We’ve all heard that print is dying and that digital is taking over, but is print really going to disappear forever? Peter Knapp, Landor’s global creative officer, and Mark Frankel, executive creative director of San Francisco, explain why they believe print will undergo a resurgence in 2016.
Although it has been largely supplanted by digital content, print media still retains undeniable advantages. Foremost is the physical relationship it establishes with the reader: “Print is a sensory medium. It has a weight you feel in your hands, you can see the quality of the paper and ink, absorb the attention to craft and detail, and ultimately you can return to the object again and again, so printed items have a longevity that digital does not,” says Frankel. Knapp agrees: “Print can be eye-catching in the right contexts. It can help brands stand out if they selectively use the medium.”
Brands are taking note. J.C. Penney recently resurrected its catalog after shelving it in 2009, while Anthropologie launched its first expanded home decorating catalog late last year. Even some digital-only brands like Birchbox and Bonobos have begun mailing out print catalogs to consumers.
Printed books are also making a stand, with the New York Times reporting that ebook sales fell 10 percent in the first five months of this year alone, and e-reader sales dropped from 20 million to 12 million in the space of a year. Meanwhile, the number of independent bookstores in the United States has increased, with some reporting substantial jumps in sales. Even Amazon opened its first physical bookstore store last month.
Expect more people to turn to print in 2016 for the memorable physical experience the medium affords, thereby resurrecting it from its prematurely announced death.