Like so many other sectors, the print sector has seen a huge change in recent years. Commercial print – i.e. brochures, flyers and other marketing collateral typically printed by commercial litho printers – has been in decline for probably about 10 years now. And we have been managing this change with many of our clients too. However, you’d be wrong to write the sector off just yet.
10 years ago, commercial print projects made up a considerable part of our business. Today, we print a fraction of what we used to. And that would typically be the same at agencies up and down the country.
The attitude to print has changed significantly. Print is not the go-to channel anymore; hence consumers are not bombarded with print collateral anymore.
Data shows that people spend longer engaging with print collateral compared to digital channels. They typically enjoy print at a more leisurely pace and tend to be more focused, and therefore absorbing more information. Neuroscience might offer a reason for this: by engaging multiple senses, the reader’s brain stimulation and focus are increased significantly. Now, all that comes with many disadvantages, of course, not least cost. And we are not pitching print against digital. The skill is to use print for the right reasons and take full advantage of all its benefits.
Choosing recycled paper or material that is special to the touch, using binding or finishing techniques such as exposed thread binding, raised spot varnishes, or even scented inks are much more than gimmicks. These decisions are not just about standing out; they are crucial in reinforcing the brand.
Whether it is a company brochure designed as a handout to impress the customers of M&A specialist Hampleton Partners for whom we produced a company brochure: from design, artwork, to print data, pre-press and final print, including the choice of materials and finishing techniques enhanced with a raised gloss spot varnish giving it texture and depth, or a large lay-flat coffee table book for the boardroom telling the success story of a unique retail concept in a visually engaging fashion with striking typography and graphics. When you go to the trouble of printing, it really pays to get it right.
When we designed the various collateral pieces for aspiring members of The Wisley Golf Club – the most progressive and desirable private member golf club in England – we carefully considered a huge range of materials to represent the club. In the end, a navy-blue soft-touch stock was chosen to give the collateral a contemporary look and feel, literally “soft” to the touch. The orange thread-binding not only increases the brochure’s quality but is also a beautiful contrast to the dark blue cover.
To conclude, we don’t think print is dead, but the attitude of brands towards print has radically changed. In this digital age, print is appreciated more than it used to be. This creates a real opportunity for brands to stand out by producing well-designed, -crafted and -considered print collateral – audiences are sure to appreciate the effort and reward with high engagement.