Print vs. Digital

Whether or not print should be identified as a “dying process” is one of the most discussed arguments in today’s industry.  There are obvious pros and cons to both mediums of print and digital. In print, for instance, studies have repeatedly shown that humans process information more carefully when reading and writing printed text rather than that on a tablet or phone screen. Going digital, on the other hand, includes the ability to widely circulate information and produce content more rapidly at a cheaper price.

With both having their benefits, it is interesting to see how other organizations are assessing the effects of each medium and how consumers interact with them. Public Radio International as an example looked into how digital and printed information affects us neurologically in one of their articles: “Neuroscience, in fact, has revealed that humans use different parts of the brain when reading from a piece of paper or from a screen.” They found that when reading more on a screen, the mind shifts to “non- linear reading”, meaning readers are more likely to skim the text without the ability to remain focused on one part of a webpage.

So, this begs the questions: what is the future of print? Should we strive to keep this intact or are we leaning towards a fully digital world?

Vox argues that print is becoming obsolete with the decline of newspapers since the 2008 economic recession. Large newspapers are condensing sections to pinch pennies and small presses are struggling to stay afloat as well. Meanwhile, Forbes, in contrast to Vox, states that countries like India and Mexico are seeing an increase in print sales due to the rise of middle-class groups and the decline of access to basic internet services.  

One company in particular that wanted to maintain printed information is Airbnb. The popular online marketplace for lodging rentals partnered with Hearst about a year ago to create a print-only publication highlighting travel tips, destination guidance, and deals on transportation and lodgings. According to Hearst editor, Joanna Coles, one of the main goals for this publication was to place a physical item from these companies into your home for easy access to information and even as decoration. She said, “it’s to connect you, to inspire you, to transform you…. Why a magazine? Well, a good magazine is a journey in itself, it’s a voyage of discovery. You turn the page, and you find something magical you weren’t expecting and it transforms you.”

While the presence of printed material over digital may not seem as frequent, it seems that independent bookstores and zines are on the rise. Inkwood Books in Tampa has been challenging the digital-press world in order to keep up their sales. According to Huffington Post, “Inkwood is finding its own creative ways to compete in a digital world. At a recent book talk and signing with Randy Wayne White, the ticket price included the cost of his latest book, Seduced.” Inkwood owner, Stefani Beddingfield, explains in the article how events such as these book signing keep the book sales local.

So the next time you’re looking to design or publish your next project, will you consider print over digital or both?

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1 comment

  • I don’t think the title of your article matches the content lol. Just kidding, mainly because I had some doubts after reading the article.