My mind is blown every time I open my mail box just to learn that I’m the recipient of, yet another, random direct mail campaign. Does this stuff actually work on anyone? My immediate thought process is to determine how much money was wasted on the print of this useless flyer that I’ll be putting directly into the recycling bin. It’s an unfortunate waste for both the sender and the environment. That’s not to say that all print is dead though; it just takes much more thought and attention to actually be worthwhile.
It’s true that the hub of any well thought out marketing campaign is some sort of web component. How can it not be? Everyone’s on the web, all the time. So where does print even fit in? I like to think of ‘print’ as the icing on the cake. Not just regular icing though – extra special icing. If you don’t have it, it’s no big deal. If you do have it, you better be sure it’s over-the-top nice or else you might have wasted your efforts and resources.
Pulling out all the stops
A client I’ve recently had the pleasure of working with understands this concept. They were in need of a corporate brochure and they were insistent that I did what it took to get the job done right. The content had to be targeted, the design had to be effective, the dimensions had to be strategic, and the paper choice (as well as the printing techniques) had to display quality. All sounded good to me.
Though the company is complex in itself, I had a fairly good understanding of their needs as I had created their website about a year prior to this. Their corporate brochure was essentially a streamlined version of their site but with a few updated design elements to better represent it’s printed nature.
I’m a firm believer that in terms of design, the web and print are two completely different playing fields. With print, you can rely on the sense of touch to provoke and action. In contrast, the web loses this element completely and exclusively relies on visuals. Therefore, a seemingly flat design can be very effective when printed, but fall on it’s face when put on the web. So it was a great experience to be able to extract the look and feel that I had created for their site, then modify it to work for their brochure.
I focused on bands of colors rather than gradations. I made the images bleed off the edge, rather than confining them to boxes and I kept the palette bold and dramatic in order to drive home the messaging.
Clean Living vs. Nostalgia
Our lives are becoming more and more digital by the day, so it get’s harder and harder to create something that somebody will actually want to keep a physical copy of. I certainly don’t think print is going anywhere though. Just like the fact that futuristic meal replacements (in pill form) will never overcome a legitimate steak dinner, print will always prove to be an effective tool of communication when executed properly.