Is Print Really Dead?

A response to “Print is Dead? Nah, It’s Just a Start-Up

As much as it pains me to say this, I do think that certain print materials are becoming less and less common. Dead might not be the correct word as I think there will always be a demand for magazines, newspapers, books, and textbooks in their physical form despite the growing need to put the content online. From a designer’s standpoint, the desire to hold, publish, and design publications themselves are certainly in demand. Unfortunately, the love for the design of these publications doesn’t necessarily warrant a lasting lifespan.

Web is my job. I design for the web, I program for the web, and I love to do it. I research the changing trends of web design frequently and have come across some incredible websites dedicated to reproducing the “print feel” on the web. One of my favorite artsy publications is Grain & Gram. If you take a look at an individual article, for example, an interview with Nick Sombrato, it’s visually evident that the structure of the site was meant to mimic the style of traditional print materials. The article includes columns, pullquotes, and even images with captions. Sites like Grain & Gram, whose dedication to keeping the spirit of print publications alive on the web get me excited about the future of publication design. I may even feel that the transition from print to web could be a little less of a loss than I had expected.

Jeff Jarvis made the argument that “Print is not dead. Print is where the words go to die.” I agree with him. It’s hard to archive printed matter for an extended period of time while still making it easily accessible. If you think about it, tons of words, tons of articles, tons of websites – featuring tons of ideas from tons of people – can be stored online and accessed quickly simply by performing a search. The ease of use that the internet provides us also tempts us into using it as a primary source of information. It’s no wonder that more and more people are turning to that luxury to receive the same information they once got from a printed source.

I’m still, however, sticking to my love for the simple experience of reading something off-screen. There’s no debating color or font size in a printed source, whereas the aesthetics of material found on the web differs from browser to browser and from monitor to monitor. You lose half of the beautiful design decisions that were made simply by viewing it online. I love to design printed material, whether it be promotional, informational, or simply for the love of design. I think it’s ultimately designers who will keep the printed world thriving.

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