s a far more accurate statement than a stab in the dark about the future.

Print will rebound close to pre-pandemic levels. The trend has been towards more online interactions and remote working (Zoom, etc.), but the prepandemic value of print communications in general has remained unchanged.

Those who argue that we are trending away from print have been proven wrong over and over and over. Thankfully design is like a collage — it spreads across all platforms and mediums. There is room and use for all of it.

Print may be stronger after the pandemic and see a resurgence as a cost-effective way to reach customers who can’t be reached by social or email.

Print design will cycle back. However, the younger generations to come may not admire or appreciate the elements of print. And there is the possibility that it will fall by the wayside as ‘Letterpress’ did. Evolution.

Print stands strong. There are a lot of pieces that just don’t translate or work when digital. Plus having printed pieces will help bring back a sense of normalcy.

The younger generation breathes online communications. Print isn’t on their radar the way that Tik Tok is. Print won’t rebound.

There will be a print rebound but designers must make a point of bringing it to the attention of your clients!

More eyes are on digital work due to the pandemic. But I believe the need for us to get ourselves back into the real world will once again create those opportunities to experience print and packaging in our encounters with products in stores, restaurants and brick & mortar locations, etc. People buy what they buy, eat where they eat, shop where they shop, largely due to the experience they get from a brand. Print plays a huge role in that.

We aren’t ‘After the Pandemic.’ We are still in it and I think it’s too early to tell what will happen. If I had to guess, I’d say that people will trend away from print for several reasons. 1) People are now more comfortable with digital. 2) People realize that it is more hygienic to go digital. 3) People did a lot of “stuff purging” during the pandemic. A lot of that stuff was paper and they don’t want to add that back into their lives. 4) We’ve become accustomed to a faster way of getting information (not saying that is a good thing, just a thing) and paper products are slow media. By the time the message gets out, it’s already outdated.

I would say that there will be more print design after the pandemic. Why? Because (hopefully) there will be a need for posters, flyers, etc. to promote events.

Print design and printed products are everywhere. In a digital world, information and content are easily lost or overlooked, easily deleted. Print work isn’t so easily dismissed. I observe resurgence of interest in letterpress printing, printed journals, bound sketchbooks, pen-to-paper writing and sketching, paper planners, calendars. I believe that paper adds a level of comfort for people, because it’s tactile, flexible, has two sides, comes in varieties of physical textures and thicknesses… we humans form attachments to things we can touch and carry around.

More people than ever are opening up physical mail. Especially those pieces designed with quality paper or unique coating or shape.

One problem we’re seeing is getting print into the hands of the intended audience. No one is in their office so if you mail out a printed piece it may just get thrown out. Once people are reliably back in the office, I think a well-designed, well-printed piece could really make a statement and be memorable. If people continue to WFH deliverability of printed items will be an ongoing problem.

Digital communication is going to continue to be more the default and some marketing won’t have any print component (e.g. the promotion of virtual events).

It will all balance out. Printed books and magazines will still surge, though, it will depend on topic. Books are a welcome relief from the digital, a kind of reverse escapism. Audiobooks are also on the rise, as are podcasts, so having the ability to design effective digital media to support that is growing.

Markets where people meet face-to-face will always need print. That probably will accelerate as we get a handle on the pandemic.

Print will resurface but mainly for the need of the human touch and connection. Virtual has its place as it will be perceived as a way to open up more time to enjoy the things in life, to also reduce the cost of conferences for small businesses and more ways to network and still be able to speak directly to a person.

I design much more for digital these days. I agree that more digital is likely to come. That makes those print projects which still exist that much more important to catch the reader’s attention with experiential touches.

Digital design is important here, but if design is good and useful individuals will hold on to it. I noticed that during the pandemic people hold onto printed pieces more than before. You just have to be selective as to the use and make sure the design is on point.

Print will become stronger in the high-end, specialty, market because it is not digital. Though not as fast from author to recipient, it shows you care because of the extra effort involved in using it. Electronic touch points are too easily ignored and deleted but a well-designed printed piece has staying power with a tactile and visual presence that electronic media can’t match. That said, it will be more expensive. Digital, in my opinion, is the new junk mail and is here to stay.